I need some advice and personal experience would be helpful. I have a client whom I built a website for back in November, and has not paid the final 50%.... he's given me sob story after sob story, so I've been lenient. But it's going on 5 months now and I'm getting impatient. Especially since now he's avoiding phone calls from my numbers on his caller ID and not returning voicemails. I sent him a certified letter telling him that he needs to pay by EOM March or the site goes down, but the mailman has been unsuccessful in delivering that for a week now..... so he's being a total deadbeat. I have a signed contract stating the work to be performed, the amount, and that I reserve the right to remove the site if payment is not made within 7 days of site completion, and evidence that he's only payed half of what is due. My question is: Which is a better route to go.... a collection agency or small claims court? Collections are good because they can affect his credit history, but they take 33% of the collected amount, which I think is absurd.... Can I tack that amount on to the balance he owes, or does that come out of the bottom line so I only get 2/3's what I'm owed? Small claims is less convenient for me due to my schedule, but may be more effective due to the contract, and I can sue for balance + court costs.