What To Do When a Client Won't Pay
Many business owners have experienced the frustration of trying to collect payment from a client who simply won’t cough up. If you are having trouble getting paid, then it is important to take action quickly before the situation becomes even more difficult.
In this blog post, we will discuss what to do when your clients won't pay, and how to avoid this from happening in the future.
Don't Make Assumptions
When your client does not pay, it is easy to assume that they are being completely irresponsible. However, sometimes clients have legitimate reasons for why payment has not been sent out. It's important that you don’t accuse them of anything until you know the full story. This is especially true if your client has always been reliable in the past - give them the benefit of the doubt.
Keep Your Cool
In the heat of the moment, it can be easy to want to send a strongly worded email or make an angry phone call in order to get your point across. However, if you take this approach, then there is a good chance that you will only make matters worse and put future business at risk. It's important not to jump the gun.
Your clients are only human. If a client is late to pay, resend the invoice along with a polite notice that their payment is now past due. Don't be demanding or accusatory. You should also make it as easy as possible for them to pay by including links or buttons to your accepted methods of online payment.
Contact Them Via Social Media
If your client doesn't respond to your follow-up emails within a few business days, try contacting them on social media instead. In some cases, a client might simply be neglecting their inbox and so it's worth trying another channel. Again, it's important to maintain professionalism and not accuse them of disappearing on you.
Send an Attorney's Letter
If you still have not received your payment then it's time to send an attorney's letter. You can arrange this for an affordable fee and often the client will be unnerved enough by the suggestion of legal action that they pay up.
Small Claims Court
If you have exhausted all other options, then it's time to take your client to small claims court. This is a last resort and it's a fairly costly option, so it's important to weigh up whether or not it's worth it. Unfortunately, if this is not the case then it's best to cut your losses and focus on preventing this kind of behaviour in the future.
It's always better to be safe than sorry. Take steps now that will protect you in the future and avoid having this problem again.
One way to do this is by introducing late fees. Your cloud accounting software should be able to calculate and add these for you automatically.
If you do decide to introduce late fees, be sure to communicate this clearly with your clients and give them plenty of notice so that they can’t accuse you of taking them by surprise.
You should also make sure that all of your clients are aware of how to pay online so that they have instant access to their account details at any time.
In addition to this, you should consider asking for payment upfront to protect yourself. This could be a 30%, 50% or even 100% deposit.
Finally, make sure that you have the right legal contracts in place so that you are better able to take action if a client still fails to pay.
If you find yourself in a situation where your client hasn’t paid you, it's important to keep calm and take the proper steps.
Make sure that before taking legal action, you've exhausted all other options by sending reminders and social media messages. If these tactics still do not work, then consider contacting an attorney or small claims court for assistance with collecting payment from clients who won't pay on time.
Finally, make sure to put the right steps in place to protect yourself against this situation in the future so that you can concentrate on running your business rather than chasing up payments.