How to get paid quickly and in advance

When it comes to money you want it in your account as quickly as possible and in advance of doing any work.  But how do you make that happen?  Here are some tips from my Speaker Bureau days that are all super easy to apply:
Your payment terms should be clearly stated in your speaker contract.  Here’s the clause we used in our bureau contracts that you can adapt.  Note we always passed on bank charges so that we received the correct amount.  This is normal practice.
Payment Clause:
Unless otherwise agreed, payment terms are as follows: 50% of the agreed fee is required as deposit. This is payable within fourteen days of the signing of the Firm Offer Letter. The deposit is non-refundable. The balance is payable thirty days before the date of the event on this agreement. If the balance is not paid on or before this date, the speaker is entitled to cancel the event. If the event date is within thirty days at the time of booking, the full fee is owing and payable within 14 days. If the event date is between thirty and sixty days at the time of booking, the full fee is owing and payable within 21 days. Under these circumstances, the agreed fee is still payable in full. A fee of GBP 40, EUR 40 or USD 50 will be charged for all international/foreign currency transactions.
Send your invoice in plenty of time.  If you are invoicing in 2 parts; deposit and balance, send both invoices out immediately on booking with different due dates on so that both can be uploaded to the client’s system for a punctual payment.  Send a reminder a few weeks before the balance invoice is due, with the invoice reattached.
On the invoice ensure that your bank details are clear and in large font.  For the UK many banks need the correct bank account name as well, so if your bank account name is different to your trading name ensure you state it.  Make it as easy as possible for people to pay you.  If I had a pound for every time I’ve struggled to read bank details I’d be very rich indeed.
For international payments make sure you have everything needed, include SWIFT, IBAN, Routing (for US) etc.
Payment options
Help your clients to pay you quickly by having different currency accounts.  If your client is in the US but you are UK based it may be easier for them to pay you in USD, often it will be faster too.  I recommend that you have USD, EUR, and GBP accounts if you are speaking internationally as a minimum.  We use, easy to set up, no monthly fees, speedy incoming payments, and excellent exchange rates.  I should be on commission.
Have you found yourself dealing with a client who has long processes to add you as a supplier or a 180 day payment schedule?  When that happens there is a work around to get paid quickly.  Most company directors and heads of department have company credit cards.  Many of those that do have very generous spending limits that would more than cover your fee, if they don’t they can increase their limit for you temporarily.  Oddly credit card payments don’t go through the usual internal systems and you can get paid by card.  We offered this option on our invoices with a simple link.  We used Stripe and set Stripe up so that it would add on the processing fee.  As I said earlier we always got paid the correct amount 😊
Incentivise early payment
You can also incentivise clients to pay you early by offering a discount.  As you know I don’t like discounts so our incentivisation was to say that if you pay on time you pay what we’ve invoiced, but if you pay late we’ll charge you interest. 
Most important of all
The final tip is not so much a tip but more a way of working, you need to manage the process.  You, or a member of your team, need to be regularly checking that payments have been received on time and taking action where they are late.  In the bureau we had a weekly virtual meeting and as part of that weekly agenda was payments, so we knew where we were and what we needed to do.  In the words of Mark Homer “every pounds a prisoner” lock them up in your account quickly and do your best to keep them there 😉         
I hope you’ve found this helpful, more lessons from my Speaker Bureau days coming soon.

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