Uh, sorry to bother you, but could you please pay me?
Sound familiar? This is to be expected, as Israel is not known for its respect of payment deadlines between professionals.
However, there are several methods that can make your life easier when it comes to customer collection.
How do you get what you're owed?
Unaware of their rights, most companies often hesitate to claim what is rightfully theirs, for fear of losing their customers.
Yet statistically, the longer you wait, the less likely you are to get paid. Not to mention the fact that you're setting a precedent in your relationship with your customer that may encourage him to push a little further each time...
No need to get angry
To get paid, there's no need to get worked up. A few common-sense rules are often all that's needed to assert your rights:
- Careful drafting of the general terms and conditions of sale (mentioning payment deadlines and penalties for late payment, penalty clauses in the event of non-payment on the due date, indicating the applicable law) is an essential prerequisite.
- Encourage your customers to pay you promptly by negotiating minimum payment terms or deposits, and by applying early payment discounts.
- Keep a close eye on the due dates of your invoices: set up a reminder system or use computerized tools to remind your late customers as soon as the first day of payment is overdue. Don't tolerate any delays, but go about it gradually: start by sending a reminder e-mail in case it's a simple oversight, then telephone, adopting a firm and clear stance. Finally, if nothing is done, take the heavy artillery (registered letter, late payment penalties, threats of legal proceedings, etc.).
- In the event of recurring non-payment, try to understand what's causing the problem. Is it an administrative problem (invoice sent to wrong department, due date not clearly notified)? Is it economic (customer in financial difficulties)? Learn to spot the pretexts and abusive procedures used by certain companies to delay payment of their invoices.
- To avoid running into cash flow problems yourself, there are some definitive principles to follow:
- Do not accept any new contract from a customer who has exceeded a payment deadline.
- In the case of a large project for a new customer, ask for an advance or payment in instalments.
- Set up a proper accounting system and keep a close eye on your cash flow, so you don't have to wait too long before taking action.
What about you? What payment terms do you grant your customers? Do you often experience delays?
Let us know what you think, and consult with us to improve the day-to-day running of your business.