Thousands of business owners evade late payment scourge, thanks to FSB debt recovery service

  • 15 Mar 2022

Over £1 million has been recovered for small business owners facing late payments thanks to the Federation of Small Businesses’ debt recovery service in partnership with Markel Law.

Since launching less than two years ago, the new FSB Debt Recovery benefit has helped thousands of FSB members to get paid sooner. The milestone reflects FSB’s ongoing commitment to supporting small businesses and the self-employed tackle late payments, which can have a damaging impact on cash flow.


The service offers FSB members a discounted cost of just £30 + VAT to send a pre-action letter, each tailored to the individual case. Debts recovered through instructing Markel Law to send a pre-action letter range from £114 to £125,782, with an average of £6,549.

Over two-thirds of successful recoveries from a pre-action letter being issued were made in less than 30 days. Whether it’s a one-off invoice or a regular late payer, sending a professional pre-action letter shows a clear escalation and is often the key to unlocking payment.

If there is still no payment, business owners are able to access support and fixed fees during the entire process, from issuing a claim through to enforcement. The largest recovery by Markel Law through proceedings is over £28,000.

Writing on Trustpilot, FSB member Thomas Haywood said: “When I joined FSB, I had two clients with debts of £1200 outstanding. I paid for my membership (approx. 1/10th of that) and from there I was able to recover all of the overdue money through FSB’s Debt Recovery service. Fantastic!”

Another FSB member who was pursing former tenants of their property for a debt of £7,500 contacted the FSB Debt Recovery team for assistance. The debtors had not left a forwarding address, so Markel Law instructed tracing agents who were successful in tracking down the former tenants to a new address in a different city.


Markel Law then prepared a letter before action, pressing for payment of the debt along with the tracing agent’s fees. The debtors responded to the letter with a settlement proposal. A payment plan was negotiated that will see the debt repaid in a reasonable and realistic period, taking into account the debtors’ limited resources.

Mark Rankin, Head of Commercial Services at Markel Law, said: “Late payment is the single biggest threat to the survival of small businesses, who are the lifeblood of the UK economy. Markel Law are delighted to be able to support FSB members through the FSB Debt Recovery service to recover sums owed and to help improve the cash flow needed to enable members to maintain and grow their businesses. To have recovered £1 million on members’ behalf is a source of great pride.”

Launched in June 2020, the FSB Debt Recovery service also equips business owners with the tools they need to take control and recover debts sooner. The free step-by-step guidance provided includes a 24/7 advice line staffed by debt recovery specialists, DIY letter templates, and a late payment interest calculator.


Over 13,000 documents and templates have been downloaded to date, with the helpline advising over 1,000 FSB members about the steps they can take. In many cases, debts are recovered before legal action is required, but FSB members have peace of mind and certainty of costs if further steps are needed.

FSB Debt Recovery is just one of the many ways FSB is supporting small business owners and the self-employed. Learn more about FSB membership and join today


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