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How to Write Emails & Send Payment Reminders to Freelance Clients


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If you freelance for long enough, you’ll eventually come across a client who doesn’t pay you on time. And while it’s not always intentional or malicious, a late payment can do a number on your own finances if you’re counting on being paid a certain amount by a specific due date.

Payment reminders or invoice follow-ups are a simple and effective preventative measure you can take to encourage busy clients to pay your invoices before they’re overdue.

What is a Payment Reminder?

A payment reminder is a message you send to clients to let them know an invoice due date is approaching or past due. Most often, payment reminders are sent via email, but they can also be sent through the mail or text message.

Most invoicing strategies involve sending more than one payment reminder, depending on how late a payment is.


When to Send Payment Reminders

There are three ideal times to send payment reminders to clients:

  • One day before an invoice is due
  • One to three days after an invoice is due
  • Seven days after an invoice is due

After the one-week mark, you can continue to send invoice reminders, but you may have to consider the other options you have for dealing with a nonpaying client.

If they haven’t responded to you by then, it’s time to reach out to your other contacts at the company and determine how you want to proceed.


Payment Reminder Email Templates for Freelancers

Depending on how late a client is, the messaging you use in your payment reminder will change. Use these templates to create your own standard messaging for invoice follow-ups to save time and create consistency across clients.

Payment Reminder Template: 1 Day Before an Invoice Is Due

The first email you send should be friendly and helpful. The invoice isn’t technically past due yet, so there’s no need to be aggressive or confrontational. This is a courtesy email to give the client a heads-up before the invoice is overdue.

Keep the tone light, friendly, and professional.

Subject Line: Payment Reminder for Invoice #[001] for [your business name]

Hi [client’s name],

This is a friendly reminder that invoice #[001] is due on [invoice due date]. The amount owed is [$100.00]. I have attached a copy of the invoice for your reference.

You can make payment via [your accepted payment methods]. Payments made after the due date may be subject to [applicable interest charges or late fees].

If you’ve already made a payment, please ignore this reminder.

Feel free to email me at [email address] or call [phone number] with any questions or concerns.

Thanks!

[your name]

Payment Reminder Template: 1 to 3 Days After an Invoice Is Due

Your next payment reminder doesn’t necessarily need to be less friendly, but it needs to be more to the point — especially if you received no response at all from your initial message.

There’s still a chance that your payment was missed because of a simple mistake or software error and not because the client is intentionally avoiding you.

While your tone should still be friendly and professional, you can be more direct when it comes to any consequences related to the past due amount. In this email, be more clear about the amount due, payment terms (like late fees), and how the client can make a payment.

The more clear you make this message, the fewer excuses a client has about why they haven’t paid you yet.

Subject Line: Payment Reminder for Past Due Invoice #[001] for [your business name]

Hi [client’s name],

I’m following up in regards to invoice #[001], which was due on [invoice due date]. The total amount owed is [$100.00] if paid by [grace period before interest charges or late fees are applied].

If payment is made after [the day the grace period ends], a [applicable late fee or interest charge] of [amount of late fee or interest rate] will be added to the total amount due.

I have attached a copy of the original invoice for your reference.

You can make payment in full via [accepted payment methods] to [payee name, email address, office address, etc.] as soon as possible. If you’ve already made a payment, please ignore this reminder.

Feel free to reach out to [email address] or [phone number] with any questions or concerns.

Thanks for your cooperation!

[your name]

Payment Reminder Template: 7 Days After an Invoice Is Due

This email is the most direct request for payment you’ll send. If you don’t feel comfortable being this forward after one week, you can use this template later in the process instead.

For example, you might send this message if you haven’t heard from the client for a full month after you sent your initial invoice.

Note that although this email is more candid than the others, it still needs to be professional and polite.

Subject Line: Payment Reminder for Past Due Invoice #[001] for [your business name]

Hi [client’s name],

This message is to inform you that payment for invoice #[001] is currently [one week] overdue. The total amount owed is [$115.00] including [applicable interest charges or late fees] of [$15.00].

Please make payment in full upon receipt of this message. If you’ve already made a payment, ignore this reminder.

I have attached a copy of the invoice for your reference. If you have any questions or concerns, you can reach me at [email address] or [phone number].

Thanks in advance for your cooperation.

[your name]

After Payment Is Received

If your payment reminder works and you receive payment in full, it’s important to acknowledge it with a follow-up message. Showing your appreciation and confirming that your client’s no longer past due is a simple courtesy you can extend to maintain a good relationship.

After a client makes good on an overdue invoice, customize this template to create a thank-you note of your own.

