7 Signs Your Client Won’t Pay Your Invoice in Time

The anguish one faces when clients refuse to clear invoices on time is one that all freelancers, small businesses, or agency owners are bound to face every now and then.

It would be wise to watch out for some red flags that indicate that a client may not clear your invoice on time or if they intend to not pay at all.

Your Client Prefers to Pay with a Check


This should be an immediate red flag that means that the invoice is likely to be delayed. In the tech-savvy world that we live in, it is unlikely that your client would want to hang onto the good old-fashioned checkbook when clearing your invoices, especially when there are many other convenient options like credit or debit card. Or they could just wire the money to you via Venmo or PayPal.

The main hard and fast reason that you don’t want to cling onto or even entertain check payments is that they take time to process and there is always a possibility that the check will bounce.

They seem to be a Little Disorganized

When you are on the phone with the client, do you feel like they change their mind a little too much? Maybe, they don’t know what exactly they are looking for. Confusion isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker but it could indicate a red flag when it comes to the on time payment of invoices.

This type of confusion means that when the work is nearly over they could take a full pivot. Then ask you to match their new set of instructions before proceeding to payment.

Too Good to be True

Perhaps a client approaches you offering a little more than your standard market prices and seems to be very keen on working with you. Or maybe, they have all but finalized the deal in a single phone call.

That could be a very dangerous sign. Although, it is definitely possible that you could have wowed your client as a result of your communication, and presentation skills, and you are backed with a strong portfolio.

Even if this could be a possibility, it is a very unlikely one. As it is no secret that clients tend to be quite particular about the type of people they are contracting to or any agency that they are outsourcing to. The variables that go about any legitimate selection process or vendor management processes are too complex for them to decide in a single phone call.

Although it is not necessarily a bad sign if the deal goes through in a single meet, it would be well advised that you keep a close eye.

Business name Attached to a Gmail Address


This does not mean that the client will not pay their invoices on time, it just means that they could be a very small business or a group of individuals. It also lacks a level of professionalism that suggests that invoices may not be paid on time.

But on a much more sinister note, it is also entirely possible that a particular client could be impersonating another company or organization.

When your Client Starts Questioning the Invoice

Again this might just be someone who is concerned about their finances and wants to clearly understand what they are paying for. They might be confused about something as simple as the formatting of your invoice template. You can always go over to Paystubnow, make your free invoice template, and mail it over to your client as you start making plans for that vacation you were looking forward to!

Or it could be that they had misunderstood a certain fee. In any case, it is also possible that due to a huge volume of deliverables they had gotten confused.

When you create invoices, it is important to make sure items are clearly specified but even if it is clearly specified, sometimes clients who tend to be a little more detail-oriented may stagger your payments. Invoices are usually generated at the end of the month so it ends up taking time for clients to go through all of it.

In such cases, it is important to be patient with them and regularly follow up on the payment process.


Promising Future Earnings as Pay

Given that a client refuses to pay a standard advance, or if they promise to pay out a portion of their future earnings as your payment is a huge warning sign as per the timely delivery of your payments.

In such cases, it is very important to ensure that you clearly set the ground rules if you feel that the client is being genuine. This means, nailing down upon the potential rewards for undertaking such a risk, as well as for what happens if the idea does not take off.

Nit-Picky Clients

Every client should be assured that they will be getting a quality product or service, especially when they are shelling out cold hard cash for it. But there is a difference between being particular in the quality of the product to being a stickler just for the sake of it.

A client may use this tactic to blame your quality of work and evade the clearance of your invoices as a result.

Summing it Up

Just whipping out your invoice generator, and quickly making an invoice oftentimes does not yield an actual payout.

It is also a good idea to ensure that you create a contract for each of your clients, and assign clear late penalties for any payments that might be delayed. This results in clients being a little more cautious with your invoices.

But as a general rule of thumb, it might not be a good idea to go forth with clients that seem to showcase any of the red flags mentioned above. With that, hopefully, you will be able to avoid sticky situations where clients leave you hanging when it comes to paying your dues.


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