8 Easy Steps to Handle Unpaid Invoices

Updated on October 3, 2019

It is stressful to wait on the client’s payment. However, this is something that you cannot practice every month. Hence, you need to strike the right balance and approach your clients tactfully to receive payments on time.

But at the same time, you don’t want to pressurize too much and simply allow your client to walk away without paying the sum. 

So, what’s that you can do?

Here check some of the easy ways to handle unpaid invoices and difficult clients so that you receive your payments without letting your clients go.

1. Define a Set Time for Payments to Clear

This is the digital era. Hence, payments can be made in just less than a minute through instant mobile payment transfer or electronically. 

If the due date for payment has just passed and you have not received your money, you may want to wait for a day or more to let the payments arrive and the transfer goes. But don’t wait for more than that and send a response mail soon after.

Sure, the time you wish to wait depends on the kind of payment methods you accept and whether it is appropriate to wait for it or not.

But make sure you don’t wait too long to get the payments clear before you reach out. This way, your client will feel that it is not a major concern to clear your payment on time.

2. Review the Contract as well as Payment Terms

Before you reach out to your client you must review the contract as well as payment terms to make it confirm that you have not made any mistakes.

It does not mean that you must check only the due date. Instead, double-check the payment terms, which you shared with the client before you take any authoritative move.

If there are chances that you have sent him a wrong date, you must find out about it right now rather than confronting it afterward to them about late payment.

3. Contact the Client

When it comes to payment, it is best to contact the client directly rather than speaking to an intermediary. Most of the times, clients will tell you the truth. However, there are dishonest clients too.

But more than that, unpaid invoices are restful of miscommunication or forgetful mind. In such cases, a brief mail is the best way to communicate.

But if you don’t get any response within 48 hours of reaching out, contact the client directly. Leave a polite and clear voicemail if they don’t answer the email.

If there is no response for another three to five days, post a physical letter to your client including details of the invoice, lack of payment, payment terms, and past attempts that you have made to contact them. This will also be a proof of your communication if things increase further.

4. Follow Another Means of Collecting Payment

If nothing works out, you might have to follow other ways of payment collection. This is important before you head towards any legal action.

5. Look for Another Business Contact

If you are a company, your first step must be to contact anyone else in the organization. There can be chances that the original contact is traveling, sick, or may not be working with the company anymore. The best point of contact is to reach someone within the company.

 6. Ask for Mediation

Conduct a fast search and you might be able to search for business mediation services, which can help you find a resolution with the client.

If your client is located within the same region as yours, you can go for a face to face meeting. However, if you function in a different area of the country, you have to go through mediation online.

7. Offer a Payment or Settlement Plan

There can be chances when your client wants to pay but for a reason, it is unable to do so. In this case, you may offer a lower payment or settlement plan. Might be your client does not have enough funds to pay the complete invoice at once. In this case, you can settle at small monthly installments.

But make sure you get everything in writing.

8. Take a Legal Action

Finally, when everything is not working, legal action is the only way to get things resolved. It is because business owners don’t have enough time to get involved in legal proceedings. If you want to take an unpaid invoice to the court, hire a trusted attorney before you move ahead with the proceedings.

Protect Yourself from Similar Future Incidents

The best way to avoid engaging in unpaid invoices is to protect you right from the beginning. The easiest way is to make the invoicing process simple and transparent for your clients. Contact the experts to avail a streamlined invoicing process for you as well as your clients.


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