6 min

When Payments Go Missing

When Payments Go Missing

Getting paid on time is important, but sometimes things go wrong in the trucking world. Here's a no-nonsense guide to help you handle these situations

When Payments Go Missing

Getting paid on time is important, but sometimes things go wrong in the trucking world. Here's a no-nonsense guide to help you handle these situations

Truckers' financial survival guide: Dealing with missed payments

I know it's not a pleasant situation when you don't get paid as agreed or on time - or at all. I wish I could say that you won't have to deal with this, but most likely you will, because this is the not-so-perfect world we live in, and errors, mistakes, and other stuff will keep raining down on you left and right.

When Payments Go Missing

It is what it is and you can't really control it 100%, but you should know what to do when this stuff happens - so keep cool and don't freeze. That's rule #1.

Rule #2 is to remember that it's important to approach the situation professionally and constructively, as maintaining good relationships with brokers and factoring companies can be important in the trucking industry.

Now that we have that out of the way, let's focus on some practical ways to deal with the issues. Listen carefully because what I'm about to tell you can save you time, money and a lot of trouble.

So, here's the big one - a payment from a broker was missed. There are a few nuances to resolving this when it comes to brokers or factoring companies.

The first step is to confirm the missed payment.

Double-check your records to ensure that a payment was actually missed. Sometimes there are delays due to processing issues or holidays. Or sometimes it just slips through the cracks and you're left guessing what's going on.

On the other hand, it doesn't really make sense to confirm anything before the 30-45 day period is up, because they still have time to process, ship, and do other things with the payment.

If you have checked everything and it turns out that you really haven't received the payment, contact the broker immediately.

You can do this by email or phone. Politely inquire about the missed payment and ask for an explanation. Keep a record of your communication for documentation purposes.

Here's a tip: email them first and wait a day or two. If they don't respond, call them and refer them to the email. Basically, you will need written proof of your communication anyway if things go south. So email, then call - but be polite and professional.

Request documentation

If they say they made the payment, ask for documentation or proof of the payment they claim to have made, such as a check number or a screenshot from their system of the payment being sent. This can help resolve any discrepancies and ensure that you have accurate information.

If they somehow "forgot" to make a payment, which is not surprising considering - I would say - everything, you will probably hear them say something like "it will be done today". Yeah, I know - as if there were no 30-45 days to do just that. Anyway, it's a good sign and the money may be on its way. Dodged that one, right?

Here I have to make a side note about contacting the factoring company because some of you may say, "That's not our problem, let them handle it!

True, but there's a little more to it.

If the factoring company hasn't been paid by the broker, guess what happens? Right, they're going to contact you anyway because they don't bother to collect the money and they always have the leverage of charging you back, which sucks. All I'm saying is it's still your problem and it's up to you to solve it.

So what do we do when this happens? Basically the same process I talked about earlier, but in the email chain send a CC copy to the factoring company so they can be in the loop.

When the broker gives you proof of payment, you should email it to the factoring and then don't forget to follow up and ask if they received it and are okay with it. It's a good thing to do because factoring companies usually get tons of proof of payment and emails in general and all they care about is getting their money, which is totally fine with me. But they will charge you back in no time if they don't see the money when the waiting period is over. So just follow up to be safe.

Most of the time there will be some kind of mistake - let's call it an "administrative error" - and you will be able to work it out through negotiation. Discuss a timeline for when you can expect payment.

If the people you are having problems with are not really being reasonable, escalate if necessary. That is, if the broker or factoring company is uncooperative or the payment remains unresolved, consider escalating the matter. This may involve contacting a higher authority within the organization or seeking legal advice if necessary.

And while you get this thing rolling, mitigate the financial impact. Plan for the potential financial impact of the missed payment. Make sure you have enough cash flow to cover expenses and consider adjusting your budget if necessary. It's a no-brainer, but sometimes it gets left out.

One of the steps to take in this case may be to file a claim on the broker's bond. I know it sounds drastic, but sometimes it's catch-as-catch-can.

To be a "freight broker" under FMCSA regulations, you must have a $75,000 bond or trust in place before you can start brokering. If a freight broker doesn't pay you for your work, you can ask for money from their bond. If the people in charge of the bond think your request is fair and follows their rules, they may use the bond to pay you directly. But in most cases, these bonding companies take a long time to pay claims for unpaid work. Still, it's something to consider if you're not getting paid, because claims can affect the amount of insurance premiums for brokers, and no one likes to pay more when there's a way to pay less.

It's very important to keep a record of everything that happens with this issue. Keep detailed records of all communications, agreements, and documentation related to the missed payment. This documentation can be crucial if you need to take further action.

Unfortunately, sometimes things do not go our way, so you may want to seek legal advice. If all else fails, and you believe you are entitled to payment under your contract, consult a legal professional who specializes in contract disputes. They can guide you through the legal process if necessary.

So this is it. Let's run through the steps you need to take when you have a missed payment.

1 - Confirm the missed payment to rule out any delays or misunderstandings

2 - Contact the broker ASAP. Keep record of your communication

3 - Ask for documentation or proof of payment if they say they’ve made one

4 - Contact your factoring company, email the proof of payment, and don’t forget to follow up

5 - Work it out through negotiation

6 - Escalate if necessary

7 - Mitigate the financial impact. Make sure you have enough cash flow

8 - File a claim on the broker’s bond

9 - Keep a record of everything that happens with the issue

10 - Seek legal advice if nothing else works


I wouldn't be stretching the truth to say that there's not much you can do to prevent things like this from happening. The human element is always there and always will be. But having said all that, I can suggest that you hire an accountant who knows how to use the aging method.

I won't go into too much detail, but it's a lot of work, but it's effective. If you don't want to deal with missed payments or payments sent to the wrong people, accounting is the way to go.

A word about Trucking42 accounting service

If you're the owner of a small MC, chances are you're also your own safety officer, dispatcher, and whatnot. That's all well and good if you want to save money, but in the long run the $200-$300 you save on accounting may not save you from trouble.

For example, if your paperwork is missing a page, it will lead to non-payment, cash flow shortage, unpaid bills, and drivers leaving. Is it worth it?

Delegate your extra hours! Trucking42 accounting is 7+ years of experience to guarantee the growth of your business.

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