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
or 
Toll Free: 1-888-908-3905 
jlindsey@c-rsolutions.com
info@c-rsolutions.com

www.c-rsolutions.com 


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:  https://twitter.com/getpaidfaster

Follow CRS on Linkedin:   http://www.linkedin.com/company/cambridge-receivable-solutions-llc
 
 
Sometimes there's just not an app for that!


Making sure your business recovers every possible dollar it’s earned is one of those issues.  When thousands of dollars in accounts receivables go cold, whether from one or multiple clients, you are going to need a real live, good old fashioned human being.  Not only that but someone with deep real world experience in what it takes to turn nothing back into something.  Someone with tenacity, professionalism and all the tools it will take to make the impossible happen. 


The people or businesses who are trying to get out of paying hundreds, thousands, or tens of thousands of dollars for your hard work, are not swayed in the least by a friendly little reminder notice sent from your i-phone. 


You need a specialist.  A full service "do what it takes" ally who takes getting you paid seriously.

Cambridge Receivable Solutions, LLC is not what you typically think of when you think about a "collection agency".   We revolutionized this process for businesses like yours, the ones who need it most.  How is that you ask? 

1. We are not a call center.  Instead we are a small professional services firm of only highly experienced, educated professionals who operate strategically and intelligently on your businesses behalf.  

2.  We do not, never have, and never will work for credit card companies, telecom, payday loans or any other predatory lenders.

3.  We only help the good guys!  That's right, the good guys.  We only take on quality clients with good honest businesses who deserve to get paid for their products and services.  We operate with integrity and expect the same from our clients.

4.  We do not use automatic dialers. The business we handle needs a personal touch, the extra element of professional representation. 

5.  Our letters are on heavy stock paper with our letterhead, not multi-colored generic form letters. 

6.  Our calls and letters are tailored to each individual account specifically, which increases our recovery rates high above the industry standards.



How do you do it? They won't even respond to me, or they are just plain refusing to pay what they owe.


We use facts, evidence, the law, and persistence.  Not to mention we have the luxury of spending more quality time with your accounts than the sweat shop, archaic, collection agencies you might be thinking of. You get to rest easy knowing all possible avenues are being taken, and that if there is a chance for recovery, we'll be there to get it for you.  We take as much time as necessary to get you paid.  

We have so much experience with the psychology of recovering past due funds that we are able to do so most of the time with minimal resistance.  It really is an art form and one that we have mastered. We are professionals performing a crucial business function.  We assist small businesses who don't have the time or expertise to minimize losses effectively. 

We encourage communication, get the owing party talking wherever possible.  We present them the facts and give them a chance to do the right thing on their own which many times is all they are looking for-at least once they realize you have escalated the issue.  Also, the harsh truth is that many people and businesses stiff people all the time.  It's their way of building businesses on the backs of others.  


Some people lack integrity, so they take a "make me" type of approach to paying their bills. Some just don't have the money so until they feel it's urgent, for example getting a letter from a company like ours, they put it on the back burner.  We are proficient in getting you made a priority.  Something you just can't do with these types on your own.

We can't divulge all of our secrets but the best way to sum it up is, if there is any possible chance for you to get paid, we'll get it paid, with no hassle for you.

As a small business owner, freelancer, or professional service provider you need real, quality debt collection solutions.  That's why CRS was created to fill that void and allow you to take advantage of a smart money, cost effective way to offload some of that stress and headache and turn your stalled profit back into money in the bank.

Let us help....

How many services can you think of that only get paid IF you get the desired results? Do you have to pay a doctor if you don't get well soon? Yes.  Do you have to pay for that crappy HP printer even if it breaks after a year?  Sure do.   Do you get a refund on that produce you bought at a premium price after you get home and notice it's rotted?  Doubtful.  You see where I am going with this.  

We are one of the last real refuges of accountability.  If you don't get paid, neither do we! You pay nothing up front.  As long as you understand the following you'll know you are making a smart business decision by having us manage your past due balances...

Something > Nothing

Whether you have accounts just over 60 days past due, or over a year, we can talk about getting them resolved.  Not only that we'll be here to help you with questions on other problem accounts and to help you firm up your processes so that going forward you need us less and less.  So don't get stalled and let past due invoices sit there aging.  The older they are, the less likely you'll ever see your money.  

