Effective email template to get your invoices paid

Common email mistakes include unfriendly tone, appearance of automation / lack of humanity, an aggressive or judgemental approach to overdue invoices, and even chasing the wrong person entirely

I have used this template for some time now, which has been very effective at getting my invoices paid. 

It is the… 

Before the invoice is due nudger

This may be the most important message you ever send, and very few people actually send it, but it’s a great way to ensure your client doesn’t forget to pay. A friendly nudge can go a long way. 

This not only ensures your invoice is fresh in their mind and harder to “forget” to pay, it also helps with your rapport building.

This is the template we use:

Note that anything inside the italicised [square brackets] is a placeholder that you should replace with the appropriate information for your specific case.

[Your business’ name]: invoice [invoice reference number]

Hi [Recipient’s first name]

I hope you are well.

I just wanted to drop you a quick note to remind you that [amount owed on invoice] in respect of our invoice [invoice reference number] is due for payment on [date due].

I would be really grateful if you could confirm that everything is on track for payment.

Best regards

[Sender’s first name]

A clear and concise subject line works wonders. With most inboxes limiting the subject line to just a few words, it’s imperative that you say as much as you can with as little text as possible. 

In the body of the email, an opening line of well wishes is a nice way for both you and your recipient to check yourselves and remember that you’re both fellow humans just trying to do their jobs. As a bonus, it’ll help lower any defensive guard they might have in place and help you towards achieving a mutually agreeable outcome.

The rest of the email is clear and concise, much like the subject line. Framing the inquiry as casual (here, “just wanted to drop you a quick note”) goes a long way to dial down the formality and diffuse any potential to be interpreted as harassing them about payment. Remember to include:

  1. The amount owed
  2. The invoice reference number
  3. The due date

Finally, just as the email was topped with well wishes, it’s equally nice to tail it with a polite inquiry about the progress of the invoice’s processing (here, “I would be really grateful”). Articulating your inquiry as such works wonders in building a friendly rapport with your customer and helping future invoices get paid quickly and easily.

Before you send this, don’t forget to attach a copy of the invoice. If they already have it readily on hand, no harm done, but it prevents getting held up by claims of “oh, I never received that invoice…”, should they arise.