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It doesn’t matter if you own your own business, work as a freelancer or have friends who never seem to have cash, when someone owes you money, asking for it back can be incredibly stressful. No one wants to come off as demanding or impatient, but at some point, you need that money back in your pocket.

If you find yourself in this situation, you might be wondering how to politely remind someone to pay you.

How you ask for your funds will depend on who owes you the money (i.e., a client or a friend), but there are ways to approach the situation professionally and cordially.

How to Politely Remind Someone to Pay You

If you are self-employed or a freelancer, then you need to make sure your clients are paying you in a timely fashion. You need those funds to pay your bills and put food on the table. If you happen to have one or several individuals who take their time paying for goods and services, then sending a polite reminder is in your best interest.

Here are some tips you might consider when wondering how to politely remind someone to pay an invoice.

Tip #1: Send Reminder Emails

When it comes to work, it doesn’t take long for tasks to slip through the cracks and things to get forgotten. It’s possible that your client has misplaced your original invoice and has forgotten that they owe you.

If that’s the case, when asking how to politely remind someone to pay an invoice, you might consider sending reminder emails. This may be all you need to do to jog their memory and have them place a check in the mail.

When it comes to reminder emails, there are some elements that should be incorporated to make them as effective as possible, including the following:

A Clear Subject Line

Make sure the subject line lets your client know the exact reason why you’re sending the email. You can include the invoice number or the words “Reminder of Payment.”

While the subject line needs to be clear, it also needs to be neutral in tone. You don’t want your client to feel threatened or attacked before they even open the email.

Include the Original Invoice

When sending reminder emails, you also want to make sure you include the original invoice. This can be attached to the email or included in the body. Deciding which one is the best option will depend on your client and whether or not you think they’ll open attachments.

Either way, you want to make it as easy as possible for them to see how much they owe you and when the payment was due.

Include details of the Work Performed

In addition to the invoice, you might also want to include the details of the work you’ve done. Your client may have several vendors or freelancers they work with and may not remember who you are. By reminding them about what you’ve done, may spark their memory and get you your money as soon as possible.

Make Your Email Message Friendly

Trying to collect money that is owed to you can be incredibly frustrating, especially if your client is already late in paying you. However, you want to do your best to have a friendly tone in your email message.

Remember, you don’t want your client to feel threatened or attacked. For many people, their natural reaction to either of these situations is to ignore or retaliate against such harshness. That won’t get you any closer to getting your money back.

Highlight the Due Date

If the due date has not yet passed, make sure to gently remind your clients that it’s coming up soon. Should they be past the due date, consider reminding them about the consequences of late payments. Again, phrase it in a kind, cordial tone, but also be firm. You want to get your money, as well as not come across as a pushover.

Tip #2: Ask Them About the Invoice

Instead of or in addition to sending reminder emails, you might also consider asking them about the invoice. There may be times when the email gets buried in their inbox and they forget about it.

If that’s the case, asking about it may be enough to remind them that they owe you money. Email is always the easiest, but it may not be the most productive.

However, if you be worried about sending another email that might get lost, you might consider sending a letter through the USPS. This will take longer to get there, but there will be less concern about it getting lost.

When wording your email or letter, again, you want to keep a friendly or neutral tone. You might consider the following:

Hi, [Name of client]! Or, if you don’t have a personal relationship with them, keep it professional with Dear [Name of client],

I hope this email finds you doing well. I’m checking to see if you received the invoice for [amount of money] that was sent [date of when it was sent]. Please confirm that you have received that invoice. If not, I am more than happy to send it again.



[Your name]

Tip #3: Send a Message Through Social Media

For clients that you think may have forgotten and may need a soft nudge to pay your dues, you might consider sending them a message through social media.

This can be slightly less formal than an email or letter, but it should still be friendly and to the point. Something along the following lines might be appropriate:

Hey, [Name of client]! I hope things are going well. Would it be possible to let me know when I can expect the invoice I sent to be paid? It would be much appreciated. Thanks!

Tip #4: Pick Up the Phone

Sending emails is the easiest and most convenient way to speak with clients about outstanding invoices, but they are also incredibly easy to ignore. When wondering how to politely remind someone to pay you, it might be in your best interest to pick up the phone.

