Effective ways to chase unpaid invoices

Most of the time, clients and customers pay on time, cash flow is steady and all is well. But sometimes, invoices go unpaid. Perhaps the client is trying it on; perhaps there’s a genuine reason why they’re struggling to pay. Whatever the reason, unpaid invoices can hold up your business, reduce your income and restrict your business growth. In this blog, we look at how best to chase unpaid invoices, and how to avoid the situation in the first place.

  • Late payments – prevention is better than cure

The best way to deal with unpaid invoices is to limit the chances of them occurring in the first place. There are two ways you can do this: clarify the invoicing process in your terms and conditions or contract, and always issue a quote before you start work.

When you write your T&Cs, or the contract you will issue to your client or customer, be clear about timescales for paying invoices. That way, if the client doesn’t pay, you can refer them to the legal agreement between the two of you. This will also protect you if you find yourself having to escalate the situation.

Make sure you client knows exactly what comes at a cost and what is free. It’s always a good idea to issue a quote – if the client doesn’t ask, assert yourself and tell them you’ll send one over for their approval before you start work. If there is a charge for, say, telephone calls or travel, make sure the client is aware. There’s nothing more likely to lead to an unpaid invoice than an unexpected expense!

If the invoice is going to be particularly large, it can be a good idea to remind the client before you issue it. If they need to put anything in place to ensure the payment goes through, advance warning will give them time to prepare.

  • Unpaid invoices – a friendly approach

The most common reason for not paying invoices is oversight. The invoice arrives with your client on a busy day and they just don’t get round to it. For this reason, it’s a good idea to start with a friendly approach. We like, “can I just check you received this?” and “I was just going through some paperwork and I noticed…” They both give the client the chance to pay without too much embarrassment, which should keep them on your books too.

  • Chase unpaid invoices by getting serious

If, after your friendly approach, the invoice is still not paid, it’s time to up your game. Send a strongly worded letter or email. A good approach is to state what happened, then state how it made you feel (e.g. breach of trust, work not being valued) and lastly state what you want to happen next, and when by.

  • Going to small claims court

There are fees for taking your case to court, so think before you litigate! There is a mediation service too, which in some cases is the best way of resolving the situation and is cheaper than court too.

You can find up to date guidance on taking a non-payment case to court on the government website here, and you can find a court fees calculator on the Which? website here.

If, after going to court, the invoice is still not paid, you can instruct the court to send bailiffs to take the payment directly from your client. Again, there is a fee for this so do your maths and only take action if it’s worth it.

We really hope that our step-by-step guide has helped you chase unpaid invoices and get the results your business needs. To help you keep on top of invoicing and your other financial responsibilities, we’ve created a new infographic – check it out here.

Why are financial goals important for my business?

It’s a good idea to set fresh goals every quarter, but it’s also important to be smart, strategic and focused in your approach. Done well, goal setting will keep your business on track and heading in the right direction. You’ll also be able to measure your success and see how far you’ve come, which may motivate you to go further in the next quarter.

We love goals at Get Ahead. As we begin the last quarter of the year, we thought we’d share our views on why goal-setting is important, and how to set achievable goals that will move your business forward.

Read more

What marketing support does Get Ahead give its franchisees?

Get Ahead is growing, with new franchisees steadily joining the family. As the business expands, our new regional directors bring virtual expertise to more and more areas of the UK and beyond.

Something that sets Get Ahead apart from other franchise offerings is the amount of support we give to our regional directors. We believe you should work for yourself, but not by yourself – it’s important to us that we should always be there for our RDs.

(more…)

Get Ahead’s go-ahead Fiona Ibbetson wins major industry award

Tell anyone who knows Fiona Ibbetson that she’s just won a major industry award, and their reaction is likely to be “Well, of course she would. Obvs”.

And it’s easy to understand why. The owner of Get Ahead in Leeds and Wakefield made her business profitable in the first three months, created work for 22 people, and expects to triple her revenue this year.

She’s also taking on the additional territory of York and Harrogate which will generate work for many more people as well as making life easier for the business owners she serves by providing outsourced virtual assistants.

“I’d not had my own business before this,” says Fiona, who’d worked for Morrisons supermarkets for 20 years. “That’s why I went down the franchise route.

“The franchise model offers flexibility and leverages the skills of my team to help local businesses. That’s my passion.

“I’ve grown the business really well during the pandemic, despite losing three clients which halved my revenue overnight.

“I’ve had a great mentor in the franchisor, plus I use two business coaches, one for my personal brand.

“I thought networking would be a completely new skill to learn until I realised I’d been networking naturally with peers and colleagues for years.

“My husband’s still working from home as well, and I’m working on my business around my family as well as home-schooling two children. Everybody’s had to adapt.”

Despite the face-to-face networks she relied on for new business vanishing overnight in the pandemic, Fiona built the business up to a team of six plus 16 virtual assistants, and she’s taking on a Business Development Manager to help with the new territory.

“Winning the award is amazing,” she says. “I’m thrilled to be recognised and it puts me up there with other great franchisees which is fantastic.”

The Great British Franchisee Awards recognise franchisees’ exceptional performance and business experience, ability to drive business growth, staff retention, customer satisfaction, community involvement, inspired leadership, and franchise involvement.

The awards are run by whichfranchise, supported by Lloyds Bank, BDO, AMO Consulting and Chantry Group.

• Read more about the awards at https://www.whichfranchise.com/awards

• For over 25 years, whichfranchise has promoted ethical franchise opportunities in the UK. Learn more at https://www.whichfranchise.com/

Holiday checklist for small businesses

Top tips from our newest regional director, Joanne McGowan

Joanne McGowan has been part of our network for a number of years, and when we learned she was looking for a franchise opportunity, it sounded like the perfect match. She took over the running of the Guildford and East Surrey office at the start of June.

Joanne has lots of ideas for keeping businesses running smoothly, so she was the perfect person to interview for our holiday blog! Here are some of her insightful tips:

(more…)

Meet the Regional Director: Joanne McGowan

Here at Get Ahead VA, our people are everything. We’re dedicated to growing our business all over the country, so our customers can access a wide range of highly skilled professionals wherever they are. We currently have regional offices in Leeds, Berkshire & North Hampshire, South Yorkshire, Suffolk & Essex, East Midlands and West Surrey, and we’re pleased to announce our latest addition: Guildford & East Surrey.

(more…)

Value your team – five ways to show them you care

The Get Ahead team has been growing steadily over the ten years we’ve been running. Now, in addition to our virtual assistants, we also have an ever-growing team of regional directors. The regional directors are all experienced people managers who have come away from the conventional workplace to run their own teams of VAs and manage client accounts. Valuing all the members of the Get Ahead family is an important part of our business – we’ve thrived and grown in the last decade because we’ve invested in our team.

(more…)

Why work with a Get Ahead Regional Director?

By Marie Peters, Regional Director for West Surrey

Get Ahead operates in ten locations around the country, each with its own regional director. The regional director is your central point of contact, connecting you with the right virtual assistants, managing their output and tailoring the package to meet your business needs.

This blog looks at the role of regional directors and their part in delivering the right support for your business.

(more…)

Why you should be consistent on social media, and how to do it

LinkedIn always goes a bit quiet over Christmas, with many of us closing for business until New Year. When we all reopened for business, however, Get Ahead hit the ground running and we were pleased to see our first posts of the year getting good traction. Our social media managers are always encouraging Get Ahead clients to be consistent in their posts and we’ve seen for ourselves that it works in practice. In this blog, we look at why it works and how to achieve it for your business.

(more…)