B2B Collections Collection Tips Loan Advice

The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly: Who Should You Extend Credit To?

The decisions you make at the end of the day will affect your monthly bottom line. That much is undeniable. So who you give credit to, and how much, plays a vital role in your collection strategy both today and tomorrow.

There are many reasons why over 70% of American small businesses have outstanding debt. Decision-making is definitely one of them. At Monetaria, we work with New York businesses every day. We see over and over again smart individuals choosing clients or loan tactics that go against their best interests. It’s time to change that.

In the article below, we’ll guide you through some quick and dirty collection tips that just about any small business can implement. Save time, save money, and learn how to spot clients that are way out of your comfort zone!

When you’re extending credit, ask yourself the ultimate question: How much risk can your business handle?

The answer to this question depends on a lot of different things, but your profit margin is the most important. High profit margins allow for more risk. If you’ve already taken on a lot of debt and your margins are low, stay away from riskier clients.

Got high margins?

More risk potential.

Got low margins?

Less risk potential.

Investment and investigation are like peanut butter and jelly — an irresistible combination no business can do without.

But how do you know which clients are riskier than others? Well, whenever you extend credit to a business or client, you must investigate their ability to make payments. As a general rule, we recommend that you match your investigation to the level of investment.


The Bigger the Loan, the Bigger Your (Time) Investment

As you offer more credit, you must venture deeper into the business’ financial history. But what should you investigate? Ask and you shall receive.

First, the essentials. We’re sure you already know this stuff, but we’ll offer it just in case you need a refresher. For literally any B2B commercial loan investigation, you should look into the following level one information:

Level One

  • Business name
  • Owner and Officer names
  • Address of business
  • Duration at that address
  • Phone number(s) of business

As risk climbs, so too should your research efforts. Here are the level two risk investigation categories:

Level Two

  • Credit references
  • Phone number and address of banks where business accounts are kept
  • Applicant’s accountant

Don’t Forget to Choose the Proper Tools

When conducting in-depth business investigations, it’s also important to leverage the latest research tools. In this case, we’re talking about background checks. There are dozens of suppliers out there, but the best companies to use for client background and credit checks are:

You want to choose one of the above companies because they’ll have the most up-to-date and accurate information. Quick note – the information you get should only be used pursuant to local and federal laws. Make sure you are adhering to local and federal laws about using third party companies to do background checks. 

If the business does a significant amount of credit card sales, it’s also worth asking for 2-3 months of merchant statements. You won’t be using them for anything at first, other than getting a baseline for their credit card sales. 

Later, if their payments start coming in late, you can ask for a recent merchant statement and compare the two. This is an easy way to verify that, yes, their sales are down, or they have run into a little trouble and may need more time to pay.

Summing Up

  • The higher your margins, the more risks you can take.
  • Deepen B2B investigations based on your investment.
  • Leverage credit tools such as Experian to reduce risk.
  • Ask for merchant statements to get a baseline on their sales. 

When the Good Gets Ugly, You’re Not Alone

Despite best efforts and sound decision making, every business will acquire a client that, for one reason or another, refuses to pay their debt. When that happens, stay calm and keep it professional. 

Write them a few honest and direct collection letters. If that doesn’t work, give Monetaria a call. We have over a decade of B2B and Merchant Cash Advance debt recovery experience. Above all, remember that you’re not alone — we’re here to help.

B2B Collections Collection Tips

How to Write a Collection Letter: Avoid These Common Mistakes

Running a successful business is about keeping your accounts receivable above water. When you see those relationships start to sink, the effects on your cash flow could be devastating.

So you’ll need to implement the right strategies to make sure your customers pay on time. When you do, you’ll ensure that your cash flow stays in the green and your stress levels stay low.

When customers don’t pay, you must shift your collection efforts into a new gear to recover any outstanding amounts. Collection letters are an invaluable tool you can use to get payment from customers while still preserving your relationship with them.

But where do you learn how to write a collection letter? What information should you include? When should you send it? 

At Monetaria, we live and breathe collections. Below, we’ll answer your collection letter concerns in detail. As a bonus, we’ll give you a collection letter template you can use in your efforts.  

What Is a Collection Letter?

Before we get into the details, let’s recap what a collection letter actually is. Simply put, a collection letter is a written notification that you send to a customer to inform them about their due payments.  

Typically, a collection letter may include payment reminders, inquiries, warnings, or notifications of possible legal action to be taken against a customer if they fail to pay overdue amounts promptly. Ultimately, if done right, collection letters help you to get paid while leaving the relationships with your customers intact.

What Makes a Collection Letter Effective?

Your relationship with your customer begins with effective communication. Staying honest is key. Communication typically starts by collecting the customer’s information and also providing them with a contract or conditions of sale that outlines your payment terms.

