Being an entrepreneur is incredible. You’re your own boss, you can pitch sales to potential clients and make good money. The benefits of being an entrepreneur are endless! Unfortunately, there are some downsides as well, for instance when a debtor doesn’t pay the money they owe you. That’s not only frustrating, it’s also something that stays in the back of your mind, which is annoying! Before you know it, you’re checking your bank account all the time whether or not the money has come through. In this article, we talk about ways to make sure you’re always paid for your work.
1. Have a clear, signed contract
This might seem like a no-brainer, but almost every entrepreneur gets talked into doing something without a contract … once. Maybe someone you used to go to college with asks for a favor or maybe someone from your dad’s church needs your expertise and you decide not to make a contract for it. Because, hey, you know them! We recommend not to do that, because a contract gives you something to come back to if you end up arguing, for instance about the fee you ask or the fixed payment terms.
2. Big job? Ask for a down payment
If you work on something for a longer period of time, it’s extra painful if you don’t get paid. But luckily it’s quite normal for big jobs to have a down payment. You can even put this in your contract! As an entrepreneur, getting a down payment gives you the trust that your partner won’t bail on the contract half way through, while they know you’ll work extra hard to show that their sign of trust was worth it.
3. Act fast when bills aren’t getting paid
Many entrepreneurs aren’t too fond of paperwork, which we understand. Filing taxes and making invoices isn’t the most exciting part of your job, but it’s a very important one nevertheless! Make sure you know when your bills should be paid, so you can check if the money has come in. If this isn’t the case, take action straight away! We recommend you start off by calling your debtor if there was an issue – often an open bill isn’t a sign of bad faith, but just an accident. Give your debtor a new deadline if they promise to pay asap. If you can’t reach them by phone, send them a payment reminder mail and keep track of when you’ve sent this. If you can’t reach your debtor after a few tries, it’s clear that they’re avoiding you. Then it’s time to get out the big guns.
4. Make a collection agency get your money back
If all of your tries to reach your debtor have failed, it’s time to let the professionals handle this; it’s time to hire a debt collection agency (Dutch: incassobureau). A debt collection agency (Dutch: incassobureau) knows exactly how to collect money from debtors, for instance by suing them or tracking them with their databases. Before you choose an agency, check out their reviews on Google! If you for instance live in Groningen, googling ‘incassobureau Groningen’ should do the trick.
We hope you can collect the money you’re owed soon!
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