Hi [client’s name],

I wanted to confirm that I received payment in full for invoice #[001] today. Thanks for resolving this issue so quickly, and I appreciate your cooperation!

I hope you have a great rest of the day and I look forward to working with you again in the future.

Sincerely,

[your name]


5 Tips for Sending Payment Reminders

Sending payment reminders is a great way to encourage clients to pay you on time and in full, and there are a number of ways to increase the efficacy of these messages.

1. Be Polite and Professional

Regardless of how late a client is or what they say to you, keep your cool and make sure your client communications are polite and professional. Don’t let your frustration about an overdue invoice get the better of you.

If you do need to pursue the payment through another means down the road, such as mediation, collections, or small claims court, your paper trail will be used as proof of when and how you contacted the client. You don’t want those messages to be immature or inappropriate.

2. Automate Your Emails

While you can send payment reminders manually, freelancers with a lot of clients may have a hard time keeping track of when and to whom to send reminders.

Many invoicing software platforms automate payment reminders based on your invoices, such as:

Automating payment reminders saves you from having to track unpaid invoices yourself, meaning you can spend less time on the administrative tasks that come with running a small business.

3. Include Important Information

Payment reminder letters are only helpful if they include the right information. Each one you send should have:

  • The invoice number
  • The payment due date
  • The payment deadline
  • Payment options (such as PayPal, credit card, or check)
  • A copy of the original invoice attached
  • Your contact details, such as phone number, email address, and office address if applicable

The more information you provide, the easier it will be for your client to make payment without having to go back and forth, especially if they forward your email to their accounting department.

4. Use Multiple Methods

If you send three payment reminders to a client and get no response, change up your method of communication. Try making a phone call or reaching out to any other contacts you have at the company.

There’s a possibility that your contact was let go, had an emergency, or isn’t receiving your emails.

Sending your payment reminder to someone else could be all it takes to get an overdue payment addressed.

5. Keep Communication Records

Payment reminders are one of the freelance records you should keep for every client. Not only are they a simple way to track overdue payments, but they also come in handy if you need to pursue a more formal course of action in the future, like taking a client to small claims court or proving the debt to a collection agency.

When possible, send payment reminders through email because they’re easy to document. Phone calls, texts, and physical copies are harder to track and use as records.


The Benefits of Sending Payment Reminders

Payment reminders don’t just help your freelance business, they also help your clients. Include them in your invoicing process to:

1. Get Paid on Time

The biggest benefit of payment reminders is that they help you to get paid on time. Chances are, some of your clients are small-business owners or startups with a lot going on.

While that’s no excuse to miss sending in a payment, an invoice follow-up ensures that they get the reminder they need before they hit the overdue mark.

Some clients will even thank you for giving them a nudge because it means they’ll be able to avoid any applicable interest charges or late fees.

2. Round Out Your Invoicing Strategy

Most freelancers either make their own invoice templates or use an automated invoicing tool to detail their services and fees to clients on a regular basis. But as your freelance business grows, you’ll likely need to expand on that process to manage more clients and a heavier workload.

Payment reminders are a simple way to reduce the chances of late payments, helping you to have a more predictable and reliable cash flow.

3. Reinforce Your Payment Terms

Payment terms in freelance contracts, invoices, and quotes are virtually useless if you don’t enforce them.

Payment reminders not only refresh a client’s memory when it comes to an approaching or past invoice date, but they also act as a way to remind them of the consequences of late payments.

If you outlined interest charges, late fees, or other penalties in the payment terms in your contract, make sure to bring them up in your payment reminders. Clients will be grateful you helped them to avoid overages and you’ll be more likely to get paid promptly.

4. Help New Clients to Get on Track

Onboarding new clients often involves a lot of paperwork and back and forth. From negotiations about rate, terms, and scope to payment terms and contract length, a ton of important information is unloaded upfront.

This makes it easier for clients to miss small details like when you send out invoices and how long they have to pay you once they’ve been received.

Payment reminders give new clients a chance to get on track with your billing cycle and due dates by giving them advance notice of a looming payment deadline. Next time, they’ll have a better grasp of your expectations and will be more likely to meet them without needing a reminder.


Final Word

Freelancing probably came with more administrative and accounting tasks than you had hoped for, but these functions help you to have a stronger, more successful business.

If you have trouble getting paid on time, payment reminders are a great way to encourage clients to settle your invoices when they’re due, helping them to avoid late fees and improving your cash flow.

Develop a consistent and clear strategy and keep your messages polite and professional to get the most out of your payment reminders.

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