We all know debt recovery isn’t an exact science – which is partly why a good debt collection company will treat each debtor as an individual to find the best way to get you what you are owed.
However, that can make it difficult to know when to commence proceedings; do you send a formal letter the day the invoice goes overdue, or do you give the debtor some extra time to pay up first?
There are a few rules of thumb worth remembering, whatever situation you encounter, and these include:
The Sooner, the Better
The sooner you chase a debt, the better your chances of recovering it. There are very specific reasons why this is the case – the paperwork is often easier to find, and there’s less chance of the debtor having relocated or been declared insolvent.
Tenacious Wins the Day
Some debtors pay up as soon as you send them a formal letter or a firmly worded reminder, but this isn’t always the case. The sooner you start chasing the debt, the easier it is to prove that you are not going to go away until it is paid, without straying into the territory of outright harassment.
State Your Intentions
Finally, starting formal debt recovery action is your chance to reassert any payment terms that apply to your contract, ensure the invoice details are all in one place, provide your bank details (again) and so on. Bring together all of the different pieces of paperwork into one place and send it by recorded delivery, and you create a very firm base from which to chase the debt – without the debtor being able to deny all knowledge of it.
So is it always appropriate to recover a debt as soon as possible? Not necessarily – trusted regular clients who miss one payment should probably be given the benefit of the doubt, even if you only allow them an extra week or so to settle their account.
Unique, individual circumstances should always be considered before taking any formal action. However, for the majority of ordinary cases, where a customer with no particular track record fails to pay for no particular reason, prompt debt recovery action is generally the best way to maximise your chances of getting what you are owed.
If you would like more information on debt recovery read our Debt Recovery FAQs blog or give the team a call on 0808 256 5130