Business owners in Salt Lake City all do business differently. Depending on the kind of work you do, you might bill your customers directly when you perform a service, taking payment immediately. If you sell a good, you take money before you provide anything to a customer.
If you work in other industries, you might work in good faith and the invoice trade credit system. Perhaps you do the work for the client, send them a bill, and they send you a check. Most of your clients pay on time every time they have a bill due, but there is always that one client that never quite pays on time. That client is frustrating to any business owner. The one that doesn’t pay after numerous invoices, calls, and attempts to collect payment that are the worst.
When you come across a client like this, you might wonder if calling a Salt Lake City business debt collection attorney is a good idea. If you’ve never worked with one before, you probably have no idea how it works or what happens when you go this route.
You’re not alone and many business owners in the area are in the same boat. Is it time to call a Salt Lake City business debt collection attorney to help you receive payments from customers who just won’t pay their bills? These tips will help you determine whether it’s time.
The Amount of the Debt
Some attorneys will work with you no matter how much the debt is that’s owed to you. Others require the debt is at least $5,000. If you have a customer with a debt exceeding $5,000, it might be a good idea to contact a debt collection attorney. This is a significant sum of money, and business owners can’t typically afford to lose this kind of income if they work in the small business capacity.
The Length of the Debt
Now that you’ve determined the amount owed to you is significant, it’s time to determine if the debt is old enough to collect. Most Salt Lake City business debt collection attorneys recommend you do what you can to collect the debt in a reasonable amount of time. What this means is you don’t want to call their offices to collect the debt when it’s only a week old. If the client didn’t pay by the original due date three days ago, it’s not the time to contact an attorney.
Your best bet is to send a second invoice. Let the client know they didn’t pay by the time the bill was due, and add a late fee if you’d like. If they don’t make payment by the second due date on the second notice, send one more and a warning.
This third notice should be the final notice, and it should come with a warning your business has hired an attorney to collect the debt on your behalf if the client doesn’t pay the bill by the third and final due date. Late fees are perfectly acceptable to charge if you don’t receive payment in a reasonable amount of time.
If the client continues to ignore the bills coming in the mail, call that debt collection attorney. You no longer have the time to waste sending invoices, calling, and working to obtain payment. You have other clients and a business to run, and it’s time you take matters into your own hands to run it as you see fit.
Is a Lawsuit Expensive?
Now that you’re ready to call an attorney, you are asking how much it costs to file a lawsuit. First, your attorney isn’t going to file a lawsuit when you hire him or her. They’re going to attempt to collect the debt first. This entails sending a letter with the legal jargon associated with the debt, the age of the debt, and the next steps listed. It will note the bill is late for so many days or months and when the client can pay to avoid further litigation.
The attorney will not file a lawsuit until you decide this is what you want to do, and not until after the client has had enough time to pay the bill following the initial contact made by letter. If you decide to go through with litigation, the contingent rate is usually determined based on the hours used to present the case and the amount owed to your business. You can even take the fees and court costs associated with the case and roll them into the amount your customer owes you because you shouldn’t need to pay these bills if it weren’t for their lack of desire to pay. You have the right, and exercising it is a great option.