Hiring a Utah business debt collection attorney is not a decision business owners make lightly. The decision to put money into collecting a debt means the debt is substantial, and the payment quite late. It’s not an easy decision for business owners who aren’t sure they’ll ever collect a debt to spend even more money on a customer who hasn’t proved they are a great client. If you own a business in Utah, you might understand what a difficult decision this is. While you might not hire a Utah business debt collection attorney for a $500 invoice someone never paid for work you did, you probably will hire one for a much larger payment that hasn’t been received. Your business is your baby, and you deserve to have the payment you’re due.
Before you make the decision to hire a debt collection attorney, you should know when the time is right. There’s a chance you could be premature hiring legal representation, but you certainly don’t want to wait too long to receive payment.
When is the Best Time to Hire a Collection Attorney?
There is no black or white answer to this question, but there is a lot of gray areas. It depends on the amount of the debt, the kind of business you own, and your own personal feelings. There is no law that states you can’t hire a debt collection attorney when it’s only been a month since you sent a bill. This is premature, but it’s your decision.
The ideal time to hire a collection attorney is when you’ve exhausted your other options. You’ve sent an invoice, and it’s been ignored. You send a second notice because you just assume your client didn’t get the bill in the mail, or they were out of town, or they misplaced it and it slipped their mind. After all, how many times have you forgotten to pay a bill that’s not an everyday expense because it’s not part of your standard routine? It happens all the time.
When that bill goes unpaid, you send a third and final notice. Many business owners mention on this final notice they will seek legal action if the payment is not made immediately upon receipt. You might not want to take it to the legal level, but some clients make it impossible to avoid this. Now is the best time to contact a collection attorney to begin working on your case.
What Does a Collection Attorney Do?
Your collection attorney is not immediately taking your clients to court and suing them. In fact, your attorney is doing almost exactly what you’ve been doing, but they’re doing it on legal paper. Your attorney will draft a formal demand letter. In this letter, the attorney will include information such as the date the work you did was provided, the date the invoice was sent, the original due date, and the fact that subsequent bills and final notices were also sent.
The letter will also provide the client a specific amount of time to pay the bill before the attorney takes the case to court and files paperwork to begin a lawsuit. It’s an innocuous letter, but it’s on the letterhead of an attorney’s office, which is what it takes to make your customers pay attention. If they’re unfamiliar with the law, many might assume they are going to jail or their credit will be ruined if they don’t pay this bill. The best news is payment is often quickly received once the attorney begins working for you. The worst news is your attorney will take the client to court, and the fees that are associated with a lawsuit are passed on to the client and a judge orders immediate payment.
Working with an attorney makes life a lot easier for business owners. Your time is very precious to you, and you don’t have a lot of free time to spend issuing invoices and making calls to people who aren’t willing to pay their bills. You already did the work for them, and they still haven’t paid you for it. You don’t want to spend any more time focusing on that person and their account, so an attorney will do it for you. Now you get your time back, and you can focus on things that really matter.
If you’re not sure hiring a collection attorney is right for you, ask some of your fellow business owners if they’ve ever used one. Remember, this is a very specialized area, best to use a broker or a firm like Stevens & Ricci to assist. It might not be a subject they bring up in casual conversation, but they might be willing to discuss their cases with you if you ask. You never want to find yourself in a situation where this is necessary, but you also don’t want to forgo being paid by customers who owe you money for work you did for them.