Welcome to AMA Firm's Blog - Your Source of Latest News in Commercial Collections Industry

Is Your Internal Collection Process Not Working For You?

If you are in the service business and are often in the situation of having outstanding receivables there may be struggles getting your money back from time to time. Sometimes, the money you lent to a borrower is returned later than expected, creating a negative cash flow which can be a stressful situation. When other businesses owe you money, your team should have a clear and defined process to follow for reaching out and trying to collect. But if they have to wait days for a response, and sometimes wait all that time without getting a response, the time can stack up to work against you.

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When a Customer Files for Bankruptcy

It’s happened: you’ve received a letter saying that a customer of yours has filed for bankruptcy to resolve their debt problems. While this can be a frustrating situation, don’t waste your time worrying about what may or may not happen. Depending on your customer’s bankruptcy details, acting quickly could result in repayment for a portion or even all the unpaid debt you are owed. The debt collection process in cases of bankruptcy are not as strenuous as many companies seem to think, especially if you know what your options are. This article will explain what happens when someone you’re trying to collect from files for bankruptcy and how to move through the debt collection process.

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3 Ways to Create Urgency in Collections

As a business, it can be frustrating watching days, weeks, or even months pass by while you wait for reimbursement for your valuable time, products or services. Afterall, the saying “time is money” holds true when it comes to unpaid debts. According to figures from Inside Account Receivables Management, by the time receivables are 90 days overdue, they could be worth only 20% of their original value. 

So, how do you create a sense of urgency for your debtors to take prompt action as opposed to remaining passive? Rather than expend unnecessary time, energy, and resources pursuing overdue invoices, allow us at Alexander, Miller & Associates to help capture the attention of your debtors by using the following powerful techniques:

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Top 3 Tips For SMB Owners Trying To Collect a Debt

Small and medium businesses often have a difficult relationship with debt collection. They want to be paid for their services or products but what they don’t want is to come on too strong and risk losing a client. However, this stems from the very idea that asking people for your money back is a bad thing. The first thing that needs to be done is mindset-building.

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Debt Collection vs Receivables Management: What’s the Difference?

Running your business can be difficult. You’ve got projects, employees, accounts. A hundred spinning plates, and they’re all tied to your income and your company’s success now and in the future.

Maybe you run your business because you’re really passionate about what you do, or maybe you found something you’re really good at and enjoy supporting yourself with hard won skills and time. No matter why you do what you do, at the end of the day you have to get paid for all that work. Even the most enthusiastic entrepreneurs have to draft an invoice to afford their overhead.

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Watching The Trends

With any business, it’s important to follow the trends happening across the world and its various markets. From social media trends to changes in domestic or international markets, keeping an eye on the flow of money and interest around the world is a crucial factor in maintaining a solid bottom line. The same is true for your clients, and while you’re probably already aware of everything that directly impacts your own business, it’s prudent to consider the perspective your clients are facing at the same time.

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How to Pay Off Debt in Collections

If you find yourself or your business with debts that have gone to collections, it can seem a little overwhelming. We’ll break down the process of paying off the debt in collections so that you can get them handled quickly and efficiently. To start, it’s important to realize that if you have debt that is in collections, it has been due for quite some time. Not only does this affect the business or person you owe, but it also most likely has an impact on your credit score. It’s important to get this resolved as soon as you can.

Your first step is to make sure that the debt is yours. As obvious as this may sound, you will want to validate that the debt the collector is calling about is in relation to you as an individual or business. If it is not debt that you recognize, be sure to request proof from the collector before making any payments.

Negotiating With The Collector

The first step to paying off the debt in collections is to answer the phone when the collector calls or get in contact with them through a written request. They have been commissioned through the person or business that you owe to obtain the outlaying debt. The first step is to negotiate with the collector. There is something called a settlement payment, which works by paying off the amount so that the account can be deleted off your credit report in return. You will need to send in a written request to the collector for this. This is the best-case scenario, as it lessens the impact on your credit report and also allows room for negotiation. You can also do this over the phone, so long as you are careful with your wording. Most likely, you will be able to work with the collector to negotiate a lower payoff.

Getting it in Writing

Whether you submit a written request or call to negotiate, be sure to get all of the agreements in writing. You can ask the collector to give you access to a letter with all of the payment information via mail or fax, and make sure you do this before you pay anything. This is especially important if you choose to go the settlement route.

Having to Pay in Full

If the above scenarios don’t work for your specific case and collector, you may have to pay in full. Again, you should try to negotiate to pay the amount in full and have it removed from your credit report. Be sure to keep the general rule of having it all in writing before you make the payment.

Other Options

There are other ways to pay off your debt in collections, although they may not be your first choice. One option is to at least make sure that the payment is labeled as “Paid in full.” This is the best case if the collector will not remove it from your credit report, and this should also be in writing. If this is simply not possible, you can request that the account is labeled as “Paid. Settled.” If you do not want to do any of these steps, you can always pay in full and pay off the debt.

Whatever the choice is that you make, paying off the debt is the end-goal of the collector’s process.


What is Commercial Debt Collection?

