If you run a small business, it is inevitable that you will eventually run into a client or customer who owes you money. Often times, this is one of the most dreaded duties of any business owner. Past due invoices and past due payments are going to vary from situation to situation and from client to client. However, the same predicament always arises when you have to chase payment, how do you go about collecting money without damaging the relationships of current customers.
First, when you are trying to collect past due payments, you must keep in mind that some clients are simply unable to make a payment because of a situation on their end. Whether it be that they are strapped for cash and have no funds to pay the invoice at the current time, but assure you they will pay it in short order. Or they had an emergency that required them to take a leave of absence, you may make the business decision to give them the benefit of the doubt for some time. However, when there are not emergency type situations or you have an unresponsive client who owes you money, here are some good starting points to make the collection process much smoother and limiting any uncomfortable conversations that may compromise your relationship with the client.
Here are some professional ways to address late payments with your client:
Write a friendly reminder via email addressing the date of the outstanding invoice and make sure to have some kind words personal to the client to let them know you are following up but that you are not angry or upset, but have a resolution in mind.
Use an invoicing application that automatically sends out reminders to clients who have not paid, that way the reminds are coming from a billing system and not directly from the point of contact.
Extend a one-time courtesy to them to encourage them to pay, such as a waiver of late fees if paid by a date certain.
Keep in mind that talking about a late payment does not mean that you are having a confrontation with a client. If the talk surrounding the late payment is professional to the point and courteous, the client will not feel defensive. Keep in mind that these types of discussions are a necessary evil that must be dealt with by any successful business. In the event a late payment goes from delinquent to severely delinquent, contact IllinoisAttorney.com to assist you in the collection of your debt. We have over 20 years specializing in debt collection and our goal is always towards resolution and making sure our clients stay successful in their business ventures.