How are you improving cash flow?

As a business owner you are always thinking of ways to cut costs and increase profit.

One of the easiest ways to do this is to improve your cash flow, get it coming in quicker and in full.  How are you accomplishing this?  Leave your response in the comments below.

Some ideas:

Look at your financials often.  Not once a month, not once a week, often.

Offer an early payment discount with short terms (4% net 10)

Communicate with your customers, thank them, follow up on orders, make sure they are happy.

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Posted in Being a Great Collector, Business Credit, Collections for Creditors, Credit Policy Questions, Customer Service, FAQ's, Getting Paid - Michelle Dunn - Business Finance Columni, Know your Debtors, Training | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Do you contact neighbors when trying to find a debtor?

As part of your skip tracing, when you have to locate a debtor in order to collect from them, how many of you contact neighbors for location information?

How often do you do this?

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Posted in Being a Great Collector, FAQ's, Skip Tracing, Telephone Collection Tactics, The Life of a Bill Collector | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Debt Collection letters & forms

I am happy to share that my book of “Debt Collection letters & forms” is now available in paperback.  The e-book will be coming soon.  I also want to let you know that I have recently updated “Telephone collection call scripts & how to respond to excuses” and the newest updated versions are now available.

The letters in this book are for first party collectors, though as a third party collector, maybe you could use these to create your own letters.  You can use the letters in this book as they are, or modify them to suit your needs or your specific business or just use one sentence from a letter. Each letter should be on your company letterhead and include your company name, address, phone and fax, web address, email and any other contact information. The letters that get the best results are not “form” letters. If a letter looks like a form letter it loses some of its punch. The most effective letters are short, to the point and easy to read. Try to avoid long or confusing words and sentences. The more direct, the fewer misunderstandings. Have someone read your letter and see if they totally understand it. If they do, then chances are your debtor will, too.

Your letter is a reflection of your business; keep it professional. Remember that your letter is to persuade someone to send you money. Your wording and tone are critical, especially if this is a customer you want to continue to do business with. Always assume the debtor will pay. Enclosing an envelope for payment is always a good idea. You can also include an envelope with postage. The easier you make it for the debtor to make payment, the better your chances are of receiving that payment.

Collection letters should do two things: retain customer good will and help you get paid. You know a letter works well when you do a mailing and your phone rings off the hook when everyone receives their letters. If you send out a letter and there is no response, you need to re-work your letter.

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Posted in Ask Michelle, Bad Checks, Books, Collection Letters, Collection Tools, Collections for Creditors, Collections for Landlords, FAQ's, Getting Paid - Michelle Dunn - Business Finance Columni, Industry Trade Publications, New Technology, Online Collection Techniques, Telephone Collection Tactics, Text messages, The Life of a Bill Collector | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Providing the validation notice to a debtor

As you continue to test yourself on the FDCPA, what do you send a debtor as validation of a debt?

How much time do you have to provide validation and how often do you have to provide this validation?

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Posted in Being a Great Collector, Books, Collection Calls, Collection Letters, Compliance, Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, FAQ's, Laws, Scripts, Telephone Collection Tactics | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What is considered FDCPA Harassment?

As you make collection calls to debtors, how do you determine how often to call so that it is not considered harassment under the FDCPA?

When a debtor hangs up on you do you call right back or how long do you wait to call again?

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Posted in Being a Great Collector, Books, collection agencies, Compliance, Education, Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, FAQ's, Laws, Scripts, Telephone Collection Tactics, The Life of a Bill Collector, Training | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

How well do you know the FDCPA?

How well do you know the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act?

This series of blog posts will be questions to help you test yourself and your collectors on how well you know the FDCPA.

Please leave your comments and answers in the comment section.  Today’s question:

Can a bill collector call a debtors spouse at work regarding a debt?

 

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Posted in Being a Great Collector, Collection Calls, Compliance, Education, Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, FAQ's, Laws, Telephone Collection Tactics, The Life of a Bill Collector, Training | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Skip Tracing resources

Anyone who owns a collection agency knows you use many resources to skip trace debtors.  I wanted to share a list of some skip tracing websites recommended by the Skip Tracing Advisor, Ron Brown.

AnyWho

AT&T Directory Assistance

SuperPages

Switchboard

White Pages

Yahoo! People Search

International

Reverse Search

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Posted in Ask Michelle, Being a Great Collector, collection agencies, FAQ's, Know your Debtors, New Technology, Online Collection Techniques, Skip Tracing, The Life of a Bill Collector, Training | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What to look for when hiring a debt collector

When you are hiring bill collectors there are some traits and/or skills you will want to look for.  Being a bill collector is a hard job and special qualities are needed.

Anyone you are considering hiring as a debt collector should be interested in people, have good communication skills in person, on the phone and in writing.  Collectors need to be persuasive and persistent, with the ability to deal fairly with people in often difficult situations.  They need to be able to remain calm, cool and collected, negotiate, have office and computer skills and be able to explain and discuss financial matters clearly.

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Posted in Ask Michelle, Business Credit, Collections for Creditors, Collections for Landlords, Customer Service, Dealing with debt collectors, Education, FAQ's, Helping Debtors, Honesty & Integrity, linkedin, Paying Collectors, The Life of a Bill Collector, Training | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Is using a collection agency a liability?

Some business owners tell me that they don’t outsource their collections to a third party bill collector because of the liability of using a collection agency.  Which lead me to this blog title, is using a collection agency a liability?
It is my opinion that using a third party debt collector under any new laws and rules and regulations would be much less of a liability for a business owner now more than any years in the past.
If a business owner feels this way they can mitigate the risk of using a debt collection agency by doing their due diligence.  They should “check the credit” of a potential agency just like they check the credit of a new customer before extending credit.  Ask questions such as:
  • How long have you been in business?
  • Get the names of some clients and call them for references.
  • Get the names of past clients and ask why they left.
  • Ask if they are members of any organizations such as the BBB, Chamber of Commerce, or any industry trade groups.
  • Do they specialize in a certain type of debt?  What kind?  Student loans, utilities, bank loans, credit card etc.
  • Have they ever been sued for a FDCPA violation? Why? What was the outcome.
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Posted in Business Credit, Choosing a Collection Agency, collection agencies, Collection Tools, Collections for Creditors, Collections for Landlords, Dealing with debt collectors, FAQ's | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Starting a collection agency, strategic planning

Having plans for your collection agency is crucial, business plans, marketing plans, financial plans and strategic planning will help you will all of this.

Your strategic plan could be part of your marketing or business plan.  Having a strategic plan can give you direction and keep you focused while improving your long term profitability.  To start your own strategic plan for your collection agency you need to know what your strengths are as well as your weaknesses.  You want to be able to identify opportunities and any threats to your business model.

If you have a mission statement this is part of your plan, it gives you a clear goal and tells you how it will be achieved.  An example:

“The mission of YOUR COLLECTION AGENCY is to collect the maximum amount from debtors for all clients while complying with all federal and state laws.”

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Posted in Ask Michelle, collection agencies, FAQ's, Marketing, Starting a Collection Agency | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment