Getting paid is the only way that your business will stay operational,but collecting business debt can be harder than you imagine. This means knowing how to collect the money you are owed is a vital skill to ensure success. The problem is that many people go about this in the wrong way. If you do not know how to collect business debts correctly,you could alienate your customers and really hurt your business.
The start of the debt collection process will be the normal invoice you send to your customer. The invoice should have data about the payment period which is often 30 days. This should be agreed before you do any work with a customer,your the payment terms needing to be reiterated on the invoice.
You will not be able to get payment of the debt if you have not provided a correct invoice. Not only does the invoice need to have information about the payment terms,but it should also have a detailed breakdown of the work provided. This can be very useful in the long run.
Chase The Payment
If you have not been paid when you should,you need to start chasing the payment. The way that you do this will depend on how you run your company. Some people chase payment via email while others will call the customer. Regardless of the method used,you need to be polite when you remind them about the invoice.
You should never begin with an aggressive approach. This will just make the customer less likely to pay,because you have been unnecessarily aggressive to them. The emails and calls should also be kept short and spaced correctly.
Sending The Final Demand
If you have not been paid for a long period of time,you will eventually have to send a final notice. This is the last item of communication before you take legal action. The notice states that the customer has until a set deadline to pay before you start pursuing court action to claim the money owed.
In most cases,a final notice will be enough to get payment. However,if you are still not being paid and there has been no real reason for this,you will need to take legal action. It is important to note that before this stage,you should place any further work for the client on hold and not provide them with further products or services.
Taking Court Action
There are two options when it comes to legal action and the one you select is based on the amount owed. The first option is to go through the small claims court. This option allows you to mediate with the customer and reach a conclusion that you are both happy with. The resolution will normally be the customer paying the debt along with interest and fees such as court costs.
The other option is to work with a debt collection agency. This can take place after the small claims court as well if the customer is not keeping to the legal decision. The agency will work as a liaison and will help enforce the court decision.
There are a few steps that you can take to collect your business debt. Chasing the debt politely is the first step and you should only send a final notice after a prolonged period of lack of payment. Legal action is the last step to take and could lead to insolvency proceedings.
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