Steps you can take if a client refuses to pay

Steps to Take if Your Client Won’t Pay an Invoice

Posted on 9th October 2017 by

You’ve handed over the final piece of work for a client, carefully totted up your billable hours and then sent them an invoice for the work completed. Does this situation sound familiar?


Days turn into weeks and you’re left wondering if you’ll ever see that money.

Working as a freelancer or sole trader in any field comes with its risks. One of the biggest being not having the security of a regular pay packet. While the majority of your clients will pay up on time, you may come across those who try to get away with not paying you for your hard work.

If you ever find yourself dealing with a client that refuses to pay, there are steps you can take to ensure they pay what you are owed.

Think about late payment fees

Although this is more of a preventative measure, by adding late payment fees and/or interest to your terms set out in your contracts, you can often avoid non-payment. Make sure that the client is aware of your terms before you start any work for them.

Remain Calm

It can be very easy to lose your cool when you are dealing with a client that won’t pay. Staying calm and collected throughout the entire process is important. There’s no shortage of funny and silly ways that freelancers have got back at clients who refuse to pay – by taking to social media, for example – but this could easily come back to bite you. Stay calm and professional, no matter how annoyed you might get.

Keep Chasing

You should be polite but persistent in your pursuit of getting the invoice paid. You should keep chasing the invoice by email and by phone. Every time you manage to speak to someone, send a follow-up email confirming what has been said or agreed. This ensures you have a paper trail should the situation escalate any further.

Take legal action

If your persistence doesn’t pay off, you can start to think about taking legal action. You will need to issue a final payment notice requesting that the entire sum is paid within 7 days. If the client misses or ignores this deadline, and the amount is less than £10,000, you can submit a claim to the Small Claims Court.

Refer to Your Insurance Policy

If the thought of handling a Small Claims Court petition fills you with dread, it might be wise to get Tax Enquiry and Legal Expenses insurance. This freelance insurance policy will include legal assistance to help recover any unpaid invoices. Clients often try to get out of paying because they think you will be powerless to stop them. With Tax Enquiry and Legal Expenses insurance, you have the backing of an entire legal team that will make clients think twice before treating you like a small fish.

If you’re interested in protection against non-payment, get in touch today to discuss how a Tax Enquiry and Legal Expenses policy could help you. Use the button below to get your quote or call us on 0333 321 1403


Click here to find out how much you could save on your insurance


Related Articles:

Roadmap stages for dealing with late payments

Steps freelancers can take to deal with late payments

When and how to add late payment interest to your invoices


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