How to Write a Collection Letter to a Client with Tact in a Therapy Practice

Follow our tips (and use our template!) before sending out another collection letter to a client behind on payment.

As a solo practitioner, it’s your responsibility to manage your business, which includes billing and collections. You’re detailed and organized. Heck, you even schedule time in your office hours to complete administrative tasks. So, when it’s time to send a collection letter to a client, you’re prepared.

That doesn’t mean you know what exactly to write in your collection letters. You want to sound caring, yet firm; urgent, yet approachable. If you’re hesitating because you don’t know how to phrase your letters, it’s time to take action.

Common reasons clients fail to pay

Clients Forget

01-how-to-write-a-collection-letter-to-a-client-with-tact-in-a-therapy-practiceIt may have started innocently. Your invoice came in the mail, and your client set it aside on his kitchen table to open after dinner. The envelope got shifted around to a few different places in the house, such as a desk, a to-do pile, and maybe even back to the kitchen counter with the checkbook. However, over time, that envelope gets ignored, as other more pressing issues arise in his life. Or, it simply gets lost in a pile of other papers, and without reminding on your part, it’s unnoticeable.

Clients Procrastinate

Bills get ignored for many reasons, but one could simply be procrastination. Maybe your client didn’t immediately pay because he didn’t have enough money in his checking account that week. Then, after the check is written out and the envelope addressed, he realizes he doesn’t have any stamps. So it gets brought to the car and sits in there for a week, or possibly two before he finds the time to make a trip to the post office. Procrastination happens when a person isn’t motivated to take action, so he may need a push from you.

What to consider before sending the next collection letter to a client

02-how-to-write-a-collection-letter-to-a-client-with-tact-in-a-therapy-practiceMake sure all of your clients are given a copy of your payment policy before their first sessions. Ask them to sign it stating that they’ve received a copy, read it, and agree to the terms. It’s also a good idea to post the payment policy in your waiting room and on your website.

If you’re worried  about sending a collection letter to a client, change your money mindset. If you’ve set up clear payment policies, you’re only asking that your client upholds his end of the contract.

Allowing a client to set up a payment plan may take a little more work administratively to track, but you’ll still receive payment, and your clients will feel at ease. Don’t forget to mention in the collection letter if you’re willing to set up a plan. Just be sure you’re both clear on the terms.

In a therapy office, aggressive tactics and trying to scare people into paying isn’t the right route if you ever want to see them again. Choose your language wisely.

Before sending a collection letter to a client, first send an itemized bill. Then, after 30 days of nonpayment, follow up with a letter.

Send this fill-in-the-blank collection letter to a client

Dear {Client Name},

I hope you’re well. It’s {Your Practice Name’s} policy to contact clients who’ve received a bill in the past 30 days, but have yet to remit payment. I know that life often gets in the way, and bills get misplaced or overlooked, so I thought it best to contact you directly.

Do you have questions about your bill or your insurance benefits? If so, contact me right away, and I will address any of your concerns.

If you’re experiencing any financial difficulties, please let me know so we can set up a payment plan. I’ll find a way to help you fulfill your commitment without creating any additional hardship.

Attached is your overdue bill. If you’ve already sent your payment in, please ignore this letter. Otherwise, I look forward to receiving payment within a week of your receipt of this letter.

I appreciate your prompt attention.
Thank you,

{Your Name}
{Your Practice’s Name}

How often should you send a collection letter to a client in default?

03-how-to-write-a-collection-letter-to-a-client-with-tact-in-a-therapy-practiceThe amount of contact you’ll need to have with clients who haven’t paid will depend on a variety of factors. If you’re still regularly seeing the client in your practice, having a frank one-on-one conversation may be the best place to start.

However, collection letters often need to be sent to your clientele who aren’t showing for appointments or who have abandoned your practice altogether – the ones who don’t meet face-to-face with you. For these individuals, send the first collection letter after 30 days of nonpayment of the original bill. Additional collection letters can be mailed out at 45 and 60 days before making the decision whether or not to send the default account to a collections agency.

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