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The UK government website specifies that invoices are payable within 30 days unless a different payment date is agreed.

Unless you agree a payment date, the customer must pay you within 30 days of getting your invoice or the goods or service.

Source: gov.uk website

If I issue an invoice to a client with a due date of say 2 weeks from the invoice date, would a lack of response to that invoice constitute acceptance of that due date? Or is explicit agreement required?

I'm not trying to pull a fast one on my client here and sneakily charge them interest, however I want to ensure my initial invoice is paid before I am too invested into subsequent work, and I am aware from working with other contractors that a 14 day due date seems to be common practice

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Basically a legal question - and I am not a British lawyer.

In a Danish context, one needs to react when receiving an invoice one disagrees with, be it the amount, due date, VAT or otherwise.

If possible, I have the customer acknowledge the invoice, as that clears the road for later sending the invoice to a 'debt collector' ('Inkasso' in Danish) if needed, thus avoiding the courts.

When signing an agreement with a new client, the due date is always part of the deal. Nothing in the invoice should ever be surprising to an honest client.

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It depends on what you agreed with the client. What does it say in your contract? You do have a contract right?

Also, with interest, you can't just start charging interest if the payment is late. There are steps you need to go though

http://www.contractoruk.com/limited_companies/contractor_late_payment_letters_-_free_templates.html

Also, there doesn't seem to be a 'norm' with invoices. I've had clients who do 30 days, 14 days and 7 days. It depends on what you agree with your client and whats in the contract.

  • no contract - all I had was a purchase order and emails confirming the work had been delivered. As I say - I have no plans to charge interest – Rawrgramming Jul 12 '17 at 14:16
  • No-one has plans to start charging fees and interest till the relationship goes sour. But at the end of the day its up to you if you want to charge late fees and interest if they don't pay on time – testydonkey Jul 12 '17 at 15:07
  • I have never, ever seen anyone pay a late fee or interest when they paid one or two months too late. You can put it on the reminder invoice but it is ignored. (disregarding lack of payment for half a year or something, but that usually goes to court anyway) – user3244085 Jul 13 '17 at 4:16
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Interesting, here (Benelux) it's different: an invoice is by definition payable the moment it is sent. Payment terms are a favor you give to your client and to be fair: one that is expected. But legally nothing forces you to use a payment term at all. So if you put a due date of 14 days and there is no reaction then 14 days it is.

To avoid confusion all my contracts or quotes contain a payment term though, so when invoice time comes there shouldn't be any surprises.

Took me a while to get over the classic freelancer fear: "what if my client doesn't agree to it? I'll just not say anything until I need to send an invoice!" That is a mistake, anything regarding payment or price or whatever should be clear before I lift a finger.

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The date on the invoice is the "tax date". The invoice is due immediately unless you have agreed a specific term with the customer. If you say "Payment to be made within 14 days of invoice date" or similar on the invoice and provide proof of delivery of invoice and agreement that client accepts the invoice by acknowledgement. Then you have if you have no terms in the 'contract' set up the terms in the invoice. However it would be prudent when taking a job to state that all invoices must be paid within 14 days of date of issue and have client accept that in writing.

I would advise that accepting terms and accepting invoices does not always get invoices paid on time. If delays occur you need to state you cannot do further work (or submit work already done) until existing invoices are paid. The 30 day legal limit to pay by a big firm to a small firm in UK law is often disregarded.

I usually at start of new work always bill on a 7 day rolling period (weekly billing, stated so in agreement to do work) so that an individual unpaid invoice can be chased in the small debts courts, but that is done when I am quite happy to end the relationship and just get the money outstanding. Monthly invoices can be too big to chase in small debts court (an internet application starts that ball rolling); so if worried I would advise not allowing invoice billing to be monthly and keep it at a 14 day interval. (This if fact means you risk two periods of 14 days; as if first is unpaid at end of 14 days from invoice , you will have completed the second 14 day period of work, and have just invoiced it! Risk is always two invoice period amounts.

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