Being proactive makes it more likely that you will be able to collect a past due account.
Below are some tips to increase your ability to ensure your bills are paid.
Credit Application and Contract
Always have your customer sign both a credit application and a contract.
They can even be part of the same document. Make sure your credit application has both
bank and trade references and check them. Your contract should have terms that spell
out when payment is due, late fees, an interest clause, and a provision providing for
15% attorney' s fees. Confirm the legal status of your customer, i.e. corporation,
partnership, sole proprietor, etc. Finally, your contract should always have a personal
Managing your Customer's Account
Bill your customers frequently and regularly, and do not let their accounts
age without action. Don't let your company become your customers bank. Always make
copies of the checks your customer pays with, and be alert for your customer switching
banks or paying with a check from a different company.
When Delinquencies Occur
Be polite, yet firm with your customer. Identify why the customer is
having a problem paying. Keep notes of these conversations and even confirm these in
a letter to your customer.
It can be a good idea to have your customer sign a promissory note for the amount due.
This keeps them from later complaining about your products or services. However, please
consult us before doing so as there are some legal nuances to this.
Finally, don't let your accounts age too long without referring them to your lawyer.
When a customer is in financial difficulties, it is the creditor that come calling first
(and treats the customer with respect) that gets paid.