Many of today’s independent contractors have a hard time securing timely payments from clients. If you count yourself among them, you may have first-hand knowledge of how much of a struggle this may be. In some cases, you may have clients who fail to pay you for the work you do at all, and this may leave you wondering whether you have any potential recourse against them.
While it is frustrating when clients fail to pay you for work performed, there is some good news. You do have several options available to you as far as potential recourse, and they may include the following.
If you are working with a relatively new client, or a client who generally does pay on time, but has not paid you for a particular project, you may want to start by being persistent. Send regular updates about past-due balances. Consider assessing late fees on past-due invoices, if your agreement allows you to do so.
Drafting letters of intent
If your persistence fails to pay off, consider drafting and sending a letter of intent about your future plans. Maybe those plans involve reporting the debt to a credit or collections agency, or perhaps you plan to have an attorney take over your efforts to collect on the debt.
Taking your claim to court
If neither of the above options help get things dislodged, you may need to take things a step further. Depending on the size of the amount owed to you, you may want to take your client to small claims court. If the amount owed to you exceeds what a small claims court handles, you may need to take your case to civil court. If you have any desire to continue the relationship with the non-paying client, you may want to opt for dispute mediation, which may be a less-adversarial method of attempting to collect what your client owes you.