The step-by-step guide to debt recovery


For any business, it is necessary to get paid on time. Late payments, and people trying to avoid paying for goods and services, can be costly to your business and have long-lasting and damaging repercussions.

Debt collection is a profession in its own right that requires diplomacy, empathy, strategy and experience. Doing the collection by yourself is time-consuming. This time could be put to good use developing your business, finding new business opportunities or improving your services to paying customers.

To make savvy collections decisions and successfully pursue debtors, the data you rely on must be current and complet. We recommend you to collaborate with an experienced debt collection company both for judicial advice but also for pursuing debtors who do not pay.

It is not always easy to know what steps to follow to obtain the payment due, under the best conditions.


You can find below the recommended steps for collecting your invoices.

1. Invoicing and chasing up the payments

Before talking about recovery, it is important to talk about billing. Although this step is not often your cup of tea, invoice your goods and services quickly and regularly. Then, check your bills' payments weekly. Late payments are unfortunately frequent, but there are solutions to speed up the payments. If, in spite of this, you still don’t get paid or you are partially paid, you must immediately begin the recovery process.

2. Sending a reminder

If you notice that the payment deadline has passed and your invoice is still not honored, you should send a reminder. You can send a polite notification, but it has to be direct. You can send it by post or by email. Sometimes, for certain regular customers who have always honored their invoices or whose turnover is important for your company, you can contact them by phone.

Some accounting programs allow you to send a reminder to your debtors. It is also possible to outsource the sending of reminders to specialized companies. The free application MindYourBills  allows you to encode your invoices and send one or two payment reminder emails to your debtors. You can also classify your invoices as paid, unrecoverable or forward them to the debt collection company with one click.

3. The transfer to the debt collection company

Was your notification without any succes? It's time to contact a third party. Unpaid invoices can be easily forwarded to a third party. To take charge of your unpaid bills, a debt collection company must provide, in addition to a formal contract between you and their services, complete information about your unpaid invoices. If you have sent your reminder through MindYourBills application, the information will be sent to them in one click. If you have opted for other reminder methods, be sure to provide as much information as possible, both on your debtors and on your unpaid bills. Once the information has been received, the debt collection company will encode a file that you can follow, very often online, as the amicable or judicial collection progresses.

4. The soft debt collection

Before any other procedure, the friendly debt collection involves sending a formal reminder to your debtor. This is a mandatory letter in most countries of the European Union or even in the world. Once this official letter has been sent and the debtor has passed the mandatory deadline for responding, the friendly debt collection will continue. Each debt recovery company uses its own methods based on its experience and ethics. For example, INTERNATIONAL RECOVER COMPANY®, uses postal notifications and sms, calls the debtors and sends the recovery agents at the debtors' home. The goal is to get in touch with the debtor, get the payment or a reasonable recovery plan for the various third parties. Among theirs values, we find respect for the law but also for privacy or human dignity. In most cases, these methods give results and you get your money back.

5. The judicial recovery

Unfortunately, sometimes it is impossible to find a friendly solution (insolvency, disappearance, payment refusal,...). The recovery company will then close the friendly collection, either by providing you with a certificate of irrecoverability, or by offering you legal follow-up. The agency can often serve as an intermediary and will contact, with your agreement, a lawyer and then a bailiff for the various steps from the summons to the possible seizure.


INTERNATIONAL RECOVER COMPANY® has been working alongside independents and companies since 1993. For advice when drafting your general conditions or your purchase orders, for sending your reminders or taking charge of your unpaid invoices, do not hesitate to contact us.