How to avoid non-paying clients

How to avoid non-paying clients


Running a business is hard enough without having to chase up payments from your customers. Here are some measures you can take to prevent yourself from having to deal with the profitability imbalance, negative client relation, and legal ordeals that come with chasing up owed debt.

Research the customer:
Before you enter into an agreement with a client or other businesses, make sure that you know who you’re dealing with and do some research. There are government certified websites available to check whether a company is registered and legitimate. Find out about their history, make sure they are reliable, still in operation and to look for any bad reviews and other people’s experiences with them. Look out for those who ask for discounts or complain that your fees are too high. If you get the idea that the client may not pay, consider avoiding the job instead.

Have a signed contract:
Regardless of how much you trust your client, it is still a good idea to have a written contract in place so that everyone is on the same page and you have evidence to refer to in the case of a dispute or confusion. The contract should consist of the terms and agreements, payment schedule, preferred payment method, the exact product or service to be completed and late payment policy. This will encourage your client to make their payments on time, and will also come in handy if any legal action is required in the event that payment isn’t made.

Have a good invoicing system:
Make sure that you invoice customers quickly with professional and easy to understand statements. This helps you keep track of your customers and helps your customers understand the payment requirements. You can set payment terms and policies to ensure that you will be paid how you and your customer agreed.

Ask for deposits or instalment fees:
If you ask for a deposit and the client does not want to pay, it shows that they are probably not trustworthy and may not be willing to make a full payment. If the client does pay you a deposit or instalment fees but does not make a final payment, then you will not have wasted as much time and effort on this work than you would have otherwise.

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If you believe the matters discussed above are relevant to your business, please contact Darren Smith of our office to discuss further.


Darren is a Chartered Accountant with extensive experience, including working in the big 4 and medium sized firms before becoming a partner of a city based firm in 2000.

He has gained much experience and has extensive knowledge in providing business and taxation advice, superannuation planning, negotiation of sales and acquisitions of businesses and property development. His client base covers a wide range of industry groups.

Darren works with business owners to grow their businesses and create personal wealth within and outside of their business.


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