When people, whether its customers, clients or anyone else owes your business money, it can have a serious impact on your finances and have a devastating knock-on effect.

It not only stifles the expansion and growth of your company but could, in the end, ruin your company.

It is not everyone’s first choice, but it’s often necessary to take steps towards recovering debt. You may wonder though, how long it might take?

To help answer that question, we look at some of the debt recovery options open to you and time timeframes for each.

When is the best time to start trying to recover debt?


This is the first important time frame you need to consider – how long you wait before trying to recover debt.

Most companies, small and large, have this written into the terms and conditions of payments or contracts. Most have it set to approximately 90 days, which allows you and the customer/client to come to a solution.

This allows you to go through the process – invoicing them, chasing them if they don’t pay it and then issuing them with final warnings.

If and when that is unsuccessful, you need to consider the other options for getting the money you are owed.

Debt recovery agencies


Debt recovery agencies are often seen as the final solution when businesses are trying to get what they are owed and often people take this route when other methods are unsuccessful.

As they are third party organizations, they have their own litigation and procedures to keep in mind before they can do anything to help you.

Once they know they are legally okay to proceed, though, they will work at reclaiming the money you are owed on your behalf.

It takes quite a long time to get the funds through a debt recovery agency, as you need to wait for them to assess whether they can help you or not, wait for the all-clear to act and then actually get the money. However, some business debt recovery agencies like Master Collections make a point to pay out their customers fast.

Make sure you double-check your debt agency’s policy on releasing your funds back to you.

Recovery through the courts

Many would suggest mediation before legal action. However, there are situations when this is not possible. The time frame involved in legal cases will depend on your case.

The amount of funds you are owed will also have a determining factor on how long it will take. In some situations, you might find that nothing happens until as much as 30 weeks have passed. It is also important to consider the legal costs. The fees lawyers charge can be expensive, particularly if it takes some time to organize everything and then for a resolution to be reached.



Mediation is perhaps the gentlest of all approaches to debt recovery, but it is also the most cost-effective and means you don’t need a debt recovery firm.

In mediation, the aim is to find a middle ground that makes it possible for the customer or client to pay you the money back.

In some cases, repayment schemes are arranged that means they can pay you what they owe you, at a time frame comfortable for their own financial circumstances.

It can take varying lengths of time and is determined by how quickly you and the other party can come to an arrangement you both agree on.

When you are looking to recover debt, you have various options and the one that’s right for you will depend on various factors such as the reasons for a payment not being made, the amount of debt you are trying to recover and your own circumstances.