We’re breaking down barriers and shutting the stereotypes down…

Whenever friends would ask me where I worked, I could think of a million and one jobs to claim before claiming my job as a debt collector. I couldn’t prepare myself for the funny looks accompanied with the not so funny jokes that were thrown my way. I mean, let’s just be honest. Before working at American Profit Recovery, I wasn’t a huge fan of debt collectors either. So I completely get it. Though I’ve only been working here for a short time, my views on debt collectors have changed tremendously. Well, at least those who work with American Profit Recovery.

If it isn’t clear just yet, I’ll admit that I like what we do here. In the midst of making what others may consider annoying phone calls, our main goal is to maintain the idea behind ‘The Big “H”’.  While you may be expecting the Harassment, we believe in Helping.

We want to make sure that both client and consumer are in the best position possible. We understand that life has its way of taking over and that’s why we’re here. To offer assistance or additional time if necessary.  We’re breaking down barriers and shutting the stereotypes down. Now, if you ask me where I work, I will proudly say that I work with American Profit Recovery as a Debt collector. There’s no shame in my game. –Nyiah Daniel

Protect your business from financial loss

No one likes to lose money. And as a collection agency that serves all types of business, we can certainly attest to that fact. We have never found one business in all our years helping others that liked to part with their money. And in many cases, it can be avoided if you are prepared and you plan out your business and your growth.

Protecting your business from a financial loss can come in many forms.

Proper Insurance:

We have all met that insurance guy that might be kind of a pain. But the fact is, one of the best ways to protect your business from a financial loss is to have the right insurance as well as the right amount of insurance. It can make the difference between staying in business and closing your doors when you have the right insurance. Continue reading “Protect your business from financial loss”

Ways to stop wasting time and money in your business

Hopefully we all agree that in business, time is money. Every minute you are running your business is an opportunity to make and save money in some way.

Wasting time and money is not something most business owners like to do. And if you are a small business with limited resources, then you want to maximize every aspect of those resources to ensure your business is operating as efficiently as possible.

As a collection agency that works with small business and larger types of business, we know a few things about losing money. We are that safety net for many to make sure they are not in fact losing money. You and your team worked hard for that money, gained the confidence of your customers and you should enjoy a profitable business in turn. Continue reading “Ways to stop wasting time and money in your business”

What do our sales professionals hear?

Our team is on the phone just about every day talking with business owners and others that may be responsible for keeping a business profitable. While some may call them sales professionals because in the end, we are trying to gain them as a client, they are also problem solvers at the core. Yes, they talk about how our system can help their business when it comes to cash flow and as a collection agency, that is what we do.

But they also listen intently to hear what those potential clients are saying and what their areas of pain are in a small or medium sized business. When we listen, our team can do a much better job of making sure they get on the right track to getting more timely payments from their customers.

Here are just a few of the main themes we hear often. Anything sound familiar?

Customers are not paying us!

The obvious first thing we hear is that their customers are not paying them or paying on time. That’s why they called us and why we are on the phone. And if we called them, (Because yes, we do cold call…) in many cases we still hear the same thing after chatting for a bit. Not all of their customers are current in their obligations to that business and it’s starting to take a toll on cash flow.

In a lot of cases, when we talk with a business, we find out that customers not paying is nothing new and in fact, it’s been going on for some time, even years. Maybe they just dealt with the issue as they knew how and never really got serious about making sure payments came in on time. And when we get the call, it’s become more than a nuisance. It’s starting to affect cash flow.collection agency questions

Our cash flow is down.

Speaking of cash flow, it’s another topic that comes up in just about every conversation with a potential client. When customers don’t pay or pay late, your cash flow will suffer. And when we get into more detail with a business, we find just that. Cash flow is starting to become a problem. When the business takes a step back to figure out why there is not as much cash in the bank as they thought they had, they begin to figure out that they have more than a handful of customers that have not paid them yet.

Cash flow as you know is the backbone of your business and when it becomes an issue, more problems arise because you lack cash flow. One of the first places to look is your receivables.

