What Does Net 30 Payment Terms Mean?

How well-versed are you with the financial lingo? 

Startups, freelancers, or small businesses mostly goof up with the payment terms, initially. Some payment terms are straightforward and in simple English but some are just hard to understand, especially when you are a fresher in business. It’s okay to not know all the financial terms, right from the onset. However, it is crucial to know the very basics of invoicing like the net terms – Net 30, Net 60, Net 90. 

According to recent research, 64% of small businesses worldwide struggle with late invoice payments.

What are net D terms?

To encourage the client to make a payment, businesses agree to offer clients net terms where the clients get services today and are given a flexibility grace period of certain days to settle down the payment. Most businesses offer Net 30 payment terms. 

What does Net 30 mean?

– Payment is due in full within 30 days

Clients get 30 days to make payments and enjoy interest-free credit before the full amount is due. 

Net 30 is a trade credit term that signifies the payment is due in net 30 days after the transaction. If the clients can pay earlier, the businesses also offer good discounts.

If a business is using this trade credit and if the client fails to make full payment within 30 days then they can be charged with late payment penalties. 

Here it should be noted that “Net 30” is a common payment term, but there are variations that specify additional conditions.

  • 30 business days or 30 calendar days;
  • 30 days from the product’s purchase date vs. invoice date;
  • Net 30 end of the month (EOM) – payment is due 30 days after the end of the month in which the invoice was issued.

The net 30 terms are also used to offer discounts for early payment – pay sooner to save more!

Understanding discount on Net 30

Vendors generally offer discounts to clients who pay on time.  

Discounts are not necessarily a must-have but it’s good if your business uses the Net term regularly.

Net 30 payment terms example:

2/10 net 30 – so how is this interpreted?
Net 30 payment terms example
2/10 Net 30 term explained

This means that the customer would get a 2% discount if the payment is made within 10 days from the day when the invoice was issued otherwise net is due in 30 days.

For example – An invoice for freelancing work charged $1200 is termed 2/10 net 30, which means the payment for the service provided should be done within 30 days. The time starts from the day full service is provided. So if you wait for 30 days you will have to pay the full amount ($1200) but if you make the payment within 10 days from the day when the invoice was issued then you need to pay $1,176 (charges after applying 2% discount).

What does ‘3/10 net 30’ mean?

There are ways and techniques by which you can encourage your clients to pay back on time. There are even several terms mentioned on an invoice that signify various payment policies. ‘3/10 net 30’ is one such term that denotes an early payment discount. But how much? It’s a 3% discount if paid within 10 days. Specifying this in the invoice gives a clear idea to the client about the period they have for clearing the payment as well the discount they can avail of if paid early. In the same way ‘2/10 net 30’ denotes a 2% discount if paid within 10 days.

Pros of Net 30 payment terms

  • Customers get an incentive to pay up earlier and by extending the payment period you are encouraging them to buy from you. So it’s a win-win situation.
  • Just like credit cards are popular, even trade credits like net terms are popular as they give customers the flexibility to pay within the grace period of 30 days.
  • Offering discounts also encourages quick payment. 
  • You can sell to clients even with cash flow problems as they find a flexible payment period beneficial and this, in turn, helps you to grow sales.
  • By offering a grace period, you show trust in customers which builds customer loyalty. 

Cons of Net 30 payment terms

  • Since you are ready to pay discounts on early payment, there are chances of your margins becoming thinner.
  • If your small business is already suffering from poor cash flow then offering Net 30 can put you in trouble
  • If you notice clients paying you much late can again cause you a cash flow problem
  • In the case of new clients, you can’t be sure if they would be able to pay you or not, so better avoid the Net 30 option.
Don’t go for Net 30 terms, if dealing with new clients better opt for due upon receipt payment term.

Related article Invoice Payment Term Made Clear – Payment Due Upon Receipt

Do you think you should offer all your customers, net payment 30 terms?

