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What to do when a client doesn’t pay up

Running a business has good times, and not-so-good times. A massive risk is that your client won’t pay on time and is seemingly unreachable. It’s traumatic to say the least when you have sent a number of unanswered invoices.

What are your options if a client doesn’t pay you?

Don’t jump the gun

It’s easy to jump to conclusions, especially if you have been burnt before! Accusing a client of racking up a large bill and then avoiding payment can potentially destroy a relationship. Keep in mind they're are perfectly legitimate reasons that a client may not respond right away. Perhaps they are on holiday, or having personal matters that are taking up their headspace. If they haven’t disappeared before, they may deserve the benefit of the doubt at least once, so give them a reasonable amount of time to respond before you start the chase.

Resend invoices and follow up

Prior to invoicing, have a legal agreement already established outlining when and how you should be paid for your service or product. If you aren’t getting paid or you haven’t received a reply to your invoice, resend the invoice as a reminder. If you sent invoice reminders and they still haven’t paid, follow up with a polite and professional email.

Contact via social media

If you fear that maybe your client isn’t receiving your emails. If you re-sent invoices, reminders and emails, you may have to resort to another form of communication to give yourself some form of peace of mind. Most companies can be found on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or in some online capacity. Contact them through these mediums with a simple, polite message to get in touch with you. Remember to be professional, after all you are representing your own business too.

Send an attorney letter

If your clients are still MIA at this point, you should have an attorney draft a letter. Too costly? Sometimes the idea of legal action can get the client to contact you and, at the very least, make an arrangement to pay what they owe. You don’t have the time?

Fantastic Value without the heavy costs usually associated with contracts.

Your Client Contacts You, Now What?

If your client finally contacts you and pays what they owe, you can consider the case closed and lesson learned. From there, decide the terms that must be in place for the future.

Under no circumstances, however, should you continue to provide the client with any services until outstanding invoices are paid.

Moving Forward

Whether your relationship ends or continues with the client, it’s a good idea to set some new rules going forward.

Have legal contracts and a plan in place in the event a client disappears. It’s easier to deal with it if you take care of all the research before it happens. Legal contracts can go a long way when it’s time to get paid. Here, you can address any concerns: payment dates and work expectations, and make any changes before you start. It’s also a good idea to have a contract template of your own to send to the client if not provided for you.

Contract Zone is the perfect place to create and store your contracts, you can access them at any time. Have a look at the following contracts:

Terms & Conditions that protect you.
Suretyship included in the credit application form.
Cession of Book Debts
Acknowledgement of Debt when non paying client offers to pay.
Legally compliant letters of demand.
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