Having trouble collecting on a bill? Your Better Business Bureau (BBB) may be able to help. Many BBBs now assist with business-to-business disputes regarding payment as a part of their dispute resolution service. BBBs do not operate as collection agencies, and there is no charge beyond standard membership dues.

When the BBB gets involved, there can be three possible outcomes. First, the account may be paid; second, the BBB can serve as a forum for arbitration; third, if the company refuses to pay or arbitrate, the complaint is logged in the BBB's files for three years.

Most businesses find a call from the BBB a powerful motivator to pay up. If the debtor belongs to the BBB and refuses to pay, its membership could be revoked. To find out if the BBB in your area offers this service, call the membership services department.

Excerpted from Start Your Own Business: The Only Start-Up Guide You'll Ever Need