Debt Collection – What to Do When Your Customers Don’t Pay
Owning a business comes with plenty of challenges, many of which aren’t always foreseen. One such challenge, and one of the most stressful situations you’ll go through as a business owner, is when your customers don’t pay their bills. Wherever possible the following steps will either prevent or limit your exposure to customers not paying their bills:
Have A Written Contract or Agreement
One of the most important things that you can do to ensure the terms of service are formally agreed, is to have a contract or written agreement signed by both parties. By having such a document, you and your customer have agreed on the terms including when payment should occur and if there are any part payments or payments in advance. A written contract also gives you a clearer path to pursue recovery through available processes if you are not paid when agreed.
Many services can be provided over a period of time and may require a considerable up front cost to your business. To assist with the cashflow of the business and to reduce the exposure to non-payment, agreeing to progressive payment for goods and/or services will help. Non-payment of earlier invoices in such circumstances will allow you to stop providing the remaining good or services thereby limiting your exposure until the customer makes payment.
Despite taking such measures, there is always the chance your customer does not pay for whatever reason. When this occurs, there are a few things that you can do to remedy the situation. One of the most critical aspects to recovering money owed to you, is to act quickly. The longer money goes unpaid, the task of recovery can become more difficult.
Contact Your Customer
Contacting your customer and discussing the overdue payment is very important. Don’t be put off talking about money, you are entitled to payment if you have provided the goods or services agreed. Always be polite and seek to understand why payment has not occurred and if there is a way that payment can be made immediately.
If repeated attempts to contact the customer does not result in payment, engaging a reputable debt collection agency within a reasonable period from the time that the money becomes overdue increases the likelihood of of the debt collection agency being able to assist in facilitating speedy payment. Collection agencies will establish contact with your customer in a formal manner and in compliance with industry guidelines to determine the reason for non-payment and to arrange the earliest possible payment of moneys owing.
If the debt collection agency exhausts avenues to payment of monies owed, then using the services of a legal practitioner may be your only option. Don’t be put off by the potential cost as courts can award a portion of the legal costs to be paid by the customer if the action is successful.
Do you have clients that owe you money? Are you wondering how you can get the money back? It can be quite a struggle which is why we created this guide for you. If you want to solve your debt collection problem that you are not having success with, then don’t delay, engage a debt collection agency now to get the help you need.
7 Debt Collection Mistakes Made by Small Businesses
Do you own a small business?
Do you have debt to collect and your current methods aren’t working?
You aren’t the only one. Plenty of business owners know this struggle and go through it daily.
Of course, there are things that you can go through in order to make the process easier on yourself.
Below, you can read about seven debt collection mistakes made by small business owners so that you can avoid them altogether.
No Follow-Up System
If you’re a small business owner, you’re probably a very busy person. You have to manage so much, and you have a lot of decisions on your plate. Because of this, you might have let some customers go a long time without paying in the past.
When you get in the habit of this, though, it can become easy for your customers to take advantage of you. In order to avoid this, you should have a system in place that prioritizes debt collection.
Nothing in Writing
You should always, always, always have a contract in place. This will protect your client, but it will also protect you. A contract will usually have the details of your business deal, and in it you need to describe the consequences of not paying. Have you and your client sign the contract. This will become a legally-binding contract. If your customer is a regular, make sure that you update his or her information every year. This will only make it easier for you to collect the debts you’re owed.
A Collection Agency
Don’t wait too long to hire a debt collection agency. These people will be able to take the burden off of your shoulders. They’re more experienced and you can go on with your daily life until you get your money back.
Hiring the WRONG Agency
Yes, it’s absolutely necessary to hire a collection agency. You shouldn’t go with the cheapest agency out there. That’s because they might not work that hard to get your money if they aren’t getting paid much in return. Find someone who has a track record of efficiency and cost.
Not Updating Information
By having the right information on-hand, you can contact the people who owe you money all that more easily. This way, you might not even need to hire a debt collection agency.
Although it’s important that you’re paid, you have to be careful about it. You can’t go around harassing people. When it’s been a long time that you haven’t been paid and nothing seems to be working, you should call the authorities and get yourself a lawyer.
Play it Smart
When you’re trying to collect debt, make sure you’re playing it smart at the same time. If you call those who owe you at an unreasonable hour, they most likely won’t answer you. Because of this, you should call them at hours when they’re more likely to answer your phone call. Try using someone else’s phone so that they don’t know it’s you.
Does someone owe you money?
Are you wondering how to get your money back without getting yourself in trouble?
There’s a few major mistakes that most small businesses make when they’re trying to collect debt.
Here are just a few of the mistakes that you can make when you’re trying to get your money back: harassing those who owe you, not updating customer information, calling at the wrong hours, hiring the wrong collection agency, and even forgetting to call a collection agency at all.
