It’s one of the biggest pains in the backside that window companies have to suffer, customers who don’t pay when you finish the job.

What is the best way to deal with them? In my experience it’s always best to filter out those who you think are most likely to be problem customers. You can decide then if you want to deal with them or not. Of course when time’s are as hard as these, turning any business down isn’t an easy decision. But sometimes you have to think ahead and anticipate what possible problems these customers can cause and how much it could cost you to put the situation right.

Dealing with non-payers at the end of the job is sometimes a difficult one to judge. Do you threaten to take back the products, even if it means leaving holes in their property? Do you threaten court action (once reminder letters have been sent out of course)? Taking back products can often lead to confrontation, and can give the impression that your company is slightly heavy-handed. Though from a contractual point of view, companies are still well within their rights to take back what hasn’t been paid for. More often than not, the threat of court action and constant reminder letters usually does the trick. Customers tend to see how long they can get away from paying, though they know at some point they will have to hand the money over.

I would also like to make the point that the company I work for has a policy where as soon as the work is finished, we expect payment straight away. No dragging feet for a few days or over the weekend. When the work is done, it’s to be paid for. If the customer has any little niggles (though I’m glad to say we have great fitters who don’t cause so many), then we get it sorted ASAP – which means the customer doesn’t have an excuse not to pay promptly.

However, a lot of the time it is the fault of the company for customers not paying. Poor customer service, product quality, bad workmanship and lax after-sales care are the biggest causes of customers refusing to pay at the end of the job. If you expect prompt payment, don’t give the customer an excuse not to pay.