4 overdue invoice email templates that will help you get paid faster

You know it. We know it. Everyone knows it - apart from certain customers. Late payments are the worst. They mess with your careful cashflow planning and add extra admin onto your already stacked plate.

On a more personal level, you also have to deal with the awkwardness of contacting the customer to chase your money. What can you say that will help you get paid faster and at the same time not jeopardise your working relationship?

Here are a few ideas for overdue invoice emails that will help you get paid on time and, hopefully, avoid any awkwardness.

1. Due soon

This example isn’t technically for an overdue invoice, but prompting clients to pay before there’s a problem, can be the most effective strategy. Even if you have payment terms that specify a number of days for the customer to pay upon receipt of your invoice, a gentle nudge once you’ve sent the invoice out could be the perfect reminder.

It’s best to keep this email simple, light and friendly. For example:

Hi [customer name],

This is a quick heads-up that I’ve just sent invoice [number]. I’d really appreciate it if you could arrange the payment.

Any questions, please let me know.

Kind regards,

[Your name]

2. Due now

If you’re still waiting on payment - or even a response - when the due date is up, it’s time to follow up with a polite reminder.

Although it is often frustrating not to get paid on time, it’s best to give the benefit of the doubt at this point. There may well be a valid reason the customer hasn’t paid yet and you don’t want to put a damper on any future collaboration. Here’s an example:

Hi [customer name],

This is a reminder that invoice [number] is now due. I’d really appreciate it if you could arrange the payment as soon as possible.

Kind regards,

[Your name]

3. Overdue

The timing of this next reminder depends on your payment terms and whether you’ve heard from the customer at all. If they have been in touch to explain why they haven’t paid, you may wish to extend the due date or offer them a payment plan. 

However, if they haven’t responded to your previous messages at all, it may be time to escalate. You might begin to fear that the customer is not planning to pay, but it’s important to remember that:

  • you have done the work and you are entitled to be paid
  • you are asking for no more than what you are due
  • there’s nothing rude in asking to be paid - it is the customer who is being rude by not paying

When writing this email, you might want to take a more formal tone over the friendly tone of the previous emails. Remember that as a self-employed business owner, you operate in many different roles - in this case, you’re assuming the role of your business’s finance department. If you have late payment charges in your payment terms, you may want to remind them about this. For example:

Dear [customer name],

This is a reminder that invoice [number] is now [X] days overdue and beyond the set payment terms. Please arrange the payment as soon as possible to avoid escalation.

If you’re having any difficulties paying, let me know and we can discuss a solution. Please note that, as per my payment terms, overdue invoices can incur late payment charges.

Kind regards,

[Your name]

4. Very late

If your invoice is over a month past its due date, it’s easy to feel like you just won’t get paid. Don’t get too downhearted - you can still take action. There are legal methods you can use to try and get your money - just keep in mind that you did the work, so you’re entitled to get paid for it! Here’s an example of a final notice to a customer:

Dear [customer name],

This is a final reminder that invoice [number] is now [X] days overdue and beyond the set payment terms. If payment isn’t received by [date], we will begin legal proceedings.


[Your name]

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Originally published
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