When you opened your business, you expected to provide goods and services in exchange for money. You understood that you may need to provide your goods or services before receiving all or a portion of the agreed upon payment. What you did not agree to is not getting paid.
Unfortunately, some of your clients or customers may not feel as if they need to uphold their end of the bargain. This means that you might need to pursue payment, which can be an uncomfortable and lengthy process depending on the circumstances.
Methods for collecting a debt
In many cases, making a simple phone call or sending a second invoice may be enough to receive payment. Staying on top of the issue while avoiding accusations of harassment may also increase the chances that you will get the full amount owed to you. However, when these sorts of methods don’t yield the desired results, you may need to employ one or more of the following methods:
- Send at least one demand letter. Retain copies in case you need to take further action involving a third party such as a collection agency or an attorney.
- Based on any information you receive from the customer or discover on your own, you may decide that offering to accept an amount less than the total amount due may be in your best interest. For instance, if a customer experiences financial difficulties, receiving at least some payment may be better than ultimately receiving nothing.
- Some small businesses hire collection agencies or go to small claims court. Depending on the amount of the debt owed to you, this may be a viable option.
- If the amount of the debt exceeds a certain amount, and you don’t want to give up a portion of it to a collection agency, you may consider filing a lawsuit.
As you can see, the options can become more involved the longer that the customer fails to make payment. That does not mean that you have to wait until the matter reaches the litigation stage to seek out legal help. Sometimes knowing that an attorney is involved in the matter provides the push that some customers need in order to send payment.
What happens after a lawsuit?
If you reach the litigation stage, you may be wondering whether it will be worth the time, cost and effort. The only way to know is to first gain an understanding of what the process can do for you. A successfully litigated claim may provide you with a judgment in your favor. The judgment could open up other avenues for legal debt collection options such as garnishments, levies and judgment liens.
To fully understand all of your debt collection options, you may benefit from a consultation with a Georgia attorney.