Debt collections and accounts receivable can be a real headache for small business, professional service firms, and freelancers! How are you supposed to stay in business if you can't get paid for your products and services?

Here are 10 things that I can tell you with certainty will help smaller operations whose clients are the same.  Ask yourself these ten questions about your business and your clients.  Give them some thought before your next engagement with a new client. Adjust your processes a little bit.  You either have someone who owes you money and isn't paying or you will.  Be prepared for it.   

1.)  Are you looking before you leap into time consuming projects?  Don’t jump headfirst into projects.  People, companies, and shiny wordpress sites ARE NOT a guarantee of status or integrity.  ANYONE can have 500 Linkedin connections, thousands of twitter followers, phony Facebook friends/likes, and a well designed website claiming whatever they want; all set up within a week or so.  You need to verify that there is substance behind it!  

2.)  Do they have a phone number, address, email, and/or anyones name/s published on the site? Gather as much contact info for them, their company, and their associates as you can!  Cross reference it all online and fact check things that they tell you.

3. ) Is your contact easy to reach? Do you have any other contacts with their company?  How fast do they reply to calls and emails?  
Information is power, gather as much info as you can up front, then update and add to it as you go along.  Sometimes there may be only one person in the company and that's fine, just make sure that one person communicates properly and has an ounce or two of integrity. 

4.)  Are you documenting that you're the good guy?  Communicate clearly about what they want, how they want it, and when they expect it.  Discuss these things in detail, and document the agreement with a signed/dated contract, and then continue to document important things via an e-mail chain especially if the project veers even one iota off the original written agreement.  If you can’t prove it, IT DIDN’T HAPPEN!

5.)  Do some research on your client.  Google is your best friend, use it!  Many times there are immediate red flags.  You have to work smart on this process when you and your client are too small to operate based on credit ratings etc.  Remember many of these clients have no credit, and use no credit, you have to think ahead about what your leverage and recourse will be if they try to run off with your payment.

6.)  Do they have a current social media presence?  This one isn’t an exact science, but I can tell you the businesses we chase have usually gone quiet on all online avenues once they are facing financial trouble.  Having done this so many times, I can profile subjects extremely accurately based off a few simple factors.  You can too eventually.  On the flip side many unsavory scammers are out there posting bible verses on Linkedin the same day they steal thousands from a reputable business.

7.)  Do they have an office?  Believe me there are plenty of reputable businesses that are operated from home, small offices, remotely, whatever.  However, if a business professes to be an international corporation with say thousands of employees, and there address can be traced to a double wide on google maps, then that’s a red flag.  Basically, are they professional or are they at least what they claim to be?  I've chased plenty of "Chief (fill in officers)", people with glamorous online profiles that make them look rich claiming "I love my life", and so on only to find out I am chasing what is basically a career criminal who takes advantage of everyone within 5 feet of them.  Use caution or get burned.

8.)  Are they an actual legitimate business?  Knowing how their operation is set up from a tax standpoint can give good insight.  Are they a self employed contractor under their personal name?  Do they have a registered Corporation or LLC with the Secretary of state?  Is it in good standing?  How old is it?

9.)  WHEN will they pay?  Get paid as quickly as possible.  The less time and service you put out without payment the less you are at risk to lose!  Don’t do $2,000.00+ worth of work ahead of time without talking details and then get surprised when a problem arises.  Give it some extra attention, and recover $500 at four points in the project.  You give them an inch, they will take a mile!  So have them pay by the inch if it’s acceptable in your industry, or at least with high risk or new clients! 

10.)  Are you doing your part?  Remember that you must do your part as well.  If you aren’t performing as agreed and being reasonable as well, you cannot expect them to pay good money. 

So in closing, be thorough, precise, and do not leave any gray areas no matter who you are working for.  Listen to your gut.  We are all in business to get paid, and it is not unreasonable to take that seriously.  

If you need help with any of these things we have a menu of services designed specifically to take all the time, stress, and headache completely out of the equation for you.  You're not too small to have one of the countries best representing you in strengthening your cash flow processes and making sure you're not losing unnecessary profit.

Contact the Author:

Jason Lindsey
President & Principal Consultant
Cambridge Receivable Solutions, LLC
New Clients: 636-487-0986
Toll Free: 1-888-908-3905 

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             This article relates to freelancers, small to medium size businesses, and professional service firms. 

Today I want to talk about the main myth with regards to debt collection agency contingency (no fee if no recovery) rates, along with what we are doing to ensure value to our clients.

    The myth:  "Collection agencies typically charge 30-50% fee on recoveries"

                                                 Who perpetuates this myth, and why?

-Collection Attorneys.  Collection attorneys help in spreading this myth in order to warm you up for their costly fee structure.  Legal action will take up more of your time and resources than the more logical third party collection intervention.  A solid pre-legal, collection attempt will, more often than not, increase your return.  If the effort is unsuccessful, you pay nothing, and legal action is always available as a last ditch effort.  In fact, having attempted an amicable pre-legal solution will strengthen your case if it must go there.  Tapping into decades of experience, we'll be the first to point you in that direction if that's what it will take. 

-The uninformed.  This is to include authors and bloggers who are simply regurgitating dated untruths they got from other unreliable sources, in the name of content, which has watered down the little known reality of debt collections.  The spreading of this misinformation is hurting your bottom line.  The crucial and necessary profit maximization, through specialized A/R management and collections, is a highly misunderstood and underutilized business function for businesses of all sizes and industries.

                                                        The Truth

To say this myth is an incorrect, dated, and an overly broad assumption, would be an understatement.  The fact is your cost will largely be a direct reflection of how you have handled the invoices to date.  If your waiting until your invoices are over a year old, then you may be in the neighborhood of 30%, for good reason.  Already have judgements? Then they will be in the 40% range.  Again, for good reason.  80% of judgements go unpaid and can require extensive expenses to attempt to recover.  The majority of placements that need a collection intervention won't fall in those high fee categories.  A proper collection strategy through a firm like ours will never leave you with less than you would have without us. 

