Red Flags and Warning Signs

On Red Flags and Warning Signs

I know I’m beating the same old drum but it all bears repeating. It always (almost) comes back to you, not the guy who owes you the money, he’s got his own problems. If you want to avoid collections (doesn’t everyone?) you’ve got to pay attention… here’s a list of red flags and warning signs that you may be headed for a collection problem.

Most Obvious

  • AP stops responding to calls or emails
  • Broken promises
  • Voicemail always full or can’t leave messages for some other reason
  • Adverse rumors
  • Competitor requests credit reference

Unprofessional Excuses or Behavior

  • Didn’t receive the invoice
  • Can’t find the invoice
  • Invoice not approved
  • No check signer available (my personal favorite “check signer on vacation”
  • Setting their own terms i.e. “we pay in 60 days”

Unwarranted Rudeness

  • Nonsensical disputes
  • Anger at being asked about payment
  • I’ll get it out “as soon as I can”
  • Hangs up during call
  • Refusal to provide standard information such as:
    • Name of the person you’re speaking to
    • Name of superior i.e. owner or controller
    • Contact information such as email or extension often accompanied by “you should have it”
    • Best time to call

Financial Explanations

  • Raising money or getting a loan
  • I’ll pay you when I get paid
  • I had a big customer go bankrupt
  • Company is being sold
  • Reveals is late with other customers
  • New system, we need time to catch up
  • We’re behind with everyone we’re still working on (some time in the past)

Employee Issues

  • Long time or key employee leaves
  • Layoffs
  • Understaffed

Operational Issues

  • Always in crisis
  • Moving
  • Abrupt increase or decrease in orders
  • Rapid expansion
  • Enters an unrelated business
  • Sloppy housekeeping/bookkeeping

Owner Issues

  • Never available
  • Divorcing
  • Family illness
  • Alcohol, drugs or gambling problems

For more like this …

Take a look at our AR manual “How to Clean Up Your Receivables and Get Paid Faster NOW”

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