It’s not uncommon in business for some customers to adopt their own payment schedule in spite of the credit terms they agree to. They may start out paying you on time, but then over time, fall into a late paying pattern, or they pay you late from the very first invoice.
The key to determining if this pattern is worth over looking is the regularity of the payments. If the customer consistently pays you on the 30th of every month even though the payment is due on the 15th, then consider that ‘reasonably late’ and consider them a good customer. Move on and forget about it.
The time to get concerned is if the gap between payments increases, getting later and later with each passing invoice OR if the payment pattern changes dramatically without explanation. That’s when you’re wise to dig into the matter immediately.
In all likelihood you’ll find that the issue is probably on their end, not yours. But the only way to figure that out is to have a conversation. Even if that’s the case, there are things you can do on your end that might help to move things along toward the desired end.
Make sure that you remove any obstacles that might keep your customer from paying you. Late pays or not, you need to make paying you as easy as it can be for every customer.
Personally review your policies – Maybe it’s time to make some changes. Maybe there are things that need clarification. Go over it line-by-line to be sure your terms are communicating effectively.
Never forget the insight that your sales team can bring, as well. Ask them if they’ve noted anything out of the ordinary when they last visited the customer.
Like anything, you have to weigh for yourself which things are problematic for you and your business and which things are worth over looking. We consider the good customer who just happens to consistently pay late as one we’re willing to over look.