Tuesday, April 16, 2024

How To Deal With Customers That Don’t Want To Pay.

January 28, 2019 by  
Filed under Money/Business, Tech/Internet, Weekly Columns

(Akiit.comWhatever industry you’re in, every business owner has to deal with difficult customers from time to time. 99 percent of people have no problem paying for the goods and services that you’ve supplied but every now and again, you’ll come across somebody that just doesn’t want to pay the money that they owe. They’ll try every trick that they can to try to get around it and that’s a big problem for you. Cash flow is a big issue, especially if you’re trying to run a business on a small budget. If people aren’t paying you, you’re spending money on producing the products but you’re not getting any money coming back in. If you’re not careful, you could find yourself in a position where you’re making plenty of sales but the business is still in financial trouble. If you’re having some trouble with customers that just don’t want to pay, here are some simple ways to get the money that you’re owed.

Keep A Paper Trail

Customers will sometimes agree to pay you some money but they’ll dispute the final price that was agreed on. In this situation, you need to make sure that you’ve got the proof to back you up. If you don’t have a paper trail with evidence of all of the communication that you’ve had with the customer and solid evidence of the final price, it’s easy for them to challenge it. But if you can point them towards emails that you sent and invoices that they received, they don’t really have a leg to stand on.

It’s important that you have proper invoices as well because if you’ve just typed a quick one out, it’s easy for them to claim that it wasn’t a genuine invoice or they may even be able to forge a new one with a lower price. It’s not likely but it could happen. You can use a free invoice generator to make professional invoices for customers so there’s no excuse for not doing it. Always make sure that the invoices are signed by the customer when the price is agreed and make sure that you’re keeping your own copies as well.

If you agree on a price over the phone, immediately write a proper invoice and email it over to them so they can sign off on it. If you agree on a price and then leave it a few weeks before sending the final invoice, they’re far more likely to challenge it and claim that you agreed on a lower price.

Set Out Clear Timelines

If you just send an invoice to a customer without any kind of timeline, you’re going to be waiting months for it. You need to make it absolutely clear what money they owe and when they need to pay it by. You can send them a reminder the day before as well to make sure that they haven’t got any excuse for not paying up. As soon as the payment is due, call them up and ask why they haven’t paid it yet.

Late Payment Fees

There’s no point in setting a strict timeline for payment if there aren’t any consequences for those people that don’t meet the deadline. That’s why it’s essential that you have late payment fees in place. That way, if you do get paid late, you’ll get paid extra which will offset some of the cash flow issues that are caused by the late payment. However, you need to make sure that you’re very clear about the terms of late payment from the very beginning. You can’t just start demanding extra payments if it wasn’t agreed upon in the original contract. Make sure that it’s all there in writing and you’ve explained it to the customer clearly. That way, they can’t try to fight you on it when you charge them extra.

Don’t Be Afraid To Hassle People

A lot of businesses, especially new ones, are wary about chasing customers for payment. They worry that they’ll lose that customer and it’s better to keep the customer, even if they do pay a little late. But if you let them get away with it the first time, they’re going to keep doing it over and over and you’ll get a reputation as a pushover that gives things away for free. Then you’re going to have a bigger problem with people not paying so you need to put a stop to it right away. Don’t be afraid to keep chasing people up over the phone and email until they pay you. You might lose a couple of customers but, for the most part, you should be fine.

If a customer doesn’t pay you it can cause you some serious problems with cash flow so you’ve got to make sure that you’re collection those invoices on time, every time.

Staff Writer; Bobby Parker

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