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Net 30 payment terms are among the most common invoice payment terms, but whether they’re ideal for you depends on your business, goals, and other factors. On this page, you’ll learn what net 30 terms are, get an overview of similar terms, and explore alternatives.

How do net 30 payment terms work?

If you operate a B2B company in virtually any industry in the business world, you’ll be responsible for determining your payment terms. Some companies require payment in advance, while others expect payment at the time of service or sale. A final option is to allow the customer to pay at a later date. This technically means giving them short-term financing or offering them one of the most popular forms of trade credit, and usually without charging interest, but most small businesses simply see it as invoicing.

What does net 30 mean on an invoice?

In the U.S., the term “net 30” is one of the most common payment terms. It refers to a payment period, meaning the customer has a 30-day length of time to pay the total amount of their invoice. Other common net terms include net 60 for 60 days and net 90 for 90 days. Some businesses expect payment much sooner, so you may also see net payment terms of 10, 14, or 15 as well.

In the U.K., the invoicing term “net 30, end of the month” is also common. This means the invoice is due at the end of the month following the month of the invoice. For example, if you receive an invoice in December, you’ll need to pay it by the end of January.

Discounts may also be denoted with net 30 terms.

Sometimes companies want to give their customers the convenience of flexible invoice payment terms but would also like to encourage prompt payment. To do this, they’ll offer a reduced rate if the full amount is paid by a specific date before it’s due. If they pay after their discount term, they’re responsible for the net amount. For example, a company may be willing to wait 30 days for payment but will provide an incentive for paying sooner by giving an early payment discount to customers who pay the first week. The invoice or contract would then say “5/7 net 30.”

You can create your own terms in the same manner. Simply write them as (percentage discount)/(number of days in the discount period) net (number of days to make the full payment).

When exactly does net 30 start?

Most of the time, net 30 means the customer must pay within 30 days of the invoice date. However, it can also mean 30 days after purchases are made, goods are delivered, work is complete, and so forth. With shorter terms, it might also mean days after receipt of the invoice. Your contract and all invoices sent should specify.

What are the benefits of using net 30?

Offering net 30 payment terms can be helpful for a variety of reasons.

  • Working with Large Companies: Many large companies have a lengthy payment process, and invoices can require multiple signatures before they’re paid. Others only send out payments once per week, biweekly, or even monthly. If you want to work with a large company, chances are you’ll have to relax your terms or lose out on the contract.
  • Customer Service: Offering your customers credit is helpful when building relationships and improving customer loyalty.
  • Winning Bids/ Securing New Clients: Companies will often choose to work with a vendor based on their payment terms. Offering net 30 can help ensure they choose you over another provider.

What are the drawbacks of using net 30?

Even though many small business owners don’t realize it, accepting payment at any point after a service is performed or goods are delivered is extending credit. So, it comes with all the drawbacks of giving a business loan.

  • Slower Cash Flow: Extending credit can create cash flow problems. Smaller businesses typically require faster payment in order to continue operations.
  • Potential for Late Payments: Even if you’re offering discounts for early payment and charging late fees, your customers may still pay after the payment due date.
  • Potential for Non-Payment: Unfortunately, sometimes businesses don’t pay at all. If you’ve extended them credit, your only recourse may be to take them to court, which isn’t always a viable option depending on the amount owed.
  • Opportunity Cost: When your cash is tied up in the credit you’ve extended, you may not be able to purchase supplies or other goods and services your business needs to grow or accept more work. As a buyer, you might also miss out on discounts from your own suppliers.
  • Affordability: Startups and small businesses often simply can’t afford to extend any kind of credit.

How do I decide if net 30 terms are right for my business?

You’ll have to weigh the pros and cons of any business credit term you might offer. If you can afford to do it, and doing so will help your business operate or grow, net 30 can be beneficial.

Factoring may be your ideal alternative to offering net 30 terms.

Many small businesses like the idea of offering net 30 terms but get caught up in the drawbacks. If you fall into this bracket, invoice factoring may be your ideal solution. With factoring, you can offer your customers virtually any net terms you wish, then sell your unpaid invoices to a factoring company at a discount. The factoring company provides you with instant payment and then waits for the customer to pay them.

Connect with Viva Capital to see if you qualify.

Most businesses qualify for invoice factoring. If you’d like to find out if you’re a candidate, apply to factor with Viva Capital.