If your business is owed money, know this: You are far from alone.

One study estimated U.S. small businesses are burdened with approximately $825 billion in unpaid invoices. That equates to $84,000 per small business. About 81% of these invoices are at least 30 days past due, with companies in some industries – such as wholesale trade and mining or extraction – facing longer wait times than others.

When these unpaid debts become unsustainable, small businesses often turn to collections law. But even with a court judgment, getting a creditor to pay can be difficult.

When a debtor refuses to pay

Generally, if you win a judgment against a party that owes you money, your attorney should reach out to the debtor and their legal counsel to secure the required payment. In some circumstances, however, the debtor may refuse to pay.

In these situations, you take on the responsibility of finding the debtor’s money. The courts do not do this for you.

Uncovering a debtor’s funds

Locating a debtor’s money often requires approaching the problem from multiple angles – some straightforward, others requiring tenacity and finesse. For example, you may be able to find cursory information through internet searches, government documentation checks and basic phone calls.

Oftentimes, a concerted effort will be required to discover where the debtor might have funds. Potential pursuit strategies may include:

  • Trying to determine the debtor’s primary bank
  • Performing a vehicle search to locate cars or trucks
  • A search of property records
  • The use of an information subpoena and subsequent legal actions

These potential solutions, coupled with strategic use of enforcement actions, can help ensure the party that owes you money ultimately pays up – allowing you to finally move on from the matter.