Do You Often Have Debtors that Don’t Pay Their Bills? This is What You can Do About it!

It’s very frustrating if you’ve sold qualitative products or delivered a service, but your debtor doesn’t pay your invoice. Other than being frustrating, it can also land you in all sorts of financial trouble – especially if it’s a big invoice! That’s why it’s important to take precautions and to act quickly when you notice a payment doesn’t come through. In this article, we tell you more about which steps you can take to make sure you always get paid. 

Have a paper trail of your agreements

Have you discussed certain things with your client/debtor on the phone or in person? Then it’s important that you also put everything you agreed on in an email. It’s super important to always have the most important information on paper, such as the sum of the payment, the payment term, the date of invoicing and other mutual obligations. Make sure this agreement is signed by both parties. In case something goes wrong, you always have a signed agreement to fall back on. 

Ask for a down payment

A good way to make sure you don’t get left with nothing, is to ask for a down payment when an agreement is signed. With this down payment, your debtor shows trust in you. Furthermore, if they don’t pay the rest of the bill, they’ve already paid you a bit! 

You can for instance choose to ask down payments for new clients, or for clients who don’t have a great credit check. You can skip this step if you work for a trusted client … but even they can forgo paying sometimes! 

Contact your debtor straight away when something goes wrong

While we tend to assume the worst when there’s unpaid bills, we do recommend everyone to contact their debtors first when an invoice doesn’t get paid. Maybe something went wrong in accounting, maybe an invoice got lost… Call your contact and ask them what’s up. Often, it’s just a mistake that will get fixed right away. You can also opt to send a payment reminder, but acting this quickly can put pressure on your relationship with your client. 

Send a final reminder

If your customer still hasn’t paid, it’s time to send a final reminder (Dutch: laatste aanmaning). In this reminder, you can kindly but urgently request them to pay within a new payment term. You can also let them know that you’ll take other steps in case they fail to pay you. You can draft this final reminder yourself, or work together with a collection agency, such as Credifin Nederland

A collection agency can also help you with your next step, for instance by sending a bailiff to seize their assets.