Working with Houston collection attorneys isn’t something any business owner wants to do. Working with a collection attorney means one or more of your clients are not paying for the services you rendered.
When you perform a service and then invoice your clients, the door is left open for them to pay you when they feel the need, and it can make you feel overwhelmed with annoyance that so much time is being spent chasing down payment you’re owed.
If you find yourself involved in a situation in which a client isn’t paying their bill in a timely manner, you might consider Houston collection attorneys as your only remaining hope. Before you call the attorney to seek legal action, there are a few things you might want to know.
Try to Collect Payment First
One mistake you don’t want to make is calling a collection attorney too soon. It’s irritating when a customer doesn’t immediately send a check with the bill they received in a day or two, but few A/P departments do. Your invoices should all come with a deadline for payment.
This allows your client a few days to transfer money and get the payment processed, or to make a trip to the post office if that’s what they need to do. It also gives you a guideline as to when they will pay you. You save yourself the stress and worry providing a deadline for payment because you know your clients will pay you by this specific date.
If the client doesn’t pay their bill by that date, then you can worry. Now you’ll send a second notice to the client informing them you did not receive payment by the due date. You can charge a late fee, write that it’s your second notice on the bill, and you can send it immediately. Don’t forget to provide a deadline on that one, either. If you don’t receive the payment by the time the deadline on the second invoice passes, it’s time to send a final notice.
You aren’t required by law to send a third notice as your final notice, but it’s pretty standard. You’ve sent one bill, then a reminder late notice, and now a final notice only makes sense. In this invoice, include information stating you are going to refer this account to a collection attorney if you do not receive payment by the due date listed.
What Happens if Final Payment is Not Received
If you send a third notice that threatens collections or legal action, most clients will send their payment or at least call you to arrange for payment options. The idea of being referred to another company in which legal action might be a real problem is terrifying to many people, so they might just forgo seeing what might happen by issuing payment.
If the client still doesn’t pay, call the collection attorney. What happens next is a team effort. Most collection attorneys send their own letter to the client. They’ll take all the account and client information from you, and they’ll use that. They’ll want the name, address, account number, and all details of services rendered and other factors before they do this.
The letter the attorney sends is going to be direct. It will outline what’s already happened and what will happen next. They might tell the debtor there is a deadline of 10 days to respond with payment or the attorney will file paperwork with the court and a lawsuit will occur. This isn’t anyone’s idea of a good time, so you might find this is when your customers pay. If they don’t, you can take them to court and get a court ordered judgment saying they’re required to pay.
Sometimes it’s easier to let a case go if it’s a small amount. You don’t want to take a client to court over a $500 bill you never received payment for. If the bill is $5,000, you definitely don’t want to give up that money. You worked and provided a service, and someone is required to pay you for that service.
The court fees and attorney fees that accrue as a result of this lawsuit can be added to the final amount due given to the person who owes you money. You have the right to make them pay for it since it’s their fault you’re in this situation, to begin with.
Calling Houston collection attorneys isn’t something you want to find yourself doing, but it is a great way to make your clients pay their bills. You are not in business to do free work for those who decide they don’t want to pay your fees, and an attorney can help remind customers of that information.