We’ve hesitated to use a collection agency.

We understand when a business tells us that they are unsure about using a collection agency for their business. And there are a few reasons why some businesses hesitate to take that next step. The first is they do not want to lose their customers. Most feel that as soon as you take that next step and place a customer into collections, that you have lost them forever. That’s not always the case and in fact, if the debt collection process is done diplomatically, the chances of a business keeping that customer are far greater. Diplomacy, tact and respect not only help you keep a customer, but by being nice, you have a better chance of resolving that debt with your customer.

Cost is also always on the mind of a business when it comes to debt collections. Most businesses think that the only way to place a customer into collections involves giving up most of the original amount of the bill they are trying to collect. Because they don’t want to part with that money, many businesses decide to work a late customer internally for months and even years. What surprises many is when they find out that there are low-cost collection agencies out there. And we are one of them. You can develop a dialog with customers that don’t pay for a small fee and get them back on track. If you are worried about how much it will cost to hire a collection agency, it makes sense to ask if they offer a low-cost debt collection solution.

Are your employees well trained?

We’ve all watched some of those nightly news magazines and seen poorly trained employees in all kinds of industries. When you have any company contacting your customers, you want to know that they are trained properly, and they are treating your customers fairly and respectfully. If you are looking for a collection agency and you’re speaking with a representative, asking about their workforce is a fair question. Employees at a collection agency should be trained regularly, have a firm understanding of laws and regulations, be able to negotiate with your customers and have the skills to diffuse a situation that gets uncomfortable. In the end, that employee is working on your behalf and representing you. They should be treating your customers as if they were theirs.

When can a get my money?

We have a philosophy here and it’s based off of decades of experience. The sooner you act on a late or non-paying customer, the sooner you’ll get paid. The longer you wait, the more difficult it is to resolve that matter. We are always asked how soon a business might see money coming in. While that varies according to the business and how long those invoices have gone unpaid, acting quicker when someone doesn’t pay you, has proven to be more effective than waiting too long. Developing a regular system for your accounts receivables, follow ups and collections will prove to be beneficial to your cash flow in the long run.

What questions do you have about collection agencies? Let us know.

What are my best resources for staying profitable?

There are many ways your business can increase profits and hopefully increase cash flow by doing so. As a collection agency that specializes in working with all types of business, we are always fielding questions from concerned business owners and others about their lack of cash flow and in many cases, lack of profits. It’s a question we get often.

How can I increase the profits in my business?

There are many ways to increase the profits in your business. Some are right in front of you and others need a little searching but if you’re committed and stick to a process and, get the proper resources, you’ll be on your way to increased profitability. Continue reading “What are my best resources for staying profitable?”

You should be able to answer these questions about your business

Running a business is much harder than it looks. If you see all these gurus on social media telling you that you can make millions sitting on a beach and never worrying, you should be careful of what they are telling you because in most cases, it’s just not accurate. Do some people make money while enjoying the sound of crashing waves? Yes, but if they’re smart, they are still keeping a pulse on everything.

They know their numbers, know what their customers and clients need and don’t need, and they are well tuned in to the health of their business. If they don’t know these facts and figures, they’ll be out of business before they know it.

There are several aspects of your business that you should be well up to speed on. Having a firm grasp on the health of your business is not only good for your business, but mission critical.

So, what should you know about your business?

Revenue:

Sounds basic right? Yes, it is. You should know what your revenue is for any given period of time. At the very least, you should know what your monthly revenue is that comes into your business because that can help you determine trends that are forming with your business. Are sales up, are they down? Last month we made XX and now we see sales are slipping. You wouldn’t know that unless you kept a close eye on revenue.What should I know about business

We know that for some, you have your busy seasons such as the lawn care professionals we serve, swimming pool companies and others. But please take time out to just check on your revenue.

Cash Flow:

So you know what you have for revenue but do you understand your cash flow? They are not the same. Cash flow is the money that is going in and out of your business. For most businesses, cash comes through sales of products and services. But it can also be generated by investments. Most businesses track their cash flow by the month.

