What if a client doesn’t pay me?

Small business owners need payment to continue providing quality service to customers. Ignoring an invoice is all too common in the business world, and if the invoice remains unpaid a business owner can choose to pursue legal action to recoup his or her losses. Before that happens it helps to recognize the signs that an invoice will likely be unpaid, as explained by Inc. 

Most business transactions are done digitally these days. Having your clients remit payment digitally is more convenient and cost-effective since no postage is necessary. That’s why it’s odd when a client insists on paying with check only. While it may be true that some people prefer this method, a check can easily bounce, which leaves you scrambling for another form of payment. If your business accepts checks, institute penalties for bounced checks so you remain financially protected. 

You should be able to get in contact with a client in a reasonable manner, especially if you’re in the middle of a project. If your calls are constantly going to voicemail and your emails are unanswered, it’s likely you’ll also have a hard time securing payment. Creating a payment schedule might be a solution in this case, as you’ll be paid as you complete agreed-upon milestones. If at some point your client fails to pay you, you won’t have wasted time on the rest of the project. 

While it’s natural that your client wants to have his or her objectives accomplished, be wary of clients who micromanage a project from start to finish. This type of client is rarely satisfied with the final product and may ask for a multiple of revisions that cost you time and money. If you feel you’ve lived up to your end of the contract and the client still refuses to pay you, an attorney’s assistance is recommended to determine the best next steps.