Collect Bills and Sell Off Inventory Before You Go Out of Business

Before you go out of business, try to collect money owed to you and to get rid of all remaining inventory. Here are some tactics.

Collect Accounts Receivable

Before you send out a general notification that you're going out of business, do your best to collect money that's owed to you. Don't wait—it's much harder, and sometimes impossible, to collect accounts receivable after you've ceased operations. Companies and customers—who may themselves be strapped for cash—who owe you money will have far less incentive to pay once they find out you're no longer going to be providing them with goods and services.

Consider offering a 10% to 20% discount for immediate payment on overdue accounts receivable. If that doesn't help, consider hiring a business lawyer to write a letter. For more tips on how to collect receivables, including offering discounts for prompt payments, see Nolo's article on cash flow problems.

Sell as Much Inventory as Possible

If your business has excess inventory, it's time for a big sale. If you aren't yet ready to tell employees and suppliers about your plan to close, you may want to start with a "Blow-Out Sale." Then, during your last week or two, you can announce you are going out of business, further discounting prices then for a "going out of business" sale.

Especially if you are a retailer with deep roots in your community, a going-out-of-business sale may be a big event, a chance to recoup some of the money you've lost in recent months. To do this, in the early days of the sale, consider restocking just the popular items that you know you can sell at modest but still profitable markups.

If, after you've publicly announced your closing and had your going-out-of-business sale, you still have more inventory than you can possibly sell, consider using websites like eBay and craigslist to sell the excess. A last resort is to sell surplus inventory by the pallet or truckload at a site such as, or to consider contacting a liquidator or discount outlet, which will often buy surplus inventory in bulk for pennies on the dollar.

Learn more about the best way to go out of business.

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