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How to negotiate a terms of payment schedule

Emilie Pirlot

One of the major consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic is the lack of cash flow in most companies, which causes considerable stress and leads to liquidity problems and late payments. In order to avoid reminders and legal action, staggered payments may be a solution. Instructions for use.

Today, many companies are facing cash flow and liquidity problems which in turn lead to late payments. In order to avoid disputes with your suppliers, owners or other partners, we recommend that you take the lead in negotiating an amicable settlement.


The main advantages of this solution are the following:

  • Maintaining the relationship: the payment schedule is the best way to preserve the business relationship over the long term. By avoiding conflict and negotiating a compromise, you give yourself a chance to continue a good relationship with your partner.
  • Avoid additional costs: legal proceedings are long and costly. Avoiding them allows you to save time and money, thereby minimising extra burdens.
  • Gain credibility: by proposing a payment schedule yourself, you demonstrate your good faith and your willingness to pay despite a difficult situation.

How to set up a payment schedule? A few tips

A good payment schedule should guarantee not only your interests, but also those of your counterpart, and ideally should:

  • indicate the terms of payment, payment deadlines, even a precise payment schedule,
  • provide for short deadlines, to enable the creditor company to be reimbursed as quickly as possible - and not to suffer in turn from a cash-flow mismatch,
  • be realistic: there is no point in imposing deadlines that you cannot meet, as you risk losing your partner's trust and cancelling out all the benefits listed above,
  • provide  an initial  payment, even of a small amount, when the schedule is first implemented. This helps to prove your good faith, and will increase the confidence of your co-contractor,
  • formalise it in writing. This document can be used as a reference in the event of any subsequent disagreement.