It’s a good thing to hire a collection agency. However, if you really want to get the best bang for your buck, you have to assist the agency by giving the tools and information they need.
First, you must provide the agency with a complete submission with all relevant information. Your collection agency should give you some guidance here, but for starters:
- Detailed invoice showing all services provided, cost of services, payments, etc. Your invoice should include the date(s) service was provided.
- ALL information you have on the delinquent customer. Provide name, address, all phone numbers, email, place of employment, date of birth and any other relevant data. If you do not have a current address/phone/email, send the old information. Your agency should be able to “skip trace” or research using the old information.
- A copy of your contract. If you don’t have a contract, send any relevant information that would show that the customer actually ordered the work.
- Any relevant correspondence from the customer. For example, submit any change orders, disputes and/or an unfulfilled promise to pay. If you do not know if it is relevant, send it.
- A brief description of the nature of the debt. If the customer paid you with a bad check, make sure to mention it. If you are a subcontractor and you know the general contractor was paid, but did not pay you, that is an important detail you must share. You get the picture, give any detail you think might be important.
Secondly, once you submit a file, let the collection agency do their job. Do not send out monthly invoices. If the customer calls you begging you to take them out of collections, do not relent. I cannot tell you how many times a client has asked us to pull a file, only to get that file back a month or so later when another promise to pay has been broken. Certainly if you receive a payment, accept it, and make sure to notify your agency immediately.
Finally, share any new information you may learn on the delinquent customer. You may hear that the company is going out of business, laying off employees, or purchasing new equipment. If your customer is a consumer, you may learn of a new job, divorce, or relocation. As with any information, err on the side of giving too much information. You would not believe how one small piece of information will turn a “dead” file into a successful collection.
Remember, your collection agency is a trusted partner. Work with them, and you will be delighted with your results.