There are few things more frustrating than a customer or client who won’t settle their bill.
After all, it will have cost you time, money, and effort to do all you can to assist them when they use your company. You will have an investment, which you expect will be repaid when the invoice falls into their notice. For the majority of the time, you will find this is the case, and payments will be received promptly. Yet there will always be one customer or client who just doesn’t quite seem to understand their responsibilities.
It’s a frustrating, impossible feeling. You know they could pay; you know they agreed to pay; but after awhile it can feel like you’re chasing a ghost. Remembering and pursuing all the invoices that you have outstanding is a full-time job in and of itself, but just letting them slide not only costs you money but also sets a bad precedent.
So if you have billed for something and not received payment, what are the next steps you need to take to ensure you get what’s owed to you?
#1 – Don’t Rely On Your Memory
If you run a small business in any niche, it can be tempting to rely on your memory alone for chasing up invoices. This is especially true in the early days, when every penny counts – you can’t imagine you would ever let an unsettled bill drift out of your mind.
However, this does happen. Running a business is busy, and you could find yourself letting an invoice go unpaid purely because you have not remembered to push the matter. Whatever niche you’re in, there is a solution. For healthcare, the likes of Open Practice Systems can help you keep track of invoices and payments without the need for memory alone. If you run a digital business, then PayPal invoicing can keep you up to date with the money you have coming in – or not coming in, as the case may be. Do your research and find a system that ensures it’s not just your memory that stands between a bill being paid and unpaid.
#2 – Be Persistent, But Fair
Sometimes, an invoice will go unpaid for no reason other than the payee has forgotten to pay it. You can spoil a beneficial relationship if you jump right to the idea that they’re not paying out of preference, or in an attempt to cheat you out of money. Always be gentle in your first reminders; if you go into confrontational mode too quickly, then it’s unlikely to end well for you.
#3 – Don’t Be Afraid To Take Action
If a customer or client is not paying – and not communicating with you about why they are not paying – then you have to be willing to take action. Involving a debt management company is something that most businesses want to avoid, not least because it can be expensive. However, it’s a necessary step for larger invoices that you can’t afford to go unpaid – so don’t be afraid to use all the options available to you.
Dealing with unpaid invoices can be deeply uncomfortable and awkward, but it’s something that any entrepreneur has to deal with. Hopefully, you will now have a better idea of how to manage the situation and get what you are owed.