Try as you might to avoid invoice disputes and non-payment situations with your customers, you may eventually find yourself ready to call a lawyer when you need to collect overdue invoices from customers.Those hourly charges from your lawyer add up though and many of those hours are spent gathering information about the invoice and customer in question. You already have that information, so before you hire them on for the job, pull all the info together to give them a head start on the case and save yourself some billable hours.
Related reading: Thinking of Suing a Customer for Unpaid Invoices? Do This First.
Information to gather before you call your lawyer to collect overdue customer invoices:
- Ensure that you have done all that you can to collect the invoice on your own.
- Take a look at your internal credit files, sales files, correspondence, and reports as they relate to the invoice/customer in question.
- Talk with the sales person responsible for the account about any problems that occurred or conversations they had with the customer related to invoice disputes, credit issues, or delivery of products/services in question.
- Based on all of that information, come up with the exact amount owed and supporting documentation of that number. This final number would include late fee charges, etc. assuming this language was in the contract that your customer signed.
- Pull together all of the relevant facts, information, and documents into a very well organized folder or document.
- Finally, prepare a brief summary of the situation and contact your attorney with the above materials. The summary should include all the relevant facts and documents, any possible counterclaims, setoffs, defenses, etc. as well as your analysis of the account and any suggestions about achieving a favorable resolution.
Related reading: 8 No-Nonsense Questions Before Suing for Unpaid Invoices
Was it difficult to find all of that information? If you’re digging through old email chains and spreadsheets to gather it all, there is a better way to centralize, organize, and report on all of that information. Learn more here.
Now that you’ve gotten your information together and submitted it to your lawyer, the rest is up to the courts; so while that is being sorted out, think about how you wound up in this situation in the first place. Why was this invoice so hard to collect? Did you know you were taking such a large risk in extending them credit? Business credit management and invoice collection is not easy, but there are some best practices you can follow to avoid this situation in the future. Download our guide below to learn more.