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Getting Paid

Among the many advancements this Association has made for its members over the last decade, the growing affinity programs, those services and contract opportunities that bring you significant discounts or performance advantages, are among our greatest source of pride.  One such program is that from C2C Resources, a global commercial collections agency.  Established at the start of 2018, the relationship with C2C Resources has been offering CFA members a great partnership to maintain effective bill collections and protect against write-off losses.  Today, that relationship has begun to pay dividends as members are beginning to find traction. – James Baty, CFA Executive Director

How we helped over 35,000 clients collect over 380 million dollars in bad debt

 Sven Nelson

CMO – The Guy That Gets You Paid!

For as long as businesses extended credit to other businesses there have been those that couldn’t or wouldn’t live up to their financial obligations. By the same token, for as long as businesses have used credit to grow by taking on risky clients there has been bad debt and a need to collect it. Having over 15 years of experience in the collections industry, I know how stressful and debilitating uncollected debt can be on a business and those managing it. The reality is that a lot of unpaid accounts are simply the result of a business struggling.

The good news – there are multiple paths that a business can decide to take if they have accounts that still need settling.

 A lot of companies will first opt to try and collect these unpaid accounts in house. Many of them have full fledge collections teams of their own but most struggle with the time and resources to do the job as effectively as we can in many cases. Regardless there is only so much you can do in house. You can only write so many letters, make so many phone calls and have so many conversations before you are quickly duplicating your own efforts expecting different results. I believe that is the definition of insanity. You would not believe how many accounts get sent over to me that have had multiple “Final Demand letters “sent on the same account. As if getting one more letter with “past due “stamped on it is going to make a difference with someone that has already thumbed their nose at you many times over. While in-house debt collection is important, the true strengths of in-house work lie more on the proactivity side then the reactivity side. Focusing your in-house efforts on bad accounts means your spending less time analyzing your other clients, and you could miss the signs of another client being a bad risk. Ultimately, I usually see this type of work exacerbating a client’s problems, rather than solving them.

Another solution that I get asked about often by clients is whether hiring a lawyer to help collect unpaid accounts is as effective as an agency such as ours. The answer, like many nuanced things in life, is that it depends.

The truth is that our Justice system is not set up to collect money, it is set up to dispense justice, many people get this confused. They think that once they get a judgement that they will quickly be rewarded with a pile of cash or a check coming from their debtor. Unfortunately, this could not be further from the truth. Once you’ve got the judgement, you still must find assets and attach them which is another feat in it of itself. Because of this we only resort to taking a debtor to court in less than 2% of our cases. Legal headaches work both ways and, in some cases, you can be opening yourself up to a frivolous counter suit that could cost you money to defend it. Once a suit is filed the plaintiff can file a counter claim for free, regardless of it’s merit. Keep that in mind when thinking about going to court. You may end up spending a lot of unnecessary time and money tying your account up in the (putting it nicely here) less-than-efficient legal system, perhaps even more than the account is worth, by the time you factor in all that is lost.

I understand that for many, going through the collections process can be just as confusing as going to court. That is why we have assembled a team of experienced people to guide you through the process, equipped with the proven tools, resources, and strategies that have led to us collecting well over a quarter of a billion dollars in bad debt. People that care about your business and the dollars that are at stake.

First, we realize that most accounts are not the white whale – not some giant multi-million-dollar unpaid debt that needs collecting. Many of the accounts that we collect are smaller balance accounts that range in size from $200.00 to $10,000.00 and everywhere in between. That is not to say that we aren’t equipped to handle large accounts, but that we work for everyone. We have hundreds if not thousands of high five, six-figure and seven-figure accounts that we have collected over the years, with many more medium and small accounts on top. We created a tiered system of collectors separated by the size of the account. We have collectors working on small, medium, large, and super large accounts. This ensures that each and every one of our accounts gets worked evenly, no matter how large or small.   

Second, we use a drop-down system to ensure that every account gets worked by 2 sometimes even 3 in house collectors on our staff to ensure that nothing was missed by the previous collectors. Then it goes to a finals collector that makes one last attempt. This ensures that we have multiple sets of eyes on our accounts in a 4-to-6-month timeframe and that we are making every effort to collect for our clients before taking any further action. We use the latest and most advanced skip tracing resources – the same software used by law enforcement agencies – to help us track down alternate forms of communication that our clients may not have access to or in some cases may not have provided.

Third, we created our own custom software to track and communicate proficiently with our sales and collections team in house making us a well-oiled machine. In addition, our cloud-based software doubles as an inhouse collections tool for our clients (Profit Maximizer) to use for free that provides reporting systems, scripts and rebuttals for collections, in addition to professionally written collections letters that can all be sent out via fax, email or snail mail. All of this was created to help our clients reduce the need for a third party and mitigate bad debt. This system also allows our clients access to their invoices and remittance statement too.

Most importantly: our people. Our people are passionate about their careers and care about the results, not only for their own monetary benefit, but for the greater good of our clients and the companies we serve. We have a diverse team some with industry specific expertise and knowledge and know-how to satisfy specific clients’ needs. Our average collector has over 30 years of experience in this field, and we make sure that we are constantly bringing in new faces to learn under our experts.

On top of all of that, we strive to create lasting beneficial relationships with our clients. Nothing makes me prouder of the work we’ve done than when I get to call a client and tell them that I just collected in full their eight- or nine-month-old receivable that they just placed with me that morning and that I’ve already got the money in our account. But I also enjoy just as much a call from a client, I’ve had for ten or more years, calling simply to ask me how my children are doing, or what my plans are for the weekend; and I do the same all the time. These are the kind of relationships that foster success, and these are the kind of relationships we forge. 

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Concrete FACTS, a publication of the Concrete Foundations Association, is THE voice for residential concrete industry news, market intelligence, business strategies, technical solutions, product information, and other resources for professionals in the cast-in-place concrete industry. Subscriptions to Concrete FACTS is available to anyone involved or interested in the residential concrete industry as a service to your industry. Please contact CFA Headquarters to find out more about your free subscription or Email Us