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Clients haven't paid, what are my options?

  • Blog
  • 23 November 2017

Getting paid for any work you carry out, and – importantly - getting paid on time, is crucial to successfully run and develop your business. Lapsed payments can cause cash flow problems, which can hinder business growth and the way your company operates.

So, if a client is running late with your payment, what are your options?

Clients haven't paid, what are my options?


If you’ve invoiced for work and the payment date you’ve specified has been and gone, you’re in a position to chase up payment with a client.

Initially, this could be a simple phone call or an email, where you just reiterate that you need to receive payment before you release any completed work to them, for example. Or you could reiterate the terms of your contract with the client and inform them that you don’t want the situation to escalate beyond them paying late.


If a simple reminder doesn’t work, you have a number of other options. These  include stopping all future work that you’re doing for your client until existing bills are paid. You could also notify your client that a final deadline for payment has been imposed, informing them that failing to meet it will result in legal action being taken.

It’s important that you keep your client notified of the steps you’re taking. A letter is usually the best option as it  means both parties will have a written record of any action being taken.

It would  also serve as evidence if you have to progress from chasing non-payment to pursuing legal action against a client.

Debt recovery

If all other avenues have failed, initiating a debt recovery process can help you recoup any money and compensation that’s owed to you.

This often results in one of two actions being taken:

  • Firstly, going through a small claims court. This allows for mediation between you and your client to reach a solution. Normally, the client is ordered to repay any debt, interest and fees owed to you as a result of non-payment.
  • The second option involves a debt collection agency. This is usually a third party who can be called upon to enforce any decisions made in court, for example, if the client is unable to pay any fees and costs you are owed. This can lead to the client entering into insolvency and bailiffs being called in to retrieve assets, equalling the amount owed to you.

How can FSB help with your business’s debt recovery?

Late payments can cause your business financial problems, which can hinder your ability to operate and even damage your relationships with clients.

To help businesses recover debts, FSB offers access to a debt recovery service as part of its Business Essentials package.

This service includes features designed to help businesses with recovering debt, including:

  • Exclusive FSB Debt Recovery platform, which is accessible all year round
  • Additional services, including collection, recovery, tracing and insolvency services 
  • A dedicated debt recovery helpline

To find out more about how FSB could help your business recover debts, please visit our FSB Debt Recovery page. Or to see how else our Business Essentials package could help your company thrive, visit our package comparison page.

FSB Debt Recovery from FSB

FSB Debt Recovery gives you the opportunity to recover 100% of the money you are owed and in most cases this costs absolutely nothing

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