What Is Your Payment Structure?
The framework of your payment structure can help save you from a lot of trouble. How? It is what establishes the terms of how the payment will flow throughout the course of the service. It also specifies when the sum will be paid and what the mode of payment would be. What is your booking fee? Do you want the payment to be given in installments? How close to the wedding do you expect to receive the payment? What will be your course of action if the client hasn’t released the final payment? These minute but important details need to be clearly stated in the payment structure segment of your contract (that you have your client signed). Call it a safe bet, but oftentimes, it can work to exercise a policy that imposes some percent (40%, 50%, etc.) of the total amount as upfront payment. Some structures even exercise late payment penalties depending on the due date decided. So go over different payment structures, brainstorm on what you think might work best for your wedding photography business, and then implement the devised plan.
4 Tips To Avoid & Deal With Late Payments Situations
1. Provide An Overview Of Your Payment Structure
You might have already done it before during the contract signing, but it never hurts to simply remind your clients about the payment terms once again. Walk them through the payment process – the what, how, and when, all of it. Set expectations from the start about any penalties that you might have imposed. And highlight all of this information in each of the invoices that you send. This makes it easier for the client to have a clear understanding of the process. The goal is to keep your clients informed about the terms of the payments every step of the way.
Suggested Read: Pricing Your Photography: A Wedding Photographer’s Guide
2. Automate Reminders
Keeping track of multiple payment timelines can be tricky, and the last thing you want is for anything to get lost on the way or get delayed because you forgot to send a payment reminder. While your client is expected to stick with the agreed payment plan even without being reminded about it, a reminder always helps to see if you are on the same page. More often than not, a client might just get caught up in something and the due date might slip their mind. In such cases, a gentle reminder can help get things back on track. And to make this process seamless for you, you could even try automating the process. This way, you could send automated reminder emails when a payment due date is approaching or if it has passed its due date. There are multiple software that you can use to automate the process.
It’s best not to jump to conclusions when you can confirm and be sure. Therefore, the next thing on the list is to professionally communicate with the client if they are facing any issues delivering the payment. And put across your point clearly, but remember to be polite. After all, you are running a business, and you have all the reasons to explain your situation to your clients. Talk about how late payments affect your business’s cash flow. If possible, work on ways to find a middle ground and look for solutions to help them pay you on time. Maybe, you can ask them to pay you in installments or, if it suits you, you could even propose a revised payment date, with no late fee.
Suggested Read: Tips To Maintain Wedding Photography Client Relationships
4. Consult Your Attorney
You have sent out multiple follow-up emails, reminders, and even called a number of times, and still haven’t heard back from the client? In such circumstances, it is wise to consult your attorney to discuss the situation and the course of action that you wish to follow. Again, this might not be something you would look forward to, but it is better to be safe and sure than sorry. And consulting your attorney will give you a clear understanding of all the options available and which course of action to take in case of a crisis.
Don’t Be Hesitant To Ask
We understand that it is no fun to chase clients for overdue payments. It is a sticky ground that no business owner would want to be in, and more so if you are in the creative field. Some of you might even be very hesitant to initiate that conversation. But remember, it is your money, the amount that your client legally agreed to pay you by a specific due date. So don’t be hesitant; it is part of your job to send your clients timely invoices and follow-up emails and ask for the sum promised to you. At the end of the day, the money is rightfully yours for the services you provide as a wedding photographer.
Further Read: Standard Photography Contract Simplified
Here at ShootDotEdit, we look forward to helping you grow your wedding photography business. We also offer professional photo editing services to help lessen your post-production workload so you can focus on your business. To learn more about our services, take a look at our pricing plans.