In reading: Keeping the Cash Flowing: A Dozen Tips for Getting Clients to Pay More Promptly by Lawyer turned Coach Debra Bruce
I noticed the number one thing I tell attorneys to do in order to keep the cash flowing was not listed.
My number one rule to getting paid regularly is to bill regularly. Set a deadline (mine is the 7th of each month) and no matter what else is exploding around you – get the bills out by that date.
This does two things:
- cements with clients that when you say you’re going to do something, you do (in a way that is not directly involved in their matter); and
- gets each client in the habit of accepting, reviewing and paying your invoices on a schedule.
You can facilitate payment by accepting credit cards, so long as you play by the rules re: your trust account. This is why I recommend http://www.lawcharge.com. Long-standing player in the “legal” world, LawCharge is owned by an attorney who knows the ins and outs of the merchant account world the way you do a courtroom or the law library.
I understand just how hard it is to be solo – to have to do it all and how being solo makes some routine tasks infinitely more difficult. A standard “where’s my payment” call can easily turn into an hour long discussion about everything when all you wanted to know was when you would be paid.
This is why my second tip would be to find and build a relationship with a bookkeeper or virtual assistant, then routine billing and follow up payment reminder calls can be competently performed by someone else – freeing up your time and removing potential stress on the attorney-client relationship should the money not be flowing as quickly as you would like.
FYI, this is not a commercial for LegalTypist as she does not offer bookkeeping nor collection (or any other) calls. If I had a good contact in legal to recommend for the bookkeeping, I would. Unfortunately, the best virtual bookkeeper I know – @CandyTX at http://www.offassist.com – prefers not to work with attorneys … something about how they can be difficult. Who … what… attorneys?!
Original post date: August 20, 2011