You do what for work?

By Angela:

Often times I find myself in a position where someone is asking me what I do for a living and the reactions I get are pretty crazy. When I tell them I work for a collection agency, they either think I’m just a bad person, or they begin to understand, and are generally interested.

I recently went to a salon and they asked me what I did for a living and after telling them, the woman says, “Oh that’s got to suck”.  I love hearing this, because then I can take a few minutes to explain why it doesn’t and why what we do is important to the economy. It turns out the lady I spoke to was the business owner of the salon, and after I explained the benefits our industry has to businesses like hers, she then was very interested as her husband also owns his own business.

I think it’s common that most people assume debt collectors are just here every day to be mean to people, and trust me when I say that is FAR from the truth. We are everyday people who have at some point or another, likely gone through the same thing. We are nice people who care about our clients and their customers and stand by a collector’s pledge which everyone here takes to ensure we all treat people with respect.

While some may view what we do as a negative, the reality is much different, we help are here to help our clients, while maintaining good customer service so they can hopefully continue business with their consumers.

What we do isn’t a shameful profession but in fact a necessary one. Small business owner’s everyday are struggling and the collection industry plays a huge role in putting money back into their pockets and the economy.

Protect your money

When you are running a small business, every dollar counts. That includes cash that comes into your business and cash that goes out. It’s how you charge your customers for what you provide them, and keeping a watchful eye on what you are being charged by others.

It’s also about protecting what you have which includes cash, receivables as well as physical items such as assets and inventory. Maybe your customers are paying on time, but you could be losing money in other areas. It’s important to keep an eye on everything related to money in your small business.

Here are a few items to always pay attention to:

Cash Flow:

As a small business, you need to protect your cash flow at all cost. As a collection agency that works with small business, we are having conversations every day with small business owners just like you that are having issues with cash flow. And one of the main reasons is that customers are not paying on time or not paying at all. There are so many reasons a customer may hold up on paying you. Some are legitimate such as going through a trying time or they just plain forgot. But as we know, other times they are refusing to pay for other reasons. Continue reading “Protect your money”

How to keep your business going when you’re not there

When you are running a small business, you might be in a position where you are doing almost everything. Depending on the circumstances such as amount of business, labor shortage or it is just the nature of your business, one day you could be at your desk and the next, out seeing a customer.

The fact is that many small businesses are running because the owners are actively involved in the day-to-day operations.

But what happens when you cannot be at your business?

There are a whole host of reasons that could cause you to be away from your small business. Everything from an injury or illness, vacation and time away such as your kid’s college visits, to major surgery. You could be away from your small business for a day or two, or months depending on the issue.

How do you make sure your small business runs when you’re not there?

Continue reading “How to keep your business going when you’re not there”

Tips for conducting a monthly review of small business finances

If you are like many small businesses, you don’t just sit at your desk all day and shout orders to people. You are doing everything. And depending on the time of year, as you well know, your level of hands on activity can vary depending on the seasonality of your business. If you are in lawncare or a pool construction company, you might be full steam from April well through October.

Collection agencies that work with small business hear from owners and other all the time when things such as cash flow start to suffer. And because many in business get too busy to take care of the back end of their operation sometimes, finances begin to take the first fall.

We strongly suggest a regular review of your small business finances. In fact, even if you are very busy, you should at least sit down once a month and make sure everything is in order.

Below are a number of regular items for your review.

Review all your bank statements.

This should be one of the first things you do each month in your review. Make sure you sit down and review all your bank statements. This also includes any credit card statements or other revolving accounts you might have for the business. Check for regular activity to make sure the amount you may have authorized is in fact the amount on your statement. And of course, check to make sure there is not any unauthorized activity on your accounts.

If you have anyone other than yourself using a company credit or debit card, make sure they are providing documentation on every item or purchase they use that card for.

Review accounts payable.

Make sure you are putting a careful look at the money that goes out the door. Check all your incoming invoices for accuracy and make sure there is no duplication or other items tacked on to any of your vendor invoices without explanation or authorization. If you have any doubts, make sure you contact your vendor as soon as you can to resolve any discrepancies in amounts or service.

Review procedures with staff.

Depending on the type of your small business, you may have more than a handful of people that have access to cash and other forms of payment. First, make sure you have systems in place to make sure everyone knows how any form of payment should be handled. Second, make sure you are conducting regular reviews with those team members to make sure there are no mistakes or mishandling of money. This includes everything from any retail operation and checks or credit card payments that could be handled out in the field.

Pay your bills on time.

You probably understand where we are coming from here because we’re a collection agency. And you would be correct. You need to pay your bills and your vendors on time. We can think of at least two reasons. First, as a small business, you know how important cash flow is to the success of a business. In all likelihood, your vendor is another small business. But two, if you do not pay your bills on time, it can cost you more money in possible late fees, now you have to cut a check for may two months of service and it causes you more time to get caught up which can take you away for running and growing your business.

Invoice on time.

It all depends on the type of business you are running but you need to make sure you are invoicing on time and at the very least, every month. You cannot go more than 30 days without sending out your invoices. First, your customers expect an invoice but second, delaying any type of invoice will only hurt your cash flow and snowball from there.

Cash flow.

Speaking of cash flow…If you do one thing on a regular basis, it should be monitoring your cash flow. Nothing can hurt your small business quicker than ignoring cash flow. As we mentioned, the first step is to make sure you are invoicing on time. No exceptions. But you also need to review what cash foes in to your business and what is going out. You should sit down with your bookkeeper or whoever you have keeping an eye on your accounting.

What’s that? You don’t have anyone monitoring your accounting or paying your bills?

Get help!

If you need help in your small business, then get help. A couple of ways we recommend getting help.

