Weather to take a minute to think...
- AuthorDavid Rogerson
We know that the British weather is an unpredictable thing. The same could be said for getting paid for the hard work you do. But what can you do to help to ensure you receive payment of your invoices?
As soon as the sun is out, the work comes in. Do you take a minute to think about such things as:
Who are we contracting with?
What rates of pay have we agreed?
What are the payment terms?
Will we be able to claim interest or costs if we have to chase payment?
There is No point in doing any work unless you are going to get paid for it. So just give some thought about the following:
- Ensure you have proper Terms and Conditions AND a contract for work in writing
- Make sure you know who you are dealing with. Is it a limited company or a sole trader? Are they financially viable or should you be looking to get some guarantees?
- Confirm ANY changes to the original agreement in writing. If you are asked to do more work and perhaps agree a different charging rate, confirm this.
- Have good office procedures in place. The quicker the invoices are sent the better. Chase up non-payment. Promises do not pay the bills, cash does.
- Be business like in your dealings. Stand firm and be prepared to instruct solicitors to chase debts if you have to.
If, despite your best efforts, payment is still not forthcoming, then you may well have to look for some help. Solicitors would normally send an initial letter of demand but be prepared to follow this up with court proceedings. This will involve incurring your own legal costs and court fees (dependent on the amount outstanding) but at that stage remember you have had NO payment.
If a Court Judgment is obtained, you will have to think about how to enforce it. It therefore helps to have some knowledge of who you are working with, what assets do they have or what other work have they on? Doing your homework at the beginning can reap rewards at this stage.
You can claim interest on outstanding monies as well as recovering the court fees and some limited legal costs. The rate of interest may well depend on what is in your Terms and Conditions.
But most of all, have a proper credit control system in place. Give this some thought, whatever the weather and try to avoid the problems that come from non-payment of your invoices.
David Rogerson provides dispute resolution, litigation and debt recovery services from our Newark office.