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Monday, September 28, 2015

Tips for Creating a Smoother Payment Process

Any self-employed voice over actor knows that the payment process can be one of the most challenging parts of being your own boss. While most clients are good about paying promptly, there are times when you have to deal with someone who is, shall we say, less than punctual.  This can cause a huge headache because of course you want to be paid what you’ve earned, but at the same time you don’t want to create a volatile situation that could potentially damage your reputation.  One way to avoid these situations is to set specific guidelines for managing the payment process. Here are some tips for creating a less stressful process for getting paid.

·         Don’t be tardy with your invoices.  If you’re late getting out your invoices, this reflects poorly on you and could make your client think that payment isn’t a priority.  To avoid this, plan on sending invoices out upon completion of the work, or weekly if that works better for you.  It’s best not to let them sit longer than a week, though. Remember, the sooner the invoice is out, the sooner you get paid! I think it's best to send the invoice for the job along with the audio file via email. If the invoice should go to another person within the company or connected with the project, find out in advance who that person is and get their email address. 

·         Let people know what actions will be taken if payment isn’t received.  On your invoice, include wording about what happens if payment isn’t received in your specified timeframe – 30 days is usually a good target.  Whether you plan on charging late fees or even using a collection agency for particularly outstanding payments, make this clear on the invoice so there is no question later on.

·         Be professional and organized in how you maintain invoices and payments.  Good organizational skills are a must when handling invoices and payments.  Whatever method you’re using (i.e., PayPal, accounting software, etc.), make sure your system is accurate, detailed, and easy to use when it comes to logging invoices and payments.
·         Keep an eye on your payment deadlines.  If a payment deadline has past, you need to know it so you can address it right away.  Some software programs are set up to email reminders to overdue clients or to you, but you can also note this information yourself so you can stay on top of it. I never wait more than a few days after an invoice becomes past due before I send a polite notice via email to the person whom I worked on the project with. In the subject of the email don't be shy... write something like. "Payment Past Due on___ project! Then be sure attached AGAIN that past due invoice for their reference. In the body of the notice write... "When may I expect payment?" Asking a question encouraging them to respond to the your past due notice.

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