Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Reader Questions Asking Client for Money

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have been going through my papers trying to get organized before the fall, and I noticed that one of my clients never paid me for a job I did last year. It has been several months, and I only just now realized it. With quarantine and all, I didn’t notice that this invoice had gone unpaid. Is it too late to remind him of the money I am owed? I know that this has been a difficult time for businesses, but it has been hard on me, too. I did submit the invoice back in February, but I forgot to follow up. What do you think? -- Overdue Invoice

DEAR OVERDUE INVOICE: By all means, contact this client and point out that you just realized that you never received payment on the outstanding invoice. Forward a copy of the original invoice and request payment. Be kind in your note. If you know the client personally, you may also want to pick up the phone and call. Check to see how he is doing. There is a chance that you may have to wait a little longer if this business is currently suffering. Your check-in should help you figure out what is realistic to expect.

Know that even if you need your money urgently, if the company is experiencing dire straits, you may not be able to collect it on the spot. Alternatively, some businesses did well during the quarantine period. You won’t know until you make contact. Pay attention. Listen carefully and proceed with as clear an understanding as you can to ascertain how soon they will be able to pay you.

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