Use This Sample Collection Letter to Get Paid More Efficiently

Businesswoman taking notes in conference room

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Is sending collection letters a challenge in your small business? You're not alone. Many business owners don’t know how to write a collection letter or have a sample they can use as a reference.

Collection letters should do two things: 1) retain customer good will and 2) help you get paid. You know a letter is working when you send out a batch of letters and your phone rings off the hook or payments start arriving in the mail. If you send out a batch of letters and there is no response, it’s time for a new collection letter template.

In order to understand the best practices of letter creation, a sample collection letter is available below. 

An Example of When to Use a Collection Letter

Sales just haven’t been what they were last year at this time. Frank shook his head as he looked over the aged trial balance print out, he knew he faced an uncomfortable job that was now a necessity if he wanted to stay in business.

With the collection of letters written by an expert guiding him he knew just what to do. “Send earlier rather than later,” the expert had commanded. Frank took his pile of past due invoices and started inputting customer information into the collection letter templates. As Frank worked his way through the pile, his confidence grew with the thought of getting paid this money that was owed to him.

Sample Collection Letter

January 8, 2018

Franks Plumbing
123 Main Street
Anywhere, NH 05000

Account# or Invoice #:123
Balance due or Past Due Balance: $100.00

Dear Jim,

This is a reminder that your account balance of $100.00 was overdue as of November 28, 2008.

Please pay this amount today, I have enclosed a stamped payment envelope for your convenience.

Thank you for your payment.


Frank Smith
Franks Plumbing

As you can see from the sample collection letter above, the most effective collection letters are short, to the point and easy to read. Try to avoid long or confusing words and sentences. The more direct letter leads to fewer misunderstandings.

Collection Letter Tips

Your collection letter should:

  • Tell the reason for your letter in the first sentence
  • Explain more about the first sentence in your second sentence
  • Suggest a solution
  • Thank the recipient

Your collection letter is a reflection of your business, so keep it professional and be sure to sign each letter personally. Remember that your letter is to persuade someone to send you money. Your wording and tone are critical, especially if this is a customer you want to continue to do business with. Always assume the customer will pay.

Enclosing an envelope for payment is also a good idea. If you can include postage on the payment envelope, that is better. The easier you make it for the customer to make the payment, the better your chances are of getting paid.

Michelle Dunn helps companies that want to have customers that pay on time or early, she works with companies that are struggling with customers that pay late or don’t pay. Michelle has over 21 years experience in credit & debt collection, is the author of “Become the Squeaky Wheel, a credit & collections guide for everyone” and many other books and possesses a depth of knowledge and a whole tool kit of products and services that can make a big difference for your company.

Edited by Alyssa Gregory