“My client has not paid me”
If you frequently say this and you don’t have a credit control process what should you do?
We all know only too well why we start a business, and the reason is personal and differs for each and every person. However there is one goal in mind….to make something to sell or to provide a service that we will get paid for.
You have started your business, you’ve activated your Facebook, Twitter and Google+ pages, you’ve had your business cards and letterheads designed, you’ve registered your business either by registering as self-employed with HMRC or incorporating through Companies House – that’s it right? Don’t have to do anything else to do except sell, sell, sell.
BUT have you considered how your clients are going to pay you? Are they going to pay upfront, at the point of sale, are you going to ask for a deposit or are you going to do the work and then ask for payment? The method you adopt is up to you, there is no hard and fast rule. The norm if you are selling goods in a shop for example is that the customer pays at the point of sale. If you are undertaking a project that will take some time you might want to ask for a deposit upfront and ask for the balance on completion or you may do the work and then send an invoice and give 30 days in which they can pay.
Many companies, who provide a service raise an invoice, write “payment in 30 days” on the bottom and hope for the best but what happens if they don’t pay you?
You should always consider these questions:
- Do you have a credit control procedure you follow and is that procedure documented so you know what to do and when to do it?
- Do you send statements on a regular basis?
- Do you have a clause in your Terms of Business that states that non-payment may result in interest being added and/or the invoice being sent to an external debt collection agency?
If you can answer yes to all of the above, then you have placed yourself in a good position to ensure that your cash-flow is protected.
If you don’t have a credit control process, we can help you put one together using our Financial Management Service – contact us for more information.
If like many businesses you have started trading and you don’t have adequate Terms of Business in place we can refer you to a commercial specialist who can write one that is appropriate to your business – contact us for more information.