If you want to convert receivables into paid-in-full deposits, be sure to explain your fees and billing procedures to new clients up front.
The sooner they know and understand the cost of your services, the more likely they’ll pay for them.
Another tip: put your fee agreements in writing. This will confirm the financial terms of your representation and reduce the chance of a misunderstanding over money, which is at the root of many Bar grievances and malpractice claims. A writing also clarifies exactly what you’re agreeing to do for the client.
And while you’re at it, follow Rule Number One of attorney billing: get paid up front if possible.
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3 Tips for Getting Paid
The following are takeaways from the article, “How to Improve Your Chances of Getting Paid,” from the US Chamber of Commerce:
Tip #1: Set clear invoice payment terms. “Include how quickly you expect to receive payment, any interest charges for late payment, and the payment methods you will accept. Invoice payment terms should match what you agreed to in your contract.
What payment terms should you use? Companies were paid faster when they asked for payment within seven days and charged interest on unpaid invoices.
Tip #2: Accept multiple forms of payment. “Make it easy for your clients to settle their invoices by accepting multiple forms of payment, such as cash, checks, credit and debit cards, gift cards, Apple and Google Pay, and more. Payment flexibility removes any friction a client may face in completing the transaction. Likewise, consider making it possible to accept payments over the phone, via web browser, or through your mobile device. Send digital invoices to bill your clients for recently completed services.”
Tip #3: Set up deposits and retainers. “If you’re going to be working with a customer over a longer period, you may want to set up a retainer or deposit in advance. Freelancers and contractors too can also set up regular billing to improve their chances of getting paid over a certain period. Or ask for an initial deposit to make sure the client is serious about the contract and to prove they can pay for the work.”
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