5 Steps to Take When Customers Don’t Pay Their Bills
For any business to work, customers need to pay their bills. When customers don’t pay their bills, your business suffers. Sometimes it can be a simple oversight, and they can handle it quickly. But sometimes, legal action has to be taken to ensure you get your payment. If a customer has not paid or refuses to pay their bills, there are steps you can take to get the money.
1. Contact the Customer
First, when a customer misses a payment, you need to contact them. Most of the time, a customer will not miss a payment on purpose. Some reasons a customer may miss a payment include family emergencies, being out of town, or not receiving the notice. Reaching out to the customer allows you to remind them about the missed payment, find out their current circumstances, and set up a payment plan if needed. To make contact, use the form of communication you have on file, which could be their email or phone number. Sometimes all the customer needs is a reminder.
Persistence doesn’t mean you need to be aggressive, but it means you should keep contacting them until they pay. The more you contact the customer, the more irritating you will become. This is a good thing because it will make the customer think it will be easier to pay you or set up a payment plan than to keep ignoring your calls.
No one enjoys pestering people to pay their bills. Be understanding but firm. Things happen in life that may make it harder for a customer to meet their obligations. And while you understand this, you still need them to pay their bill.
3. Charge Late Fees
If you have ever had to pay a late fee on your bills, you know how irritating they can be. No one wants to pay them. Make late fees part of your policy or terms of service, so customers have to agree before starting the service. This way the customer can’t say they didn’t know.
4. Contact a Lawyer
Pursuing legal action is a step you can take. Consider this step after you have contacted the customer frequently about their bill. If they still won’t pay, it is time to hire an attorney. A law firm can reach out to customers and request payment. This may be enough to get the customer to pay their bill. If not, a law firm can help you pursue legal action.
5. Collection Agency
A collection agency can handle debts that are over 90 days overdue. If you have tried to contact the customer and haven’t gotten a response or can’t take legal action, a collection agency may be your best bet. Working with an agency, you will either give them a percentage of the debt or pay a fee upfront. If you choose this option, research the agency first to ensure you pick one who has the experience and is professional.
No one wants to have to force people to pay their bills. While you don’t want to hound a customer to make sure you receive payment, the above steps can ensure you receive the money they owe you.