Sellers may offer services or products to clients with the agreement that payment will be made at intervals on specific dates. Even though some clients might be careful to abide by these agreements, others might forget, which could result in an overdue payment. Such instances require the seller to take action to retrieve the payment. The action taken often includes writing a payment reminder email.
A seller’s email to a customer reminding them to make a payment is known as an overdue invoice. The email informs the client that a due payment has yet to be made. The seller may also send the payment reminder in a letter or make a phone call to the client. Most independent contractors or freelancers prefer emails, as they are quicker. The overdue invoice letter is also referred to as the following:
- Outstanding payment letter
- Debt recovery letter
- Payment reminder email
Pro tip: It is not uncommon for clients to forget about an invoice or find themselves overwhelmed by the backlog, which can slow down the rate of pending payments to sellers. With this in mind, the first step sellers must take upon realizing an overdue payment is to communicate with the client by making a friendly phone call, writing a letter, or sending an email.
What to Include?
The seller should clearly understand what to include in a payment reminder email. Knowing the information contained in the email will help the seller write it appropriately. It will also ensure that adequate information is conveyed to the client. The payment reminder email should contain the following information:
Your company name and address
The payment reminder email should outline the seller’s company name and address. If a seller writes an email, then these details should be indicated at the bottom of the payment reminder email; however, if a letter is written, then the seller’s details should be mentioned at the top of the page.
Recipient’s name and address
The recipient’s details must then be indicated. The details include the name and address of the recipient. They should be included at the top of the payment reminder email.
The full date of writing should also be provided. It should contain the day, month, and year.
Account reference number
The account reference number should also be indicated in the payment reminder email. It tells the client which accounts the email is highlighting.
Your reason for contacting them
The seller should clearly outline why the client is being contacted. However, an offensive or rude statement as the subject of the letter can make customers defensive or embarrassed about overdue payments, so the subject line should be polite and courteous.
Invoice and payment details
The payment reminder email should contain specific details about the invoice and the payment. Clients can use these details to check their records and confirm that payment is overdue. The details should include the following information:
- Invoice number: The invoice number is the unique sequential code assigned to the client’s invoice. It, therefore, helps both the client and seller when referring to payments.
- Amount owed: The seller should indicate the specific amount owed in the payment reminder email. In addition, the amount already paid and the outstanding amount may also be shown. These details provide the client with a complete picture of payment transitions with the seller.
- Original payment due date: The original payment due date that the client and seller had agreed on should be fully indicated in the payment reminder email. The seller can also provide additional information by indicating when the initial payment was made. The original payment due date helps remind the client when the payment should have been made and clearly shows that the payment is overdue.
- A brief explanation that no payment has been received: The seller should briefly explain that no payment has been received. If the payment was meant to be made by a particular department of the client’s business, then the department’s name should be included in the explanation. The seller should maintain a friendly tone while indicating these details.
- Reminders of previous letters: The payment reminder email should also remind the client of previous letters that the seller had sent to them. The seller should indicate the date on which the letter was sent.
- Instructions for payment: The seller should indicate instructions for payments that are pending. The instructions can be included as a link in the email. The link helps keep the email brief.
- Payment options: The client’s available payment options should be mentioned. By providing a comprehensive list of available options, clients can choose how to make the outstanding payment.
Specify late penalties
Specific late payment penalties, as well as outstanding amounts, should be specified in the payment reminder email. The late penalties may be a practical percentage of the amount or a set amount. In addition, the seller should indicate that these late penalties are under the terms of the agreement made with the client and any current government legislation.
Offer a payment plan
The seller can offer the client a payment plan if previous attempts to demand payment have been unsuccessful. The payment reminder email should clearly express a willingness to work on the payment plan together with the client. The payment plan may encourage the client to pay the outstanding amount.
If payment is not made, the seller may warn that the debt will likely be turned over to a collection agency or lawyer. The statement indicating that an attorney or collection agency will contact the client if no effort is made will help show the last warning before the account is handed over. In addition, indicating a willingness to turn over the payment can motivate the client to respond to the overdue invoice letter or email or make the payment.
Offer to resend the invoice
The seller should also offer to resend the invoice in case the client misplaced the original copy. The seller may attach the invoice to the payment reminder email. The attachment will save the client’s time and effort. The attached invoice should be sent in the form of a PDF to ease the client’s ability to view it.
Add your availability to answer questions
The email’s final section should end with an offer to discuss the invoice or answer any questions the client may have. The statement should express a willingness to speak about any issues. The seller should also indicate that a follow-up phone call will be made later.
When to Send an Overdue invoice Letter?
If products or services have been provided, an invoice has been issued, and yet no payment has been made by the client even after the agreed period, then an overdue invoice letter should be sent. It can also be sent if the seller’s approach of calling or sending an email to the client does not work. The overdue invoice letter helps formalize the demand. The seller should have a copy of all formal correspondence with the client, along with an up-to-date address of the client’s residence or office.