Dealing with Post Christmas Debt
In the lead up to Christmas and the Christmas shopping rush it’s easy to lose track of how often you pulled out your credit card.
Cue the bad news in January when your credit card statements arrive. But paying off Christmas debt quickly can help reduce interest and other accumulated charges. Or even worse – debt collection demands.
Here are some steps that you can follow to help deal with post Christmas debt.
Know Your Debt
Before the bills arrive, take some time to add up how much you spent and where. You can use your receipts to tally up your purchases or even take a look at your statements online. Don’t forget to include all purchases that you made on payment plans (including Afterpay and ZipPay), deferred lines of credit and store credits.
Budget, Budget, Budget
The most important step in paying off your Christmas credit card debt is setting up a budget to see how much spare money you have available each month to aggressively pay off your accumulated debt.
Pay Off High Interest Debts First
Prioritise your loans or credit cars and ease the pain of interest fees by paying off the ones that are incurring the most interest first. It can save you a lot of money in the long run.
Consider a Debt Consolidation Personal Loan
If you have large credit card debts hanging over your head, a personal loan might be the cheapest option for you. A personal loan often offers a lower rate than the average credit card and gives you a set repayment calendar and time frame. A personal loan doesn’t allow you to build up more debt whilst already paying back what you owe.
If you are feeling the pressure to make repayments, speak to your credit provider(s). Don’t just ignore it and skip payments – if you do this your credit score will suffer. You may be surprised to know that many credit providers can put you on a different payment plan schedule, making it more feasible to meet your repayments.
Consider Expert Help
If your post-festive debt is massive and you don’t know where to start? Then consider talking with an expert for their suggestions. You can try any financial advisory service or credit counselling agency for hep. Once you initiate contact you will receive guidance on budgeting skills or other financial education you might want.
Use Annual Bonuses & Tax Returns for Debt Repayment
Some people receive an annual bonus from their employer in December or January. Whilst it’s tempting to look at that money as a windfall to buy lots of fun items, take a step back for a moment and look at the bigger picture. These kinds of windfalls actually give you a unique opportunity to take care of those pesky debts and get your financials in order for the start of 2018.
It’s never too early to start planning for next year. You may want to consider opening a specific saving account and putting away $10 or $20 per week so that by this time next year, you will a have significant amount of money on hand, ready to use.
Whatever plans you makes, take control now and don’t let you christmas debt hangover become a real problem.
Why You Should Outsource Your Debt Collection in 2018
2018 is your year! It’s time that you practice working smarter not harder. Ask yourself, what are you doing in your business that ultimately takes you away from your core focus. Chance are, one of those things is chasing up overdue, unpaid invoices.
These kinds of conversations and the paperwork and time behind them can often be stressful. Worse still, they might not be as effective as they once were and can jeopardise your valuable client relationships.
A professional debt collection agency helps to ensure that you have a professional by your side to protect your business as best as possible against mounting debt. Despite the associated stereotypes of debt collection companies, good debt collectors operate ethically and follow strict industry guidelines when helping to recover outstanding debts.
This is why you should consider outsourcing your debt collection in 2018.
Update Your Credit Terms
At Capstone Collections we can help you set terms of trade that are clear and beneficial to your business. This should be signed by all parties prior to any work commencing and should clearly stipulate that all fees and charges associated with the debt collection process are solely the responsibility of the customer.
Conduct Credit Checks Prior to Extending Credit
The Australian Comprehensive Credit Reporting laws make it simple for businesses to have a better idea of a customer’s credit profile. By conducting a credit check on any new customers will significantly reduce your risk of invoices falling into the overdue category. A debt collection company is able to assist you with these types of customer checks and suggest ways to implement these systems.
Ensure The Cash Keeps Flowing
A timely collection of invoices improves your business’ ability to maintain a positive cash flow. Outsourcing your debt collection requirements means that you will have more time to focus on the other important elements of your business, knowing it is being professionally taken care of.
Reduce Your Arrears
Research indicates that the longer an invoice remains outstanding, the less change it has of being settled. That’s why it’s important to ensure that all invoices are paid in both a time and effective manner. Collection companies form an integral part of this system with their access to specialised technology and proven recovery methods.
Engaging the services of a debt collection agency helps take away the burden of chasing outstanding invoices. Working with a debt collection agency will see your late payments and non-payments significantly reduced as their sole focus is monitoring and collecting your receivables.
Maintaining Your Client Relationships
A debt collection agency understands that client relationships are what keep your business running. When you outsource your debt collection to a third party it ensures that conversations with your clients are limited only to the goods and services you provide, rather than worrying about their payments.
Debt Collection agencies work with highly skilled and trained professionals who are capable of nurturing and maintaining the relationships between you and your clients.
If you would like to speak to us regarding professional debt collection and to discuss your outstanding debt needs, phone 03 5400 1281 today.