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There was a time when there was a hashtag doing the rounds on Twitter that said #GetPaidNotPlayed. The tweets contained loads of stories about people not paying invoices from a whole host of contractors and small businesses.

The estimate was that the businesses involved in the trending hashtag were owed a total of £16 million. The worst thing about the stories was that a lot of the invoices remained unpaid because the businesses were too frightened of deterring business if they put too much effort into chasing up the debtors.

What Options Do Businesses Have When Clients Stop Paying?

There is a myriad of reasons clients give for not paying their dues. Number one is that they are allowed to get away with ducking out of debts. If clients believe the business they owe has little or no experience of pursuing legal action or debt collection, they may put that payment at the back of their cash-flow queue.

There are many other, more understandable reasons for non-payment, including not being capable of paying. Whatever, even if there no signed contracts to help ensure clients make payments, there are still ways to recover unmade payments.

Regular & Clear

Following up is necessary. Contacts with clients should be friendly and stern. A phone call or a repeating an invoice with a covering note may be all that is required to prompt payment. It's possible the client didn't see the original communication. It's also possible they have an issue with the work or dispute the amount charged. Clearing up any of these communication breakdowns could well be all that'is needed to get paid.

It is a good idea to treat business relationships like personal relationships. A level of trust and clear communication are fundamental. To avoid people not paying invoices to consider:

  • Having a Written Contract
  • Setting Standard Payment Terms
  • Instigating regular billing and account reviews
  • Maintaining regular contact

Invoicing that is sporadic and agreements that are unclear cause confusion and lead to unpaid accounts.

What If They Still Don't Pay?

If clients completely ignore you or refuse to pay, there are still plenty of options for debt collection to recover part if not always all, of any amount that is due.

The quicker a defaulting account is sent to a collections agency, like RAB, Inc., the more likely it is that the client will pay the invoiced amount.

Debt collection agencies can also offer to discover what the cause of non-payment may be. They can also help negotiate different, more achievable payment terms. The aim is wherever possible to recover the debt but retain the business relationship intact.

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