The sooner you take action the more we can help.  The stronger your in house processes are, the more effective we can be when the inevitable happens.  We can also help to make sure you are taking steps to minimize problems by helping you tweak your procedures, contracts, and follow up process as well.

We are successful more often than going to court and winning a judgment when it comes to recovering past due balances. Yes you read that correctly.  Not to mention you'll save a ton of time, headache, and out of pocket money.  If it has anything to do with a business owing another business money, we know the best ways to handle it and if we don't think we can help you we'll let you know that too and point you in the right direction.   

Remember our contingency collection services are No Collection = No Fee.  So you won't have to spend any more money just to find out IF they'll pay.  You literally have nothing to lose and everything to gain by using this smart money approach.  

Good luck and contact us when you are ready to maximize your cash flow.  We will take the time to answer any questions you have and make sure our business to business relationship will thrive. We won't make you the bad guy, but we won't let you be a sucker either!


Thanks for reading!


Contact the Author:

Jason Lindsey
President & Principal Consultant
Cambridge Receivable Solutions, LLC
New Clients: 636-487-0986
or 

Toll Free: 1-888-908-3905 
jlindsey@c-rsolutions.com

info@c-rsolutions.com

www.c-rsolutions.com 


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:  https://twitter.com/getpaidfaster

Follow CRS on Linkedin:   http://www.linkedin.com/company/cambridge-receivable-solutions-llc


 
 

A good portion of our private practice collection agency business comes in from Freelancers and small to mid-sized businesses (like these).  If you fall into these categories, you’ve likely realized that getting paid at all, let alone on time, can be a challenging task.

Having an interesting perspective into thousands of similar non-payment situations over the past 16 years, I can tell you that many businesses are having big problems with late and non-payers. Many times we are collecting for businesses that are in a cash crunch, against businesses that are in a cash crunch!  While that is a sign of the times it's our mission to try to stop, or at least improve, this vicious cycle.

In a perfect world every business would be able to have processes in place to minimize against non-payment, to include a vetting (or credit) procedure of some kind to ensure that you are doing business with the most qualified clients possible, followed by proper documentation, invoicing, follow up, and where needed; debt collection escalation. 

In this utopia every business or client you dealt with would have the funds (or cash flow) to back up the products and services they are taking advantage of, in a timely manner.  Your clients would all communicate effectively and then pay as agreed.


Here are three quick tips, directly from the trenches of non-payment, for our friends in Freelancing and Small businesses.


                   
1.) 
Have a signed and dated contract! 


Working without a proper, enforceable, contract is dangerous!  Also, depending who you are dealing with, how they are set up, and what kind of funds/assets they have behind them; even a contract doesn’t guarantee payment with or without collection help and eventual litigation (to include small claims court).  Keep in mind too that Cambridge Receivable Solutions is successful in recovering debts more often than the legal avenues, even when a judgement has been awarded. 

There are many ingredients a contract must have.  They are specific to the type of business you do, the scope of work, payment terms, cancellation terms, and much more.  A crude proposal or terms of service might cut it when the client intends to pay and does the right thing, but if you really want to minimize your potential losses you have to be thorough. Every detail is important. Communicate throughout the process and don’t start until it’s understood by both parties and the contract has been signed.



2.) 
Be cautious when working for startups of any kind, and/or small, un-established businesses!


Working with startups of any kind (businesses that are new or un-established) is risky!  Everything may seem fine, up until it’s time to pay that is!  You absolutely would not believe the situations we see and what lengths some will go to stall or avoid paying you all together if possible.  Many freelancers can’t completely avoid these types of clients and I would be happy to share some more safeguards with you if you have a specific situation you’d like to contact me about.

Many situations we deal with could have easily been avoided had the client been more in tune with some simple red flags to watch out for.  We see web designers, software developers, copywriters, and many more get caught in this trap when helping "companies" get set up in lieu of payment. 



3.) 
Never judge a book by its cover…..its Linkedin page, or its shiny website!


Think a friendly voice and a verbal promise to pay is enough?  It's not!  We see many situations where what appears to be “reputable business people” acting in good faith quickly turn into strategic non-payers, conveniently ignoring all the facts, and discounting any rapport you have built through your hard work.  Many have cash flow issues, but will never admit it. Instead they continually hide behind something being wrong with your services even when obvious proof to the contrary exists.  Don’t let your payment become a hostage to unethical people who want to build a business on your back.  