If your business is looking to outsource debt collection, commercial debt collection is a good option to consider. Outsourcing debt collection can take worry off your plate and get your business the money it is owed in a way that is safe and proficient. Commercial debt collection works to collect money that is owed between businesses for various types of accounts or production. For example, if a large business orders product from a small business, and they do not deliver, they may turn to commercial debt collection. Commercial debt collection can work for businesses of all sizes and may be a good option for your business to receive its debt pay-offs without the hassle of doing the work.

What types of debt do they collect?

The types of businesses that commercial debt collectors work for vary across the board. Some examples are colleges and institutions, major companies, sales companies, and construction companies. The companies can be of all sizes and provide a wide range of services. They work to collect outstanding debts on accounts between businesses. The reason for debt collection is to ensure that funds that were promised or agreed upon by a contract are delivered. Businesses often outsource to commercial debt collectors when their own attempts at collecting the debts on their outstanding accounts between contractors and other businesses have proven unsuccessful.  

How do they collect?

Commercial debt collectors operate through first determining who the business owner is or who is in charge of paying bills. It’s essential that the right party is reached to ensure pay-off can happen in a timely manner and that the topic of finances is discussed with the right person. Once the correct person has been identified, the commercial debt collectors are then able to make calls at regular intervals. These calls are used to determine which payment method will work for both parties and the timeline they will make payments on. Having a commercial debt collector be the one to contact owners of outstanding accounts can be used to ensure that your business remains profitable and receives the money it deserves.

What differentiates them from consumer debt collection?

When determining the difference between consumer and commercial debt collection, it’s all in the name. Consumer debt collectors work for a business to collect debts that are owed by an individual to the business. Consumer debt collectors are subject to FDCPA governance (the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act), whereas commercial debt collectors are not. This doesn’t mean that commercial debt collectors are free from all rules, though. Commercial debt collectors are not able to use tactics that are aggressive, threatening, or illegal.

Are they regulated?

Regulations also differ based on the state that a commercial debt collector is in. Some states have a requirement for commercial debt collectors to be licensed and bonded, and there are also associations that work to ensure fair practices.

If your business is looking into outsourcing your debt collection services, it’s time to look into which accounts have outstanding debts. If your primary debt issue is individuals and consumers, a consumer debt collection is best. However, if you have relations with businesses where accounts are unsettled, outsourcing these debts to a commercial debt collector can assist you by taking over the process.

Processing Your Emotions After a Rough Call

debt collectingThere’s no doubt that you’ll have to deal with some emotionally-charged calls as a debt collector. From the yellers to the criers, emotional clients have a way of taking a toll on your own emotional state. A few choice insults can leave you angry or crushed for the rest of the day, while a client with a truly sympathetic case may leave your feeling guilty for doing your job. For your mental health, it’s essential that you learn how to process and deal with your feelings after a tough call.


When You’re Mad or Hurt

No matter how long you’ve been a debt collector, sometimes a client knows exactly what to say to get your blood boiling. Maybe they attack your character or resort to slurs. In these cases, it’s best to give yourself a break after a phone call. If you’re worked up, you won’t truly be able to focus on your next call. Or worse, you could bring your own anger into the call and put yet another client on edge.

Remove yourself from your desk for a moment to take a short walk or get some water. Getting away and moving around will help you clear your head. When you’re feeling especially low, it doesn’t hurt to have a few meaningful affirmations to repeat to yourself. Take some deep breaths and remind yourself that this person isn’t actually angry with you— they’re angry with their situation, and you happen to be the easiest punching bag.


When You’re Annoyed

You may not encounter a call that makes you truly angry very often. But you probably encounter calls that leave you annoyed every day. Rude clients, clients who lie, clients who ramble to avoid talking about their debt. There’s plenty of calls that can make you frustrated and cranky, and that’s okay.

But if your notice that your frustration is spilling over into other situations, it’s time to take steps to deal with it. You may not even realize a call has bothered you until you recognize subtle changes in your mood or behavior. When you’re constantly annoyed, you’ll lose patience with other clients, coworkers, and friends and family.

When you’ve had a rough day, pay extra attention to how you react to those around you. Are you really mad at your partner for forgetting to unload the dishwasher or are you still miffed that a client hung up on you?


When You’re Sympathetic

Sometimes you encounter a client who has truly heartbreaking story. They’re kind and apologetic, and they’ve ended up in a tough financial situation through little fault of their own. Know that it’s okay to feel sympathy. You’re a human being, and the client is likely to be more cooperative if they know that you actually do empathize with them. However, don’t let those feeling turn into guilt or get in the way of doing your job.

Remember that this debt is hurting your client too; it’s ruining their credit, and the sooner they pay it off, the better. You didn’t cause that situation, and you have nothing to feel guilty about. With or without your calls, that debt is still there, wreaking havoc on their finances and credit. Think of yourself as someone who is trying to help them address that problem rather than someone who is out to get them.


When you’ve had a rough day, give yourself grace and remember that you’re entitled to emotions too. But to maintain your professionalism and mental health, it’s important to deal with those emotions as fully and as quickly as you can.