The main factors at play with our rates are in your hands.  Most   agencies base their rates on the amount of time and resources they will   require to be cost effective for BOTH parties, obviously.  The amount  of  time it will take us to turn your coal into diamonds is what decides   your rates. Average age, average  balance, and volume of accounts are  the key factors that will decide  your fee structure.  Help us help you by getting us involved early and  often.

-Having a specialist involved to ensure your cash flow management is structured appropriately throughout the entire cycle is a crucial first step. 

-Knowing when, and why, to allow professional help to proactively address problem invoices as they pop up, will always ensure you have more than you would without their assistance.

-DRUM ROLL~~~~~ Rates for top notch collection assistance are primarily BELOW 30%, in many cases as low as 10%.  If your agency can't show you why their rates make sense to your bottom line, call us, we can!  If we can't, then we'll make some suggestions and point you in the right direction.  If our relationship won't MAKE you money, we don't want to waste either of our time.  Taking on clients for whom we won't be an asset would be completely counter productive for us.

                       How do we specifically ensure value for our clients? 

-We are a highly experienced and specialized partner for the industries we serve.

-Our unique set up was built and customized to ensure you more time and money to invest in the business you're in. 

-A full service, consultative approach, ensures that you capitalize on our knowledge and experience at every stage of the process.

-Our more cost effective rate structure, and low overhead, ensures our clients top quality service and results. 

-While there are some bad collection agencies out there,  Cambridge Receivable Solutions is the answer to changing economic times.  We are providing innovation to the typical archaic recovery model.

                                                       Click   >HERE<   for more information
Get to know us better by having a quick look at our home, about, and services pages.  Please contact us with questions or for a free, confidential consultation on how we can help rates that you can be excited about.

Contact the Author:

Jason Lindsey
President & Principal Consultant
Cambridge Receivable Solutions, LLC
Direct: 636-238-3843
Toll Free: 1-888-908-3905 Ext.101 

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Time is money...why wait?
Maximizing your profits, and access to earned income, should be a top priority all year. Don't forget the obvious; getting paid is how you stay in business. Time is money, and we are here to get you more of both. 

Top reasons to address your past due accounts now, as opposed to year end:
(In no particular order)

1.) Waiting until the fourth quarter, or (cringe) December, sends a message that you don't expect timely payment. 

2.)  Your clients financial standing may deteriorate over time. 

3.)  You have less leverage over the clients the longer you wait, especially if services are completed.

4.)  Clients will forget how well you worked for them, or how important the product or service you provided was. 

5.)  You don't want to have to "make deals" to get the money in before year end.  By doing so they may expect lower rates next time.

6.)  Other creditors likely started earlier and are already in line for payment, get the jump on all available funds as soon as possible.  Don't get moved to the back of the line!

7.)  Statistics show that troublesome invoices become less collectable with every passing month.  See the Collectibility chart below, keep in mind it will vary by industry, economic conditions, etc. but it gives you an idea (visually) how time IS money.

8.)  You should be thanking your clients at year end, not pushing for payment and making compromises.

I could go on for days, but you get the point. Contact us today to capitolize on top-tier assistance and experience, at below average rates.  Our small firm, consultative approach, affords you terrific client service and results.  Let us know if you have any questions in regards to your active receivables, or more severely past due collection accounts.  We look forward to speaking to you about your needs, call anytime or use our quick consultation form for your convenience. 

Thanks for your time!

Contact the Author:

Jason Lindsey
President & Principal Consultant
Cambridge Receivable Solutions, LLC
Direct: 636-238-3843
Toll Free: 1-888-908-3905 Ext.101 

If you liked this article, help me share it with others who could benefit from it.  Share it on Twitter, click the like on facebook icon below, or....
Join my personal network by connecting with me on Linkedin;

Follow CRS on twitter:

Follow CRS on Linkedin:

We are always eager to find cost effective ways for you to benefit from our knowledge and experience with A/R and Collections.  We offer a quick consultation service by phone for a small hourly fee (1 hour minimum). We will orchestrate a quick audit of your Order to Cash procedures and make suggestions on areas that could benefit from improvement, leaving you with a full report of our recommendations.

You can also take advantage of  full on-site consultations to ensure proper training and
cash flow maximization for your organization.  Rates are per day + transportation to and from your establishment.  This is a valuable opportunity for small to mid-sized companies that will pay dividends for years to come. Inquire by phone by calling our Client Services Department at 636-487-0986 or through the
CONTACT page for more details and pricing information.

Or click HERE for rates and details.
Any business or Professional Service Firm that is owed money stands to gain by trusting CRS with their accounts.  You have extended products or services, and in many cases built a relationship in the process. Now that the money isn't coming in you aren't sure what your options are or what you should do.  Let our professionalism and experience go to work for you. 

Accounts placed with us are only worked by a veteran in the field of credit and collections with top level negotiation skills in the industries in which we specialize.   Our business is built on results for our select client base, we give your organization a more professional and thorough option than traditional collection agencies. Our process, resources, and approach (before, during, and after) are what sets us apart. 

You can trust your personal CRS consultant to guide you through your best options and put numbers back on the books where they belong.  It's no secret that, in this economy, this is a service businesses are in dire need of.  On cases like these we earn no fee unless there is payment. You have nothing to lose, and good funds to gain! 

Reach our Client Services Department at 636-487-0986 for a confidential consultation, or e-mail us through the
CONTACT page for more information and to request a rate sheet. 

**We also offer a Pre-Collect Letter Service for a small one time fee.