How To Get Your Sponsorship Invoices Paid On Time
Alright, you got a sponsorship! Whoo hoo!
Now before you go out and celebrate, hold on for a second.
Most entrepreneurs and freelancers are an optimistic bunch. We assume things will work out to our benefit. Think of that high you get when you first work out a business deal. No doubt you were fist pumping at your desk, right?
But that high can turn to frustration when you realize that the invoice you sent out isn’t getting any love. Late payments, non-payment, or even the dreaded haven’t-heard-anything-payment-zone. We’ve all been there, waiting anxiously to get paid.
You don’t need that stress. Use the following five strategies to ensure you get paid and everyone is happy.
1. Use the Right Tools
Hate to break it you, but you need to ask yourself if you’re making it easy for your sponsors to pay you.
Have you triple checked everything to ensure it’s easy for your sponsor to pay you? Have you sent the invoice to the right email address? Do you have the right payment options for your sponsor?
The simplest way to make it easy to get paid is to use invoicing software. In a matter of minutes, you can set up an account, set up how you want to get paid, and bill your sponsor.
Before you choose a random one, figure out what your needs are.
- Do you want to create an invoice and give a link for a payment option?
- Are you looking for a comprehensive accounting software as well?
- Will you allow bank transfers, Paypal or credit card payments?
These are all important questions to ask. Because what you decide on will have an impact on what option you want to choose.
For example, do you receive a lot of Paypal payments from US clients? Then it might save you money to sign up for Freshbooks.
If you’re interested in cloud based accounting services, you might want to consider Xero.
What if your sponsor insists on sending you a paper check? Hey, money is money right? Instead of sitting there waiting, send your sponsor a prepaid FedEx envelope. All they have to do is stick that check in the envelope and send it off. If you’re trying to get paid quickly, splurge on overnight service. And when your sponsor says the check is in the mail, you can track it.
Sure, it might set you back a few bucks, but wouldn’t you rather know you’re getting paid?
2. Set Up Your Sponsorship Invoices
You’ll want to avoid any miscommunication when it’s time to finally send your invoice. If you miss something important, it’s the difference of getting paid next week or in two months.
A bit clueless about invoicing? Not to worry, just make sure you’ve included the following in your invoices:
- Payment policy: When should your sponsor pay you? How should they pay you? For example, if they’re sending money via Paypal, is there a visible link where they do that? A tip you might want to consider is giving an actual date when they should pay you. Instead of saying, “payment within 7 days”, give them a specific date.
- Contact information: Send it to the right person and make sure your information is correct. Let’s say the sponsor is sending a paper check. If your address was wrong on the invoice, how long will it take for you to get it?
- Type of invoice: Is it a deposit or a balance they’re paying? This is important so they can communicate that to their accounting department. For example, if you’re sending an invoice for a deposit and they have to pay it before a project can start, make sure to denote this and also denote the schedule for the remaining balance of the invoice.
- Type of service/product: If they’re a big company, don’t expect them to remember every bill. Give them a reminder by putting in exactly what they’re paying for.
Last but not least, make sure the wording in your invoice matches how you worded your contract (if you have a contract in place).
3. Get Everything in Writing (if important to you)
You can protect yourself by getting all details of your sponsorship in writing. That way, if there are any disputes when you send an invoice, you have a contract you can refer to. Even if you never need to refer to the contract, it’s a nice fallback.
When you’ve hashed out all the details, make sure those are all included in the contract. Need a little guidance? Here are some things you should include:
- Main point of contact
- Who to send the invoice to
- Payment terms
- The actual work you’re doing
- When the work is due
If anything, there are sample sponsorship contracts online (here’s one for event sponsorships). Just Google “sponsorship template” and click a few links to find one you like.
You don’t have to write the most perfect contract that has the approval of an actual lawyer. Just write something that you and your sponsor agree to and both feel comfortable with.
4. Get a Deposit
It’s usually standard practice, so there’s no reason not to do it. How much of a deposit you want is up to you, but make sure you let the sponsor know upfront and that they agree to it.
5. Don’t Do The Work Unless You’re Paid
Yeah, it’s a no brainer, but everyone needs this reminder. You might be so excited to get started that you assume you’ll get your money. Please don’t.
It would be a shame to put in work only for someone to not compensate you for it. Besides, if the sponsor is keen on starting, you letting them know you won’t do the work until you get that deposit will light a fire under them.
The only time it makes sense to do the work before getting paid is if you have an existing relationship with a sponsor and know they always pay their invoices. Still, be careful.
Lastly, Try Not To Freak Out
Don’t freak out if you don’t get paid. Ask yourself if you actually sent the invoice (could it still be in draft mode?). Hey, it’s a silly mistake, but people have done it from time to time.
If you’ve sent the invoice, send a simple thank you email or some type of follow up. Your sponsorship contact may have forgotten, gotten busy, or took a vacation to Tahiti. It happens.
Do everything upfront to make sure you get paid, and you’ll have money in your bank account before you can say GetSponsorships.