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When Should I Hire A Collection Agency If My Invoices Remain Unpaid?


It’s a question many entrepreneurs have probably asked themselves when they saw that one or more invoices remain unpaid. Should you try calling your client once more? Or do you call in help straight away?

In this article, we tell you more about the possibilities to collect your money.

Try contacting your client first.

We always recommend you to try contacting your client first, and asking if something went wrong. Especially if it’s a client you’ve worked with before and never had issues with, you want to tread lightly and you don’t want to destroy a partnership. 

Often, an unpaid bill has a reason. There’s an issue with the bank, the bill got lost … When you call your client and they promise to pay the outstanding amount, it’s important to discuss new payment terms. After your phone call, we recommend you to reiterate those payment terms in an email. This is proof in case the client does not pay after all. 

Call in the professionals.

When it’s impossible to reach your contact for 2+ weeks, the phone is disconnected or your emails bounce, you can assume that your unpaid invoice isn’t a mistake. Your client clearly can’t or won’t pay and tries the hardest to be unreachable.

At that point, it will only give you stress trying to reach them. It’s time to call in the professionals! While the whole ordeal might stress you out, professionals of a collection agency see a challenge. Find your debtor and make them pay! 

Together you can decide on a strategy. Most of the time, a collection agency will send a reminder in their name. Some debtors realise that they have to pay up when they receive this reminder, and then you get your money easily. Other debtors need a bit more reminding, in that case the agency can send a final reminder (Dutch: laatste aanmaning). The final reminder explains that in the next steps, the collection agency will – usually – hire a bailiff to seize their assets. 

How to find a good collection agency?

As mentioned above, we’d recommend hiring a collection agency pretty soon – you don’t want to spend months and months emailing your debtors time after time. Having a good partner can take over a lot of your workload ánd stress! 

If you’re looking for a reliable agency, take a look at their reviews or ask fellow entrepreneurs. When deciding, read up on how the collection agency handles their business. Ideally, they are capable of communicating in a friendly way, while still being great at recovering funds. For instance, in The Netherlands, Credifin debt collection agency (Dutch: Credifin incassobureau) is known for that, but you can easily find a collection agency in your area with great reviews as well.

Good luck with tracking down your debtors and recovering funds!