What To Do When a Client Doesn't Pay Up

BizAge Interview Team
Invoice paper

If your client payments are more elusive than bigfoot, then your business could be at risk of a cash flow disaster but don’t worry because here’s how to get that cash flow flowing without turning into a full-on villain.

Send a Friendly Reminder

Start with the charm offensive. Send a friendly reminder that the invoice is due. Maybe the email got lost in spam, or maybe their dog ate it. It happens! A polite nudge can often do the trick. If email fails, a phone call can add a personal touch that's harder to ignore.

Get Your Terms Straight

No payment? Time to whip out the big guns: your contract. Hopefully, you’ve got clear payment terms outlined. This isn't just bureaucratic mumbo-jumbo; it's your financial shield. Point out these terms to your client. Sometimes, seeing the official language makes the invoice more real, like a ghost suddenly appearing in solid form.

Offer a Payment Plan

Still no luck? Try a softer approach. Offer a payment plan. It’s like saying, “Hey, I get it, times are tough, but let’s keep it civil.” This can ease the financial burden on them while keeping the cash trickling in for you.

Use a Debt Collection Service

If sweet talk and legalese fail, it might be time to bring in the professionals. No, not the mob. A debt recovery agency. Yes, it sounds serious because it is. They know how to legally persuade people to pay up, usually taking a cut as their fee. It’s not ideal, but hey, you did the work, and you deserve to get paid.

Small Claims Court

Feeling litigious? If the amount is significant and all else fails, small claims court could be your arena. It’s relatively straightforward and doesn’t require a lawyer, so you won’t spend more on legal fees than you’re trying to recover. Just be prepared to swap your business hat for a court cap and present your case.

Prevent Future Issues

Once you've navigated tried all of the above ideas to get payment for your company, it's time to tighten up the ship. To that end, when it comes to future clients, you might wnt to consider requiring a deposit or full payment upfront. This method might scare off some, but those who agree are less likely to turn payment into a wild goose chase, which means they will add more value than you lose out on in the end.

Automate the Nags

Let’s be honest, chasing payments is the worst part of the job. So, automate it! Set up an invoicing system that sends reminders for you. It’s like having a virtual assistant who’s not afraid to be the bad cop.

When a client doesn’t pay, it doesn’t just put a damper on your day; it puts a chokehold on your cash flow, which can very much put your business at risk, especially if it happens often. But with these strategies, at least now, you're fully equipped to handle non-payers like a pro. 

Written by
BizAge Interview Team
May 8, 2024
Written by
May 8, 2024