Wouldn’t it be nice if our customers gave us warning that they are having cash flow issues? Obviously, this will rarely happen though. Most customers aren’t going to be too forthcoming about cash flow problems with a business they owe money to. You don’t have to be a super sleuth, however, to know when a customer might be experiencing hard times on their business.

There are more subtle ways to tell when a customer is having trouble paying their bills. If you pay attention, you can pick up on small cues. By getting to know your customers better, you will be able to sense when something is starting to go awry.


If you’re paying attention to your customers and their habits, it’s important to note when a usually on-time paying customer happens to go late. This could indicate that they have hit a rough patch. Once in a blue moon could have just been a mistake, but if you start to see the lateness occur often it’s time to have a talk with the customer. Be understanding and try to get them to open up to you about their issues.


If a customer is always disputing you on different charges on the invoice, you might need to consider why they are doing this. It could be because they are trying to get out of paying the full amount on the invoice. One way to stay on top of this is to keep track of invoice disputes. Over time, you may not notice a customer’s dispute anymore, but setting up alerts for customers disputing over 5 times in a year can be an eye opener to potential problems.


Stalling of payments could occur in a number of ways. The customer might keep saying they never received the invoice and ask for it to be sent again. They might keep telling you the check was sent but the mail is taking a really long time. These types of stall tactics are a good sign the customer doesn’t have the cash flow to pay their bill right now. These types of stall tactics can also be avoided by using a customer payment portal where all their invoices are available for view and credit card payments can be accepted.