How to Handle Clients Who Just Won't Pay

Question: What is your best tip for dealing with clients who do not pay on time?

Question by: Tiffany

Follow Up Regularly

"If a client doesn’t pay by the due date of the invoice, a friendly reminder is a great way to push the issue. If they don’t pay after your friendly reminder, perhaps another follow-up is in order. Don’t let it slide—or else they may start to take advantage of you and your company."

- Heather Huhman | Founder & President, Come Recommended

Take Precautionary Measures

"Include clauses in your contracts that specify payment periods and incorporate late fees. The threat of those financial repercussions may provide just enough motivation to ensure that your client is never late with a check."

- Steph Auteri | Career Coach, Writer, and Editor, Word Nerd Pro

Give It a Time Limit

"The best way to handle clients who don't pay on time (which is almost everyone in this economy) is to give it 48 hours before you follow up. If you become too persistent, they will no longer want to do business with you after they have paid, and will not want to answer your calls. The best thing to do is to set a firm deadline, set strict boundaries and follow up after 48 hours of no response."

- Kris Ruby | President, Ruby Media Group

Charge a Late Fee

"Nip the issue in the bud. Create a fair late fee policy and send a brief, professional letter about the policy along with your next invoice. If payments are still late, make sure to enforce the late fee policy (no matter how difficult it is to do the first few times). Your clients will soon learn that you mean business."

Get Half Down Upfront

"Dealing with late/no-pay customers usually starts at the beginning of the job. If you're getting ready to work with a customer the best thing you can do is get half upfront from the start. If they don't agree to that or they can't pay it, that should tell you everything you need to know about that customer in that moment. Take care of it from the start to avoid headaches."

- Ashley Bodi | Co-Founder, Business Beware

Ditch the Bad Clients

"Unreasonable, unhappy, or delinquent clients are never going to get better. End the contract at the first sign of trouble. Also, bad clients draw in more bad clients. Start surrounding yourself with people that you love to work with. Set payment deadlines, follow up, and be clear and firm."

- Laura Roeder | Founder and Social Media Marketing Strategist, LKR Social Media

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. The YEC recently published #FixYoungAmerica: How to Rebuild Our Economy and Put Young Americans Back to Work (for Good), a book of 30+ proven solutions to help end youth unemployment.

About YEC

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

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