Where’s My Payment?
By Andrea Schlack and Bobbie Burch
Your company worked arduously convincing a customer to use your company as a vendor for goods and services: They finally agreed, providing you with a completed credit application/agreement which was then thoroughly reviewed, and the customer was deemed creditworthy, thus a credit line was established. Shortly thereafter they provided you with an order which you completed on time, delivered properly, the customer accepted with no defects or damages, and your work was praised. Now you need payment and you wait. 30+ days go by and still no check —What do you do now?
While all business people expect customers to hold up their side of the bargain and pay invoices on time, sadly sometimes expectations meet consequences and a vender is dealt a reality check— Customers do not always pay on time and you are now faced with how to remedy the situation.
PICB’s M.O.N.E.Y method provides some quick ideas on how to deal with the unfortunate circumstance of slow or no pay customers that ALL business owners must face periodically.
Maintain continuity by sending statements and invoices in a timely manner your customer is made aware you expect timely payment and that doing so is is crucial to maintaining an on-going and thriving relationship. Don’t give the customer a chance to blame you for non-payment or slow-payment due to your lack of paperwork.
Opportunities can be made or lost with that initial contact. Once a customer has become delinquent the first call sets the tone for the future. Depending upon your approach, the situation can either end disastrously, alienating the customer who then takes future work elsewhere, or your call is seen as positive and results oriented thus encouraging a rapid solution to what could simply be a temporary problem.
Notice anomalies such as slowing payment trends, or the customer’s sudden lack of response to your request, as this may spell a much more serious problem that requires immediate action. Unpaid debt is not like wine – it does not improve with age. Don’t wait to begin a dialogue with the customer on how to resolve the payment issues. The more time passes without payment, the harder it is to recover.
Empathize with your customer. Express your willingness to understand situational circumstances that may have led to slow-pay or non-payment in the first place. Understanding the specifics of your customer’s issues will allow for an arrangement moving forward that is not just realistic, but is acceptable for all parties involved. Make sure any proposals or agreements are done in writing.
Your money Your rules. Remember your customer’s need for additional time is a REQUEST –It is your choice to accept or not. However, remember if your customer has a good reason for needing additional time, and they are offering a viable solution, it may be in your best interest to accept terms. Never get angry as emotions will interfere with common sense. Reach an agreement because payment is MONEY and that is the goal. Have the new terms put in writing requiring the customer’s signature. The more time the customer needs the more the terms need to include consequences should they fail to meet this obligation.
Our Great expectations sometimes require adjustments –
Printing Industry Credit Bureau can help with this dilemma!
PICB provides Printers, nationally, with
- Credit Risk Assessment Reports which are researched in real time using live data as provided by various governmental agencies
- Licensed and bonded debt collections dedicated to the Graphic Art Industry
- Free file consultations and Assistance in drafting payment agreements, credit agreements, terms, and conditions, or similar credit documents.
Call us today and find out what we can do for you!