How To Pursue Unpaid Invoices
How To Pursue Unpaid Invoices
Providing goods and services to a customer in good faith, only then to be repaid by not being paid at all is frustrating, to say the least.
For any business, big or small, it is vital to maintain a steady cash flow. For freelancers and those who are self-employed, this is even more important. In the case of those last two, confronting a customer may be seen as an intimidating task.
The perception is that if a customer is asked to pay a debt, then they may not want to do business in the future.
Yet, the opposite is true, and no business has ever lost a customer because they were asked to pay.
The most successful businesses are those with a tight hold on their credit control.
There are many reasons why a customer won’t pay their invoice. Whilst some are valid and can be resolved amicably, others need a lot more time and attention.
This extra time takes more resources out of your business, and for some, this might not be an option.
When confronted with an unpaid invoice, there are several options a business owner can take.
Thanks to a combined experience worth hundreds of years, our team of debt collection experts know everything about how to pursue unpaid invoices.
Our in-house team of award-winning debt collection experts have listed the most effective ways of recovering an unpaid invoice.
How To Get Unpaid Invoices Paid
Here are some tips to help make sure that invoices always get paid on time.
Always remember – it is 100% appropriate to chase an unpaid invoice. This is something that every single business owner will tell you.
It is also extremely important to remain polite, calm and professional throughout the chasing process. Having an unpaid invoice is very frustrating.
Note that confronting the customer in an aggressive manner will only worsen the situation.
Set Up Clear Payment Terms
At the beginning of any agreement, payment terms should be made clear. It is completely appropriate to discuss payment at the onset of a working relationship.
It is also a key component when knowing how to pursue unpaid invoices.
This also gives all parties an opportunity to discuss this openly and professionally.
Clearly and concisely defining the terms on which your services are based will help the customer understand their obligation to you. It should also rule out any confusion.
Providing the terms of your services to your customer in writing is still the best way to do this. Having them sign this agreement can solidify it.
Most businesses opt for 30-day payment terms Some larger businesses choose 60-day terms instead.
Add Late Payment Charges To Your Terms
Adding a late payment charge to your terms is an effective way of making sure invoices are paid.
This way the customer knows that there are consequences to not paying you on time. This will make them less likely to ignore your invoice when the time to pay comes.
A typical example of a late payment charge could be one of adding interest of up to 8%. Besides this, the Bank of England base rate can be applied to late payments.
As well as this, you may also choose to add a charge for any recovery costs incurred in the payment terms.
Send Payment Reminders
Sending a payment reminder is an essential part of ensuring invoices are paid on time. Yet, many smaller businesses, start-ups and freelancers hesitate to do this.
The reason for this is they perceive it as being ‘rude’ or ‘nagging’.
This perception is understandable, but should not be worried about.
For instance, 90% of payment reminders are welcomed by customers.
Sometimes, people simply forget to pay. Sending a reminder can prompt them to pay, resolving the matter amicably in a professional manner.
This most commonly takes the form of an email or letter. It should be worded professionally and politely. It should remind the customer of their payment obligation.
There may be a reasonable explanation of why the customer has not paid. Sending a reminder can go a long way to help open communications to resolve the issue.
A reminder can take place over a few different communications and channels. Each reminder has a different chance of success. Sending many reminders is helpful, as busy customers may not have seen previous ones.
Speak To The Customer On The Phone
If reminder emails and letters have failed to resolve the matter, it is advisable to speak to your customer on the phone.
Directly engaging the customer this way will leave them little option but to speak with you. It will provide answers to questions you may have had, and give you a clear idea of whether they intend to pay or not.
Once again, the conversation should be professional and polite. You should maintain the moral high ground throughout.
This is sometimes helpful for customers who are especially busy – many business owners know how quickly an email box can fill up!
How To Pursue Unpaid Invoices – Other Options
If you have tried the steps above and the invoice is still unpaid, it is time to look for more options. This is a critical point in the recovery process.
Don’t forget, you have supplied goods or services to your customer, you are entirely correct to want payment.
Many people choose to go down the court path to recover their money. Whilst this is a perfectly viable method to get an unpaid invoice paid, it comes with no guarantee of success and is extremely expensive.
Legal fees are usually charged in the hundreds of pounds per hour, and the whole process is extremely time-consuming. Often, it can take thousands just to get a CCJ, which still needs to be enforced at further expense.
Using a Debt Collection Agency
If your overdue invoice has exceeded the payment deadline, and your customer has ignored all reminders, it is now unpaid.
At this point, it is a fact that the customer is in debt to you.
There are many options for recovering your debt, but by far the best option is to use a debt collection agency.
A debt collection agency will be able to recover your unpaid fees in the most professional, expedient and low-cost manner possible.
They will represent you and your business, and so it is important to make the right decision when choosing an agency.
As well as this, you should read their payment terms and conditions carefully. Unfortunately, there are many agencies whose business models rely on locking clients into expensive lifetime contracts.
Instructing a Debt Collection Agency – Frontline Collections
Frontline Collections is the UK’s leading provider of debt collection services to small businesses and private individuals. It is the best option for those asking themselves how to pursue unpaid invoices.
Our award-winning service is fully comprehensive, transparent and highly rated by our clients.
Our recovery rate is 90% on all undisputed debts, making it one of the highest in the country.
As well as this, all clients are given a free appraisal of their debt, assessing its viability before any action is taken.
Some benefits of our service include:
- Low costs, low commission rates
- All letters, Emails, SMS & telephone calls
- Debt Collection Officers to visit debtors
- Legal mediation & Investigation
- Free initial tracing of absconded debtors
- Expert Negotiation & Repayment schedules
- Regular Progress reporting
For more information on how we can help to pursue unpaid invoices, speak to one of our friendly debt collection experts today.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is The Cost To Use Your Services?
We operate the Lowest Commission rates from only 8% for Personal Debts. We provide a Free Legal assessment to ensure the debt is legally valid and collectable. Each debt is taken on its own merit. Our service is also a Low Fixed Fee.
Where Are Frontline Collections Based And Do You Offer Nationwide Debt Collection Services?
Our Head office is located in Manchester and we have Collection offices Nationwide. Manchester, London, Scotland & Lancashire as well as a Nationwide Network of Collection Agents. We provide a truly Local and Nationwide Debt Collection service.
Does Your Debt Collection Service Have A Minimum Debt Value That You Will Collect?
We can usually deal with Legally valid debts from £250+ but sometimes help with smaller ones depending on the circumstances and volume.
Does Your Debt Collection Agency Help Individuals As Well As Businesses?
We have helped thousands of Individuals recover what is owed to them. From Personal loans given to unpaid invoices for services provided, we can help
Does Your Debt Collection Agency Collect Private Debts?
Yes, we are the leading solution for collecting Debts owed by individuals. As the No1 for Private Debt Collection in the UK, we have helped thousands of People and Businesses collect what is owed to them.