If you sell products or provide services, often a payment term is determined. If you deal with consumers, you can decide on the payment term. If you deliver to companies or governments you must comply with the legal maximum payment terms. The payment term is usually detailed in the general conditions of the contract.
Payment term for consumers
There is no legal payment term for consumers. As an entrepreneur you can set a reasonable payment term for consumers yourself. This term may not be unreasonably long. You specify this payment term in the contract or general conditions.
Payment term for business-to-business (B2B) contracts
Payment terms for agreements between companies are laid down in the European Directive for combating late payment in business dealings.
- The legal payment term for companies is 60 days, unless you have made other arrangements and specified these in the contract.There are other rules for large companies to pay their SME clients.
- You may set a longer payment period of up to 60 days in the contract if you can demonstrate that this is not harmful to either party.
- If you did not specify a payment term, the payment term is 30 days.
Payment term for large companies
Large companies must pay the invoice to SMEs or self-employed professionals (zzp’ers) within 30 days.
It depends on the number of employees, the annual revenue, and the balance sheet if your company is considered an SME or a large company.
Contracts between companies and governments
There are legal payment terms for contracts between companies and governments. Governments must pay the invoice within 30 days of receiving it. This period can only be extended to 60 days in extraordinary circumstances. The central government in the Netherlands uses the General Government Terms and Conditions.
When your customer fails to pay
Did you deliver goods or services and has your customer not paid your invoice in time or not at all? You have the right to:
- charge a standard fee for collection costs of €40
- charge a reasonable compensation for expenses incurred, such as legal fees or collection costs
- charge statutory interest, calculated from the date the payment term expires
Send a payment reminder
If your customer did not pay, you can send them a payment reminder (warning). Is you customer a consumer? You must first send a reminder without charging any reminder fees. If your customer is a company, you are not obliged to do so. You can then follow the collection procedure you outlined in your general terms and conditions. Check the Step-by-step plan: customer does not pay invoice for more information on payment reminders, demands, and collection.
Collection costs are the costs you incur as a creditor in order to collect a money claim, if your debtor fails to pay this claim of his own accord. The fee is a percentage of the bill. If your debtor is a company (B2B), you can deviate from this in an agreement. Statutory regulations will apply if there is no agreement.
Statutory interest for commercial transactions applies to deliveries to companies and to the government. In case of deliveries to consumers, the statutory interest rate for non-commercial transactions applies. The Dutch central bank (De Nederlandsche Bank, DNB) publishes several interest rates, among others the current statutory interest rates.