Convincing people to pay what they owe can be a real tooth-pulling nightmare. When most people think of debt collectors, they probably think of the banks. But debt recovery isn’t just a banker’s problem; it’s also a potential issue for every small business owner, freelancer, and anyone who provides a product or service.
If you’re reading this then you’re probably one of those people. Hopefully you’re reading this before you need to collect a debt so you’ll know how to do it when the time comes. If not, and you’re owed a debt by someone, these tips will help you recover that debt faster. Here’s what to do if a customer isn’t paying you what you are owed:
- Send multiple invoices and reminders.
Sometimes perseverance pays off. Email invoices, paper invoices, voicemail reminders, follow-up emails, overdue letters in the mail, etc. Hit them from as many sides as you can by contacting them in as many different ways as you can. And keep it up until they pay up. Too bad if they think you’re being annoying. It’s annoying to you that you’re not getting paid. Stay professional and respectful at all times of course.
- Set up payment plans.
Graduated payment plans that include an initial deposit, a payment midway through the service, and a completion fee have a much greater chance of being paid in full if the project is a long one or if the price tag is a big one. Breaking up the invoices into smaller amounts is more manageable from the customer’s point of view.
- Create an up-front agreement.
This is the number one best way to get customers to pay and pay on time. The up-front agreement lays out the service you’re providing, what the process will look like, what the payment plan will be, when payments are due, what will happen if the customer fails to hold up their end of the bargain, and whatever else you choose to throw in there. Getting the customer to agree with you ahead of time puts them in the mind frame to cooperate and follow through with what they already agreed to.
- Threaten legal action.
Send the customer a formal letter stating your intention to take legal action if they do not pay up. This may intimidate some, as they don’t want to alienate customers, but sometimes you have to do this is order to see the money that you are rightfully owed. Nobody enjoys having the law come down on them, and sometimes the possibility of it is all it takes for them to pay up.
- Take legal action.
If all else fails, Debt Recovery Solicitors exist to help people in your situation. Their job is to advise you on how to recover debts owed, walk you through the process of collecting, contact your non-paying customer to collect for you, and various court-related courses of actions. If you’ve tried everything and still can’t get paid, then you might want to find a solicitor and start the legal process of debt collection. You can find more information about debt recovery solicitors at the Solicitors.Guru website. We find this website very useful.
Never threaten customers with physical harm. Never say offensive words. And you should forget about involving violence in your life. It can play Old Harry with your money. However if you are on the opposite side you should also know what to do if you are a victim of a crime. You can read the article about criminal injuries compensation to learn more. It helps you to find information about legal actions.
Hopefully you can get your customers to pay up before you need to take legal steps. It helps when you have the up-front agreement in place. It also benefits you to keep a log of every interaction between you and your customer, and to have written or recorded information of when and how payments should be made. When in doubt, always get it in writing.