How Do You Collect a Past Due Invoice? 4 Tactics to Getting Paid (+ Templates) - Freelancer FAQs (2023)

Not getting paid for work performed is a big problem for freelancers.

Your clients don’t always pay you on time, or worse yet, they may never pay at all!

How Do You Collect a Past Due Invoice? 4 Tactics to Getting Paid (+ Templates) - Freelancer FAQs (1)

Not getting paid for work performed is a big problem for freelancers.

This can be frustrating because it’s hard to get new clients if your old ones aren’t paying.

Even worse, not getting paid can lead to financial problems for you in the future.

You can’t pay your bills and build your business if you are working for free.

There are a few different tools and tactics that freelancers can use to collect unpaid invoices and get paid faster.

Here are four ways that we recommend using today to collect past due invoices from your clients!

Always Send Your Invoices On Time

How Do You Collect a Past Due Invoice? 4 Tactics to Getting Paid (+ Templates) - Freelancer FAQs (2)

While when you send your invoices can vary from client to client, be sure to always send your request for payment on time.

Some clients might require you send your invoices right when your work is complete while others might require you to send invoices on certain days of the month or week.

One way to always be sure that you are able to send your invoices on time is to use invoicing software.

Track Your Invoices with a Invoicing Software

There are many different invoicing software available for freelancers on the market today.

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While many new freelancers invoice their clients using PayPal, there are many other options that offer a lot more flexibility and features.

Invoicing software allows you to keep your records organized and easily accessible for future reference. This way you can easily find information about customers who owe you money for invoices, including contact details, outstanding balances, and payment history.

Some of the most common and easy to use freelancer invoicing softwares include:

Most of these invoicing softwares can be used right on your computer or through an app on your smartphone.

Using these systems as apps is great because you can set up push notifications and reminders for yourself right in the app.

Create a System for Following Up with Clients When They Don’t Pay

No matter what type of freelancing you are doing, you need to have a system in place to follow up with your clients who don’t pay their invoices on time.

This could be a simple reminder that you put into your calendar or within your project management system or invoicing software.

With Freshbooks you are able to set up automatic reminders if clients don’t pay their invoices on time.

You should have it included in your contract, your process for past due invoices and the process you will take.

Send a Past Due Email Reminder

How Do You Collect a Past Due Invoice? 4 Tactics to Getting Paid (+ Templates) - Freelancer FAQs (3)

When you are originally onboarding your clients, be sure that you have all of their correct contact information, including email, phone number to call or text, and potentially a backup email or form of contact.

This will ensure that you have the right contact information when you are trying to invoice your clients.

Within your original contract with your client, you should include the parameters for payments. This should include when invoices are expected to be paid (ex: within 48 hours of receipt), when you will send reminders, when late fees are incurred and how much, when you will make phone calls to them about unpaid invoices, and even necessary legal actions for unpaid invoices.

If they don’t pay within the required time nor respond to you, then send them another email asking about their plans to pay and include proof of work along with your invoice.

Past Due Invoice Template

Email subject: Invoice [#] is [this long] overdue


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Hi [client],

Our records indicate that we haven’t yet received payment of [$amount] for Invoice [#], which is overdue by [this long]. I would greatly appreciate it if you could check this out on your end.

Please disregard this notice if the payment has already been sent. If this invoice has been lost, please let me know, and we’ll gladly send you another copy.



Followup Email Template

If the first email regarding the late payment didn’t work and you are still waiting on your payment, then try a followup email a week or so later.

Email subject: Invoice [#] is [this long] overdue


Hi [client],

I have written you several times regarding the pending amount of [$] for invoice [#]. As another reminder, this payment is now [this long] overdue.

If you have any queries regarding this payment, please let me know. I’ve also attached a copy of the invoice to this email, in case the original was lost or deleted.

Could you reply to this message and let me know you’ve received it and when you are planning on making the payment? Thank you.



Follow Up With the Customer by Phone or In-Person

How Do You Collect a Past Due Invoice? 4 Tactics to Getting Paid (+ Templates) - Freelancer FAQs (4)If you aren’t having any luck with emailing them, then try and reach out to them via phone or visit their company in person, if possible.

Yes, calling a customer to ask them to pay you can be scary, but it can also be necessary.

(Video) How to Invoice Clients & Avoid Late Payments | FREE Invoice Template

They might need a phone call rather than an email reminder as they might not look at their emails often or your communications might be getting lost in their email.

If necessary, leave them a message asking them politely to call you back about their overdue invoice.

If you are able to get ahold of your client, politely ask them if they receive the invoice. If they have, ask them when they are planning on paying the invoice.

Here is a quick template when talking to your client over the phone:

Hi [client],

How are you today?

I just wanted to give you a quick call about the invoice for the [services] that I completed on [date].

I know that you’re busy and I respect your time. I would greatly appreciate it if you could just give me an idea on when you are planning on submitting that payment.

Thank you so much for your time and I appreciate your business.

Have a great day.

Payment Receipt Template

Once you have received the payment, you should send the client a payment receipt for their records and yours. This might also help with any future issues of late payments.

This can be a simple, branded page with a table that includes the services offered and amount charged for those services.

You can find free payment receipt templates on or many of the invoicing softwares, such as Freshbooks, allow you to create a payment receipt once the client has paid the overdue invoice.

Hire a Collection Agency

How Do You Collect a Past Due Invoice? 4 Tactics to Getting Paid (+ Templates) - Freelancer FAQs (5)

As a freelancer, you need to focus on your work, not spend all of your time chasing your clients around begging them to pay you.

If you have reached out to your client several times without any luck at getting your payment, then it might be time to hire a collection agency.

