Sometimes owning a business is incredible and a lot of fun. Other times… not so much. When your accountant flags that some of the invoices you sent out haven’t been paid in time, it can frustrate you to no end. That’s why it’s important to know what you should do when that happens! In this article we talk about what you can do to get your money back, what you can expect when hiring a debt collection agency and which things you should check out before deciding which debt collection agency is the right one for you.
Step 1: contact your debtor yourself
Sometimes, an unpaid invoice isn’t a sign of bad will. Sometimes it’s just a mistake! That’s why it’s a good idea to always call your client if you have a good relationship with them. Ask them what’s up and why they haven’t paid the invoice on time. If they admit it’s a mistake and apologise, set a new payment date.
If you can’t seem to reach your client, you can probably assume something is wrong. That’s when it’s time to hire a debt collection agency (Dutch: incassobureau) to make sure you receive the money you’re owed.
Step 2: hire a debt collection agency
You might think you can annoy your debtor into paying if you just keep on calling or emailing them, but that’s not always the case. Who knows, they might go bankrupt and you’ll never see your money! Basically it’s a good idea to let professional debt collectors handle your case.
They focus on one thing: getting your money back. They even have assets you don’t have; such as access to databases so they can figure out who’s behind a company. They can even hire a bailiff if necessary – all things you can’t do by yourself. It’s also nice to know professionals are handling your case, so you don’t have to worry about it.
Step 3: check out reviews and success rate
Before signing a contract, it’s important to always check the reviews on Google and on trusted websites (e.g. Trustpilot) to see what others think of a debt collection agency. It’s also a good idea to ask other entrepreneurs if they recommend an agency or if there’s any agencies you should avoid.
It’s also interesting to compare the success rate of a few agencies – ideally their success rates are higher than 95%! It can also be interesting to check how much they charge, but usually you don’t pay the fee, the debtor does! Make sure you know the details before you sign the contract!
P.S. Once you have found a good and trusted partner, you can count on them for a long time! Many debt collectors also offer different services, e.g. taking care of the termination of a rental agreement (Dutch: ontbinding huurcontract) when you have horrible renters.
Good luck retrieving your money – although we obviously hope you never need a debt collection agency!