If you are in the oil delivery business or are a propane retailer, then you know the challenges of cash flow. In many areas of the country, your business can be seasonal and your ability to manage cash flow is very important to be able to get through the year.
We have been working with fuel dealers for many years here and understand some of the financial challenges that many in this industry face. Our experts here offer the following tips to help you manage cash flow and get customers to get current on their financial obligations to your business.
Get as much contact information as possible
If you are delivering any type of fuel to a home then you no doubt had the customer’s address, otherwise, you would not be able to make that delivery. We understand this. However, you should try and obtain the phone numbers of your customer and even an email address. That way you can contact them through various means. Also, if you are delivering to a vacation home, you are going to want to obtain your customer’s permanent address as well. Otherwise, it could be a long time before you get paid.
When you sign on a new customer, make sure to layout your payment expectations as well while you gather as much contact information as possible.
Offer multiple ways for the customer to pay
If you are not accepting credit cards by now then you really shouldn’t wait any longer to do so. Contact a credit card processing company and get connected immediately. You’ll also want to ask for the latest technology to allow people to pay with their mobile device such as Apple Pay. Your dealership should also have a payment portal on your website. By accepting checks, credit cards, and online payments, you give your customers every option possible to pay.
Avoid second deliveries without some payment
We have worked with many fuel dealers over the years, and they continue to make deliveries to customers that have outstanding invoices owed to them. We understand that in many cases, what you provide is a vital resource for families. But you should try and avoid continued deliveries without payment or at least some communication with your customer. If they indicate to you they’re having a hardship and can pay you something, then you might want to make the decision to continue deliveries.
Hire a collection agency that specializes in fuel dealerships
Yes, there are collection agencies out there that are experts in helping fuel and propane distributors with cash flow and getting customers to pay. Many of you, we understand you have a reputation in your community for serving families and other commercial properties. You do not want to damage that relationship so the debt collection agency you choose should understand that and handle your customers with care. The collectors that are calling your customers should show compassion and have the authority to create payment plans so you can get cash in the door.
Also, the agency you choose should work conveniently for your business. They should offer an online portal where you can enter accounts any time of day and offer the training needed to make that an easy process.
Another important feature is to make sure you hire an agency that offers a low-cost debt collection solution. We understand that you want to keep as much money as you possibly can because that contributes to your positive cash flow. And that’s why a low-cost solution can help you achieve that goal.
If your fuel delivery business is suffering negative cash flow, contact our team today and let us provide you with a free consultation! We’re confident we can help you get your cash flow back on track.