However, it may happen sometimes that customers don’t pay. And here, collection letters are another vital part of communication and a key tool that you can use to recover outstanding accounts. These letters are so so effective because they:

  • notify customers of outstanding accounts
  • demand payment from customers
  • indicate the steps required to get back on track
  • serve as notifications of the steps you’ll take if they fail to make payment

Heads up: to be effective as a tool in your collection efforts, there’s some information you need to include and mistakes to avoid.


What Information Should You Include in a Collection Letter?

Now that we’ve seen what collection letters are and why they’re effective, let’s look at the key information any effective collection letter should contain:

  • Company details. You must include your contact details on the collection letter including your address, telephone number, email address, and website if you have one. This is simply to make it easier for the customer to contact you.
  • Amount owing. You’ll have to include the exact amount owing. Ideally, you should include it in two places in the letter and it should be clearly visible.
  •  Due date. It’s important to always include the date when the balance was due to be paid.
  •  Invoice or account number. By including the account number, you’ll ensure that your customer knows exactly what account you’re referring to, so you can eliminate disputes later on. Including the account number also helps you keep track of the collection letters you’ve sent and follow up on payment.  If you have a written contract with your client, also include reference to the contract and the date it was executed. 
  • Call to action. This is one of the most important parts of the collection letter and aims to appeal to your customer to pay the outstanding amount. Here, it’s a good idea to include different methods of payment so that your customer can choose the most convenient one, which, in turn, increases the possibility that they’ll pay.
  • Thank you. Although it may sound strange to thank the customer, it goes a long way not only to increase the possibility that the customer will pay, but also shows professionalism and that you’re willing to maintain the relationship with the customer.

The Four Types of Collection Letters

The First Collection Letter

You’ll typically only send the first collection letter after you’ve tried to contact the customer by phone or email, and you couldn’t get a hold of them. In some instances, you’ll also send the first collection letter if you’ve gotten hold of the customer, but they failed to make a payment arrangement in respect of the overdue amount.

Keep in mind, though, that you should send the first collection letter no later than 14 days after the due date.

The second Collection Letter

Before you send the second collection letter, you should try to contact the customer again to find out whether they got the first collection letter and if they want to make a payment arrangement. If you can’t reach the customer or you do, but they fail to make an arrangement, it’s time to send the second collection letter.

Although the first and second collection letters convey much the same message, the main difference between the two is that you’ll make mention of the previous collection letter in the second letter.

The third Collection Letter

Once you’ve sent the second collection letter, you’ll once again try to contact the customer by phone. If you can’t get hold of them and they’ve made no attempt to contact you after the initial two letters, you should send the third collection letter.

 Like the second collection letter, you’ll refer to the first two letters and the fact that all attempts to recover the outstanding balance from the customer have been unsuccessful. Here, it’s also advisable to send the letter by certified mail as this requires that someone sign for the letter, which gives you proof that it was received.

The fourth Collection Letter

By the time you get to the fourth collection letter, it should be clear that the customer is either unwilling or unable to pay the outstanding amount. As a result, you’ll also use the most assertive language in this letter while still remaining professional.

Like the third collection letter, you’ll state that previous letters have been sent and all attempts to collect the outstanding amount have been unsuccessful. Likewise, you’ll also send this letter by certified mail to ensure that you get proof that it was delivered and received.

Common Mistakes To Avoid

Remember, the ultimate goal with the series of collection letters is to recover any outstanding amounts from a customer while maintaining a good relationship. Although you now have some guidelines as to what information to include and when you should send the letters, there are some things you shouldn’t do.

Considering the above, it’s vital that you don’t:

  • Use harsh words in the letter and rather keep it professional.
  • Harass customers for payment. Although, in some cases, customers won’t pay, it’s always best to assume that they will.
  • Send text messages to customers. It’s always better to use collection letters that are formal and professional, and which provide you with proof that they were delivered and received.
  • Communicate with customers through social media. As stated above, you want a record of the correspondence that you’ve sent to the customer and the proof that they’ve received it. With social media, this is unfortunately not very easy to keep a clean record.

Download collection letter templates

With our free template, you’ll be able to send one or more collection letters to the customer to get your cash flow back on track.

monetaria collection letters

The Bottom Line

When you want to optimize the cash flow in your business, you must implement the right strategies to ensure that your invoices and outstanding balances get paid on time, every time. 

Hopefully, this post helped illustrate what information you should include in a collection letter and when it should be sent.

To find out more about collections, our services, or to download our collection letter template, visit our website or get in touch with us for more details. Monetaria Group is a New York-based B2B collections company that helps both small and medium businesses with their B2B collections.