Posts Tagged ‘chase emails’
A few months ago I talked about the different emails I use for chasing late payers. Judging by the interest this post received, it seems that late payers are becoming more and more of a problem for freelancers and small business owners.
As regular readers will know, I am an advocate of using cloud based accounting software – and my choice for this type of service is FreeAgent.
As I received so much interest in the late payment email templates, and a few questions on how I set up automatic chasing of late payers, I thought I would today share how I set up Freeagent to do the escalation for me.
I am sure that many, if not all, of the other accounts systems out there have similar late payment escalation systems in place – so this will be just as relevant.
Setting up Late Payment Chase Escalation in FreeAgent
One of the things I love about freeagent is that in many aspects of the accounting process, you can set something up and forget about it. This is equally true for chasing late payers as it is for setting up standing orders or salary payments. In terms of setting up late payment chase emails, it’s just a matter of setting up the email templates, and letting FreeAgent get on with it.
Within the Freeagent system, under the main settings menu (at the top of the screen), there is an option of Invoices and Estimates, and under this, an option for Invoice Emails. This option allows the definition of all kinds of email templates – initial invoice cover email, thank you (for payment) email, and of course late payment chasing emails.
When I initially started using FreeAgent, I just set up a single email reminder template which sent a chase email 3 days after the invoice was due, and then sent the same email every 3 days until payment was made. This worked for a while, but if you got the same email over and over, would it persuade you to make payment? So I made it more sophisticated and gained better results.
Using the template emails defined in my late payers rules, I set up 9 different late payment rules – 2 emails for each stage (in case the first one was missed). For each stage of the chase process, I created a new chase email, and set the Reminder Rules for the days after payment is due to send the email. I have found that sending an email every 3 or 4 days seems to work best.
For each stage, the subject of the email changes to reflect what is about to happen – a warning, about to raise charges, on stop, debt recovery etc. The text of the email also changes as per my late payers email templates already discussed.
Note quite automatic
Now whilst this does all the late payment chasing for me, its note quite fully automatic. I do have to raise late payment invoices (with charges and interest) now and again – and even if FreeAgent was able to do this, I would still prefer to do this by hand (using the FreeAgent invoice creation screen) just to remain in control.
To allow me to keep track of what I need to do next (raise a late payment charge, put them on stop or pass them to a debt recovery company), the 2nd email of each stage in the sequence is marked to be copied back to me. That way, when the email arrives in my in tray, it acts as a trigger and reminder for my next action.
My sequence and dates of my chase emails in FreeAgent are then as follows: