You spend time and money bringing in work, more time and money making sure you have the right staff to do the work, more time and money on the necessary materials and equipment to do the job and more time and money sending out an invoice for the work done.
You would hope your client would take the little bit of time to pay the bill for the work you asked them to do. Normally they do but more often than you'd hope, they don't. What can you do to encourage full and prompt payment from your clients, and in the event they don't, ensure you have effective remedies to enforce against them?
The first step is to make sure your clients know what your payment terms are as soon as, if not before, they sign up for your services. We recommend providing a set of your terms with any written quotation, as well as having them on your website. In any event you should always send them a copy as soon as you have agreed to do the work. This way they have no excuse for not knowing what the terms are.
A clear set of terms and conditions should specify:
The law was updated earlier this year to benefit companies who are owed money by commercial clients. Under the Late Payment of Commercial Debts Regulations 2013 not only can the creditor claim interest on the debt, they can also claim reasonable costs incurred in recovering the debt beyond the fixed fees that could already be claimed.
This means that you can pursue a debtor with some confidence that the process of chasing the debt isn't going to cost you more than the debt is actually worth.
If your company has a reputation for not chasing debts then it is more likely that you will be taken advantage of. Pursuing a debt does not have to be expensive (the online process for claims under £5,000 is very useable) and it sends a clear message that if you are not paid you will take action.
If you have other remedies under your terms and conditions these can be used too, such as recovering goods you have supplied but retained the title to until payment is made in full.
This is an additional cost for your business but if you are dealing with a new client and would have to make a considerable outlay to fulfil your side of the contract before you get paid it will be a prudent step and may cause you to reconsider your payment terms in a particular case.
By Guy Woodcock
If you don't have Microsoft Office, or Microsoft Word installed on your PC or Mac, don't worry - you can still use our products. You can get a free alternative from Open Office.
Open Office Org is open-source developed alternative to Microsoft Office, developed by a large software company called Oracle. Open Source means the company who build the software, allow 100% use of it, 100% free.
Since Open Office is specifically developed to be exactly the same as Microsoft Office, with all the same programs in the suite (Eg: Word, Excel, Access and Power Point) - it will freely open any Microsoft Office file-format. Meaning, just because a document was written in Microsoft Word, doesn't mean it can't be opened in another program. Open Office will do that, and vise versa.
To download and install Open Office;