So, you need to send the dreaded payment reminder email to a client. The invoice template 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 tools, 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.
Before writing your payment reminder email to a client, you may be plagued with negative and “worst case scenario” 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:
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.
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.
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:
Finish this polite payment reminder email with your own signature, include an appropriate email sign off, and mention 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.
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.
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.
A verbal contract (formally called an oral contract) refers to an agreement between two parties that's made —you guessed it— verbally.
Formal contracts, like those between an employee and an employer, are typically written down. However, some professional transactions take place based on verbally agreed terms.
Freelancers are a good example of this. Often, freelancers will take on projects having agreed on the terms and payment via the phone, or an email. Unfortunately, sometimes clients don't pull through on their agreements, and hardworking freelancers can find themselves out of pocket and wondering whether a legal battle is worth all the hassle.
The main differences between written and oral contracts are that the former is signed and documented, whereas the latter is solely attributed to verbal communication.
Verbal contracts are a bit of a gray area for most people unfamiliar with contract law —which is most of us, right?— due to the fact that there's no physical evidence to support the claims made by the implemented parties.
For any contract (written or verbal) to be binding, there are four major elements which need to be in place. The crucial elements of a contract are as follows:
Therefore, an oral agreement has legal validity if all of these elements are present. However, verbal contracts can be difficult to enforce in a court of law. In the next section, we take a look at how oral agreements hold up in court.
Most business professionals are wary of entering into contracts orally because they can difficult to enforce in the face of the law.
If an oral contract is brought in front of a court of law, there is increased risk of one party (or both!) lying about the initial terms of the agreement. This is problematic for the court, as there's no unbiased way to conclude the case; often, this will result in the case being disregarded. Moreover, it can be difficult to outline contract defects if it's not in writing.
That being said, there are plenty of situations where enforceable contracts do not need to be written or spoken, they're simply implied. For instance, when you buy milk from a store, you give something in exchange for something else and enter into an implied contract, in this case - money is exchanged for goods.
There are some types of contracts which must be in writing.
The Statute of Frauds is a legal statute which states that certain kinds of contracts must be executed in writing and signed by the parties involved. The Statute of Frauds has been adopted in almost all U.S states, and requires a written contract for the following purposes:
Typically, a court of law won't enforce an oral agreement in any of these circumstances under the statute. Instead, a written document is required to make the contract enforceable.
Contract law is generally doesn't favor contracts agreed upon verbally. A verbal agreement is difficult to prove, and can be used by those intent on committing fraud. For that reason, it's always best to put any agreements in writing and ensure all parties have fully understood and consented to signing.
Verbal agreements can be proven with actions in the absence of physical documentation. Any oral promise to provide the sale of goods or perform a service that you agreed to counts as a valid contract. So, when facing a court of law, what evidence can you provide to enforce a verbal agreement?
Unfortunately, without solid proof, it may be difficult to convince a court of the legality of an oral contract. Without witnesses to testify to the oral agreement taking place or other forms of evidence, oral contracts won't stand up in court. Instead, it becomes a matter of "he-said-she-said" - which legal professionals definitely don't have time for!
If you were to enter into a verbal contract, it's recommended to follow up with an email or a letter confirming the offer, the terms of the agreement , and payment conditions. The more you can document the elements of a contract, the better your chances of legally enforcing a oral contract.
Another option is to make a recording of the conversation where the agreement is verbalized. This can be used to support your claims in the absence of a written agreement. However, it's always best to gain the permission of the other involved parties before hitting record.
Fundamentally, most verbal agreements are legally valid as long as they meet all the requirements for a contract. However, if you were to go to court over one party not fulfilling the terms of the contract, proving that the interaction took place can be extremely taxing.
So, ultimately, the question is: written or verbal agreements?
Any good lawyer, contract law firm, or legal professional would advise you to make sure you formalize any professional agreement with a written agreement. Written contracts provide a secure testament to the conditions that were agreed and signed by the two parties involved. If it comes to it, a physical contract is much easier to eviden in legal circumstances.
Freelancers, in particular, should be aware of the extra security that digital contracts may provide. Many people choose to stick to executing contracts verbally because they're not sure how to write a contract, or they think writing out the contract terms is too complicated or requires expensive legal advice. However, this is no longer the case.
Today, we have a world of resources available at our fingertips. The internet is a treasure trove of invaluable information, platforms, and software that simplifies our lives. Creating, signing, and sending contracts has never been easier. What's more, you don't have to rely on a hiring a lawyer to explain all that legal jargon anymore.
There are plenty of tools available online for freelancers to use for guidance when drafting digital contracts. Tools like Bonsai provide a range of customizable, vetted contract templates for all kinds of freelance professionals. No matter what industry you're operating in, Bonsai has a professional template to offer.
A written contract makes the agreement much easier to prove the terms of the agreement in case something were to go awry. The two parties involved can rest assured that they're legal rights are protected, and the terms of the contract are sufficiently documented. Plus, it provides both parties with peace of mind to focus on the tasks at hand.
Bonsai's product suite for freelancers allows users to make contracts from scratch, or using professional templates, and sign them using an online signature maker.
With Bonsai, you can streamline and automate all of the boring back-office tasks that come with being a freelancer. From creating proposals that clients can't say no to, to sealing the deal with a professional contract - Bonsai will revolutionize the way you do business as a freelancer.
Why not secure your business today and sign up for a free trial?