Studies show that the chances of getting paid drop about 12 percent each month that a bill goes unpaid. That's 36 percent after three months.
You do the work or provide the goods exactly as you were supposed to. Then you send out your invoice and wait patiently to be paid. And wait. And wait. Now what? You started your business to make a difference, to do what you love, to express your vision, not to become the bank of choice for your customers. Aggressive collection techniques may alienate a good customer, but not collecting could mean the end of your business.
Every small business should have a collection policy in place before the company begins selling its products or services.
If a customer declines to pay in spite of repeated prodding, it's time to find out what's really wrong. Usually there are two reasons for overdue bills, either the customer is dissatisfied with the product or service or is having financial problems. Since customer dissatisfaction should have been uncovered in a quick sales follow‑up call, chances are the customer either doesn't have the money to pay you or is less than responsible when it comes to paying his or her bills. That’s probably the time to bring in your attorney.
Reluctant payers are often motivated by a letter from legal counsel to call and make payment arrangements. Sometimes the subtle threat of having a letter from an attorney is enough to get a delinquent account back on the straight and narrow payment path.
If the letter doesn’t work, the legal system may be your last resort. For debts under $7000, small claims court is a good option and a court order can be a powerful tool in collecting an overdue debt. Although additional court costs are involved in obtaining and enforcing a judgment, a judgment will enable a constable to collect the debt and will effect debtor’s credit rating until it’s paid in full. If the debt is greater than $7000, the case must be brought in District or Superior Court, but the same advantages apply.
Spending too much time and resources on account collection can be draining on your operation. At Hyde, Poor & Associates, we work for a percentage of what is collected. The older a debt becomes, the less likely it is that it will ever be collected. Once it appears that collecting on an invoice is going to be a problem, turning the debt over to us will save you time and aggravation, as well as increasing your bottom line.
At Hyde, Poor & Associates, we understand the struggles of running a small business. Contact us at 978-425-0005 today and see how we can help.