Choosing the right collection agency

We’ve talked before about when it’s time to bring in the experts to help manage your delinquent receivables. But with dozens of agencies vying for your attention, how do you know which one is right for your business?

Here are a few aspects to consider:

What kind of debtors do you have?

The most basic distinction here is between commercial and consumer. If your debtors are individual consumers, your agency needs to be well versed in navigating the complicated extra layers of regulation. If your debtors are businesses, you need experienced negotiators who understand how to reach an outcome that works for everyone!

Are the accounts months or even years past due and actively dodging you, or do they just need the right plan to get them back on track as valued customers?

Are your customers large corporations where your calls are picked up by a different bored associate in accounts payable every time, or inexperienced entrepreneurs still learning how to manage a business?

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Does the prospective agency understand your business – be it insurance, auto parts, or medical services – so they can discuss your debtors’ accounts from a knowledgeable position?

Do you need negotiators fluent in the languages and business practices of your international customers?

What supplemental services do you need?

Maybe your debtors are in constant motion, and you need an agency with in-house skip tracing to arm their collectors with valid contact information right away. Or maybe your corporate policy requires delinquent accounts to be reported to credit agencies.

Maybe your in-house team needs to check the notes on the agency’s file in real time, or your customer base prefers to pay online.

Does the prospective agency have the technology and programs in place to meet your particular needs?

How do you want to communicate?

Some creditors like to stay on top of developments day-to-day; others prefer their data organized into weekly or monthly reports.45380218

Whether you favor real-time conversations, email, or smoke signals, your agency should be prepared to keep the lines of communication open and their processes transparent in a way that fits your business.

What about quality and integrity?

In a business world that seems to be changing faster every day, it’s more important than ever for your collection agency to keep up with regulatory compliance and best practices. A reputable agency should be able to provide references from current clients and valid licenses or permits for any jurisdiction your debtors are located in. Ask about their continuing education for their team, and make sure they’re certified by a leading industry association like Commercial Collection Agencies of America.

Choosing the right third-party collection agency can have a dramatic effect on your bottom line. Make sure your agency understands and is ready to meet the needs of your business.

 

To learn more about how Brennan & Clark can meet your business’ needs, contact us at info@brennanclark.com or (800) 858-7600.

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Leading from the front

foundingmember_200pxCommercial Collection Agencies of America, the only certifying body in which all agency members are certified, recently announced its new Board of Directors.

Meg Scotty, Brennan & Clark’s CEO, remains active on the board as Past President and recently attended their successful strategic planning meeting in Orlando. Along with the Executive Director, the board members developed a plan to be implemented with its membership to bring focus on not only today’s needs but anticipated organizational and industry needs in the future.

Central to those efforts is to continue to fulfill the mission of the Association: to elevate the standards and uphold the professionalism in the commercial collection industry for the benefit of protecting the credit granting community.

Brennan & Clark’s active involvement as a Founding Member of the organization is another facet of our commitment to uphold the highest standards of integrity, service, and educating the collection professionals of today and tomorrow.

To learn more about Commercial Collection Agencies of America and why we’re proud to be part of its Certified Agency roster, visit their website at commercialcollectionagenciesofamerica.com.

When it’s time to bring in the experts

Whatever your business, it’s a reality that once you start extending credit, you’re going to have some customers who don’t pay on time. And the older those receivables get, the more time and energy they take away from the real business of your business.

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That’s where the expert negotiators of a top-notch collection agency come in. Their business is bringing in those payments to your business.

The right agency will keep up with the latest developments in regulation, technology, and best practices to protect your interests in an ever-changing world. They’ll make sure they understand what your business does and how to answer your delinquent customers’ objections. They’ll be certified by a solid professional association like the Commercial Collection Agencies of America. And they’ll work with you to tailor their services to the unique needs of your business.

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To learn more about how Brennan & Clark’s innovative credit solutions can get you back to the business of your business, contact us today at (800) 858-7600 or info@brennanclark.com.

Why Wait?

Get to know Brennan & Clark’s Fast Track Payment program

“I believe that accounts are turned over for collection because there is the hope that some of the money will be recovered. I also believe that you shouldn’t have to wait for the account to be collected to get your money.” — Mike Brennan, Founder of Brennan & Clark

Benefits of the Fast Track Payment Program
• Your return and our performance are guaranteed.
• Instead of waiting months for your money, you get it within 5 days of placing an account.
• We pay you based on your current rate of return. You don’t lose anything! In fact you gain by having the money in your hands sooner.

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What do I do differently?

We allow you to better manage, control and monitor your delinquent collection accounts. Instead of turning accounts over to an agency and waiting months for your money, we will pay you the same return you are realizing today when you place the account. Otherwise, you do nothing differently. You do not change the criteria for referring accounts and you will remain in control of your accounts. We simply absorb all of your risk.

How do I know how much you will pay?

It is based off of your current return with your current agency. For example, if you historically place $100,000.00 every month and your current vendor recovers at a rate of 40%, and charges you a contingent fee of 20%, you receive back $32,000.00 over time (32%). We will pay you $32,000.00 (32%) within 5 days of placing the accounts. So, using the same statistics of the company you are satisfied with today, you no longer have to wait for the cash. You can have it now.

