Macro Trends in Microbusiness

The Wave Report on Getting Paid 2021

Small business owners have historically struggled to get paid on time. With millions of Americans filing paperwork to open new businesses in 2020, and a host of new trends taking shape driven by the pandemic, we took a look at the factors that impact their cash flow and ability to succeed long-term.

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What's in the report

  • Executive summary
  • Impact of late payments
  • Rise of service-based businesses
  • State-level trends
  • Payment best practices

Key takeaways

  • Approximately 22% of invoices are overdue
  • Bank payments are on the rise
  • Enabling digital payments makes small businesses 15% more likely to be paid on time
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Graphic showing percentage of businesses with fewer than 10 employees

Microbusinesses—with fewer than 10 employees—make up 92% of all businesses in the US, and contribute to an average of 38% of their owners’ household incomes.

Illustration of woman receiving money

Throughout Wave’s 10+ years of serving microbusiness owners, there’s one challenge almost every one of them faces: getting paid.

So, we started asking questions:

Why do some microbusiness owners struggle to get paid while others don’t?

How do region, age, industry, and demographics impact payments?

What kinds of microbusinesses get paid on time most frequently?

And, what can microbusiness owners do to increase the chance of that happening?

This is what we found.

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