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Unpaid invoice? What are your next steps and options?

02.10.2023
Unpaid invoice? What are your next steps and options?

Running a self-employed business (ZZP) can be complicated, especially when it comes to finances. One of the most common problems self-employed people face is non-payment of bills. In this article, we look at the different actions you can take if you are faced with an “unpaid invoice” situation, as well as the possible legal consequences.

How can I get money back for an unpaid invoice?

This is one of the most unpleasant experiences for the self-employed: you have done your work, sent an invoice, but have not been paid. You have already sent reminders and notifications, but to no avail. What to do now? See the next section on how to get your money back for an unpaid invoice. We’ll look at the different options you have to deal with this unpleasant problem – from legal action to debt collection agencies.

step 1: Communicating with the customer

When an invoice is unpaid, the first step is to communicate with the customer. The situation “unpaid invoice from zzp” may simply be the result of a misunderstanding or customer negligence. Create a friendly reminder and send it by email or post, explaining the due date and asking for immediate payment.

step 2: Send a reminder

If after the first reminder the customer still hasn’t paid, send a reminder. This reminder makes it clear that this is the last warning before further action is taken. Also mention any additional costs and the deadline for payment.

step 3: Contact a debt collection agency

If, despite the reminder “the invoice has not been paid zzp”, it is advisable to contact a debt collection agency. They can put professional pressure on the customer to pay the invoice anyway.

step 4: Legal action

As a last resort, you may want to consider taking legal action. However, this is a lengthy and expensive process and is only recommended if other steps have not been successful.

Legal conditions for self-employed persons

In the Netherlands, the legal deadline for payment of invoices issued to businesses is 30 days unless otherwise agreed. This means that, in principle, your client must pay the amount due within 30 days of receiving the invoice.

Unpaid zzp invoice – conditions

There are various legal conditions for payment in the Netherlands, which vary depending on the type of client you are working with as a ZZP. These different conditions are explained below.

Payment terms for the company

According to the Payment Terms Act, the maximum payment term for companies is 60 days. However, an amendment to the law is currently being drafted to limit the payment term for large companies to 30 days, especially when working with small and medium-sized suppliers. This amendment attempts to protect the cash flow and financial position of smaller companies.

Payment terms for consumers

As a sole trader providing services or products to consumers, you have more flexibility in setting your own payment terms. Although the term should be realistic, it is important to set it out clearly in the contract or terms and conditions. Many sole traders choose a payment term of no more than 30 days when dealing with consumers.

Payment terms for public bodies

Contracts with public authorities usually have a strict 30-day payment deadline. This is because the government applies general state conditions which leave little room for negotiation on payment terms.

To successfully manage cash flow and reduce the risk of a “zzp unpaid invoice” scenario, it is important to be aware of these different payment terms. By clearly communicating the terms and conditions and including them in contractual agreements, you will increase the likelihood of timely payments and a healthier business.

Consequences of non-payment

If a ‘zzp invoice is not paid’, this can lead to a number of unpleasant consequences for the customer. Firstly, collection costs and interest are often incurred. In addition, a negative entry in the CCR may occur. Finally, legal action may be taken which may even lead to the client company being declared bankrupt.

Preventive measures

Prevention is better than cure. Therefore, always clearly agree with the client the payment deadline and the consequences of late payment. Also make sure that your administration is in order so that you always have a good overview of outstanding invoices.

Solving recurring problems

Do you often deal with non-paying customers? Then consider carrying out a credit check before entering into a contract. This will help you better understand the customer’s financial situation and avoid future problems.

By following these steps and measures, you can minimise the damage caused by an “unpaid zzp invoice” situation and ensure that your financial situation as a ZZP is not put at risk. It is always an unpleasant situation when an invoice is unpaid, but by being proactive and methodical you will increase your chances of a successful resolution.