What to do when a customer will not pay your invoices

Updated: 20th March 2021

When a customer will not pay your invoices, what can you do about it?

Collecting invoice payments from clients should be a simple, routine, and streamlined process, especially if you already have systems in place to provide quotes/payment agreements and invoice/ process payments in a timely manner. 

Unfortunately, regardless of how professionally your invoicing process is carried out it is ultimately up to the client to pay, and this doesn't always happen on time or as planned.

When it appears that you won't be able to get paid for the hard work you've done (or a product you've provided) it can be easy to become frustrated and overlook available options. If you're after a client who is refusing or is unable to pay you based on your agreement with them then consider the following:

Start By Issuing a 7-day Payment Request Before Taking Action

First, send them one final request for the payment containing the details of the original payment agreement you had with them. Be sure to let them know that you will be taking them to Court and filing a claim against them for the amount due if they are unable to make payment within 7 days of the request issue date. 

It may also help to remind them that they may be held liable for interest and Court fees, and that it would be much easier and less stressful for them to simply pay the invoice instead.

Customers Not Paying Your Invoices?

If the amount is less than £10,000, you can submit a Small Claims Court N1 form

Keep a copy of the payment request and if the client fails to pay it within 7 days be sure to use this documentation when you take them to Court. To begin the process of taking them to Court you can file an HMCS claim online. If the Court rules in your favour then the debtor will be required to pay what they owe you plus the cost of Court fees and interest.

If the Amount Owed is Greater than £5,000 Then Issue a Statutory Payment Demand

If the client owes you more than £5,000 then your next step should be to serve a statutory payment demand. This is a formal document that requests payment of the amount due within 21 days. If this payment request is not met then you would have grounds to present a winding up petition in Court.

We understand that delinquent invoice payments can be a major burden on a business, especially when cash flow problems are already present. 

We have helped the directors and managers of many businesses recover the funds owed to them, obtain financing, and get rid of problem debts. For a free consultation send us an email or call us on 0800 644 6080.


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