Here at Commercial Domestic Investigations we know just how important getting paid on time is to an SME, and the detrimental impact on cash flow that late payments can have.

This week we’ve learned of a businessman who suffered at the hands of late paying clients, and as a result has set up a scheme to help other SMEs tackle the problem.


Commercial Domestic Investigations

A PACT has been made…

Chris Hawthorn launched the PACT (Please Abide Contract Terms) scheme after the property marketing business he set up in 2005 failed due to the accumulative bills going unpaid, and ultimately having a damaging effect on his cash flow.

The PACT scheme enables small business to sign up to a set of pre-agreed procedures to help them to recover debts, all the while maintaining good relationships with suppliers. As we have previously reported, one of the main concerns for SMEs when chasing late payment is the damaging effect on their supplier relationship.


Members of the scheme are able to access mediation as a first point of call, then with credit reference agencies on board, can receive help on how to impose credit score penalties for those that repeatedly refuse to pay on time.

As a last resort, those who continue to ignore reminders will be listed on, which shares the company’s details – such as address, the debt amount and the due date, ultimately harming the company’s reputation.

Hawthorn said: “Late payments had a crippling effect on [my] company. I was forced to invest personal savings into the business, which damaged relationships with my own suppliers by paying them late.

“Not having the necessary finances in place also resulted in lost productivity through time spent chasing unpaid invoices. Ultimately, this resulted in the business failing.

“Unsurprisingly, this experience means I am very passionate about the burden late payment puts on small businesses. This could stop entrepreneurs being able to add an additional employee to the company, pay their overheads or make payments on existing loans.

“This is why I’ve decided to start the PACT Scheme to support SMEs in the fight against unpaid invoices.”

The total owed to UK businesses by late-paying clients has reached £41 billion, with surveys showing that 60 per cent of firms have been adversely impacted by the problem.

It is estimated that small business owners spend up to an extra £677 per month on overheads in chasing late payments.

If your business is suffering with unpaid invoices contact Commercial Domestic Investigations for an informal chat about the services we can offer. Our team have the experience and knowledge to help your company recover money owed. Working with our debt collection team gives business owners the peace of mind needed to move forward and get past negative cash flow.

About Commercial Domestic Investigations

Commercial Domestic Investigations are regarded within the debt collection and credit control industry as one of the best credit management companies in the UK. Established in 1988 to support and service all sizes of companies in the field of Credit Management.

Commercial Domestic Investigations have recently featured in the press in The Guardian. To keep up to date with the latest debt collection news make sure to follow Commercial Domestic Investigations on Twitter and LinkedIn.

We now boast a national client base in excess of 30,000 companies. Commercial Domestic Investigations has grown by listening to clients’ requirements and adapting our services to meet all companies’ needs from Sole Traders, SMES, Ltd and Plus. Please contact us on 08444 159200 for more information.