Business relationships tend to be very important – after all, they keep your income coming in – however they can be fragile, and it only takes one difference of opinion for things to get very personal.
When money is owed and not paid, things can get very awkward very quickly, and it’s important to know how to remain professional in order to get paid without losing the client.
(It’s also worth remembering that non-paying clients can be a huge bad debt risk to your company, so in some cases it might be best overall to simply blacklist them and refuse to supply them again anyway.)
First of all, prevention is better than cure, so invoice promptly for work done, make sure invoices are clear and correct, and politely follow up with a phone call to check the invoice has been received.
It’s also usually OK to put in another call shortly before the deadline, if you haven’t been paid yet, to check that the money will be coming over on time.
Sometimes you’ll find a regular client whose monthly invoicing date falls just outside of the deadline you place on their invoice – but if their payments consistently show up in full, it’s probably worth giving them the benefit of the doubt on being only 2-3 days overdue each time.
For clients who are longer overdue, or who you simply don’t want to give this kind of leniency to, you need to make sure the paperwork is all on your side.
This is why it helps to have written terms and conditions that you and your customers both agree to adhere to, so they can’t come back later claiming you’re working on 90-day payment terms when you thought you were on 30-day terms.
Once you know for certain where you stand, then you can pursue the debt for payment – be professional, avoid getting angry, but be firm and persistent too.
We’re here to help if you want to get a third party involved – it puts some distance between you and any actions taken, we can communicate directly with the debtor without emotions getting involved, and we might also be able to come up with an option, such as payment by installments, that keeps everyone happy.
Whether or not you work with the same client again once their debt is cleared is up to you, but with our help at least there’s a good chance you’ll still have that choice open to you.
To talk to a member of our team call 0808 163 7967.