The Kaplan Group is a commercial collection agency with distinct expertise in large ($20K-$1M) B2B claims. We use a variety of skills, techniques and experience to achieve outstanding success for our clients. For over 40 years, the Kaplan family has shared this knowledge with the credit industry in countless programs for credit groups, articles in industry periodicals, and leadership of various organizations. We continue this tradition here and invite readers to participate with their insights and questions on a variety of topics such as financial statement analysis, collection call tips, credit application terms and collector training.
If you have to sue your business customer for unpaid invoices, would you rather sue where your company is located or where the debtor company is located? That’s a decision that can have far-reaching implications down the line.
Section 49 377.203 g(1)(ii) of the CFR says “Carriers may, by tariff rule, assess reasonable and certain liquidated damages for all costs incurred in the collection of overdue freight charges. Carriers may use one of two methods in their tariffs: ….The second method is to require payment of the full, nondiscounted rate instead of the discounted rate otherwise applicable.”
What I find most interesting is that most of the freight forwarders and trucking companies who send us accounts do not use this approach. They simply quote a fixed fee. And they’re leaving money on the table.
Many small business owners form a corporation or LLC primarily so that only the entity is liable for the business’s debts and their personal assets are shielded from the business’s liabilities. We all hear stories about “piercing the corporate veil” to create personal liability for a small business debt. The story-tellers typically share with glee how they ‘nailed’ the owner and eventually got paid. In my experience, this is more myth than reality.
An ARM company recently won a court case that validated a simple personal guaranty and resulted in the recovery of over $15,000 even though the corporation had ceased operating. Not everyone will agree to sign a personal guaranty. But it is easy to ask for, and on occasion you are likely to recover money solely because you have the guaranty.
Retail sales were up 13% for the weekend, which was great for retailers. This is also good news for all their vendors, whether they supplied the merchandise that was sold, or services to support retailers. The third annual Small Business Saturday also appeared to be a big success, helping local businesses that employ over half of all working Americans. We know that our clients who sell to small businesses want to see them have more profitable sales in order to pay existing receivables and stay in business for future sales.
This is one of the top ten explanations we get as a commercial collection agency. Our biggest fear when we hear this is that it might be true.
Anyone who is in an argument really wants to win. But that may be the absolute wrong way to approach a conflict. Dean Kaplan of The Kaplan Group suggests that the key to winning an argument may actually be to avoid it completely. Read more to find some tips and suggestions to do just this.
Debt collection is all about getting people to do something that they haven’t done so far: pay a bill. We may not be out to “win friends,” but we certainly are out to “influence people.” Carnegie’s advice seems to be based on the premise that the vast majority of people are good, so you have the most influence by embracing this underlying characteristic. He claims that everyone you meet is superior to you in some way, and if you find that quality and make them feel good about it you can establish rapport and then influence.
Sometimes we are given claims against small businesses where we are not even sure who we should be contacting or can’t find a good phone number to reach a live person. Fortunately, there is a great, free resource that often yields exactly the information we are seeking.
As collectors, there is only one question we really care about: when will you pay? But going straight to the point may not be the best way to actually get paid.
Often it takes us only a few minutes using free Internet resources to analyze information provided by the customer to determine they never intended to pay. In today’s blog, I walk us through some of the resources available to a lot of agencies at no cost to detect potential fraud from companies which may not have intended to pay in the first place.
We’ve all heard hundreds of different stories as to why a business debt has not been paid. For our commercial collection agency, the first thing our debt collectors are trained to do is to figure out if it is a legitimate explanation or simply an excuse. The answer influences how we proceed in order to get the delinquent invoices paid as soon as possible.
The goal of increased student loan ability was to allow for more people to get a college education. I’m all for that. But I’m sure the people who supported greater availability of student loans did not want to make college education more expensive for everyone and saddle the next generation with an enormous financial burden.
The balance sheet tells us the accounting value of each category of assets, liabilities, and shareholders’ equity on the date of the statement. We look at the balance sheet in order to understand the company’s liquidity, strength, and efficiency. Having this knowledge can make it easier to gauge and refine your collection tactics.
If the consensus was that the economy was on a strong upward trend, then we would expect the prospects of many of these businesses to improve, and therefore a higher likelihood of eventually collecting during the litigation process. In 2007 there was wide confidence that doesn’t exist today which lowers the average prospects of recovery.
Deciding if you should sue business for unpaid invoices is not easy. If only it was as simple as: “they owe the money; sue them, and we’ll get our money.” Unfortunately, there are costs involved, the court process is notoriously slow, and actually collecting is highly uncertain. So… how do you make that choice?
We’ve heard for years how elite athletes mentally visualize technique and success to improve actual performance. Studies have shown that visualization improves awareness, mood, confidence, and outcome. These same techniques can be used to improve success for collectors, whether they are part of the internal staff or at collection agencies.
Me, I was anything but a natural when I started my management consulting career 30 years ago. Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed with an MBA but no work experience, I had some of the basic personality traits cited above (self motivation, analytical skills, tenacity) but I took things personally and did not know how to successfully handle conflict. I had to learn negotiation skills and then practice at every opportunity to experience both failure (one of the greatest learning opportunities life offers) and success and eventually gain confidence.
When reviewing an income statement, sometimes just looking at the actual results on the income statement don’t reveal the full story on a company’s profitability.
For business owners and managers, understanding the performance of your own company is key to planning and improving performance. It helps you understand areas of strength and weakness. It also allows you to understand what changes would have the greatest impact on profitability and liquidity.