When credit is tight, more buyers try to get away with paying their bills late, and a few, without paying at all. Yet many small business owners still put off reminding their customers about overdue payments—supposedly because they’re too busy or they’re hesitant to “hassle” a customer.

Research shows the longer you wait before following up with a buyer, the slimmer your chances of collection. So EDC has compiled a list of the top 10 ways to head off payment problems before they become unmanageable.

1) Take action early

After weeks or months, a customer may not recall which invoice is late or even what they ordered from you. Just as bad, your buyers may assume that if they haven’t heard from you, then paying two or three months late is fine.

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