Getting my startup off the ground

Finding Old Clients: Tips for Business Owners With Unpaid Invoices

by Remie Van Der Hulst

An old client owes you money. Unfortunately, however, when you try to reach them, you realise their phone is disconnected, and the notices you post are being returned as well. How can you find your client to convince them to pay the bill? Here are some tips to help you:

1. Reach out to every number and address you have for that client

Start with what you know. Call every number you have, and mail a notice about the debt to every address you have. If someone answers the phone, ask them questions. Do they know where your old client is? Do they have forwarding information or the name of an employer? Even a number to reach the client's parents, children or other relatives can be helpful.

2. Leverage information on social media

If none of the info you have helps you find your debtor, start looking for them on social media. Many people include their current city of residence, phone number, email address or other details on sites like Twitter or Facebook. Alternatively, you may be able to find your debtor's employer on a site like LinkedIn.

3. Do reverse image searches

If you cannot find any useful information on your debtor's social media sites, try searching for them online using images. In most cases, you can find images on people's social media sites. Save an image to your computer by right clicking it and selecting save.

Then, use Google image searches, or use an app that allows you to do reverse image searches. This can yield all kinds of things. For example, when searching for a client using an image, you may find a wedding announcement in a local paper. From there, you may get the name of your debtors in-laws, and when you call them, they can tell you how to contact your debtor.

4. Hire a collection agency who offers skip trace services

If you cannot find the people who owe you money, it can be impossible to convince them to pay their bills. Rather than wasting time searching, consider hiring a debt collection agency that specialises in skip trace services. These professionals have experience finding debtors, and they bring a lot of creative approaches to the search. In addition, they often have subscriptions to proprietary databases that have everything from addresses to mobile numbers in them.

For more tips on finding old clients and debtors, contact a collection agency.