Every entrepreneur has had debtors that didn’t pay. It sucks, but it’s part of entrepreneurial life. But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do about it! You can send payment reminders, you can hire a collection agency… Unfortunately this can be a bit tricky when it’s a client you’ve worked with before and have a good working relationship. In this article we tell you how you can ask for your money without losing your relationship. In this article, you will get to know how to ask your debtor to pay without losing your friendly relationship.
- Call your debtor when an invoice gets ignored
Many people tend to assume the worst when they notice an invoice didn’t get paid. But while it’s often the case that a debtor is trying to ignore an invoice, it’s also often the case that there’s an issue on your debtor’s side.
If you usually have a good relationship with your client/debtor, we always recommend calling them first. Ask them “Hey, I don’t want to be annoying, but I’ve noticed our agreed upon fee has not been paid yet – and we’re X amount of days past our payment date.” It’s possible the invoice got lost, someone in accounting forgot, there was an issue at the bank … Let your debtor explain and agree upon a new payment date.
- Send a payment reminder
If that payment date gets ignored, it’s time to become a bit … less friendly. While your relationship with your client is important, it’s more important to get your money – especially if it’s a large invoice. Unpaid invoices can land you in a lot of financial trouble!
When you write a payment reminder, kindly but urgently request them to pay. If this reminder gets ignored, you can try once more with a final reminder (Dutch: laatste aanmaning)
If you’ve never written a final reminder before, you can ask for a collection agency to help you. They know just the formal language to show your debtor that you mean business. If you’re in the Netherlands, Credifin Nederland is a good agency.
- Let the collection agency take the next steps
When a collection agency takes hold of your case, you’re obviously way past being friendly. They’ll contact your debtor to urgently ask them to pay or they can take next steps. For instance, they can send a bailiff to seize their assets. Every case is different, so go talk to your local collection agency to learn what they can do for you.