Never get excited about starting a new project and blindly start spending time on it UNTIL the business end is secured (See #1).  LOOK before you leap.  Gather details, do some research, find out who and what are behind this business.  Who will be responsible for payment, and how will you reach them when the crickets start chirping after you've invoiced?  Gather as much contact info as you can for your contact and their associates.

Does it feel like they have something to hide?  Does anything not ad up?  Listen to your gut and be honest with yourself about the risks.
  Do not start until all the I’s are dotted and the T’s are crossed.   If you don’t get paid, you go out of business.  This is the most crucial part of what you do, mind it!  There are always two sides to every story, you need to be able to prove yours, and leverage it to get what you earned if necessary.



The good news is that there are best practices for being able to minimize issues with these types of problems and also to deal with them when necessary, but you must get educated about the ways to protect yourself.  There are so many different factors and unique situations it’s difficult to pack all the details and advice into one article.

Once you have a set procedure in place it doesn’t take much extra effort or time to enact these safeguards throughout the project.   Then, when a problem does arise, you can lean on the fact that you’ve taken the proper steps to increase the likelihood of turning that tough situation back into acceptable compensation.  Even if that means getting professional assistance, it’s worth it.

Non-payment is a huge issue for the “little guys”.  The stress and setbacks it can cause can be debilitating for any business owner.  Help us help you by taking a pro-active approach throughout each deal.  Beyond that, realize that you have an ally with deep experience, tools, and firsthand knowledge about what it takes to collect what you’re owed.  We know all the laws, we know the games, we know the psychology.  We’ve seen it all, and conquered it all. 

Whether you have the forethought to get armed for these issues up front, have some unaddressed issues from the past, or are dealing with it now; we have cost effective solutions just for you as well as no recovery=no fee debt collection options. 



Contact the Author:

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

www.c-rsolutions.com 






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;
http://www.linkedin.com/pub/jason-lindsey/44/567/165/

Follow CRS on twitter: 
https://twitter.com/getpaidfaster

Follow CRS on Linkedin:  
http://www.linkedin.com/company/cambridge-receivable-solutions-llc





 
 
Today is International Freelancers day.  If you read my blog you know that I  have taken a particular interest in educating and helping freelancers get paid from their clients.  Having handled many debt collection cases for freelancers I am aware of the best ways to ensure payment, and what to watch out for from clients.

Do you remember the $16,000,000 posted on the worlds longest invoice?

-I am the President and Principal Consultant for Cambridge Receivable Solutions.

-I have made over 360,000 calls and collected over $20,000,000 for everything from freelancers to the largest, most prestigious, lenders on the planet in my 15 years in the business.

-I am well versed in all aspects of State and Federal laws and compliance.


In honor of International Freelancers Day I will respond to 50 debt collection questions from freelancers for free, via e-mail, in the order received.  I won't get to them all today, but quickly!  Ask me anything.  It can be about a particular situation you are dealing with now, or any steps throughout the entire "getting paid" process. 

Send your question to  freelanceally@c-rsolutions.com

All you have to do is be one of the first 50 e-mails into the inbox, and I must receive the question before midnight (central time) tonight to qualify.  That's it, nothing to buy, no list to join, just REAL help. 

If you would like, connect with me on LINKEDIN, and follow us on TWITTER.

Thanks and happy freelancing!


Contact the Author:

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

www.c-rsolutions.com 






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;
http://www.linkedin.com/pub/jason-lindsey/44/567/165/

Follow CRS on twitter:  https://twitter.com/getpaidfaster

Follow CRS on Linkedin:   http://www.linkedin.com/company/cambridge-receivable-solutions-llc


 
 
Like any organization offering products or services without full payment up front, architectural/engineering firms often face the daunting task of dealing with past due invoices.  Many times these situations are overlooked for too long before being addressed and end up costing tens of thousands, to millions of dollars in unnecessary losses per year. 

Proper discussion of all the possibilities and specifics on a project, sound contracts, and contract negotiations are among the important things to address up front.  Depending on the size and type of client you obviously want to perform the proper credit analysis and/or reference checks prior to engagment as well.  This is extremely important when dealing with residential clients and developers, rushing in can be a crucial mistake.  Contracts should speak to all possibilites under the scope of work, and the lines of communication should remain open throughout the project to avoid any unforeseen discrepancies.  This pertains to the work itself as well as the payment for services.  All billings and correspondence should be done in a timely manner, and kept on file. 

