June/July 2008 – Pulling the Trigger

Pulling The Trigger

In a perfect world, banks would bend over backwards to finance a new business, suppliers would stay on schedule, and customers would pay on time. Since this isn't a perfect world businesses must be prepared to fend off those customers destined to pilfer from both their day to day cash flow and inevitably their bottom line.

Small customers can subtly and incrementally chip away at a company's cash flow while larger customers can suck the working capital out of a company quicker then a Black & Decker Shop Vac when they fail to pay on time. In such instances a business can quickly become crippled by a cash flow crunch. Banks are not known for their patience or generosity when it comes to bailing out companies who allow their aging accounts receivable to get out of control. A few bad debts have proven to become the death blow for many a small or new business.

Businesses should be ready to Pull The Trigger and turn to a third-party collection agency when:

  • The outstanding receivable has aged more than 90 days.
  • The sense of urgency has been lost
  • There are signs of the customer becoming problematic (ie. NSF cheques)
  • Telephone calls are not being returned by the delinquent customer
  • The delinquent customer is not responding to letters

Most importantly a business should consider turning to a third-party collection agency prior to proceeding with litigation. Agencies have the tools, skills, and knowledge to perform the necessary asset investigations and in-depth research on businesses and individual consumers to determine the probability of recovery in the event of legal action. Third-party collection agencies are in the business of recovering dollars and further assist their clients to avoid throwing good money after bad with costly legal fees that still result in an uncollected customer account.

From American Motivational Author Robert Collier (1885-1950):
"If you don't make things happen then things will happen to you."

…Some food for thought. Make it happen.