Payment Reminder Email Template
[City, State, Zip code]
Subject Line: Follow up on [Account reference number]
Dear [recipient’s name],
I am writing regarding [indicate a reason for contacting the recipient], which was due on [provide the original due date]. The original invoice was sent on [date when the invoice was sent initially]. Therefore, the total amount is [ the dollar amount that is due].
The original invoice has been attached to the email again for reference. You can contact me if you have any questions regarding the invoice. An interest of [percentage amount] will be charged a month after the due date. Thank you for your time and your business.
[city. State, Zip code]
Overdue Invoice Letter Samples
1-15 days past due
March 9, 2020
45 High Street
New York, NY 12367
Subject Line: Follow up on 00000F454541
Dear Mr. Lee,
I am writing regarding an overdue payment that was to be made by March 7. The original invoice was sent on February 28. The total amount due is $6000.
Attached to this email is the original invoice for your reference. For any queries regarding this invoice, please feel free to get in touch with me promptly. An interest rate of 10% will be charged every month after the due date. Thank you for your time.
567 Main Street
New York, NY 53678
30-60 days past due
Dear Mr. Green,
This is to inform you that your account is 30 days past due and that you owe $ 15,000 as a result. In addition, a $6000 fee has been added to your invoice. This fee is per the contract you signed with us, which states that the amount will be charged each month if payment is not made.
Please submit the payment as soon as possible. You may also contact us if you’d like to create a payment plan with us that will allow you to pay off your outstanding debt. You can find the payment options and details on www.blueskys.com.
San Francisco, CA,42626
90+ days past due
Dear Ms. White,
This letter informs you that your payment for services rendered is overdue. This payment was supposed to be made on March 25, 2020, but it is now 90 days past due. Due to the situation, an interest rate of 12% on the outstanding amount, which is $9000, has been imposed.
If you fail to make the payment or contact us, the account will be turned over to a collection agency. The invoice has been attached to the letter again for reference. You can find our payment options and details on our website.
New York, NY 25267
While writing the payment reminder email, the seller aims to both express the need for the payment to be made and maintain the relationship with the client. Various tips can help the seller attain both of these objectives, as discussed below:
Follow up at the right time
If a client is known to make late payments, the payment reminder email should be sent immediately after the due date. However, if the client usually makes timely payments or is new, the email should be sent after one or two weeks. Then, the seller should follow up again 30, 60, or 90 days after the due date.
Adapt the language
The language used should be adapted both to the situation and to when the payment remainder is written. For example, a payment reminder email sent one to fifteen days after the due date should be polite and friendly to serve as a gentle reminder while maintaining a relationship with the client.
A letter or email written thirty to sixty days after the due date should be firm and professional to convey the situation’s urgency. A payment reminder email sent after ninety days should inform the client that the debt runs the risk of being turned over to a collection agency as, at this point, payment is less likely to be received.
The payment reminder email should convey a polite tone, as it may factor into whether or not the seller gets paid. Phrases that show humility and appreciation towards the client have proven to increase the seller’s chances of getting paid and improve the business’s image. These phrases include ‘please’ and ‘thank you.’
Remind your client of your late payment policies
If the payment is more than a week overdue, the email should make note of the late payment policies in the contract between the seller and the client. In addition, interest rates can motivate clients to make timely payments.
Provide online payment options
The seller should incorporate online payment options in the payment reminder email. These options are faster and easier to use for clients. They help reduce delayed payments
Make it easy for your client
The client should be able to easily access the fundamental details about the past-due payment using the information provided in the payment reminder emails. Clearly outlining details such as the original due date and the amount owed increases the seller’s chances of getting paid.
Effective Practices to Prevent Late Payments
The seller should consider a few practices to avoid late payments. By following these procedures, the seller will avoid wasting time and resources requesting payment. They will also help facilitate good business practices by the seller. The following should be practiced to prevent late payments:
Check your customers’ credit history
The seller can determine whether the buyer will make payments on time by conducting a credit check. It also helps reveal if the client is running a reputable business or company.
Implement clear payment terms
Implementing clear payment terms helps the client understand when payment is due. It also ensures that the client and the seller understand their rights and obligations from the beginning of the work.
Include late payment penalties
The seller can deter overdue payments by outlining late payment penalties in the agreement with the client. Penalties for late payments could include interest or fees.
Frequently Asked Questions
An unpaid invoice can be pursued for up to six years, according to the Limitation Act of 1980. However, this can only be made possible if a contract has been established between the creditor and the debtor. If a contract is not established, collecting the debt may not be possible. To prevent the debtor from disputing or denying the debt, the creditor should also have all necessary documentation on hand.
If the account is 90 days overdue, then the collection agency may be involved, as payment at this point is unlikely to be made. However, the seller should also check the terms of the contract and state laws to determine when to involve a collection agency.