How to Ask a Customer to Pay an Invoice

Asking for payment for services you’ve provided can seem daunting, especially to freelancers or business owners who are just entering into an industry. More often than not, clients you’re working with are happy to pay for the services you provided for them — that’s how the transaction works! Once in a while, however, you will get a client that needs to be sent a few reminders.

Here are a few tips on how to ask a customer to pay an invoice. In a nutshell, it’s best to agree on the invoice payment terms to begin, then follow up on the invoice.  If you’re only starting out, then this article will be a good place to gather knowledge about possible invoicing scenarios and situations to avoid becoming entangled in. The tips listed below will help you form a more rounded idea on how to send an invoice to your next client and have them pay it in no time.

Agree on the payment terms before committing to a project

There’s nothing more frustrating for both parties than not having the payment details sorted before commencing with the project. Vague descriptions and unclarified time frames can lead to an unsatisfied client and an unhappy business owner, especially when it comes to the payment date. Ensure that the client is aware of the payment terms before starting to work with them.

Agree on writing about the services that you would be providing them with, the time frame, and the payment you expect for that specific project. Once everything has been agreed upon, you can start working on the project and expect that they will pay you as agreed.

If the project is larger than what was initially agreed upon, make sure to notify the client immediately to brush off any ideas of free services or unpaid extra work. These are the basic grounds a business owner or a freelancer must cover before or during the duration of the project. Next, we will talk about how to approach different invoicing situations and get paid every time. 

Step #1: Send friendly reminders for an invoice due

Once the project you’ve worked on has been completed, send a friendly message giving credit to the client for the great working relationship and the successful completion of the project. Send them the invoice, detailing the hours spent and the agreed amount that needs to be paid.

Most clients will not wait for you to raise an invoice to pay you but will ask you themselves if they can pay for the services you have provided them with. In other instances, clients will promptly pay after you have raised the invoice for them.

However, every once in a while clients may forget and have you wait long periods before paying. Even though in most cases these situations arise from overlooking an email rather than out of pure malice, you should still send them a friendly reminder that the invoice is soon due.

If you’ve used a contract to set the deal with your client, then a clause should be mentioned about what happens if the payment is overdue. Make sure to mention this to your client in your next email, keeping your tone friendly yet formal.

Experts recommend about five emails in a span of a month calling for invoice payment. If the client doesn’t respond and your invoice is still due to be paid, you can do the following.

Step #2: Call your client

Best case scenario is that maybe your client simply couldn’t access the email address or it was accidentally sent to their spam folder. That’s why a quick call will be welcomed and they will be happy to pay you.

If your call gets answered, use a formal voice, be short and concise, and ask for the payment that’s been long overdue to be submitted within the one business day. If the client pays you, then congratulations! If not, then there are additional actions that you can take.

These actions are time-consuming and often can get expensive as well. This is why most freelancers who are working on smaller projects don’t even bother going into this zone, and this is often misused by those who wish to benefit from free work.

Step #3: Hire a third-party collector agency

Step three is the last resort for people that have completed their part of the job, have all the proofs, and stand on losing large sums of money because of clients refusing to submit the payment. Make sure that the debt collector agency is registered and licenced. 

How to avoid getting clients who ignore your payment requests

Ensure that you have a contract that covers all possible scenarios for both parties. Get to know your client a bit more, ideally connecting with them on LinkedIn and check if they are genuine.

Avoid sending the full work you have completed for them before the client has made the payment. If you’re working on a larger project, make sure to send multiple milestone invoices for every part of the job you have completed. That way you’ll know for sure whether the client is reliable with payment or not, and whether you have can save your time and energy on an unpaid project.

Staff Member


Suggested content


What is a Digitally Signed Invoice?

by Staff Member February 28, 2021


What is a Simplified Invoice?

by Staff Member February 26, 2021