How do I make getting paid as trouble-free as possible?

Written By Steps To Faculty Published June 25th, 2010

Let’s face it: no one wants to work for free – and no one should work for free in a professional or business context. Of course, there are times when getting paid promptly, at least if you are running your own business, can be quite problematic and can really cause tensions we would all rather avoid. Here are a few simple steps for making sure that you get paid and that everyone stays happy.

Step 1 Get the money first

Most people are not a problem: they receive their work from you and they pay accordingly. However, not everyone plays by the same set of rules and it is unfortunately true that some people will always try to get something for nothing. Thus, whenever you are completing a project for someone, the key thing is to complete the work, notify them that the work is done, and then wait until they pay for it before releasing the work to them. If you are performing a service like tax returns, writing, or editing, this is easy enough; if you are in a profession like carpentry, things can be rather more difficult because you are physically on-site and actually doing the work at their residence; it is, of course, a lot harder to withhold services when you have built the structure they want or made the addition they have been requesting. In such instances, it is proper to insist upon a down-payment of some kind before the work begins; you may also wish to request an installment payment plan so that, as each objective or stage is completed, the client pays before the next stage starts.

Step 2 Get everything signed and in writing

This should be true for any business – but there are a surprising number of businesses that simply follow the honor system when doing so can place you at a disadvantage. When you meet to discuss a new project with a client, it is always advisable to have a contract at the ready that spells out the specifications of the job and the expectations/obligations of each party. It is imperative to get everything in writing and it is very important to have everything signed. As a matter of course, it is usually a good idea to have your lawyer draw up any such contract – just as it is an equally good idea to have your lawyer furnished with a copy of any signed agreements between you and a client.

Step 3 Make paying as easy as possible

Something that is occasionally overlooked is that people will be slow to pay if paying is arduous; that is to say, if they have to pay via check or by money order or by a specific means, then that may slow down the payment process. If you can, give a client many options – even including payment by cash (as long as a receipt is printed out, of course). Make paying easy and clients will pay more readily.

No one likes to say that we are in business primarily for the money but the truth of the matter is that we really are all in business to make money; no one goes to work every day looking forward to going hungry. The best way to ensure prompt payment for goods and services is to follow the 3 simple steps outlined above.


Roger Due

Investing in Your Destiny® & Coaching Program - Wealth Building Summit Dallas, Texas

My name is Roger Due and I am from Albuquerque, New Mexico and I am the owner of the Monsano software company. This has been an absolutely fantastic conference. This is the best I have ever been to.