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How to write payment reminder emails to freelance clients
So, you need to send the dreaded payment reminder email to a client.
The invoice-ghosting situation between freelancers and clients happens all the time.
While payment plans and automatic billing are two alternatives, they can sometimes take effort to set up (unless you’re using Bonsai’s freelance recurring payments tool, of course).
Depending on your situation, it may work best to harness the skill of writing an effective overdue payment reminder email.
In the process, you’ll not only gain confidence in your career by setting boundaries and trying new methods, but you’ll be able to strengthen your communication skills and overall relationship with your clients.
Here’s our 3-step guide to writing a perfectly polite payment reminder email.
1. Assume the best
Before writing your payment reminder email to a client, you may be plagued with negative and “worst case scenario” thoughts:
- “My client has fallen off the face of the earth.”
- “He/She is definitely doing this deliberately.”
- ...Or any less-dramatic variations of these potential thoughts.
However, the truth is, if you’ve sent your freelance invoice with no response, they’ve likely just forgotten. This is vital to keep in mind since a borderline rude email can spoil working relationships.
By sending a friendly payment reminder letter or email, you’ll be:
- Respecting your needs
- Nurturing client relationships
- Learning how to communicate effectively
Hint: if clients are constantly forgetting to pay you, you may need to review how to properly bill a client to avoid these situations.
During the process, on top of keeping it positive, your friendly reminder to pay an invoice should also be informative.
Let’s look at how you should set up this helpful, yet super cool email.
2. Craft your reminder email
There are three main sections of an effective overdue invoice reminder email:
Use a gentle greeting and avoid mentioning the purpose of the email right off the bat. Instead, start by addressing them formally.
Software such as Bonsai can help you construct the perfect email and boost work confidence, but keep in mind that a payment reminder email to your client should be straightforward and simple.
2.2. Main body
Start off on a positive note. Ask them how their week/day/weekend has been or ask them how they’ve been liking your service or product recently.
Next, include a clear yet friendly payment delay description while using the passive voice, such as:
“This is a friendly reminder that your payment is overdue.”
After that, include as much information as possible. Start with:
- The original bill copy
- A revised freelance invoice
- All possible payment options and details
2.3. Final Words
Finish this polite payment reminder email with your own signature and professional information such as your position, company and contact details.
You can also keep it personalized by mentioning how you’re looking forward to an upcoming project or by wishing them a great week.
This will help support the working relationship for the future.
By signing up for a free trial Bonsai, you’ll be able to sort all your emails, invoices, reminders, and contracts to maintain a true sense of professionalism that demands respect naturally from your clients.
3. Schedule a follow-up
This payment reminder email template usually works…
But occasionally it doesn’t.
When this happens, prepare a second reminder email for a week later. This should be similar to the first email, however, mention you must begin adding late fees by a certain date.
If the second reminder fails, move to a paper demand letter, mailed by a third party. This added layer of urgency will likely spur the client to action.
Knowledge (and tools) are power
Next to passion, payment drives businesses.
By following these steps, you’ll be able to create a smooth and effective process that eliminates the possibility of frustration or stress.
Understanding exactly what you need to do and using tools such as Bonsai (check out our free trial) will help manage situations with clients, create a solid foundation that perpetually strengthens confidence and success, far into the future of your career.
And sometimes, it all starts with a simple email.