With the use of credit and debit cards, late payments and collections is not the problem it was in the past when most retail buyers usually requested Net 30 day terms.
I have addressed this situation in a past article: Collection Tips. My advice then, and still is to use caution and compassion when dealing with retail buyers who are late with their payments. Here is an excerpt from my article:
First lesson in collection late payments: DON’T ASSUME THE STORE BUYER IS TRYING TO RIP YOU OFF! Trying to collect with a negative attitude is always the kiss of death!! Most late payers often have a good reason for not making payment, which brings us to lesson #2:
IF A STORE HAS NOT PAID THEIR INVOICE, OFTEN IT IS BECAUSE THEY HAVE LOST THE INVOICE, NEVER RECEIVED THE INVOICE OR MISFILED THE INVOICE. Easiest solution is to contact the store and ask if they need a copy of the invoice. In about 75% of the time, this one contact and action will get you paid.
Carolyn Edlund published an excellent article on her blog, Artsy Shark, and address this issue. Here are a few suggests from her article:
Be upfront with pricing
… Price art on your website if you intend to do e-commerce. State your fees to give a workshop, teach a class, or complete an art commission…. Nobody likes surprises that stem from misunderstandings.
Know your terms
Depending on your situation, you might choose to get paid in advance, receive a deposit with the balance to follow, offer Net 30 or make another arrangement. Never agree to something you are not comfortable with….
When wholesaling, I always required that the client’s credit card be charged at the time of shipment on the opening order, with subsequent Net 30 on repeat orders if the customer provided a credit sheet….
Put it in writing
If you have any type of agreement (consignment, teaching, commission, purchase order, etc.) and you don’t have a written contract which is signed by both parties, then shame on you… A contract is a legal instrument, and thus enforceable; it assures both parties have read and agreed upon what is being purchased, when payment is due, and all terms. …
Have an invoice ready
People have a right to receive an invoice for a piece of art, or services rendered…. If you don’t have an invoice ready when you have to opportunity to meet with them to deliver, or at a convenient time, you might not get paid right away….
Don’t let late payments ride
… Sometimes there is a reason for slow payment, such as illness or an emergency situation, but often the customer just forgets – or they don’t really care that the payment is late.
If your customer tends to pay late, fix it now by contacting them as soon as payment is overdue, or take your work out of their gallery. And keep in mind that the squeaky wheel is the one who gets paid….
If you have trouble with stores paying late or need help in collecting a late payment, I have a report that may help. (For a limited time, this report is FREE!) Check it out here: Late Payments and Collection Report