Small Business Advice: Best Ways to Deal with Delinquent Payers

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You’ve completed your end of the deal. But now, the client is ignoring your payment reminders. There’s a small chance that they are not doing it on purpose, but let’s face it: When a client is not paying, it’s a cause for concern, especially for a small business.

Here are some ways you can get your payment before resorting to subpoena server services to collect:

1. Send payment reminders

This is often the first solution when it comes to non-paying clients, and you must do this before resorting to heavier measures. Your client might be too busy to see the first round of reminders or have simply forgotten to send the payment. Give them the benefit of the doubt. But if they are deliberately avoiding paying you, sending them frequent reminders will show that you have not forgotten and will not forget about their overdue payment.

Are the e-mails and invoices not working? Call them every day until they settle their bill, but don’t make threats or be aggressive. If you call them every day (be it on their house phone, work phone, or mobile) they might pay out of annoyance.

2. Mail them a letter of intent

If sending the client regular payment reminders does not even garner a response, it is pretty clear that they are avoiding payment to your business. In this case, you can get a response when you send a letter of intent stating that you intend to seek legal help or report the debt to a credit bureau if they still refuse to pay by a particular date. Because of the risk to their credit score and reputation, they might finally pay you.

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3. Take them to small claims court

After a reasonable amount of time has passed and your client has still not settled their debt, you can take them to small claims court as long as the amount owed does not exceed the court’s limits. Check with your local small claims court regarding the maximum allowable amount. At the same time, you can enlist the help of a debt collection process server in the area to deliver the notices and summons.

4. Sue them

For unpaid debts that are greater than the allowable amount in small claims court, you have to sue them in civil court instead. When they receive letters from the lawyer or court documents, your non-paying client may settle their debt right then and there to avoid the legal mess or at least negotiate with you.

How to avoid delinquent payers

No one wants to receive payments late or have to take legal action just to settle an invoice. To avoid delinquent clients, here are things you should do:

  • Make payment policies clear with the client
  • Charge late payment fees
  • Ask for upfront payment for high-value projects
  • Negotiate a payment plan for clients that are suddenly in a financial rut
  • Send invoices immediately

Dealing with a non-paying client is frustrating. As a small business owner, these are the best ways to get your payment from a delinquent payer.

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