How to Write a Payment Reminder Message to a Client

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Any small-business owner, manager, or sole proprietor has faced the challenge of chasing down invoice payments. Efficiently managing outstanding invoices helps you save time and make sure that nothing slips through the cracks.

In this article we’ll give you tips on how to write a professional payment reminder message to a client and how you can avoid late payments in the first place.

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Tips for writing an effective payment reminder email

There are a few things you’ll want to include in your payment reminder email that will help get your invoice paid faster.

Include the invoice number and due date in the email subject line.

Draft a clear subject line with the invoice number and due date, so that the recipient won’t overlook it in their inbox. Including the due date in your first email also gives them a quick reminder of how long they have until they would incur any late fees. If you are sending a reminder email that their invoice is overdue, set a firm but professional tone by including how far overdue the invoice is within the subject line.

Reattach the original invoice.

Your client may have simply misplaced or accidentally deleted the first invoice from their inbox. Make it easier for them by reattaching the invoice to each payment reminder email sent. This also will serve as a reminder for the services completed and the amount that is due.

Keep the copy short and professional but with a friendly tone.

It’s important to show empathy in the first payment reminder message you send. Remember that your client could have simply forgotten to pay or had every intention to pay but got busy in their lives. Avoid statements that could come off as cold or pushy, such as “You need to pay by XX date.” Instead, say “Payment is due by XX date.” 

Include ways to pay and what the payment terms are.

Make it clear and easy for the client to pay the invoice. If you use digital invoices, explain how they can pay online and give step-by-step instructions. Also don’t let any late fees be a surprise for your client. For each payment reminder email, list out what the payment terms are and what the fees will be if the payment is one week late, two weeks late, and so on.

When to send payment reminder messages

There are different milestones at which you can send payment reminders that will alert your client and acknowledge that you pay attention to your outstanding invoices. With Square Invoices you can customize the message to go out with each automated reminder, so these templates can be emails or part of your automated invoice workflow.

Here are a few email templates for how to ask for payment professionally.

Advanced payment reminders before the due date

These emails should be scheduled up front after providing your client with the initial invoice. Here is an example of this type of email:

Subject line: Invoice #123 Reminder/Follow up 

Reminder message:

Hello client name,

We hope you’re doing well! This is a friendly reminder that invoice #123, which was sent on March 20, will be due next week. When you have a chance, please look over the invoice and let us know if you have any questions. The original invoice is attached for your convenience.

You may pay by check, by credit card, or online through our payment link. If you need anything before then, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Thank you,

Your name and business information

Day-of reminders

This payment reminder is the most important, as it tells them that this is the last day to pay before they incur late fees. Make sure that this payment reminder email is firm but still warm in tone since the payment is not yet past due. Here is an example of this type of email:

Subject line: Invoice #123 is due today

Reminder message:

Hello client name,

This is a reminder that invoice #123, which you should have received on March 20, is due today. You may pay by check, by credit card, or online through our payment link.

Please let us know if you have any questions or need assistance with the payment process.

Thank you,

Your name and business information

Past-due payment reminders

If the invoice remains unpaid, you can send weekly payment reminders to ensure that your client submits their payment. In these emails your tone should be firm and professional, and you should reiterate the different terms and fees that apply the longer they wait to pay. Here are examples of these types of emails:

One week late

Subject line: Invoice #123 is one week overdue

Reminder message:

Hello client name,

Our records show that we are still awaiting payment of $8,000 for invoice #123, which was initially sent on March 20. A copy of the original invoice has been attached for your convenience in the instance that it has been lost or misplaced.

If payment has been sent, please disregard this email. Please let us know if you have any questions or need assistance with the payment process.

Thank you,

Your name and business information

Two weeks late

Subject line: Invoice #123 is two weeks overdue

Reminder message:

Hello client name,

This is our fourth reminder message for the payment of $8,000 in regard to outstanding invoice #123, which was initially sent on March 20. A late fee of 10% will be applied to the total if the invoice remains unpaid as of April 20.

A copy of the original invoice has been attached for your convenience in the instance that it has been lost or misplaced. Please confirm receipt of the invoice and this reminder email.

Thank you,

Your name and business information

One month late

Subject line: Invoice #123 from March 20 is overdue — please submit payment ASAP

Reminder message:

Hello client name,

This is our last reminder email for the payment of $8,000 in regard to outstanding invoice #123, which was initially sent on March 20, prior to late fees being applied. A late fee of 10% will be added as referenced in our payment terms.

A copy of the original invoice has been attached for your convenience in the instance that it has been lost or misplaced. Please confirm receipt of the invoice and submit payment as soon as possible.

Thank you,

Your name and business information

If you still find that your client is not responding to your emails, it’s time to go old school. Mail them a paper copy of their invoice if necessary.

How to avoid late payments in the first place

While outstanding invoices can sometimes be hard to avoid, there are a few ways that you can ensure timely payments and make the entire process less stressful for both you and your client.

Set direct payment terms from the start. Include the due date clearly on the original invoice and any fees that your client will incur if paid late. Automating your invoice reminders is a great way to gently nudge your clients to submit their payments.

When you build an invoice in your Square Dashboard, you’ll have the option to schedule reminder emails at specific intervals. Under the Communication section of your invoice, you’ll see the “Edit reminders” option. Click there to set up automatic reminders that can send a custom number of days before the due date, on the due date, or after the due date. Each reminder you set has an optional message field, in which you can type a note to your client. You can set up to five reminders in this section. Once you’ve drafted your reminder dates and messages, click “Save” for those reminders to be sent on your timeline or until the invoice is paid.

Payment Reminder

If you still find that clients either miss the reminders or often pay late, you may want to offer incentives for early payments to avoid the struggle of tracking down those clients in the future.

Why your payment reminder email isn’t effective

If your payment reminder emails don’t get your client to pay that overdue invoice, it may be because it’s been sent to the wrong email address or they prefer physical invoices. We all know those people who have 10,000 unread emails in their inboxes. Most times an unpaid invoice isn’t a personal slight; it’s simply because the client is disorganized or has forgotten.

Remember to craft payment reminder messages with a bit of understanding and guidance. Offer your clients easy and simple ways to submit payment while alleviating any additional stress they may experience when paying their bills.

What you should do if an invoice is less than 90 days late or more than 90 days late

Unfortunately, the longer the invoice goes unpaid, the more unlikely it becomes that the client is going to submit payment. If you’ve used these templates to send your payment reminder emails and the invoice is still unpaid, it may be time to use a debt collection agency. Let the client know that if the invoice is not paid, the collection agency will be getting in touch with them. This could serve as enough motivation for your client to pay.

However, if this does not work, it may be a matter that needs to be taken to court. Of course, this route must make sense for you depending on the amount of the overdue invoice and whether court costs and litigation will be worthwhile to your business.

Outstanding and unpaid invoices create unwanted challenges for all business owners and managers. With these tips, templates, and Square automated invoice reminders, you can take some of the stress off your shoulders and remain professional when you ask for client payments.