Invoice chase wording

I’m a private tutor and have 8-10 students who I see (approximately) once every week. I send invoices on the 1st of every month.

I’d like your opinion on how long to leave it before chasing a payment, and what wording you think is appropriate.

At the moment all my invoices contain the line “Please make payment by bank transfer to the following account within 14 days” obviously followed by my bank details.

Day 15 a friendly reminder - things happen.
Day 22 a formal reminder.

As for wording, I can’t help as I don’t know your personality or how friendly you are with the clients?

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I agree with @lpoolrob.

Whenever this happens to me just an informal email (might be a text in your case) just to say something along the lines that it’s past due and to get in touch if there are any issues.

They generally come back with an apology and some excuse that revolves around forgetting and then pay it straight away.


Thanks both of you. I have a very relaxed relationship and communication style with my clients, which I think makes it more difficult for me to discuss finances with them. I have several clients who habitually pay in the latter half of the month (maybe it’s forgetfulness, maybe it’s their payday cycle? They do not seem the sort to be living payday to payday :woman_shrugging:t2:).

I’d like to draw their attention to the line that mentions 14 days, as I presume I am a saved payee and can well believe that they just glance at the bold total and don’t read the rest of the invoice. I’m not sure how to do it without sounding passive aggressive though…

You could also consider asking them to setup a standing order if the amount is always the same? Offer a small reduction if they do it, or a slight increase if they don’t. Lots of options to consider.

My invoices include the following (nicked from a supplier invoice) : Our standard terms are 14 days. Xxx Ltd may exercise our statutory right to claim interest and compensation for debt recovery costs under the United Kingdom’s Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998 if payment is not received according to agreed credit terms stated on the invoice.

Unfortunately the amount always varies.

I wouldnt draw their attention to your contacts payment terms as you’re going formal then. Save that for the next level should they ignore this message.

It’s great that you have a relaxed relationship too. It makes it even easier. I’d just say something like…

Hi Sam. Payment for February is now past due, could you look at settling this soon for me please. I hope everything is OK, please give me a call if you’d like to discuss anything.

At the end of the day you need to be quite blunt as they’re in the wrong and this is how you make a living. What you don’t want to do is be too heavy handed and formal at this stage. Keep everything in writing too.

They might have a standing order. You’re jumping to conclusions without letting them tell you why they’ve missed payment. It has just been the longest January ever so they might just be struggling. After you’ve found the reason you can then chat to them about options to prevent it happening again. :slight_smile:


That Act only applies between businesses. It wouldn’t apply in OPs case


Good point. The clue there was in the words “private tutor”. Doh…

Two things I would do:

  1. Change the wording on your invoices, as 14 day payment sounds like an optional request the way you’ve worded it (and 30 day payment invoices are not uncommon). I use
    Payment Terms: Please pay in full within 14 days
    Not too formal or legalistic, but clear it’s more than just a “if you can that would be great”

  2. Depending on how you send the invoices (email or text?), I would include a message with the next invoice you send, along the lines of:
    Just a friendly reminder that payment is due within 14 days of the invoice. On time payments really help me keep my tutoring running smoothly, thanks!
    Or however you want to word it. But I would (conversationally) mention the issue in the email/text you send with the invoice, as you’re right, most people just look at the amount on the invoice and aren’t going to read through everything.


Is it worth offsetting the date a little, at least in January? I can’t imagine that people will be paying much attention to bills then (be it because they’re hungover, having a nice day with the family, etc). Which means they’re probably paying attention to it from when they first actually notice it a couple of days later.

If you have any habitual late payers, it might be worth having a quick chat with them after a session rather than sending an email, you may find that might help them understand more because they can actually see/hear your tone instead of inferring it from an email, and you might find that in some cases there are genuine reasons that you may both benefit from extending their terms or invoicing them on a different cycle.

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Thanks! That’s great advice - I appreciate it! :blush:


Unfortunately not. My invoice is for all the work from the previous month, so for example they could have a lesson on the 31st that I would bill for the following day, or a lesson on the 1st and 31st of March that would be billed together on the 1st April.

It won’t matter how firm the wording on the invoice is if it’s not chased up effectively.

The few that never pay on time, go through previous months and work out what part of the month they pay and chase it up then as it’s likely when they get paid.