Late Payment Insights

Latest stats on companies who pay their invoices late

We receive over 1,500 company reviews and 20,000 searches each and every month, each search provides a wealth of information on how good or bad clients are at paying their invoices.

This page analyses the most important stats and provides a top-level view of how the issue of late paying invoices is impacting all businesses.

112,650

Total number of companies who paid their invoices late.

£198,407,795

Total amount reported as paid late.

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The worst offending industries

For our premium subscription, we compare a companies score against those of their competitors (defined by the same SIC code). As such we have a wealth of information on each industry type, the below table is the top 10 Industries that have the worst payment record.


Residential property management - A total 1,071 days late
Estate Agents - A total 1,017 days late
Management Consultants - A total 825 days late
IT Consultants - A total 661 days late
Scientific & Technical Services - A total 415 days late
Freight Transport - A total 241 days late
Construction - A total 233 days late
Software Development - A total 229 days late
Electricians - A total 216 days late
Mechanics - A total 203 days late

Tips on chasing late payments

  1. Set your terms and expectations at the start

Make sure your customer is clear on your payment terms right from the beginning of your contract. Highlight what they need to pay, when they need to pay it by and whether there are any penalties for late payments, then display these terms clearly on each invoice.

This will help to avoid customers paying late “simply because they weren’t sure when they should pay”. It will also help make conversations about late payments a little less awkward; you’ll simply be reminding them of the terms rather than surprising them with penalties or deadlines.

Tip: Consider shortening your payment terms. Most companies tend to use 30-day payment terms but you don’t need to. It could be worth discussing with the customer upfront to try to reduce your terms and stop your invoices being left on the backburner. Plus, asking for payment sooner means you’re more likely to stay near the top of your customer’s to-do list.

  1. Send out invoices promptly

Invoicing immediately can help to ensure you are paid on time. Where possible include:

  • Your company name, logo, registered address and company number (if applicable)
  • Your terms and conditions
  • Details of the service or product
  • Any reference or order number
  • The amount due
  • The invoice date and number
  • The customer’s name and address
  • Your payment details
  • If relevant, how much VAT has been charged, your VAT registration number and a VAT breakdown for each item on the invoice.

Tip: Make sure that this information is all accurate; any mistakes can lead to the invoice being sent back to you, and consequently a delayed payment.

  1. Make it as easy as possible to pay you

Paying your bills isn’t always easy. Not only do you have to remember to pay in the first place, but you also need to write and send off the cheque, spend time paying over the phone, as well as making sure you’ve got everything you need to log onto your online banking.

Tip: Consider how you can make it easier for your customers to pay. This could mean sending reminders at a point when they can actually pay, letting them pay in a way that suits them, offering ways to pay you there and then or even just making sure you always include all your payment details in reminders.

  1. Talk to your customer about why they’re not paying on time

Good communication with your customer is key to avoiding late payments. It may be that your customer has a real reason for not paying you on time. By speaking with them early on, you may be able to work with them to solve the problem – perhaps by doing something as simple as changing the payment date or offering instalments.

Tip: If you’re collecting recurring payments, consider using an automatic payment method like standing order or Direct Debit. Once a Direct Debit or standing order is set up, your customers no longer need to worry about remembering to pay you each time, since you can take payment as soon as it’s due. Even better, you won’t need to waste any more time chasing for late payments. It’s a win-win situation for you both.

  1. Give your customers regular reminders

Often all a customer needs is a reminder to jog their memory. You could try calling them a few days before the payment is due, or follow up late payments with emails and calls.

Tip: Automating your reminder emails can save you time and effort. Many accounting solutions allow you to write your unpaid invoice reminder email and then set this to be sent out automatically whenever a payment becomes overdue.