Regardless of your diligence in the areas discussed above, statistics show that you will still have past due invoices.  While solid up front procedures minimizes your losses, it unfortunately doesn't make you immune to troublesome accounts.  When these arise it's imperative that you have a solid process to quickly address and recover stalled funds.  You're ready to move on to the next project, and your in house staff has exhausted their efforts. With every passing day your chances and rate of recovery dwindles.  You need a collection partner, it's time to turn it over to a specialist.  This time consuming process must be handled pro-actively, with care.  Regardless of the size of your firm, not being paid for services is unacceptable.  However, being in the professional services industry requires that you approach these issues with tact and professionalism. 

Cambridge Receivable Solutions fills that need.  We bridge the gap between you and your clients to help maximize your recovery rates, while preserving your reputation for professionalism.  We're fine tuned to assist top Architectural/Engineering and Design firms.  We stay up to date on industry standards, trends, and participate in your industry groups and communities to ensure a seamless integration of our services.  

By partnering with us you can rest easy while recovering what's owed.  All of our communications and correspondence with your past due clients are top notch.  We operate using a forensic, fact based approach, to bring them to the table and recover as much as possible, as soon as possible.   As the President and Principal Consultant here at CRS, I developed this top tier service with your specific needs in mind.  Having dealt with many large and complicated non-payment issues and disputes for large firms, we are prepared to assist your company in recovering what you've earned, but not yet received.

This is an essential financial managment function that many firms haven't taken advantage of yet.  Please contact me with any questions, or for a confidential consultation regarding your specific needs. 

Thank you for your time, and best wishes!

Sincerely,

Jason Lindsey
President and Principal Consultant
Cambridge Receivable Solutions, LLC
Direct Ph: 636-238-3843
Toll Free:  1-888-908-3905 Ext.101
Email: jlindsey@c-rsolutions.com
www.c-rsolutions.com


Keywords:  Architects, architectural, design, building, infrastructure, green, civil engineering, structural engineering, collections, accounts receivable managment, cash flow consulting, American Institute of Architects, International, Commercial debt collection.
 
 
Welcome to today's rant about how to get yourself paid!  The main reason for this article is to make sure you are aware of the "Terms of Service" consulting service we offer at a one time rate of $50.00. 

Cambridge Receivable Solutions is an elite, professional, A/R Management, and Collection Services firm.  Not only are we highly experienced and successful at recovering stalled assets for companies, we also enjoy it.  We strive to innovate solutions that are mutually beneficial to our growing organization as well as to our select clients.

Our small firm, hands on, approach to customer service and great results allows us to go above and beyond for our clients.  Rather than herding clients in like cattle, stamping them with a number, and moving on to the next; we take time to nurture and build relationships with good clients.  Part of that is going above and beyond the call of duty and noticing when there is room for improvement.

While we make our living strengthening your living by recovering funds that you may otherwise never see, we still make it our mission to be of value to you in ways that aren't included on paper.  By educating and assisting Freelancers and Small businesses on how they can tighten up their billing and cash flow management, we not only provide a windfall of cash, we also strive to help you minimize the amount of accounts you need to turn over to collections.  

We want you  to do all the necessary steps that we see are needed for your accounts to never make it to us.  We can do this is good faith because we know from experience, that there will always be some collection accounts no matter how tight your procedures.  What we can do is help you minimize those, THEN successfully recover the ones that need more attention.  We want to ensure that when account DOES need to come to us for collections, you have dotted all the i's and crossed all the T's.  That only helps us, help you!


*I will be the first to tell you this is something you can easily do on your own. You don't need a lawyer to do it. You just need to make sure that you get something signed to back up the terms you expect. However...


WE OFFER  "TERMS OF SERVICE AGREEMENT" CONSULTING FOR FREELANCERS AND SMALL TO MEDIUM SIZED BUSINESSES, FOR A ONE TIME FEE OF **********$50.00


*This includes a .DOC and/or PDF of your "Terms" to use and edit as you wish, forever.  We will also do a quick efficient consult with you on how to manage your invoices correctly to minimize troublesome invoices and maximize your recovery rate.

 

Contact our Client Services Department at 636-487-0986 for more information on this and other valuable consulting offerings from CRS.