The best way to maximize your return on the goods and services you provide is if you do not have to involve a lawyer. I am proud of my profession generally, and I certainly believe that our firm provides excellent value to our clients; but the fact remains that the legal process is not a cost efficient way to do business if it can be avoided.
To the extent possible, make sure that your terms are clear before you start work. A written contract is more reliable than the memory of someone who owes you money. Try to arrange payment in advance.
Many times, however, advance payment is not feasible for your business model. In those cases, what is critical, is not to allow the debtor to get in too deep or for the debt to remain outstanding for too long. Your best chance of collecting is when the debt is fresh and is not too overwhelming.
What happens in many cases is that the creditor is a nice person by inclination, and it can be socially awkward to cut off services or press for payment. Maybe the creditor is a landlord and the debtor is down on his or her luck. It is the most natural thing in the world to let a month or two slide. But, it is all too easy to find that the debt has grown to many thousands of dollars, relations with the debtor have soured, and other creditors have claimed the available income and assets.
As awkward as it may be, you are generally going to be in a better position if you cut your losses and act quickly to ensure that you are paid for what you have provided. This will hopefully allow you to avoid the time and expense of lawyers and litigation altogether.
Communicate clearly with the debtor. Be clear about what you believe they owe and why. Do the math now, before your memory fades. Keep your financial documents organized. If the debtor asks for an accounting, be prepared to provide one. Be polite but firm about the need for repayment. There is no need to complicate a troublesome financial situation with emotions or a clash of personalities.
Have a collection matter in Lafayette or the surrounding counties that requires legal attention? Contact us.