Reality Blog: What Would You Do If a Client Didn’t Pay You?

Checking money in wallet. White background. Shallow DOF.

Imagine this. You’ve landed a project with a new client. You submit it before the deadline and they’re well-pleased with your work.

So you’re pretty excited. After all, this could be the start of a lucrative long-term relationship.

Then you send the invoice.

Payment date arrives. You check your account, expecting a healthy boost to your balance. Wrong…. there’s no deposit, the money’s not in there. You wait a couple of days and check again. Still nothing.

What do you do next?

The long-term success of your business depends on how you answer this question. How you deal with overdue payments is crucial to success or failure of your business.

I’ve dealt with the best and worst payers over many years, and everything in between. The good news is, non-payers fall broadly into four categories (yes, we humans are a predictable bunch!). I’ll give you some ideas on how to deal with them, based on experiences I’ve had.

However, there’s something else you need to know first. And this is very important…

Don’t Be Afraid

I know many people who have started their own business. Some have succeeded, yet many more have failed. Why? Two reasons… they either didn’t charge enough to cover their expenses or they didn’t chase unpaid invoices.

The former group undervalued themselves. Maybe they didn’t believe they were good enough or didn’t have enough experience to charge market rates.

We’ll focus on the second group, which is admittedly smaller. Those who didn’t chase unpaid invoices.

These are the ones who were reluctant to ask people for money… money they had earned, money that was rightfully theirs, money they were owed.

Yet they didn’t chase this money. They were afraid to ask, to confront, to negotiate. So their business failed and they’re now back on the old treadmill, working for wages and making someone else rich.

You simply have to be prepared to chase unpaid invoices if you’re a small business. Will it happen to you, that a client doesn’t pay? Maybe not. But in the event it does, you need to be ready.

Always remember, companies big and small are made up of people. Find who you need to speak to and keep at them until they pay up. For some reason, we tend to be intimidated by large companies.

My advice? Don’t be.

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Andrew Murray

Andrew Murray

Andrew has traded the daily grind for a life on the road. He loves the lure of Australia’s wide-open spaces, solitude and isolation. Andrew and his wife Peta are experienced remote travelers, living the simple life on the road. They travel, work and live in their 4x4 truck camper. Andrew plans to build his Money-Making Website Top Wire Traveller to the point where it provides a regular income... enough to sustain their lifestyle on the road.


  • Dear Andrew, I have, until now, thoroughly enjoyed reading and commenting on The Reality Blog. I would continue to do so, but find that I am no longer allowed access. Your content is reserved for members paying above my pocketbook’s means. So, it seems we must part ways here. I am sure that your advice in this post is spot-on. All of your advice has been so far.
    I did not want to simply stop commenting, cease following your blog and drop from existence without at least thanking you for the stellar content you have contributed to my experience here. Your posts have been one of the highlights of my week, whether I have commented on a particular post or not. I will continue to check in on Top Wire Traveller from time to time, so you’ll hear from me there, though not regularly. Thank you for what you have given me here, Andrew.

    • Thanks for your kind words Tona. And all the best with your journey. I’m enjoying your articles on LinkedIn. Regards.

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