Guide To Small Business Invoicing

5. How to Write an Invoice Email [Samples + Templates]

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Business Finance

How to Write an Invoice Email [Samples + Templates]

Mar 30, 2021 • 10+ min read
Closeup of businessman typing an email
Table of Contents

      You’re the small business owner, accountant, recruiter, marketer, designer, planner, and salesperson (of every month). You have a lot on your plate. Let us help.

      Follow-up email campaigns aren’t a no-brainer. There’s a right way and a wrong way to go about them.

      Get it right, and you’ll:

      • Build strong relationships with your clients
      • Get paid on-time
      • Never have to send those awkward reminder emails
      • Collect late payments with no hassle
      • Keep a healthy cash flow

      Get it wrong, and you’ll:

      • Unnecessarily nag your clients
      • Waste valuable time chasing payments
      • Damage client relationships
      • Hurt your cash flow

      We know a thing or two about business finances—it’s what we do.

      Over the years, we’ve seen a lot of great follow-up emails for accounts receivables—and we’ve seen a lot of bad ones, too. We kept the good ones, burned the bad ones (metaphorically, of course), and now we’re sharing our gathered wisdom with you.

      Below, you’ll find sample emails your business can use for everything from invoice submissions to late payment reminders.

      8 sample invoice follow-up emails.

      Every business has its own voice. You might find none of these exactly matches your brand’s style, and that’s OK—that should be the case 89.5% of the time.

      You shouldn’t copy and paste word-for-word. These samples are meant to inspire your own original emails—use them as a jumping-off point.

      1. Establishing email expectations template.

      It’s best practice to let your clients know what kinds of emails they can expect. Let them know you’ll be sending automated payment reminders and at what cadence.

      Setting expectations up front will make sending all of the following emails smoother.

      Subject Line: JD Marketing LLC Email Expectations

      Email Body:

      Hi Sam White,

      We’re looking forward to working with you. Just so you know, we use automated emails for all invoice requests and payment reminders. Here’s what that cadence will look like:

      1. Invoice Submission Email
      2. Upcoming Payment Reminder – 3 days before invoice is due
      3. Early Overdue Invoice Follow-Up – 1 week after invoice is due
      4. Late Overdue Invoice Follow-Up – 2 weeks after invoice is due
      5. Final Payment Reminder – 4 weeks after invoice is due

      Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.



      Jamie Doe

      2. Invoice submission email template.

      When you submit an invoice, let your clients know when it’s due. You’ll likely have agreed to this in your contract, but it’s best to send a reminder with the exact due date.

      Obviously, you’ll want the payment as soon as possible, but if your contract gives the client 30 days to pay an invoice, respect that time frame.

      Subject Line: Submitting Invoice #1001 Due on May 3, 2021

      Email Body:

      Hi Sam White,

      Here is invoice #1001 for the work completed last month. The payment is due on May 3, 2021.

      Please give it a look through, and let me know if you have any questions. Thanks for your time—have a great day!


      Jamie Doe

      3. Upcoming payment reminder email template.

      Don’t expect your clients to remember every unpaid invoice—give them the gentle nudges they need. It’s not personal. It’s just good business.

      Send an upcoming payment reminder a few days or a week before the invoice is due. Keep it friendly and casual—the client hasn’t done anything wrong by waiting this long to make the payment.

      Subject Line: Upcoming Payment Reminder for Invoice #1001 Due on May 3, 2021

      Email Body:

      Hi Sam White,

      Just a reminder that Invoice #1001 is due in 3 days on May 3, 2021. Please look through it, and let me know if you have any questions.

      Have a great day!


      Jamie Doe

      4. Early overdue invoice follow-up email template.

      Even the best of clients will forget to make a payment every now and then. However, this is when your tone will need to shift from friendly and upbeat to professional and business-like.

      Yes, clients can make mistakes, but a late payment is never ideal—it can be a nuisance for you, your business, and your cash flow.

      This email lets the client know that the payment is overdue, but it still gives the client the benefit of the doubt.

      Subject Line: Invoice #1001 Is 1 Week Overdue

      Email Body:

      Hi Sam White,

      We haven’t seen your payment for Invoice #1001 come through yet, and it’s now overdue by 1 week. Could you please submit this payment or let me know if there’s been a hiccup?

      Thank you!