You can have great sales but if you are sending out more money than is coming in, you’re going to have a cash flow issue. Cash quite simply is what you have on hand.

There are several factors that lead to negative cash flow. Out of control expenses, unforeseen expenses such as repairs or buying new equipment and of course, customers not paying you on time.

Accounts Receivables;

Speaking of customers not paying on time, that’s where your knowledge of your receivables becomes very important. Maybe your revenue looks great, but revenue can also be on paper. Which means you have not been paid for what you did or supplied. As a business, you never want to be surprised by how many people owe you money. You need to stay on top of your receivables for many reasons.

First, it’s all about cash flow. And when people owe you money, at affects your cash flow immediately. It also affects your attitude because most of us get upset when people don’t pay and you don’t have any legitimate reason why. You think you did a good job and met the clients’ needs but you didn’t get paid.

But keeping track of who owes you money is also about accountability. If you don’t have the systems in place to effectively track the customers that have not paid, or paid on time, you will lose money. The more time you let go by without getting more assertive in getting clients current in their payments, the less likely you’ll get paid for your services. Let months and months go by, and for some, they justify not paying you.

Chasing after payments that have not come in also costs you valuable resources in time and money that could be used in other areas of you business.

Know who owes you money and how long they have been late and have the systems in place to take care of that. That includes internal and the services of a reputable collection agency for more stubborn accounts.

Who is your ideal customer?

You should have a handle on your ideal customer because those, hopefully will be the most profitable for your business. You might have different criteria for your ideal customer but we feel that your perfect customer is profitable, easy to work with and even returns for repeat business.

Defining the perfect customer will allow you to find more like them, hopefully increase your profits, reduce the stress of working with less than ideal clients and give everyone on your team a roadmap to follow as you go out and find more customers like them.

There are so many more aspects of your business that you need to have a handle on but if you know where your cash is, where your cash is coming from and how to find your ideal profitable customer, you’ll be far ahead of many who don’t have a firm grasp on these parts of their business.

We listen-plain and simple

For my upcoming summer vacation, my family and I are going back to my hometown to visit some family and see some sights.  In planning the trip, I’m reminded of when I started my career there over 20 years ago.  A career that has taken me from New York to California, and ultimately Michigan.  A whole lot has changed in my life over the span of my career, and a lot has changed about the Collection Industry as well.

It still astonishes me that we were able to be efficient at our jobs back then without the internet.  In fact, I remember a time when the office had only one computer, and that was a big deal!  Technology aside, I think the greatest changes have come from our industry’s willingness to adapt with the times.  The collection industry had evolved into being more consumer-focused, and it has only made it a better profession. Continue reading “We listen-plain and simple”

The dangers of waiting too long to collect

We have the opportunity to speak with all kinds of businesses and potential clients when we are out and about. When we represent American Profit Recovery at trade shows and other exhibitions, we are speaking with entrepreneurs and others all day long. We love hearing about how business is going and how they’ve grown their organizations.

Some of these professionals have everything in order with their accounts receivables and have the systems to get paid. And some even have a collection agency they use for difficult accounts. A smart move.

But some we chat with could be doing far better in the area of basic accounting and getting paid for what they do.

Our team recently encountered a small business that had, to say the least, some cash flow issues. It was a small professional services firm that was run by one person and that professional was focused, almost entirely on just servicing clients. He was doing well by his clients and was very busy with his practice. But he had one major flaw. Continue reading “The dangers of waiting too long to collect”

What can other companies learn from this collection agency?

When you think of a collection agency, what are your initial thoughts? As a consumer, you might have much different views of collection agencies than a business owner that needs to get paid on time. Even if that consumer has never dealt with being in collections, they might have already formed an opinion based on media coverage, nightly news magazines and how others talk about their experience.

As that business owner or other executive in charge of payments and cash flow, you might have your opinions of the debt collection industry as well. One of your beliefs is that it is just part of doing business. You need a collection agency to help your business get certain customers to pay and by doing so, will improve your cash flow.

