The decision to send a customer to a debt collection agency should never be taken lightly. The possibility is high that you will sacrifice your relationship with the client or customer, and unless you’ve done things right on your end, that sacrifice might be for nothing. Before you take action, it’s important to know whether or not your business has done everything you can to resolve the matter first. When calling a debt collection agency like Gilliam & Mikula, you and your team should be able to answer the following collection questions with a resounding “Yes!”
Collection Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Collections Agency
Did We Do Our Job Right?
If you are intent on sending someone to collections, it’s vitally important that you upheld your part of the deal. For instance, if you did not fully complete a contracted project for a client, they may have an out to refuse full payment.
To make sure you’ve done your part – do the following:
- First and foremost – get a signed contract back!
- Document each and every step of your process with confirmations along the way
- Discuss and record milestones with the client
- Seek written approval on individual stages of a project
When you and your client agree that you’ve held up your part of the bargain (prior to agency involvement), it becomes much more likely your collection action will be successful.
Are Our Collections Policies Clear – and Enforceable?
For any collection action to be successful, the collection policy in your contract with the client must be clear and enforceable. By that, we mean that the client must be aware of when and how they are expected to pay you, and what actions will lead to collections.
Furthermore, these policies must be reasonable and enforceable. You cannot simply say “the client is expected to pay in full whenever we want” or “the client will pay in cash only” or anything else along those lines (and before you roll your eyes… we’ve seen something similar in a contract before). You should make arrangements in your payment and collections policies for your client to pay you in a number of different ways and with thorough and documented escalation points that must be reached before they will be sent off to collections.
Did We Ask for Payment Promptly, and Repeatedly?
Most customers will pay promptly… if you invoice them promptly. However, delayed or unscheduled invoicing is asking for delinquency in payment.
When you complete a job for a customer, invoice them immediately – the very same day, if you can. This “starts the clock” so to speak on their expected payment timeframe, and lets them know where they stand as far as your willingness and determination to collect. Additionally, this allows any grievances to arise and be resolved prior to too much time passing.
Additionally, examine your invoicing follow up structure. You and your team should follow up with clients very quickly after sending the first invoice to ensure that the client received them. Even though email has simplified the process – it never hurts to make sure… and removes a potential excuse later.
When an account is at risk of becoming delinquent on payments, it should not come as a surprise to them. We advise notifying the client at specific intervals prior to their first missed payment – IE, two weeks before, one week before, 3 days before, one day before, and day of. This way, the client (and anyone that might be examining your process in the future) will know that you tried frequently and repeatedly to warn the customer that they were at risk of being sent to collections.
If the Answer to These Collection Questions is YES, Gilliam & Mikula Can Help You Recover Your Debt
If you’ve done your job right in executing a contract with clear and reasonable payment terms, and the client still hasn’t paid despite a regimented invoice and follow up process… you’ve answered the collections questions correctly, and it is very likely you will recover your debt from your client if you send their account to a collection agency.
That’s where we come in! We specialize in debt collection in these scenarios, and are committed to getting you what you’re owed. If you’ve answered yes to these questions, or have a unique situation to discuss with us, get in touch. Just fill out our online form. We look forward to speaking with you!
Gilliam & Mikula is centrally located in Richmond, Virginia, and serves clients throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia. Our attorneys have over forty years of combined experience in various practice areas, representing individuals and businesses. We are licensed to practice in all General District Courts and Circuit Courts of the Commonwealth of Virginia including, Central, Tidewater, and Northern
The attorneys at Gilliam & Mikula are here to smoothly guide you through the “legal maze” and ensure that you achieve the most favorable outcome.
The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only. Information on this website may not constitute the most up-to-date legal or other information.