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How many times do you chase an unpaid invoice?

Reasons to choose Wilson Browne

In a recent snap poll survey of his connections on LinkedIn, Partner Kevin Rogers found that 26% of businesses chase 4 or more times before doing anything about an unpaid invoice… and worse than that 7% admitted to doing nothing at all.

“Cash flow is both King and Queen to your business!” argues Kevin. “It’s not a question of fat cat profits, without cash you cannot pay your bills and will not stay open.

It is your lifeblood, this is really serious – and from my own experience of over 20 years in law, I believe the true figures would be even bleaker”.

Kevin recommends starting at the beginning.

“You need to make sure that you actually have a written contract: what do your terms and conditions say about payment, and time for payment. Is that matched on the invoice itself?

Be consistent. If you say 14 days are you chasing on day 15> if not why not? Decide if you will chase once, twice, three times whatever works for you. Decide the time gap between those stages, and what the message will be each time.

Will you email? Ever call? Why not? A call is much easier to explore issues, to sort a mistake, or perhaps to agree to installments. A sensible payment plan with a well-meaning customer that sticks to it is better than a court case in almost every case.”

But what is next?

“Where is your line in the sand? At some point, if you are not paid you need to take action. You can write your own demands, but they need to comply with the relevant pre-action protocol.

Can you claim statutory costs, compensation and interest? You can use an agent, but we would always recommend a properly regulated solicitor.

Whoever you use are they charging you a fixed process? Are they on a percentage? Is that right for you? (What if the fixed costs are low and the prospects of recovery are decent…why are you giving away a huge part of your claim?)

A proper process is something to fall back upon when the ‘important client’ (who never pays) is on the phone, especially if you have members of your team handling it for you.

Knowing what you will do, and when, and who you will turn to when you need to send the first legal demand is vital. Don’t be in the 26%…get your system sorted, from the ground up, and get paid.”

Kevin Rogers is the firm’s Chairman and heads up the Commercial Business Unit. Wilson Browne Solicitors have debt recovery packages that start at £10 plus VAT per letter, with minimum fees from £100 over a 6 month period to chase multiple invoices, terms apply, please see our Debt Recovery page for details.

Kevin Rogers

Posted:

Kevin Rogers

Partner

Kevin is a Partner in our Commercial Litigation Team, Chairman of our Board of Management and leads our Commercial Business Unit, with responsibility for the overall supervision of the Commercial Teams’ work. Having qualified as a Solicitor in 2001, he advises on complex commercial disputes…