Last Updated on August 31, 2023
Running your own business presents a lot of upside. It provides flexibility and full control to make every important business decision.
However, that’s not to say owning your own business or working as a contractor is all roses. Whereas being an employee makes your paycheck a sure thing, business owners get paid when their clients pay, which can be inconvenient due to long payment terms, past due invoices, and forgetful clients.
Unfortunately, drafting a past due invoice email can be awkward. Nobody likes to be in the position where you’re owed money and you have to figure out how to politely ask for payment.
Below are some polite past due invoice reminder email templates for business owners struggling with past due payments – whether the customers are just a few days late, two weeks late, or 30 days late.
The Challenge of the Late Payment (And Late Payment Reminder)
When it comes to getting paid through individual contracts, it’s up to you as the contractor to follow up on your payments and ensure everything is coming in on time, unless you’ve hired someone as your bookkeeper or CFO.
Some clients might have the best intentions of paying on time, but they are unable to do so for legitimate reasons, such as cash flow problems. Then, there are the few rotten eggs that hope to get great work without paying you for it. Sometimes they even make the payment process so long and drawn out that the contractor will give up, and they’ll still end up getting services and products for free.
If you’re having trouble with a client paying on time repeatedly, it’s a red flag and a sign you should consider letting them go. Regardless of how good the work is, if you’re not getting paid for it, it’s wasted hours and energy that you could spend on something that will actually lead to money in your pocket. .
A good strategy to employ is a “three strikes, and you’re out” policy. However, even that can be a bit too lenient for clients who only aim to take advantage. It’s hard to know what to do when you’re just starting, but after you deal with a few troublesome clients, you’ll be able to tell right away when something’s not working out.
Polite Payment Due Date Email
If a due date is approaching and you want to get ahead of any problem in the first place, you may want to ping your client with a polite email reminder that the due date is quickly coming. Prior to sending, consider using an invoice due date calculator to ensure you have the correct due date and are not mistakenly reaching out to your client about a late payment.
Remember to include the invoice number and your business name on the subject line of the email. This will help prevent your customer from overlooking your email and give them less of an excuse to fail to meet payment terms.
It might look something like this:
Polite Email for an Invoice a Few Days Overdue
If the due date has come and gone and there’s still no payment to be accounted for, it’s time to send them another reminder while staying polite, professional, and objective.
You could send this email as a follow-up on the previous email thread to help them connect the dots, or you may choose to send it separately with a different subject line to help differentiate the email in their inbox.
If you’re struggling to find the words to send, let this quick email template be a guide for how to politely remind your customer that their invoice is a few days overdue.
Straightforward and Professional Email for an Invoice Two Weeks Overdue
Once an invoice is two weeks late, there’s a good chance they have seen both of your previous emails and have chosen to ignore them or have not prioritized them as they should.
It’s time to take a more stern approach while staying professional and grounded. However, the client needs to know that you are serious about collecting your payment and what consequences (both financial and legal) will occur if you don’t receive the compensation promptly.
Use this two weeks past due invoice email template:
Straightforward and Professional Email for an Invoice 30 Days Overdue
When an invoice is a month late, it’s time to add some consequences to their late payment to encourage an on time payment next time (if there is a next time).
Use this template as a base to follow up on a very overdue invoice and add details where needed:
It’s never fun when a customer doesn’t pay according to your payment terms, and you’re sent chasing after them and your money. Remember the following when sending your customer a past due invoice email or using one of our email templates:
- Include the invoice number in the subject line
- Include your business name in the subject line
- Offer and include the link to a simple payment method in the body
- Remain polite and professional yet straightforward
- Let them know that if they have any questions or problems that they should promptly reach out
Email Writing and Payment Request FAQs
What is another way of saying ‘bring it to your attention’ politely?
You have a few options when deciding how to word “bring it to your attention” in a payment request or past due invoice email:
- ‘Bring to your notice’
- ‘It’s important to mention’
- ‘Bring to your consideration’
- ‘I’d like to highlight’
How do you send a gentle payment reminder?
When initially reminding a customer about a past due payment, be sure to start your email by greeting your client to create a friendly tone. Throughout the email, remain polite and professional, and include a call to action (preferably with a link to where they can pay) to make it clear as to why you are contacting them. You can end your email with a classic sign off, such as ‘sincerely’ or ‘best’ to maintain the professional tone.
If the payment is only a few days past due, then you can avoid being stern with your client; however, once the payment because more than a month overdue, you may want to consider being a bit more direct when sending your follow up email.