Small businesses in New York depend on their clients’ prompt payment to keep the company afloat. When an invoice becomes past due, businesses have some options that may prove successful.

According to Small Business Trends, before taking any action on a past-due debt, a company should confirm that the client did receive the invoice. An invoice reminder may be the second step, including a personalized message, if possible. Depending on the relationship with the client and the size of the company, a phone call may be a good option. If a reminder is not effective, then the business may have to take more aggressive steps, such as halting services or deliveries until the client makes payment.

FindLaw notes that while reminder phone calls and letters may be appropriate, a company must be careful to stay within legal guidelines and avoid any appearance of harassment.

The next step may be to talk to the client about a partial payment or settlement for less than the full amount. A client that feels overwhelmed by debt may still pay something, and the company does not lose the full amount this way. Alternately, the company may seek the assistance of a collection agency, which will still result in the company receiving less than the full amount, as these agencies charge a percentage of what they collect.

Some companies choose to take the client to small claims court or file a lawsuit. This may result in a larger return than what would come from a settlement or collection agency, but there are still fees and costs associated with taking the client to court.