14 Jan 09

Here’s a great article I picked up from an email advertisement recently sent to me (original at http://www.affiniscapemerchantsolutions.com/associations/7037/files/LFM/article.html):

Many legal professionals do not like asking for payment or feel uncomfortable discussing fees for their work. Yet, chasing down delinquent payments is no fun! When this occurs you or your office staff spend valuable time, energy and money in the process. To help simplify billing and reduce collections, here are 5 proven tips for collecting fees.

  1. Be proactive and communicate. Set your clients expectations up front. Explain your rates, how time is tracked, your billing process, and the types of payment you accept in your firm. That way there are no surprises!
  2. Accept every form of payment: cash, checks, debit and credit cards. If a client is ready to pay for your services do not turn them away! Provide them with every payment option. If the idea of credit card fees scares you then lower them with a Law Firm Merchant Account or consider offering a 10% cash discount.
  3. Go one step further and explain what your actions will be if payments are late and when a non-payment situation occurs. Spell out if you charge interest on late payments and the disengagement process. Incent your clients to pay promptly by offering a 10% discount if payments are received within 10 days.
  4. Avoid late and no-pay pay clients entirely by including a credit card authorization form with your letter of engagement. State on the form that a past-due balance over 90 days will be charged to the client’s credit card on file. Contact the number below for a sample credit authorization form.
  5. Bill regularly, it is an effective form of communicating your status and value to your clients. Make sure bills are straightforward. Always, include the name of someone whom clients can contact with their questions. Plus, include a field for credit card payment. That way they can pay immediately.

Make it easy to get paid by being upfront and clearly communicating fees, payment options and your billing process to your clients. Follow these Five Fee Tips and you will soon discover how easy it is. If you would like to learn more about accepting debit and credit cards in your practice, call 866.376.0950 or visit the Getting Started page to request more information.

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