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As a business owner, your services are what sustains you. While working with customers and clients can be a great experience, encountering one who doesn’t pay you back is terrible. We understand the frustration and the constant reminders of lost time and money. While at first it’s okay to give them some time along with the benefit of the doubt, after a while your instincts don’t lie. If someone owes you money, it’s best not to wait too long before taking action.

If someone owes you money, you don’t have to immediately turn to legal action, however. Not only is it expensive, but time-consuming and often seen without results. However, there are several options available for you to try before hiring a professional debt collector, and we at Southwest Recovery have compiled a list of 4 things to do if a client or customer doesn’t pay you.

Also see: New Debt Collector Rule for the Modern Age

1. Resend Invoices and Follow Up

If your client or customer doesn’t respond to their invoice, send another one. By sending the same invoice, it won’t seem overbearing or personal. If your client or customer doesn’t respond to your repeated invoices, follow up personally. This could be in the form of an email or phone call. 

For the first follow up, we recommend sending a professional—yet direct—email. That way, you can have a copy for your records. After, follow up with a personal phone call and leave a direct message. If you still don’t hear back from them after some time, there are more options available to try.

2. Contact via Social Media

After resending invoices, emails and phone calls it may be time to take the next step. Most companies, as well as individuals, can be found on social media. Whether it’s Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook, reaching out on social media can be effective in grabbing the attention of your non-paying client or customer.

Most social media platforms have direct messaging (DMs), and this is where you can send your next follow up. Politely send a message detailing their account and missing payments, and kindly ask for them to get back in touch with you. The friendlier you sound, the better. Although we know it’s difficult not to get frustrated or angry, it’s important to maintain professionalism. After all, you are representing your company.

3. Send an Attorney’s Letter

If your client is still silent after reaching out via emails, phone calls, and even social media DMs, chances are they went AWOL. At this point, it’s a good idea to try drafting an attorney’s letter. When you send a letter written by an attorney, it sends a strong message to your MIA client that you are serious about getting your money back.

With this type of legal action, your client may feel compelled to make a payment, or at least contact you. Do some research on fees for attorney’s letters or search for a freelance lawyer. Depending on your situation, you may even qualify for legal aid when hiring an attorney.

Related: How to Find That Ex Tenant and Collect

4. Hire a Collection Agency

If all else fails, hire a professional to collect your debt. When you hire a collection agency, you dramatically increase your chances of getting your money back. Collection agents are trained and licensed professionals who understand how to reach a missing person. Your primary focus is running your business, and a collection agency’s primary focus is recovering your debt. Not only are collection agents trained professionals who know the best techniques to find and collect money from debtors, but they pose a much greater threat to debtors than you do.

Additionally, most collection agencies are contingency-based, which means you don’t have to pay upfront until you get your money back. This could save you a lot of money when compared to going to a small claims court and paying attorney fees.

Southwest Recovery

We are a nationally recognized full-service collection agency. We’re primarily located in Dallas, Texas with offices in Austin, Houston, San Antonio, and Oklahoma City. Southwest Recovery Services helps companies across a wide range of industries—including medical, apartment, retail, and utility—collect the money they are owed in a responsible, ethical manner. If someone owes you money, don’t wait any further. Contact us today to get started collecting what’s yours.