Though it is a good move to establish a long-lasting and solid business relationship, it can be a risk. Not all businesses or industries can offer their clients this payment term.

Are net 30 terms right for your business?

Well, it depends completely on your business requirements. If you are not comfortable with such long credit terms go for net 10 or net 15. Choose your customer to whom you can offer net 30 payment terms. As such a decision may also help you to build your customer base and would add to your business growth.

Which industries can use Net 30 payment terms?

Whether your business will benefit from this trade credit, majorly depends upon the size and financial strength of your business. Any manufacturing industry or product distribution line can opt for a Net 30 payment term.

net 30 for restaurant

Here are common businesses/industries that can use Net 30 payment terms:

  • Creative agencies like web designing, interior designing firms
  • Cleaning services who require tools and supplies frequently
  • Apparel industries that buy in bulk at regular intervals
  • Restaurants and cafes for ordering ingredients and kitchen needs
  • Wholesalers and retailers

What does Net-15 mean in an invoice?

These are the payment terms offered by the company or the supplier to the customer to clear the payment within 15 days after the invoice date. Instead of asking for immediate payment, the vendor offers 15 days to the client to pay the due amount.

What does Net-10 mean in an invoice?

Net-10 in an invoice means that the client has 10 days to clear the payment of the vendor. The days are counted from the invoice date. This is a great alternative to net 30 that can be offered to new customers to avoid late payments.

How to include net 30 payment terms in the invoice?

To communicate the “Net 30” payment term on your invoice, place it in the payment terms section, typically found near the bottom just above the total amount due. You might phrase it as, “Payment Terms: Net 30 – Kindly ensure payment within 30 days from the invoice date.” Also, add this term in emails or other ways of communication to keep your client informed and to ensure prompt payment.


Any business that is low on cash can procure good on Net terms while any business that is financially secure enough to offer grace period payment can provide Net terms. It’s a win-win situation. 

Small businesses selling to other small businesses have to think twice before choosing the trade credit option as there are possibilities of delayed payments and poor cash flow. 

However, Net 30 payment terms give you a competitive edge as not all companies offer this flexibility of payment to their customers. It builds solid business relationships as the customers feel motivated by discounts and trust with the grant period. 

Net 30 has both advantages and downsides, but it’s all about how you balance.

A super quick explanation

What does net 60 mean on an invoice?

Net 60 payment term on an invoice means the customer has a time period of 60 days to make the payment before the bill is overdue. Since it is a longer payment term, it is not frequently used by the businesses. The customer is likely eligible for net 60 payment term when the purchase is generally large.

FAQs related to NET-30

What does Net mean in invoicing?

The term net refers to the total amount one needs to pay, before any tax and discount. When the net is used separately without any number, then it denotes the customer how much they will be paying for an item or service before taxes.

Does Net-30 include weekends and holidays?

Yes, it includes both weekends and holidays. Net 30 means 30 days of a month and not 30 business days.

Is it necessary to give Net-30 payment terms to all the clients?

No, it’s not necessary to give net 30 payment terms to all the clients. Rather, it is recommendable to use these payment terms only for those clients with whom you have a long-term business relationship.

Payment terms and due date – are these the same?

Not! The due date states the exact date when the client has to pay back the due amount. Whereas, the payment term states the period in which the payment has to be cleared by the client.

Do all businesses use Net-30?

It’s not mandatory to use net 30 payment terms for all businesses. Businesses are free to choose whatever payment terms they like depending on the business requirements.

Are there any alternatives to Net-30?

Yes, alternatives are depending upon your needs. If you want an earlier payment settlement then you can go for net-7 or net-15 payment terms. For longer credit terms net-60 and net-90 are great options.

Can one use the ‘due by’ date rather than using net 30?

Yes, you can if you are not offering your clients any special discount or rebate. Specifying the due date would in such a case be much easier to interpret your payment expectation. And, it would also help to avoid customer confusion.

Divya Mudliar
Divya Mudliar
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