Get Paid Sooner


How to get paid quicker when working as a contractor

One of the nice things about being a contractor to government agencies or big business is that you can assume that you will get paid and the check won't bounce as long as you perform the work according to contract specifications.

What you can't be so sure of is when you'll get paid. Red tape and minor glitches can cause delays of 6 months or more between the time an invoice is supposed to get paid and when the check actually arrives.

Although there are some delays you have no control over, others can be prevented. Among the steps you can take to minimize the chance for error and late payment are these:

Make sure your bill includes

  • the purchase order or contract number
  • the name of the project
  • your company name
  • your employer ID (or social security number)
  • your address and telephone number
  • the name of the project
  • a detailed list of products of services delivered (and the item numbers if appropriate)
  • the invoice price

Double check to be sure that each thing on your invoice matches what was specified on the purchase order.

If possible get your contact to signoff that you have delivered the work as specified. Include that note with your billing. It's also a good idea to include a copy of the purchase order with your invoice.

If you offer a discount for prompt payment (say a 2 percent discount for payment in 10 days) make that information prominently visible on your invoice. Big businesses may act sooner on such invoices to keep costs down.

Submit the invoice exactly as your contract specifies. If the contract says to submit the bill to account payables, don't send it to your contact. It might sit for weeks on his desk before he forwards it to the right department.

About the author:
Janet Attard is the founder of the award-winning  Business Know-How small business web site and information resource. Janet is also the author of The Home Office And Small Business Answer Book and of Business Know-How: An Operational Guide For Home-Based and Micro-Sized Businesses with Limited Budgets.  Follow Janet on Twitter at

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