Blog Post

My client refuses to pay, what should I do?

Debt collection is never fun. If, however, your client refuses to settle the amount of the agreed invoice when you have fulfilled your part of the contract, you will have to initiate proceedings. Managing invoice collection is an essential step in keeping your sole proprietorship afloat.

When you start in the world of freelancing, you tend to trust any client and it can happen to fall on a bad payer. Collecting the sums due and getting paid then becomes an unpleasant game of hide and seek where one always wonders what to prefer between an amicable or judicial type of recovery. Does a simple late payment require the involvement of a bailiff for enforcement or will you be able to make a recovery request without sending a formal notice to your client?

Check the seriousness of the customer to avoid the risk of non-payment

It is never pleasant to engage in relentless phone calls and complex legal proceedings to recover the money a customer owes you. To protect yourself from the start against non-payments, remember to check the financial situation and important information about your customer. This kind of thing is easily verifiable on the internet or by conducting a little investigation at the companies register.

Has your future client ever found themselves in the middle of legal proceedings and if so, why? Have they ever had unpaid bills and disputes with other freelancers or companies? Has their premises ever been subject to foreclosure or forced execution for unpaid rent? Basically: Is your client serious, honest and creditworthy? If you are interested in these aspects before signing the contract and paying the deposit, it is a safe bet that you will never need to use a collection company. Note that you can claim payment of deposit invoices up to 40% of the payment of the sums due from the outset.

Cases of unpaid debts: Simple non-payment or bad payer?

Invoices late in relation to the date of issue can happen, which is why an amicable phase is always necessary. The collection of debts and an unpaid invoice amicably with a due date helps to maintain mutual trust and to work together again later. Be careful, however, that debtors are not accustomed to recovery procedures, that customer reminders no longer bother at all.

Amicable collection or payment order?

Here are the 3 steps of debt collection or debt collection:

1. Relaunch of unpaid debts. It can be done by telephone reminder or by reminder letter, once the payment deadlines have been exceeded. These payment reminders may be accompanied by late payment penalties.

2. The letter of formal notice by registered letter with acknowledgment of receipt. This is the normal collection procedure in the event of late payments.

3. Last step if customer still does not pay: Obtain a writ of execution for debt collection.


The easiest way to avoid these problems is to use Spayce. No more late payments and non-payments. 

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