By Chelsea Krause

No one likes the waiting game, especially when it comes to invoices. As a small business owner, you can’t afford to waste time waiting for customers to pay you. Luckily, there are some tricks you can use to get those invoices paid on time. Here are the top five tips for faster invoice payments.

1. Use E-Invoices

If you aren’t already using invoicing software or accounting software to email invoices directly to your customers, it’s time to start.

E-invoices save you time on printing and packaging. They save you money on paper, envelopes, ink, and stamps. And they are far less likely to be lost by customers. With most online invoicing software you can track invoices, meaning you can see exactly when an invoice has been delivered and viewed by your customer. No more wondering if your invoice has gotten lost in the mail! Instead, you can cut out the middleman (or the mailman in this case) and get your invoices to your customers faster, which helps you get paid faster.

Luckily, there are plenty of affordable invoicing and accounting software programs out there that can make invoicing a breeze.

2. Offer Online Payments

One of the other great parts of using an invoicing or accounting software to send e-invoices is that you can allow users to pay their invoices directly online. The more convenient you can make the invoicing process for your customers, the better chances you have of receiving fast payment. According to TSYS’s 2017 Consumer Payment Study, 45% of people prefer to pay bills using a debit card, 24% prefer a credit card, and only 4% prefer cash.

Offering online payment options plays to consumers preferences and makes it quick and easy for them to pay you. This can make all the difference in receiving timely invoice payments.

3. Give Incentives

Another great way to encourage customers to pay their invoices quickly is to offer discounts or incentives for fast payments. Often invoices payments have “Net 30” terms, meaning the invoice is due 30 days from when it is sent. Maybe consider “10% 10, Net 30” terms instead. This invoice notation means that if a customer pays the invoice within 10 days, they receive a 10% discount.

While you may lose a bit of money by offering a discount, you gain cash faster. Obviously, these specific terms may not be ideal for every business, but if you’re hurting for cash flow or are tired of chasing payments, consider offering some sort of early payment incentive to your customers.

4. Stay on Top of Invoicing

You can’t get invoice payments if you haven’t sent out your invoices. Getting behind on invoicing can be detrimental to small businesses. Be sure to stay on top of your invoicing. As soon as you make a sale or service, send the invoice out right away. This is where invoicing software is again the way to go.

Invoicing software turns the daunting, time-consuming task of invoicing into a simple, painless process. Many invoicing programs, like Invoice2go, offer great mobile apps so you can send invoices, well, on the go. Others, like Zoho Invoice, allow you to auto-schedule invoices in advance to be sent at a later time, which can be a huge time-saver. The quicker you send out your invoices, the quicker you can get paid.

5. Send Follow-Ups

People are forgetful, and while you don’t want to be a nag, you do want your money. That’s why sending invoice follow-ups is so important. You can’t make the payment for your customer, but you can do everything in your power to encourage them to make that payment. Send a reminder a few days before the invoice is due, the day it’s due, and a few days after the deadline is missed.

If you are using invoicing software, you can auto-schedule invoice reminders to be sent after a certain amount of time has passed. Call or email your customers as well, if necessary. Send as many follow-ups as it takes to receive your hard-earned money.

End the waiting game and take charge of your invoicing. Try these five tricks to get your invoices paid faster today.