      Jamie Doe

      5. Late overdue invoice follow-up email template.

      Now, it’s time to get more direct. If your client is 2 weeks overdue on a payment and hasn’t provided any up-front explanation, it’s time to take a more serious tone.

      Again, mistakes can happen, so don’t burn any bridges just yet.

      Subject Line: Invoice #1001 Is 2 Weeks Overdue

      Email Body: 

      Hi Sam White,

      We’ve sent over several reminders now, but your payment for Invoice #1001 is now 2 weeks overdue. I’ve attached a copy of the invoice for quick reference.

      We just want to remind you that late fees will start accruing after the invoice is 30 days overdue.

      Could you please message me back to let me know you’ve received this email? We’re happy to chat through options if something has come up.

      Thank you!


      Jamie Doe

      6. Final payment reminder email template.

      Once the invoice is 30 days overdue and you’ve received no contact from the customer, it’s your right to take a firmer approach. Remember, you’re not begging for money or asking for a donation—you’re requesting (or gently demanding) the money you rightfully deserve.

      Still, keep it professional. Again, this isn’t personal—this is business.

      Automating these emails will help you stay cool and collected.

      Subject Line: Final Payment Reminder for Invoice #1001

      Email Body:

      Hi Sam White,

      This is a final payment reminder for Invoice #1001. As per our terms, we’ll begin charging interest on payments overdue by more than 30 days.

      Please make this payment as soon as possible to avoid these charges. If you have questions or want to discuss terms, please reach out. 

      Thank you!


      Jamie Doe

      7. Client check-up email template.

      This is a personalized, non-automated email. If your client is overdue on an invoice by more than 30 days, it’s time to follow-up with an email or phone call.

      Your client may have moved or changed email addresses—this message is meant to figure out what’s going on. A phone call is best, but if you can’t get a hold of them by phone, send a check-up email.

      Subject Line: Is Everything OK?

      Email Body:

      Hi Sam White,

      We haven’t received your payment or any messages from you—is everything OK? I’ve tried calling, but I’m unable to reach you.

      Please give me a callback or reply here as soon as you can. We value you as a client, but we’re going to have to send outstanding invoices to collections if we don’t receive payment or contact from you in the next 2 months.

      Wishing you the best,

      Jamie Doe

      If you don’t receive a response to your check-up email, it’s time to consult a lawyer. A lawyer will help you decide whether to file a lawsuit or hire a collection agency. They’ll walk you through the process and help draft the communications.

      Your lawyer may recommend sending a legal demand letter. This can be delivered by physical letter or email (or both). It details the expectations and consequences.

      Whatever you do, keep records of all your communications. Save all of your emails, and make copies of any letters you send.

      Subject Line:

      Email Body:

      Hi Sam White,

      We sent you an invoice (#1001) for a total of $5,320 on April 4, 2021, for payment due on May 3, 2021. We never received the payment and have attempted to contact you via follow-up emails and phone calls.

      Unfortunately, we’re going to have to send your outstanding invoices to a collections agency so that we can earn a portion of what we’re owed for this work. This is inconvenient for us and you, but we believe it’s the only way to receive payment.

      You have 7 days to make the payment before we move forward with collections.


      Jamie Doe

      Send with confidence.

      Sending these follow-up emails is never fun, but it’s necessary. Remember, this is money you deserve. You’re never in the wrong for asking (or demanding) the money your client owes you.

      When a client doesn’t pay you, they’re essentially stealing. Now, that’s not the way you want to approach it in your email communications, but that is the mindset you should take when having these conversations.

      Still, it’s never easy to send these emails—that’s why it’s best to automate as much as you can. Set up automatic email reminders and notifications for your invoice submissions and follow-up reminders. You’ll want to craft and personalize the other emails, but you should set and forget these basic ones.

      Use these samples as a starting point for drafting your own emails. You may want to change the tone or dial-up (or down) the professionalism—that’s up to you. Craft the perfect emails and start sending follow-ups with confidence.

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      About the author
      Jesse Sumrak

      Jesse Sumrak is a Social Media Manager for SendGrid, a leading digital communication platform. He's created and managed content for startups, growth-stage companies, and publicly-traded businesses. Jesse has spent almost a decade writing about small business and entrepreneurship topics, having built and sold his own post-apocalyptic fitness bootstrapped startup. When he's not dabbling in digital marketing, you'll find him ultrarunning in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Jesse studied Public Relations at Brigham Young University.

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