Jamie, 29, is one of those responsible people who always hits up the ATM before going out — she doesn’t mind covering her friends when they’re out someplace that only takes cash. But she finds reminding friends to pay her back so “mentally taxing,” she’ll only follow up a Venmo request once before giving up on getting paid back entirely. “I wish I had the balls to look someone in the eye and ask to be reimbursed but it’s just too uncomfortable to me. Making things awkward is literally not worth the money to me,” she says.
Navigating money and friends can be complicated. Whether it’s a pal who forgot their wallet at brunch, or a roommate who is short on rent, you don’t want to say “no” to someone you care about when they ask you to spot them, but you also want them to pay you back on time. A 2018 survey of 9,000 U.S. adults from Zelle, an app where you can send and receive money, found that 28% of women will wait until someone sends them money for their portion of the bill rather than asking them to pay them back. The end result? 86% of women reported not being paid back after covering a shared expense, such as concert tickets or a meal for friends, with 16% of women saying or this happens “all the time.” Sound familiar?
Ella, 30, feels that financial favors should not only be considered gifts, but also resentment-free offerings. “If there’s a history of one-way lending with this person, or a chance it might ruin our friendship if they aren’t able to pay me back, I won’t offer to help in the first place,” she tells Bustle. “I realize that might sound cold, but it’s important to have boundaries when you’re mixing friends or family with money,” she says.
“Lending money can put strain on a friendship,” Kathleen Grace, C.F.P., managing director at United Capital’s Boca Raton, FL branch, tells Bustle. “But if you are like most of us, we sometimes feel compelled to help a friend in need.” She says that if you are considering loaning a friend money, first have the mindset that you may never see it again. “In other words, consider it a gift,” Grace says. “This way, you will not be too upset should you never get all or a portion of the money back.”
- Avoid letting too much time pass from the payment due date. …
- Set up an emailing schedule. …
- Send polite reminders before the due date. …
- Send a polite but direct email on the due date. …
- Firmly remind them when your invoice is overdue. …
- Call them if they still don’t pay you.
How to Ask for Money from Clients – 3 Easy Steps (2019)
How to ask someone to pay you for work
Here are some steps you can take when you need to ask someone to pay their fee for work you completed:
1. Avoid letting too much time pass from the payment due date
Emailing your client to ask for your fee around the time the payment deadline has passed can improve your odds of getting it with no further complications. The client may have simply forgotten about the payment or was about to do it soon, and your email can inspire them to do it right away. If not, it serves as a reminder and puts the client on notice, improving the odds that theyll prioritize your payment in the near future.
2. Set up an emailing schedule
You may benefit from setting a clear procedure for emailing clients regarding payment. Making an emailing schedule that you use with all clients can also display your professionalism. For example, you can set up your schedule so that you send payment reminders three days before the due date, the day when the invoice is due and three days after the payment deadline.
3. Send polite reminders before the due date
When sending an email regarding payment before the due date, do it in a friendly and helpful way. You can start by mentioning that you enjoyed working on the respective project and that you attached the invoice with the respective due date, as you discussed when agreeing to work together. You can also end on a friendly note by asking them to contact you if they have any additional questions and mentioning that you would enjoy collaborating again in the future.
4. Send a polite but direct email on the due date
If the payment deadline day is here and the client still hasnt made the payment, your email should be slightly more direct than the previous one. The language can still be friendly and helpful, but the email body needs to directly address the issue by mentioning that youre sending the email as a quick reminder that the payment is due. You can emphasize your desire to help by pointing out multiple payment options and asking if they have any additional questions regarding payment.
5. Firmly remind them when your invoice is overdue
If a few days have passed after the payment deadline and the client still hasnt made the payment, send him another email in which you politely but firmly tell them that the payment is overdue. Its essential that the email text is still friendly and professional.
6. Call them if they still dont pay you
If theres still no response, the most appropriate next step is usually to call the client. Theres a chance they havent read your emails or something occurred that prevented them from responding or making the payment. When calling, explain who you are, why youre calling and why they need to pay you. Keep a friendly tone and try again if they dont answer right away.
7. Use a debt collection agency for large unpaid invoices
If the client still refuses to pay or if theyre impossible to reach, you can either register it as a loss or use a debt collection agency if you consider the amount to be worth it. An agency thats registered to an official debt collection association is usually a good choice. However, you would likely owe a percentage of the debt to the agency.
Why is it important to ask for payment?
When performing a specific job for a client, you usually set the amount of money they need to pay you for your services upfront, along with the payment deadline. However, for various reasons, some clients dont make the payment deadline or refuse to pay altogether, with no objective reason, such as the work not being done appropriately or within the deadline. In these situations, its important to find ways in which you can ask the client to make their payment without jeopardizing your reputation with other clients.
Tips for effective payment reminders
Consider these tips for improving the odds of the client paying your fee:
Payment reminder email template
Consider this template for situations in which a payment is overdue:
Subject: Overdue invoice payment
Hello [Client name],
Im writing this email as a quick reminder that I still havent received payment of [amount owed] for invoice [invoice number], which was due on [due date].
I have attached the invoice to this email as well. Youll find details regarding the multiple payment methods in this emails signature.
If you already made the payment, please let me know so I can track it. If not, please do so as soon as you can or contact me to discuss postponement terms.
Payment reminder email example
You can use this email as a reference when emailing a client for an overdue payment:
*Subject: Overdue payment*
Im writing to give you a quick reminder that you still owe us $2,300 for invoice number 294, which was due on August 2 of this year.
Ive attached the invoice to this email as well, and you can find multiple payment methods in this emails signature.
If you already made the payment, please let me know so I can track it. If not, please do so as soon as possible or contact me to discuss how we can postpone it.