But what if you could learn valuable lessons about how to run and grow a company from the collection industry? Would you listen?reputable collection agencies

We have realized for some time that for us to meet certain goals as a company, we have to have several things in place. And as a company in a fast-paced and sometimes stressful industry, the way we operate is important.

Culture.

We’ve spent a lot of time on our culture. It’s an important part of who we are and how we retain talent. For many here, being on the phone is a way of life. Whether you are a collector, in customer service or in a sales capacity, our people spend much of their day on the phone. And the experiences vary. It’s important for us to have a culture where we can offset that phone time with fun experiences.

While we dedicate an entire week to our employees during our annual Employee Week, with games, outings and community service, we also take time during the year to do the same. In this industry, we want and need to have a little fun. We have several outings during the year and equal amounts of opportunities to get involved in various causes.

You also won’t find us ruling with an iron first around here. Our culture involves training our team thoroughly and regularly, nurturing our team members and offering regular feedback on how to improve.

Values.

Ask anyone here and they know our values. In fact, they know our values before they are even offered a position in the company. We believe that the way to harmony between a company, management, clients and its employees is to have certain values in place. For us it’s work ethic, integrity and a positive attitude.

We know, for many in the public, they feel that our industry has no integrity. And they feel that getting the money is the only outcome. But that would be incorrect.

Our job here is to find the best solution to the current problem. That might not be having a consumer pay off an entire balance all at once. That in some cases can be counterproductive and can put someone right back into collections. Creating a solution that everyone can embrace without causing a path of destruction is called integrity. Integrity comes in many other forms as well including making sure we are honest in the workplace, and that we are doing the right thing for everyone. We value honesty at every level of the organization.

Work ethic and a positive attitude we believe go hand in hand. This is not just a job here. We are proud of the fact that we are a place where someone can build a career and feel good about helping others such as the business that hires us and the consumers we work with to create solutions to an outstanding debt.

And we want our team to treat this like a career. If you’re just looking for a paycheck, maybe this isn’t the best place for you to land. But if you are eager to build a career, grow and learn, this is a great place for that to happen. And that’s why work ethic and a positive attitude are so important to our culture. We do hard work and our clients expect us to be positive and stay focused on helping them.

Openness.

Let’s face it, many in this industry over the years have stayed far under the radar. Collection agencies never looked for attention, never wanted it and just did their job for their clients. That has changed and it’s not just American Profit Recovery. Others in the collection industry have also started to open their doors.

We do good work here. We help a business that is struggling to stay on top of cash flow and by doing so, we help a consumer navigate a difficult situation. We have many stories to tell and if we stay silent, others will tell our story for us.

We also have great people here and they as well know they are doing the right thing every time they pick up the phone. Some of are not easy conversations but in the end, we have always tried to help two parties come to an agreement. And, we have tried to educate both business and consumer along the way.

We’ve met the media head on over the years with educational topics and we’ve told our story with social media. We have shared agency life with the world and our team actively participates.

Our philosophy of being open and honest has served us well and has allowed us to take a huge step in educating the public that we’re just real people trying to make a difference.

This industry has had mountains to climb over the years and we recognized that when we opened our doors. Were we disrupters? We’re not sure, but we knew what would make our company different. Culture, a tremendous focus on values and showing the world what we really do.

What makes your company different?

What NOT to do when customers don’t pay you

One of the most frustrating parts about running a business of any size is when customers don’t pay on time or, pay you at all. You spent untold amounts of time securing these customers, building your reputation with them and then servicing them for long periods of time. Then one day, they fall behind and you’re not getting paid.

Maybe it was an oversight and maybe it’s more than just that. Sometimes your customers decide they didn’t like the service for whatever reason, and they stop paying. Other times, your customer might be going through a difficult period and they just need a solution to their debt problems. You’ll never know unless you begin the communication process with that customer and find out why they have not paid you.

When your customers are not paying you, there are steps to take and strategies to implement to get your customers to pay. And, there are things you don’t want to do as well. One because they won’t get you anywhere and two, it could get you in trouble. Continue reading “What NOT to do when customers don’t pay you”