First, if you do not have a bookkeeper, then find one. If your business cannot support someone full time, consider hiring a person part time or outsource it. There are plenty of qualified bookkeeping services out there. Check with your local Chamber of Commerce or your industry association for referrals. We all have our strengths and weaknesses and if numbers are not your strength, get a bookkeeper.

Second, when it comes to cash flow, many times the cause of poor cash flow is customers not paying you. If you have tried to get your customers to pay with internal resources or you just don’t have the time or those resources, you need to consider working with a reputable collection agency. Find a collection agency that works with small business, one that mirrors your values as a business and uses tact and respect when dealing with your hard-earned customers.

Finding a collection agency that also has a low-cost solution to your accounts that are past due is also a plus when you’re a small business.

Need more tips on keeping more of your hard-earned cash?  Check out more articles on our blog.

How to get paid faster

As a collection agency that specializes in working with small business, we get a number of questions from professionals we meet. But the one that always seems to come up is, how can my small business get paid faster? Afterall, that’s pretty much why we’re talking in the first place. They haven’t been paid for the services they have provided.

While a larger business may be able to absorb late and non-paying customers for a period of time, a small business as you know, relies heavily on cash flow. And it becomes a real issue quickly if customers are not paying.

Here are a number of items to consider if you are trying to lay the groundwork for faster paying customers:


If you are in the business of issuing credit, you should establish your terms up front to make sure your customers are well aware of how and when you‘d like to get paid. While you will have a section of those customers plainly ignore that policy, you have done your part in communicating how they need to pay up front. For example, if you are invoicing another business, your terms may be to pay in 15 days while they only cut checks every 30 days. That’s something you’ll need to work out with them. Continue reading “How to get paid faster”

How to show appreciation to your employees

By Aubreigh

One thing that sets American Profit Recovery apart from many companies is the management’s way of going above and beyond to show their appreciation for their employees. Some examples of this are APR’s annual Employee Week, the holiday party, and my personal favorite, the end of the year call. This is when all APR employees get together in the big conference room, eat pizza, and recap the highlights of the year. Every department is honored as we go over collection and sales statistics and address the important roles that our support and IT teams play in the grand scheme of things.

In this meeting, awards are handed out for various categories, like Most Improved Collector, Rookie of the Year, and of course, the Corporate Citizen Award, an award that every employee is eligible to receive. Prizes are also given to employees who submit Bright Ideas to make the company even better, as well as those who take the time to recognize the good behavior of others through APR’s Caught in Action program. Continue reading “How to show appreciation to your employees”

Should I Take On Debt in My Small Business?

As a collection agency for small businesses of all kinds, you probably know our philosophy on debt. Well, because we’re working hard to resolve that debt for our clients day in and day out.  That’s what we do. Resolve debt.

The individuals, and in many cases, other small businesses we are calling on, are in some kind of debt. For whatever reason, they are not paying their bills on time or paying them at all and most times, there is a reason. Debt, in most cases has a negative association attached to it because so many get in trouble with it.

But is all debt bad? It all depends on who you ask but the main theory is no. as long as you are paying off that debt. Continue reading “Should I Take On Debt in My Small Business?”

Big money mistakes your business is making

Do you always wonder where all your money went in your small business? Are you constantly frustrated that when you check your bank statements, that you have less money than you thought you had? Do your customers pay you late or not pay you at all?

You are not alone. Many that are running small businesses will tell you that they have gone through a period of time where they did not pay as much attention to their finances as they should have.

And collection agencies that work with small business will also tell you that for many, cash flow is a top concern of those running a small business. We get calls all the time from owners and others that feel they could be doing much better with cash.

While customers not paying you on time is a big concern, there are several other things when it comes to cash that you should keep a close eye on. Continue reading “Big money mistakes your business is making”

Braving the cold weather and water for a great reason

By Curtis:

On February 23rd a team of American Profit Recovery team members braved the freezing weather to participate in a cause we all believe in at an event we’ve loved for years. The 2019 Polar Plunge to help raise money for Special Olympics Michigan. It was my second time jumping and I have to say, it’s one of my favorite ways to raise money for anything. Our kind hosts at Fork & Pint put forth a great effort assisting with the event, and thousands of dollars are raised each year. Having known a good handful of Special Olympics athletes over the years I can say it’s a great pleasure to assist in find them some donations. Special Olympics Michigan Polar Plunge

A couple of people on our team this year were jumping for the first time, and I was asked by them as well as outside friends what it’s like to jump into icy waters and how in the world do you make that jump. Honestly, once you’re standing on the edge, it’s not that hard to jump, and once you’re in that water, it’s pretty hard to think of anything besides just how unbelievably cold it is.

However, once you’re hoisting yourself from that water, cold to the bone and carrying the weight of whatever waterlogged costume you may be wearing, you hear the cheers of the crowd and remember why you are doing it. There is a definite feeling of accomplishment and you can’t help but to think of all the volunteers and athletes you’re doing this for. If they are willing to work as hard as they are, then surely you can handle some icy water.

To anyone thinking of participating in the future, I highly recommend it. Sure, the water is cold, but it is worth every second in that water to support the amazing athletes and the organization that they work with.

How can I increase my profits quickly?

As a collection agency that works with small business, we are always in a discussion with our clients and others about how to increase profits. As you might imagine, when your business is owned money, and that money continues to be late, or doesn’t show up at all, your profits are going to suffer. Not only will your profits take a hit, but your cash flow and your ability to meet your own financial obligations. In short, it can cause a chain reaction in your business.

And while making sure your customers pay you on time is one of the best ways to keep your profits going in the right direction, there are other ways to ensure that your business is not running on fumes month after month. Continue reading “How can I increase my profits quickly?”