Steps to Take When a Client is Late with a Payment

Working as an independent contractor can be equal parts liberating and frustrating. Although there are many advantages to being your own boss, you’ll also need to attract a steady stream of clients to keep yourself financially afloat. This is further complicated by the fact that clients don’t always submit payments in a timely manner. However, this doesn’t mean that contractors should sit idly by and wait for late-paying clients to realize their mistake. The next time you find yourself faced with a late payment, put the following pointers to good use.

Submit an Invoice

A substantial number of late payments are directly attributable to miscommunications. For example, some clients expect contractors to submit invoices, while others don’t. This often creates confusion, as both parties expect the other to take the initiative about payment collection. The next time you have a late payment on your hands, don’t hesitate to submit an invoice to the client. In the interest of professionalism, make use of the convenient templates found at

Reach Out

If submitting your invoice fails to produce the desired results, it’s in your best interest to reach out to the client. This can be done through a phone call or via email, though the former is likely to garner a quicker response. When speaking with the client, take care to keep your temper in check and avoid taking an accusatory tone, especially if you hope to work with them again in the future.

Cease Work on Ongoing Projects

If a late-paying client consistently dodges your calls and/or ignores your emails, you should cease work on any projects you’re currently working on for them. If they can’t be troubled to honor their end of the agreement, there’s no reason you should continue to expend any effort on their projects. Make a point of not resuming work until any delinquent payments have been submitted.

There are many trials synonymous with independent contracting. Finding steady clients, managing one’s own schedule and working against multiple deadlines are just a few of the challenges that contractors deal with daily. Considering all the effort most contractors put into their work, it’s only reasonable that they expect to be compensated in a timely manner. Unfortunately, as any longtime contractor can confirm, late payments are an unavoidable part of the job. Independent contractors who are eager to nip this issue in the bud would do well to remember the tips discussed above.