Sole traders bear the brunt of late payment woes

East of England residents are the worst culprits when it comes to paying local sole traders late, creating an annual loss of £6,108 per microbusiness over the last year.

This annual loss figure representing late payment woes is more than double the national average of £2,472, according to research by mobile payment service Paym.

Forgetting payments seems to be a widespread practice across the Eastern counties, with two in five sole traders (43 per cent) abandoning the chase for a payment over the past year, a figure well above the national average of 30 per cent.

So not only are the electricians of Essex and caterers of Cambridge missing out on their hard earned cash, but they’re also spending precious time chasing customers.

Those in the South West of England are the most prompt payers, as only 21 per cent of sole traders needing to chase customers there.

As a result this is also the region reporting the lowest loss to their earnings due to abandoned payments, although sole traders still report losing out on £105 a month.

Late payment woes felt less in South East and Wales

Other regions that have better habits for paying punctually include the South East and Wales, where a quarter (25 per cent) have abandoned chasing payments, followed closely by London (26 per cent). Regions joining the East of England for the most belated bills include Yorks & Humber (44 per cent) and the West Midlands (37 per cent).

While those in the South of England and Wales may be proud to be prompt, for the hardworking self-employed sole traders of Britain, one late or abandoned payment is one too many. Small outstanding payments can all add up and begin to take their toll on the tutors, tilers and trainers of Britain.

Craig Tillotson, executive chairman of Paym says, ‘While some regions may be worse than others, late or abandoned payments are continuing to be a growing problem for sole traders across the whole of Britain.

‘Chasing up late and overdue payments eats up valuable time, so it is understandable that an increasing amount choose to cut their losses. However, the chase for payment can be countered by offering customers different payment methods.’

For sole traders, the problems do not end with chasing payments. Even when customers pay up, sole traders can still find themselves short changed. Sole traders in Wales are the most forgiving at ‘forgetting the change’, happy to let off customers for up to £7.75, almost triple the national average of £2.70.

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Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel was the editor of from 2010 to 2018. He specialises in writing for start-up and scale-up companies in the areas of finance, marketing and HR.

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