What do small business owners think of late payments?

- April 24, 2017 4 MIN READ

We all know that late payments are a major concern for Australian small businesses. It has a knock-on-effect because if your small business isn’t paid then it makes it challenging for you to pay others.

Here’s what 11 small business owners think about this hot topic. What’s your view on late payments? Let us know how it is impacting your small business by commenting at the end of this article or sending us a message here

Geoffrey Michael Patissier

Geoff Dimitrovski: “When I do cooking classes and demos for schools or TAFEs payments may take a little while to come through and I have to chase them up. I try to keep a minimum amount in an account for any emergencies. However, I definitely see the impact late payments could have on other small business who rely on this money coming in to pay staff and purchase new stock.”

Lucas Loves Cars

Helle Warming: “I am really against late payments as I think they show a lack of respect and even manners. When you make a late payment you are showing either a lack of care, organisation or funds. Nothing good that’s for sure. I work hard to ensure I pay my suppliers quickly”.

Happiness Concierge

Rachel Service: “It’s unfortunately a reality of running a small business. When working with much larger companies or suppliers, it pays to confirm payment terms as early as possible to avoid late payments. Asking for payment on confirmation is a great way to ensure people who are purchasing your service/product can help create a sustainable pipeline. Treat accounts people just as you would your favourite client. Be kind, get to understand their position and also make it clear what you need to run your own small business.”


Caroline Africh: “I don’t give credit terms to many accounts. I don’t believe in credit in general, so I’m not a fan!”

Sydney Smash Cakes

Claudia Abrahams : “Fortunately I have not had many late payments. However it is frustrating when I put my heart and soul into my creations and people don’t have the respect to pay on time.”

Chern’ee Sutton

Chern’ee Sutton: “Well, late payments are an inconvenience and do disrupt the flow of business. However at times for one reason or another they are inevitable and a part of being in business.”


Denise Straty: “If the supplier (me) meets their end of the deal then I believe the purchaser should meet theirs and pay according to the terms they have agreed to. Because I’m a producer I have to pay my manufacture in advance for goods. In some cases goods take 30 days to produce so with a 30 day term to my purchaser my cash may have already been out for 60 days. A delay (in payment) causes pain and creates issues with my cash flow. If I have insufficient funds then I have to draw on my o/draft which just adds to my cost and diminishes my profit.”

Cassie White

Cassie White: “Everyone stuffs up and forgets to pay their bills. I get it. But if it’s something you do regularly then there’s a problem. As someone who’s been on the receiving end of late payments, it can really make an impact on a small business.”

Collective Hub

Lisa Messenger: “Cash flow is king and it is also the trickiest juggle in business. It’s an imperative to work with your customers to ensure payments are made on time. This can make or break small businesses so make sure you get it right.”

Rachel’s List

Credit: Deborah Macedo & Helga Tirant (Rachel Smith on left)

Rachel Smith: “This is a huge issue for Australian small businesses. With something like payments coming in around 26-odd days late, according to research. That’s ridiculous, especially when you consider that the problem comes from a lot of large companies who can well afford to pay their contractors on time.

I think contractors who are running their own business are often at the mercy of their clients’ payment terms. As a freelancer of over 15 years myself, I’ve noticed payment terms pushing out longer and longer with most of my clients. This makes freelancing an increasing struggle for anyone who runs his or her own business. It affects our cashflow, our ability to pay our sub-contractors and at a very basic level, our ability to cover bills and mortgage payments.”

Late payments

  • According to Xero, it’s estimated that small business owners are owed $26 billion in unpaid debts.
  • Debt that is severely impacting small business owners’ ability to pay their staff, suppliers and themselves.
  • It is obstructing their growth and the economy.
  • Small business owners are appealing to the Government to help put an end to late payments by big businesses.

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