What are the parameters?

We will accept any account that is between $100.00 and $10,000.00 that is not bankrupt. If an account files bankruptcy within 30 days of placing the account, we ask that you return the percentage we paid you. The only other condition is that you follow the same internal criteria for referring the accounts for collection, since this information was what we both used to determine fair market value.

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Won’t selling you the account mean we lose control?

We are taking on the risk and paying you immediately, but it’s still an agency placement, and the account still belongs to you. The same high standard of service you expect from us or any agency in conventional third-party collections is part of the Fast Track Payment program.

What is my guarantee?

Our performance and your satisfaction are guaranteed. There is no required contract to sign. We also guarantee that even if you don’t take advantage of this service, you will learn how to be a better risk manager from just looking at how this program works.

At Brennan & Clark, we think your business deserves to be paid on the Fast Track. To learn more, contact us at info@brennanclark.com or (800) 858-7600.

Go Team USA!

It’s official!

Casey Larson will be representing the USA at his first Olympic Winter Games next month in PyeongChang, South Korea. He’s a 19-year-old ski jumper who trains at Norge Ski Club in Fox River Grove, IL… oh, and did we mention he’s the eldest son of our owner and President, Meg Scotty?

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You can keep up with the latest on the team at the USA Nordic website, and show your support for Casey on his official Facebook page.

Congratulations to Casey, Meg, and the whole family, and please join us in cheering him on, together with all the great athletes of Team USA!

So Sue Me

When a collection agency has exhausted its efforts and payment still hasn’t materialized, it’s time to consider the next step: filing suit.

How does a creditor know when litigation is the right course of action? The (sometimes frustrating!) truth is there are no guarantees, but there are key factors that can help determine whether a lawsuit is likely to produce results that make the effort and expense worthwhile.

How much do they owe?

Filing fees, process server charges, and other unavoidable expenses — typically referred to by the catchall term “court costs” — vary widely from state to state and sometimes even from county to county. The one thing they all have in common is that they’ve risen sharply in the last decade, driven by up by budget-crunched state and local governments.

These costs completely separate from the collection attorney being paid for their services, which is generally on a contingent percentage basis similar to that of collection agencies: If the creditor doesn’t get paid, neither do they. In some cases, if the risk of recovering nothing is high, they will charge a non-contingent suit fee, typically 5% of the balance due, as compensation for their work on the case.

With all this in mind, it’s rarely worth the effort and cost to pursue litigation for a balance less than $5,000.00.

What’s the status of the entity?

If your debtor is a business, are they operating? Do they have a valid telephone number and physical address? Are they listed as active by the Secretary of State? If the answer to any of these questions — especially the last one — is no, there’s a strong risk that the attorney won’t be even able to get them served with the initial complaint. And if they are served, it’s likely to end up in a “paper judgment” that never results in any payment.

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If your debtor is an individual, it’s even more important to make certain you have a valid physical address where they can be served. There’s no backup option, no registered agent or service via Secretary of State. And the truth is, most judgments against individual debtors never recover any funds, because…

Do they have attachable assets?

One area where your collection agency’s experience and resources are invaluable is in determining what assets the debtor might have. Nothing is foolproof, but there’s a wealth of public records your agency can use to paint a helpful picture of the debtor’s financial situation. That active business that looks like it should have plenty of resources to pay its bills? It could turn out that they have prior judgments against them, liens placed by the IRS, or a big mortgage secured by all their inventory and equipment as collateral. The liens and secured debts take priority by law, and those outstanding judgments often mean there was nothing left over to pay those creditors — which means there won’t be for your debt either!

With an individual debtor, consumer protection laws severely limit your ability to collect on a judgment. Wages can be garnished on a limited basis — if they’re earning them, and if they don’t qualify for a variety of exemptions. Or a lien could be placed on their home or other property, which won’t matter until they try to sell it.

Are they disputing the debt?

Debtors who just evade demands are one thing, but what if they insist the debt isn’t owed at all? Even if they can’t or won’t give you a valid reason why they believe they shouldn’t pay, a debtor who won’t budge from their position is likely to contest the suit and drag you through a drawn-out litigation process in the hope that you’ll decide it isn’t worth it and go away.

It’s tempting to stand up for the “matter of principle,” but it doesn’t always make pragmatic business sense. Better to decide at the outset whether the amount owed is worth it, before you invest the money and effort in a lawsuit.

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Is it ever worthwhile to sue?

That long list of cautions might make it seem like we’re trying to talk you out of ever filing suit in a collection matter! But many accounts, after careful review, do emerge as viable candidates for litigation. This is just an overview. Each claim is different, and your certified agency can analyze and make a recommendation about which ones look likely to produce results. In partnership with a bonded collection attorney, they’ll help you navigate the system for the best possible return on your investment.

To learn more about how Brennan & Clark works with attorneys in the Triadic System to minimize losses and help protect your interests, contact us at info@brennanclark.com or (800) 858-7600.