Getting Paid: The Waiting Game

We all need to keep the cash flowing so we can run and grow our businesses. But, for many entrepreneurs, money is still hard to come by. And I don’t mean investment capital; it’s become a waiting game just to collect money that’s due us. 


Far too many business owners have receivables they, well, haven’t received. So, how do you collect what you are owed? 

  • Call the companies that owe you money and ask when they’re planning to pay.
  • If they can’t pay in full, try creating a payment schedule. Going forward, try incentivizing companies you do business with to pay on time. 
  • Offer a discount if they pay within 30 days. If you want and can afford it, offer a bigger discount if they pay net 15.

If you’re often paid with credit cards (and then have to pay the credit card company a few percentage points), it may help your cash flow to collect more of your bills in cash. Again, you’ll need to somehow incentivize the businesses to pay this way. Just make sure whatever you give away in discounts is worth it.

If your situation is more precarious and you need the money now, try factoring. Factors buy your receivables and immediately give you about 80 percent of what’s owed you. They keep the remaining percentage in reserve, then give it to you—minus their fees—when the receivable is paid in full. Fees generally range from 2 to 6 percent (over 30 days), which is higher than traditional loans from banks. If the factor doesn’t receive the money within the month, most charge an additional daily fee. Worst case: If the receivable is never paid you might have to pay the factor back in full. (Check the fine print in your contract with the factor.)

Some factors specialize in specific industries, while others are generalists. Do a search for factors online or check out the International Factoring Association for more information.

Have a question about cash flow? Connect with a SCORE mentor online or in your community today!

About the Author

Rieva Lesonsky HeadshotBizSuccessTips Editor Rieva Lesonsky is founder and CEO of GrowBiz Media, a content and consulting company. A nationally recognized small business expert, Lesonsky has appeared on hundreds of radio shows and numerous local and national television programs. Read more of her insights at