Actual Excuses received for not paying an overdue invoice for work completed:
- Business has been slow but picking up
- Kids have needs
- Ailing parents
- Recovering from surgeries
- Settling my divorce finally and freeing up monies that have been locked up
- Avoiding bankruptcy
- I need more time
My favourite excuses received include an email that was sent to me from a delinquent client who claimed that his computer crashed and he lost my contact information. What? You’re emailing me! This IS my contact information………
This excuse is almost award winning for creativity:
I sent an etransfer last week but you didn’t accept it.
I even received an email early one Saturday morning saying that the etransfer was sent yesterday and the password I need to use “will be” [insert password here]. Half an hour later, the etransfer came along. This client was 7 months overdue with a deadline of yesterday – I suppose he woke up the next day and jumped on email to “rectify”?
Non-payment will always be a challenge in business, for every business. This is such a common topic of discussion between small business owners because non-payment is really tough on a small business or new business. It’s wonderful to have compassion and give each situation careful consideration. However, the time spent chasing, reminding, waiting and feeling frustrated and disrespected is time wasted.
Make sure your business is always moving forward and evolving. It’s OK to revise policies and start new ones, such as requiring a deposit from new customers, discussing payment requirements up front, having a contract with clear payment policy and scope of work outlined.
All reminders, emails and phone call dates should be documented.
For the really sticky, overdue accounts, pass the file to a good Collection Agency. This will cost you money, and save you time. But Time is Money after all. Clear the file off your desk and out of your mind. Focus on business development and on the other valued clients – a better place to invest your time and energy.