free small business advice & information

Article Index
Credit Control
Checking for Credit
Setting Credit Limits
Your Credit Terms
Everyday Credit Control
Delayed Payments
Chasing Debts
Working with Big Companies

Credit Control

5. Delayed Payments

Customers will often try to delay payment. This may be a danger signal or it may just be because they want to improve their own cashflow at the expense of yours.

5.1 Call the customer just before payment is due to confirm that it will be on time.

5.2 If a customer makes a part payment (payment on account), acknowledge receipt and ask for the balance.

  • Negotiate a practical payment scheme (eg regular monthly BACs payments).
  • Stop all credit until the debt is paid off.

5.3 If a customer queries one item, insist on full payment for the rest of the order. Sort out the query separately.

5.4 If a cheque is incorrect (unsigned or for the wrong amount), call to point out the error.

  • Ask for a new cheque immediately.

5.5 If a cheque bounces, don't jump to conclusions.

  • Call the customer, say what has happened and ask how the money will be paid.
  • Hold on to the cheque as evidence.

5.6 Keep records of all the problems you have with each customer's payments.

  • If customers use delaying tactics, let them know that you know what they are doing.
  • Warn customers that they may be put on stop (ie you will supply nothing more to them until the debt is paid).
  • Make sure your employees always have access to an up-to-date stop list.
BHP Infosolutions