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Before you reach out to a collection agency to get overdue invoices taken care of, you should make your client aware that you are going to be using a collection agency to collect the payment with one last email reminder.

Oftentimes, the threat of being taken to collections is enough to make them cough up your money. They don’t want to get their business credit dinged, so it’s better for them (and for you) to just pay up and avoid lawyers and collections all together.

Hiring a collection agency is best if you have exhausted all other methods.

Collections can be invasive with the collection agency contacting the debtor via phone and or sending formal demand letters.

Just be aware that working with a collection agency, they will take a cut of your payment, they got to get paid too!

Collection Letter Template

Dear [Client name],

[This long] has now passed since my last invoice was sent, therefore payment for the work I performed is now ____ days past due.

I’d like to revisit our previously agreed-upon terms to ensure proper payment for the completed services.

I have attached copies of our contract, and emails referring to these terms, for your review. The agreed upon terms are as follows:

  • [The services both parties agreed to perform]
  • [The due dates of the deliverables]
  • [The payment schedule, if applicable]
  • [Pay [$____ for every month payment is past due.

The total amount now due is $____.]

As per these terms, I…

  • [The completed these deliverables and delivery due date]

On [date here] you acknowledged receipt of these deliverables by…

  • [what your client did to acknowledge receipt of deliverables]

Should I not receive the payment within ____ days, I will have to take the following steps…

  • [Deny access to the deliverable, (if possible)]
  • [File a claim in small claims court]
  • [File a report with the Better Business Bureau]

Please let me know immediately if payment was recently made.

I have CC’d my attorney on this communication and have included their contact information if you have any further questions.

Thank you for your prompt reply,

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We hope these four tactics will help you collect your past due invoices from clients and make sure you get paid on time.


How do you handle past due accounts? ›

If you have an account that's currently past due, there are a few options for dealing with it.
  1. Pay the Entire Past-Due Balance. DNY59 / Getty Images. ...
  2. Catch Up. ...
  3. Negotiate a Pay for Delete. ...
  4. Consolidate the Account. ...
  5. Settle the Account. ...
  6. File for Bankruptcy. ...
  7. Seek Consumer Credit Counseling.

How do you politely ask for an invoice payment? ›

Dear {first name} and team, Please find a copy of your invoice {Invoice number} due {due date} attached for the amount of {amount due}. Please remit payment at your earliest convenience prior to the due date.

How do I ask for payment as a freelancer? ›

How to get your clients to pay you upfront
  1. Establish & maintain a professional presence.
  2. Charge a Set Fee Per Project.
  3. Work out a Payment System.
  4. Make them an offer they can't refuse.
  5. It starts with asking.
Jun 29, 2018

How do you politely chase an invoice? ›

I just wanted to drop you a quick note to remind you that [amount owed on invoice] in respect of our invoice [invoice reference number] is due for payment on [date due]. I would be really grateful if you could confirm that everything is on track for payment.

How do you get customers to pay on time? ›

Here are some of the most effective:
  1. Prepare a written payment agreement. ...
  2. Have stricter payment terms. ...
  3. Follow a regular payment schedule - that works for your customers. ...
  4. Ask for an upfront payment or deposit. ...
  5. Provide different payment methods. ...
  6. Accept direct debit payments. ...
  7. Send payment reminders regularly.

How do you convince a customer to pay its debt? ›

Get Your Free Templates
  1. Be Flexible With Payment Type. ...
  2. Provide a Discount for Early Payment. ...
  3. Put Penalties in Your Contract. ...
  4. Don't Waiver on Payment Terms. ...
  5. Make Polite Contact. ...
  6. Keep a Good Rapport With Clients. ...
  7. Outsource to a Debt Collector Quickly.
Mar 8, 2018

How do you ask a client for payment without being rude? ›

Tips for how to ask for payment without being rude
  1. Confirm the invoice was delivered.
  2. Send a payment request.
  3. Make follow-ups on the payment.
  4. Conduct thorough research on the client.
  5. Create a legal contract.
  6. Offer flexible payment options.
  7. Consider asking for a deposit.
  8. Introduce late penalties.
Sep 15, 2021

How do I chase a long overdue payment? ›

Hi {Client Name}, As per our records, we have not received the payment of {Amount} for {Invoice Reference Number}, which is overdue by 30 days. We would appreciate it if you could make a payment on an urgent basis to avoid late payment charges. If you have already sent a payment, please disregard this email notice.

How do you collect invoices? ›

Tips for Collecting Outstanding and Unpaid Invoices
  1. Set Clear Terms. Are you sure your client even knows when their bill is due? ...
  2. Send a Friendly Reminder. ...
  3. Institute a Late Payment Fee. ...
  4. Send an Overdue Invoice for Unpaid Invoices. ...
  5. Send a Statement of Account. ...
  6. Make a Phone Call. ...
  7. Allow Partial Payment. ...
  8. Allow Credit Card Payment.
Mar 6, 2020

How do I request payment for unpaid invoices? ›

A polite email reminder is the first step of how to ask for payment professionally. The first step is a call or reminder sent via email or snail mail reminding them of the past due status of invoices. That gives your customers the chance to explain their situation for the overdue invoice.

How do you get delinquent accounts? ›

Follow these 3 steps.
  1. 1) Follow up promptly and persistently. How are your customers supposed to remember their payment is late if you don't remind them? ...
  2. 2) Use effective language. Words are powerful. ...
  3. 3) Make it easy to pay. You want these delinquent accounts paid as soon as possible, so stay out of your own way.
Mar 7, 2022

What should a past due invoice say? ›

Hi [Customer's Name], This email is to remind you that your invoice is now 30 days past due and I am seeking your immediate attention. Our records show that we have not yet received payment for invoice #XXXXX in the amount of [invoice amount], which was due on [due date].


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