Trying to run a business in 2020 has been a bit of a challenge so far, to say the least. As we continue to move in and out of periods of business restriction in New Zealand, unfortunately this disrupted way of doing business isn’t quite over yet.
More than ever before, we’ve had to communicate with our customers and clients, letting them know details about our business operations – whether that’s site capacity limitations, social distancing and hygiene measures, or if you’re in metropolitan Victoria or New Zealand – the ability to trade at all during periods of lockdown.
As restrictions continue to change, you are probably creating regular client communications. Depending on your local area, this might even be as frequent as weekly updates.
You’re already regularly communicating these critical bits of information to your customers, so are you also taking the opportunity to communicate the right things to your customers in order to get paid on time?
If not, it’s the perfect time to get your contracting comms in place to thrive beyond COVID-19 and get paid faster.
As some of us have had to completely halt our work for long periods of time already this year, cash flow has become more important than ever. Getting paid on time is critical for many trade businesses, so you can no longer ignore the need for clear client communications about your terms of payment. These are the bedrock to your business getting paid – and ensuring those payments come through on time, every time.
The issue is that most trade business owners will be so focused on COVID-related communications to customers, they have precious little time left to focus on other elements of their business. Since March, over here at Tradie Terms we have been helping trade business owners get clear on their contracting communications. Why? Because it’s no longer viable to keep relying on payment terms that are either buried in your quotes, tacked onto the back page of your invoices, or hidden somewhere deep in your website and expect clients to pay you on time.
It’s essential to identify the changes you need to make now in your trade business to survive and thrive beyond the current Covid-19 world we are living in.
So, how do you go about improving your client communications when it comes to payment terms? There are a couple of golden rules when it comes to best practice:
- Tell your clients early and often what your payment terms are. This includes explanations of how you’ll work, what their options are for sending payments, and when these payments fall due.
- Explain to your clients in words they understand. Forget the legal jargon! Complicated clauses will make no sense to you or your customers. If you want to avoid confusion about your terms of payment, get clear with customer-friendly wording.
- Make it easy for your clients to get additional information, should they need it. A treasure hunt is great if you’re a kid or on a team building day out, but a surefire way to create payment hassles is to make clients search high and low for answers to common questions. Using a set of clear emails, FAQs and well-laid out quotes will give your clients the info and tools to understand the job, the payment arrangements and anything else they need to organise to pay you on time. Importantly, it also provides them reference documentation should they need to look up any of this detail at a later date.
Remember, contracts are created with your customers the minute they accept your quote – but this is not where your communications should stop. If you fail to communicate, you’re setting your clients up to be confused – and confused clients rarely pay on time!
As the pandemic continues to wreak havoc with the way we live and work, it’s the perfect time to reinforce best practice when it comes to payment terms. Sorting your contract communications will maximise your cash flow and get rid of annoying follow-up paperwork – so you can get back to doing what you do best.
If you want to improve your client contracting communications to thrive in 2020 and beyond, you can work with Tradie Terms directly. They, like us over here at Rise Advisory, are registered under the Regional Business Partner advisory fund.
To register your interest in the Tradie Terms COVID-19 Contract Communications Course now click here or call Jerome today.