How to Get Your Clients to Pay On Time, Every Time

cleaner collect payment

Unpaid. Unpaid. Unpaid.

“WHERE IS MY MONEY?!”

If you’re tired of unpaid invoices, “check’s in the mail,” and promises that they’ll have cash next week, you need to change the way you do business.

By the end of this blog post, you’ll have a fool-proof strategy to get your clients to pay on time – every time – with credit cards.

Why Credit Cards Solve 96% of Your Payment “Headaches”

It’s not odd for a business with a recurring billing schedule to require a credit card on file.

No one balks at Netflix or their gym membership or their dog’s vet requiring a credit card.

People who complain about giving out their credit card are in 1 of 3 camps:

  1. Don’t intend to pay
  2. Will hold your money hostage
  3. Fear their credit card will be insecurely stored

Here’s how you can overcome these concerns:

Say something like, “A credit card on file means that you don’t have to worry about sending your payment every month. It means we get paid reliably, no sweat for you. All of our customers’ cards are stored in with our credit card processor with enterprise-level security.”

How to Ask without Losing Your Good Clients

It’s a simple 2-step process:

  1. Test
  2. Change, test again

Start with your worst offenders:

The people who never pay on time. Maybe you’ve even voided invoices to dodge the confrontation.

Send them an email first. Cash-flow-gap creators are detrimental to your business.

Write an Email that Gets You Paid

Remember to sell the benefit of credit card payments to them:

“Your job is to enjoy your lawn. A credit card on file means that you won’t have to worry about remembering to write a check or visit an ATM to pay for our services.”

Example Benefits to Clients:

  • Save time, effort
  • “Set it and forget it”
  • Convenience of paying online
  • No more hunting down your checkbook
  • No more ATM runs before the lawn appointment

Interpret Feedback to Make the Right Changes

These are your worst clients.

As you know, non-paying clients are the usually the most opinionated.

They look for flaws to exploit so they don’t have to pay. You can bet they’ll be looking for a flaw in the email you sent.

I know you’re panicking at the thought of dealing with these rabble-rousers, but I want you to completely invert how you think about them.

You’re testing this email to iron out these details. These angry, complaining, non-paying clients are an optimal testing ground. They’re free editors.

If they leave, what have you lost? A headache? A bad debt write-off?

Listen to what they complain about. Those are sticking points. Revise your email based on that feedback. Address their objections.

Raise and resolve their concerns in the email.

When you’ve gotten all the feedback you can from your worst clients, test the email on the next segment. Once you’re satisfied with the email, you can blast the rest of your clients.


Need a secure way to process your credit cards?

Service Autopilot’s Software is built to run your business – and it comes with Bank-Level Credit Card Security (yes, really!)

Watch the Demo now or call us at (972) 728-4040 for questions.  


How to Ask ALL the Rest of Your Existing Clients

Start with an email blast.

Ask and you shall receive. Send out an email to all clients requesting they update their payment information with you to a credit card.

After the first email, narrow down remaining clients who haven’t added their card and send a second email.

In this email, emphasize the benefits once more but also insist that this is a new policy and is required for all clients.

It’s Policy, Not Personal

Avoid making exceptions to your new policy. Require credit cards from all your clients, new and old.

People will ask to be the exception. Push back on them. Emphasize that this change is company-wide and not specific to this client. This is a change your whole client base is undergoing to make life easier for everyone.

If they continue to insist on paying the old way (via check or cash), you can decide whether they are worth the trouble.

Consistent late payments? See ya!

Consistently on-time and all-around awesome client? You can keep them.

Give Stragglers 1 More Chance

Have your office assistant call any stragglers. Spell out the benefits to the client, insist they update their payment information with your company.

Anyone who refuses at this point may not be a good fit for your company. Whether they want to dodge paying or they don’t trust you as a professional, they’re communicating that they don’t actually want to do business with you. Don’t allow attitudes of disrespect like that to run your business.

This is YOUR Business, You Deserve to Get Paid

Stand behind your policy. There’s no reason to cave, this is a completely standard business practice. Anyone who tells you differently is afraid or trying to avoid paying you.

Credit card processing:

  • Saves you time
  • Increases your number of paid invoices
  • Relieves staff pain points (esp. collections)

Don’t spend another season constantly chasing past due invoices and wondering if employees are skimming cash off the top of the till.

It’s not worth the headache.

Cody Owen

Cody is a copywriter with Service Autopilot. He was writing before he could read, dictating stories to his mom. Of late, he distills business principles and practices learned from his ever-increasing trove of books and his year with SA Support into digestible blog posts designed to provide maximum value to service industry business owners.

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