What to do When Invoices are Way Overdue
When you have clients who are perpetual defaulters and have consistently refused to pay up their invoices, you must consider taking vital steps to recover your money. There are clients who have refused to pay invoices going back as far as two years or even more. You can’t afford to leave the money for them as they are an important part of your business venture and still they have shown no sign or promise of paying what is owed to you. In a situation like this, you can’t just afford to sit back and look at them expecting a miracle to happen that will push them towards paying up. What you need is action, and the actions must be definitive. In getting invoices that are way overdue, these are what we advise.
Send a Reminder
The first step we would advise you to take for the sake of sanity is to send a reminder to such clients. Write a detailed mail stating clearly the amount being owed, the project for which the amount is charged, and how long they have been owed. You can tell them the effect their overdue invoice is having on your business and why you expect them to start paying anytime soon.
Abandon Protocols in Your Follow up Letter
If the long overdue invoices are not being paid by clients after the reminder, then it is time to abandon protocol and go on full offensive. Remind the client in the follow up letter that he didn’t beg you to do a good job for you and you shouldn’t be doing same to get paid. Let such client realize that he/she is way out of line and should be ready for a legal tussle in a bid to get your pay.
Engage in Mediation
Mediation normally takes place before going to the court. You should consider mediation between you and the client. The mediation would be presided over by either a lawyer or professional mediators who have been trained for such purposes. Be forthcoming about your expectations in the mediation and ensure the defaulting client is encouraged to do same. In mediation, agreements would be made on when to pay and at what intervals the outstanding payments would be made.
Hire a Professional Debt Collector
If the client refuses to pay after mediation, then such a client has burnt all bridges that lead to amicable resolution. This should prompt you to hire a professional debt collector to help you in retrieving your money. Debt collectors are very excellent at collecting debts as they know how to hound and force people to make payments. The drawback is just that it comes at a great expense, but hey, it’s worth it.
Go to Court
You might also want to consider going to court to get your payments from a perpetually defaulting client. The court of law will surely make a mandatory and compelling ruling on how, when and what amount should be paid to you by the defaulting clients at interval. It is a sure way to get your way overdue invoices, but in doing this, all bridges would have been burnt between you and the client.
No business should go through situations where invoices are not being paid at a continuous rate. It is debilitating and discouraging, and it would surely hurt the performances of such businesses.