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All the advice here has been spot on but the reality is, a lot of small businesses dealing with corporates are price takers, including the payment terms, either you take it or you don’t work.

In my sector (and I’m sure others) the contract terms are usually a minimum of 45 days, you invoice about the 28th ( a date set in the contract, if you miss the date, it has to wait till next cycle), on the 30th of the next month they look at it, better companies then issue payment on the 15th of the next month, most run you through to the first week of the next month …they often go broke and you lose 3 mths of turnover and you’ve still got the costs.

This IMHO is why debtor finance can look appealing, I don’t recommend it, I think you run the risk of digging a bigger hole for yourself.

A couple of tricks commonly used in our industry that might help;

Don’t commit all resources to a new project late in the month (try to work for good payers), commit maximum effort early in the month to maximise the claim in the new billing cycle.

Develop relationships with the purchasing officer, contract administrator and or project manager, if they really want your services and your price is right they’ll help you beat their internal systems, we often do a deal where the invoice actually goes into the system the day we start, so by the time we have labour and material on the project the invoice is already part way through the system, by the time they get around to checking and paying, we’re done.

This pulls our payments back to 14 – 20 days in cash flow terms, still a pain but bearable.

Hope you can sort it out.