When calling, there are some steps you’ll need to follow:

Make Sure the Client Knows Who’s Calling

Don’t assume that your client will automatically know who you are by your number or the sound of your voice. Make sure to introduce yourself.

This could be a good opportunity to ask the client if they have received the invoice you’ve sent or if it needs to be sent another way. You’ll then want to remind them that the payment due date is coming up (if it is) or if the payment is late.

Remain Professional

Calling can be a great way to remind clients that they owe you money, and some may be very appreciative of the reminder. However, there may be some that aren’t so happy to hear your voice.

No matter what, remain professional and calm. Make sure your client knows the terms that were agreed upon when you took on the job, then ask when you can expect a payment.

Refrain from asking why the payment was late, but offer a variety of ways for the client to get the funds to you.

Tip #5: Make it Easy for Them to Pay You

The more options you give your client to pay you, the sooner they may get the money into your account. In addition to traditional checks, you may also give them the option of sending online payments. There are many different options to choose from, so find one that works for you and offer it to your clients.

How to Politely Ask for Payment from a Friend

In addition to wondering how to politely remind someone to pay you if they are a client, you may have also loaned a friend some money. If that’s that case, getting it back in a timely manner is important, and you may be curious about how to politely ask for payment from a friend.

You may think that because you are more familiar and have a closer relationship with a friend that you can be more direct when asking for your funds. That may be true depending on who they are, but using tact and kindness is always in your best interest. Here are some things to consider.

Tip #1: Send a Friendly Payment Reminder Letter

One option you have when trying to collect funds from a friend is to send them a friendly letter. You can either put this in the mail or send it to their email account. You might even consider sending them a message from your phone.

No matter which option you choose, remember to keep your tone friendly or neutral. Your message should also be short and sweet. It’s possible that they may have forgotten they owe you money, so a quick note will be appreciated.

Tip #2: Talk to Them Face to Face

If sending a letter, email or message doesn’t seem to be working, then talking to your friend face to face might be necessary. It can be incredibly uncomfortable to confront a friend to remind them that they owe you, but it’s also well within your rights.

As usual, keep your tone positive and friendly. It’s possible your friend just forgot (life does get busy), and they’ll appreciate the reminder.

Tip #3: Don’t Wait for Too Long

The longer you wait to ask your friend to pay you back, the more awkward the situation is going to become. A lot of people will put this off as long as possible because they feel bad about asking for what’s owed to them.

It’s reasonable and expected that your friend pays you back in a timely manner. It’s up to you to let them know when that is — again, in a kind, cordial way.

Tip #4: Give Them a Variety of Payback Options

In addition to reminding your friend that they owe you money, you can give them a variety of different options to pay you back. With so many different money apps that can be downloaded onto your phone, if you use any of these, let your friend know you’ll take payment that way.

You can also offer to take cash or a check or have them transfer money from their bank account to yours. The easier you make it for your friend to get the money to you, the sooner they may send it to you.

Another option you might consider is to have them pay for your dinner or a round of drinks while you’re hanging out. You may not get your money back directly, but you’ll still get paid back for your previous kindness one way or another.

Getting What You Deserve

If you are self-employed or work as a freelancer, getting paid in a timely manner is essential to your livelihood. If you have sent clients an invoice but are still waiting on payment, you might be wondering how to politely remind someone to pay you. These are the tips you’ll want to follow to get your money as soon as possible.

  • Tip #1: Send Reminder Emails
  • Tip #2: Ask Them About the Invoice
  • Tip #3: Send a Message Through Social Media
  • Tip #4: Pick Up the Phone
  • Tip #5: Make it Easy for Them to Pay You

In addition to your job, you may also be loaning friends money. Asking for it back doesn’t have to be awkward, uncomfortable or frustrating if you follow these tips.

  • Tip #1: Send a Friendly Payment Reminder Letter
  • Tip #2: Talk to Them Face to Face
  • Tip #3: Don’t Wait for Too Long
  • Tip #4: Give Them a Variety of Payback Options

No matter what, it’s your money, and you deserve to get paid in a timely fashion. Sending reminders can be beneficial. There will always be times when people forget they owe you, but if it seems to be a pattern that repeats with certain clients or friends, in the future, you may want to think twice about working with them or loaning them money.

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