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How much does Debt Recovery cost?

Average Price
£90-£250 per hour

What is the price of Debt Recovery and Collection?

Need help recovering a debt but not sure of the costs involved to do so? Read our handy guide to find out how much your debt collector will charge for their services.

What is Debt Recovery?

Debts arise when a person you have sold goods or services to has not met their payment agreement. An example is a loan that has not been repaid. Or, you could be a small business and a client has not paid you for the services that you carried out. 

Debt recovery is also used against residential and commercial tenants who do not keep up with their rent. This makes debt recovery and collection a very broad service and is used by a variety of industries. 

If the debt is not paid, then the company that sold the goods will financially suffer. With 80% of small businesses currently owed money, it is a very common problem. Therefore, the money needs to be recovered, which is where debt recovery comes in. 

Debt recovery usually involves phone calls and letters to the debtor and may progress to site visits or court action if the communication is ignored. The aim is to recover the debt either through cash payment or by selling goods that the debtor owns to cover the costs. The total costs include not just the debt but the legal fees associated with chasing the debt. 

How much does Debt Recovery cost?

The cost of debt recovery fluctuates between £90 and £250 per hour, depending on where you are based and what level of the process you are at. 

Debt recovery isn’t always charged by the hour especially if you aren’t going through a solicitor. However, agents will charge a fee just for attending a property or engaging in communication with the debtor.  

Average cost of Debt Recovery
Average cost (per hour) £125
Minimum cost (per hour) £90
Maximum cost (per hour) £250

What changes the price of Debt Recovery? 

The cost of debt recovery varies depending on several factors, including: 

  • Stage of process

  • Value of debt

  • Complexity of case

  • Additional fees

  • Time

  • Experience

  • Location

Stage of process

Debt recovery can be a long process depending on how willing the other party is to engage with you. 

The first stage is the cheapest and that’s a pre-action letter, which can cost as little as £100 to draw up. Often this stage is enough to prompt action, and if the debt is worth £10,000 this would be a very cost-effective result.

Moving onto further action, and the most costly stage is the issue of court proceedings which can cost up to £2,000 to initiate, depending on the size of the debt owed. 

Cost of Debt Recovery based on the stage of process
Stage of process Highest average price Lowest average price
Pre-action letter £320£100
Follow-up letters£480£100
Issue court proceedings£800£155
Issue court proceedings (for cases over £10,000)£2,000£500
Apply for judgement£420£200
High court enforcement£250£75

Every debt recovery agent will have a sliding scale for each process. Some will also offer more processes than others, depending on whether they are a general debt recovery company or a legal firm. 

Debt collection agencies may also have a 'no win, no fee' policy. However, with a solicitor, there will always be basic costs involved. Though with legal backing you may be more successful, so there are pros and cons of each method. 

Ultimately, you want your case to be wrapped up succinctly and the debt to be paid. So the professional you choose must achieve this for you.  

Value of debt

Most debt recovery agencies will have different thresholds when it comes to the value of the debt you need to recover. Typically, the smaller the debt the fewer costs that are associated. Past a certain point as well as a fixed fee, the company may also charge a percentage of the debt (i.e 5% of the total debt) for their services. 

Complexity of case

No two debt cases are the same. If your case is extremely complicated involving several debtors or extremely high sums of money, then it may take longer to solve. Explaining your situation clearly and upfront when selecting a debt recovery professional will be of benefit here. 

Additional fees

Debt recovery services are business in themselves, whether they are an agency or a legal practice. Therefore, you should expect some additional fees which will be outlined before any services are undertaken. The fees could include minimum call-out fees, even if the debt is not recovered as an example. 


Some services will be billed per hour and others as a fixed fee. Either way, the longer your case drags on the more it will cost. Though the fees will usually be passed onto the debtor. You can help manage any associated costs by having your paperwork in order and giving clear communication throughout. 


Debt recovery is carried out by a wide range of individuals from legal professionals to debt collectors. The experience of the legal professional is where the cost varies the most, starting with paralegals up to partners. 

When it comes to the debt collectors or enforcement agents, they will normally work on a fixed fee that is standard across their industry. 


The cost of debt recovery varies widely depending on the complexity of your case. However, your location will also impact the cost since there are different living and operational costs in each area of the UK.

Typically, the North East is the cheapest area for debt recovery, averaging at £90 per hour. In London, the price per hour can be anywhere up to £250 and above, especially for cases where tens of thousands of pounds are involved. 

Average cost of Debt Recovery & Collection based on the location
LocationAverage debt recovery cost
North East£90
North West£175
South West£195

Is it worth getting Debt Recovery?

Debt recovery can be a tricky process for all involved. If you are owed money, this could put a huge strain on your finances. Yet, recovering the money isn’t always straightforward. Often even a simple solicitor’s letter is all that’s needed to get the ball rolling. If that doesn’t work, there are many other stages your case can be escalated to, which just wouldn’t happen without the right legal framework behind you. So if you are struggling to reclaim the money you are owed, debt recovery and collection should be your first port of call. 

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