Ask for Your Money or Fail!
By Dr Paul E Adams | November 30, 2004
If someone owes you money, can you ask for it? If you dislike nudging slow paying customers, better get over it or you may have to get out of business. The cliché "a squeaky wheel gets the grease" is appropriate if you wish to get paid.
And be sure that that whenever you sell on credit, you immediately send an invoice. It is a wise policy to insure that no service ever be performed or merchandise shipped without an accompanying invoice. In fact, send a duplicate as many customers find it helpful to receive two copies, one to keep for their records and the other to send with their payment.
Besides invoices, you should send monthly statements listing your customer's payments and all unpaid invoices. You will find some customers may not keep accurate records, even losing or forgetting to record your invoices. Sending statements will also alert your customers that you are aware of outstanding invoices and you expect prompt payment. If you don t, you are inviting exploitation by unscrupulous customers. Statements are worth the time and postage.
To collect your money, you will find that you must also aggressively manage your receivables with consistent collection activity. Here are some tactics that work:
- As soon as payment is past due, send a copy of the invoice to the customer with a notation requesting their check.
- When you send out the statement, circle the past due invoices .
- You will discover that a handwritten note on a statement or invoice is more effective than computer printed messages or past due stamps and stickers.
- Call your customer asking when you may expect payment.
- Tell your customer that you have some large bills coming due, and you will appreciate a check. This technique can be effective if not used too often.
Try these tactics:
- Telephone your customer, demanding a check and threaten to turn the account over to a collection agency.
- If your customer claims to have no money- ask for a post-dated check. If the check bounces, file charges.
- Visit the customer and demand immediate payment.
- Have your attorney send a letter demanding payment, or you will begin legal action.
- Consistent and frequent follow up calls will usually get your money.