10 Top Tips for Effective Debt Recovery
Sheila Valand – Partner
We have all heard the saying…“Cash is king!”
During these unprecedented times, it is even more important to ensure your cash flow does not suffer unnecessarily. Unpaid debts will hold up your business, affect your cash flow, create uncertainty and will impact your ability to make payment to staff or creditors, causing all sorts of issues. But most importantly it will harm your reputation.
Many businesses are prioritising their debts which means your invoice may end up at the bottom of the pile. You can ensure that you remain a priority and get paid swiftly by following the top ten tips below:
- Send your invoice out promptly. There is nothing worse than waiting a week or month to send out your invoice;
- Once your payment terms have passed send a statement, this will remind the debtor that you haven’t been paid;
- Telephone the debtor, to see how they are doing and find out why you haven’t been paid, it may be that they are having some cash flow issues;
- Is there a genuine reason for non-payment? If so, see if you can resolve the matter by negotiation;
- Confirm your telephone conversation in writing as to when payment will be made, then diarise this so that you can chase again if payment is not made;
- Consider agreeing a repayment plan, if your debtor is genuinely experiencing financial difficulties;
- Monitor the repayment plan carefully, to ensure it is adhered to; chase any missed payments promptly;
- Inform your debtor that the matter will be referred to solicitors, if they fail to reply to your emails or adhere to a repayment plan, copy your solicitors (with their permission) in on emails with your debtor;
- Inform the debtor about the cost of any legal proceedings and don’t forget to include interest, compensation and legal costs incurred which will be added to the debt;
- Instruct solicitors to send out a letter of claim/letter before action. A solicitor’s letter will often do the trick.
Solicitors’ letters can be one of the most effective methods of debt recovery, and debts can potentially be pursued for up to 6 years from the date they fall due. With a commercial debt, you may also be able to recover statutory interest as well as compensation for debt recovery expenses pursuant to the Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998.
We offer a low-cost, fixed-fee service for undisputed and unpaid debts. This service is provided in stages and can include:
- Sending an initial 7-day demand for payment
- Issuing proceedings via the Money Claim Online service
- Obtaining a County Court Judgment against the debtor
- Providing a timetabled and diarised service so you don’t have to worry about deadlines
- Enforcing your debt
No matter what your situation, we can offer sensible commercial advice to help you decide on the best legal and commercial action to take.
If you are concerned about your cash flow or debts and would like an informal discussion about your options, please contact either Sheila Valand (email@example.com) or Zoe Davis (firstname.lastname@example.org ).