If you’re a businessperson or entrepreneur then cashflow matters to you. Particularly if you’re starting out, having functioning cashflow could mean the difference between taking on more jobs or having to cut back.
If your cashflow is being affected by non-paying customers, there are a number of ways to remedy the problem. We’ve detailed a few of the most effective below.
Enquiry through a registered Mercantile agent
Enlisting a registered and professional mercantile agent to perform a mercantile enquiry can be one of the most effective means of getting a client to pay up. A mercantile enquiry is basically a permanent mark that will be left on the company’s credit file that will show up in any future credit checks for that company. It won’t stop them from doing business but it will let anyone see in the future that the company has had credit issues in the past. To begin a mercantile enquiry, find a good mercantile agent. They will send a formal letter to the debtor notifying them that the mercantile enquiry will be made if the debt is not settled, and if there is no action from the debtor the enquiry will be made. This can be a simple, professional way to encourage debtors to pay their bills.
Get a company credit check
One of the best remedies to these problems is prevention – and this is where a company credit check comes in. Before you begin a significant commercial relationship with any client, it is worth getting a credit check on their business. This will allow you to see key business information such as their credit score, shareholder information, associated companies and whether they have had any adverse judgments against them in court in the past. It’s an easy way to foresee any potential debt issues with your clients before they arise – and can save you a lot of time and trouble in the long run.
Negotiate clear payment terms
This one should go without saying. You should have a payment policy within your business that you adhere to rigidly – and within that should be your payment terms. They may be 7, 14, or 30 days – whatever works for you. But it is important that this information is displayed clearly on your invoices and on any other correspondence that has to do with payment. This will ensure that your clients know how long they have to pay invoices and diminish their ability to claim ignorance should any payment issues arise.
Maintain Good Relationships
You’re in business. Business is about maintaining good relationships. And good relationships go a long way to minimising payment problems when it comes to debt. Always be honest, maintain open dialogue and put in a bit of extra effort when it comes to your clients and this will come back in spades. People will always look after those closest to them first, and the same goes when it comes to payments. So look after your clients and they will look after you!
There are a number of affordable ways to make your customers pay their bills, but if you ensure that you are clear in your communication, polite but firm and focus on building good relationships you will minimise the instances of payment problems and maximise your chances of getting paid promptly, and in full.