- Request deposits on custom or large orders
Require a security deposit equivalent to a minimum of 50% of the total price when dealing with a unique or large order. Without the deposit amount, you are subject to the risk of receiving a reduced payment at delivery time.
Having deposits minimize the likelihood of financial loss in the worst circumstances. Ensure that customers understand your policy clearly and include in the contract to avoid future dispute.
Conversely, avoid the necessity of paying deposits to your vendors through asking them to consider your credit history and the good relationship between the two companies.
- Stage payments on long contracts
Some customers refuse to enter into contract that require initial deposits due to their size or policies. Instead of losing business with them, negotiate payment terms or benchmarks that exceed or parallel with your costs.
For example, a construction contract that allow 15% of payment when engineering is completed, 25% of payment when materials have been delivered to the site and 50% of contract amount at specific progress benchmark. The remaining 10% will been paid usually until final inspection and acceptance.
- Offer discounts for early payment and penalties for late payer
Develop discount program to promote quick payments, collecting cash owed to you as fast as you can. Impose a 2% discount on payment within the first 10 days for credit term that normally 30-days after the receipt of invoice. You can offer more or lesser discount for payment, depend on your needs and customers’ previous paying behaviour. However, remember that your ability to impose a collection policy will subject to your relative strength versus of your customer.
Penalty imposed to late payers is the “stick” in the “carrot and stick” approach of motivation, the “carrot” is the discount offered for early payment. Interest penalties may not be possible in all scenario but the existence of this policy will emphasize the importance of on-time payments to your customers.
- Deal with collections agency for old account receivables
Pursuing old accounts receivable requires dedication and time, only few small businesses have the resources and experiences in pursuing delinquent accounts.
Third-party collection agencies are proficient in working with such accounts and generally willing to pursue collections on their own expenses in return for certain percentage on the collected amount. The agencies will even purchase the old account receivables at discount and assume all subsequent risk of collection under certain circumstances. The sky-high costs of collection agencies on delinquent accounts are worth as your alternative maybe no payment at all.
- Entering to a factoring agreement
Factoring involves a non-bank finance company or “factor” like CapitalBay which advances a negotiated percentage, 75%-80% of the individual accounts in the accounts balance. As the accounts are collected by the company, the advance is paid off plus agreed fee to the factor. In some case, factors may purchase the accounts at discounts and responsible on the risk of collection. Factoring agreement are typically less restrictive than accounts receivable loans at regulated banks.