You work as courier in order to get paid but this may not be as straightforward as it sounds. Bad debts, late payments and cash flow problems are the curse of the small business and can mean the difference between success and failure. In today’s business world people are becoming more careful of their money than ever before as the recession begins to bite. So what can you do to make sure you get paid and paid on time if possible?
Tips for getting paid as a courier
As a courier it is important to get paid quickly, it helps with cash flow and helps to fund expenses for other jobs.
- Firstly, organisation is part of the key to getting paid. Your invoices should be clear, and should include your business name and bank account details, or if accepting a cheque the name of the recipient. Also included on the invoice should be the reference number of the job and POD (proof of delivery).
- Payment terms should be agreed in advance. For example if you have regular customers decide if they will pay weekly or monthly. For other customers, make it clear when you expect to be paid when accepting the job. Many invoices ask for payment within thirty days as standard.
- Invoices should be sent as soon as the job is complete. Customers won’t pay if they aren’t asked for the money, and if you have a thirty day clause on your invoice, though the thirty days will start from the date on the invoice, many customers will date it from the day they receive it.
- Make sure you have the correct details for all your customers. This should include business name, address, contact numbers and the name of the person you are dealing with directly. This will help you in sending out your invoices and chasing them up later if need be.
- You may have agreed credit terms with some of your customers. This can be useful in customer relations and makes for ease of invoicing if you only need to do this monthly ,but to minimise problems you should agree a limit to the amount of credit beforehand and do not exceed this. It is more difficult at times to get payment quickly on large sums so do not let this build up until it becomes a problem.
- Have a policy about overdue payments. If a payment is overdue double check the date on the invoice and whether it has been paid already and overlooked; this should be done before anything else to prevent friction between you and the customer. Then try a friendly reminder on the phone, reminding the customer of the date you sent the invoice and the amount due. If this is not successful you can send out a statement listing all the outstanding invoices with a letter asking for payment within seven working days otherwise late payment charges would apply.
If the worst comes to the worst and you do not get payment, you might need to have recourse to legal action. Keep this impersonal and use either a solicitor or a debt collection agency. This will give you your best chance of reclaiming your money, but hopefully with good organisation and awareness, bad debts should be rare.