It is not uncommon for individuals, professionals and corporate entities to fail to pay their bills on time. However, companies that are not paid in a timely manner need to take steps to collect past due balances as quickly as possible. The first step is to send friendly reminders by phone or by email alerting a client that payment is due immediately. Business owners may want to remind their clients that they may be able to avoid late fees or other penalties by making payments right away.

While it is important to remain calm and professional, it is also a good idea to speak in an authoritative manner when conversing with clients who owe money. In some cases, standing up while speaking can be an effective way for a person to feel more confident about themselves. It may be a good idea to create a script to read from before contacting a client.

Doing so may make it easier to convey a message in a clear, concise and ethical manner. Sticking to a script might help a person ensure that he or she doesn’t make threats or say anything that could escalate an already tense situation. Also, be sure to send a letter or email summarizing any agreement that was reached during a phone call or online conversation.

Finally, it is vital to analyze whether the debt is a commercial or consumer debt. All efforts to collect consumer debts must comply with the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act and California’s similar Rosenthal Act.

Seeking outside help

Legal professionals who have experience with commercial debt collection matters may be able to help business owners seeking to collect past due debt balances. For instance, an attorney may be able to send letters or contact debtors on behalf of companies. Letters and calls from law firms inherently escalate the matter and increase the sense for urgency for payment. Legal counsel may also represent businesses in court if a dispute cannot be resolved through informal settlement talks or mediation. In some cases, defendants may be responsible for paying legal fees a company incurs while collecting a debt.