How to Get Your Money Back ASAP when You have Unpaid Invoices


Being your own boss can be incredible. The entrepreneurial life isn’t for everybody, but if you like making your own decisions without anyone telling you what to do, it can be awesome. For many entrepreneurs, sending out invoices is fun. And it’s even more fun when you see the money coming in… But every now and then, you might notice one of your clients isn’t paying their invoice. Annoying! In this article, we’ll teach you how to get your money back ASAP.


Step 1: Call your debtors straight away

Do you notice one of your invoices isn’t paid on time or does your accountant signal that something is up? Then it’s important to act fast. You never know if your debtor is going bankrupt – and then you want to be one of the first ones to collect money!


We recommend calling your debtor straight away if it’s a bigger fee or emailing them if it’s a small fee and you have multiple debtors that are late with payments. If you call them, explain the situation and let your debtor(s) explain. Sometimes accidents happen – for instance the bank is late in processing a payment. The fact that they’re late with their payments doesn’t always mean they chose to ignore your invoice.


During your call, discuss the new payment term and email them straight after your call to make sure you have the agreed upon payment term in writing.

Do your emails bounce? Or does the phone keep ringing for days on end? Then you can assume your client is ignoring you or something happened. In that case, it’s important to be paid before a company goes bankrupt, for instance. Time to call in the help from professionals!


Step 2: Hire a collection agency

Hiring a collection agency (Dutch: incassobureau inschakelen) is a great idea if you want to get your money back quickly. Collection agencies have experience in acting fast, for instance by finding out who owns a company exactly and sending a bailiff to that person’s house to seize assets. Your agency will be able to tell you which steps to take.


Finding a good collection agency can be difficult – the industry also has a bit of a bad reputation, so it’s important to choose a good one. We recommend checking out the Google Reviews and see what other clients think of them. Maybe even ask around in your network, for instance on LinkedIn. Once you’ve found a good one, call them up or arrange a meeting with them. Always ask their success rate of the previous year, good agencies will have no issue telling you their numbers. And before you sign a contract: make sure you know what their payment system is. Some agencies ask a flat fee when they start working with you, others work with the ‘no cure no pay system’ (Dutch: incassobureau no cure no pay). This means that you only pay a fee (usually a percentage of the retrieved amount) when they’ve been successful in getting the money back. Let’s be real: it would be annoying to pay a flat fee and then your agency can’t even get your money back!


Good luck with recovering your funds!


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