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Understanding Commercial Credit Reports

As an individual, you understand the importance of a high credit score when it comes to making a large purchase, like a home or a car. In the same way, commercial credit is important when starting out on a new business venture or partnership.

Based on a 100-point scale, a commercial credit score measures the creditworthiness of a business. Dun & Bradstreet, Equifax, and Experian are the major business credit bureaus, and they verify business data in different ways. Unlike personal credit, business credit reporting is not standardized. However, they typically evaluate the following factors:

  • Company information (i.e., address, proprietorship or parent company, subsidiaries)
  • Annual revenue
  • Lending risk factors (i.e., late payments, defaults, liens)
  • Banking history (i.e., on-time payments, loans)

Establishing your creditworthiness as a business is much like establishing it as an individual. Pay your lenders and vendors on time. You never want to be 90+ days past due on any invoices. Keep your credit-utilization ratio low.

When you start a new business, knowing your commercial credit score is critical in obtaining the best lending rates and financing. Additionally, you may discover inaccuracies in your report that must be rectified before you seek business loan qualification. If you do find errors, contact the major business credit bureaus to correct them.

You wouldn’t buy a new home without first checking your credit score. And you shouldn’t do business with a company without checking their credit as well. If you are interested in obtaining the credit report on a business, you do not need permission. Commercial credit scores are public record.

As a leader in B2B collections, Alexander Miller & Associates understands the critical importance of obtaining commercial credit reports not only for your business, but for any business you may lend to or partner with, in the past or future.

We offer free commercial credit reports. Our report is a comprehensive list of UCC filings, open or pending lawsuits and derogatory credit information. Request your free commercial credit report today.

Streamline Your Accounts Receivable Process in 4 Easy Steps


Often times, companies centered on aggressive growth focus all their optimization efforts on sales and marketing, neglecting to improve internal processes. But it is crucial that your business runs smoothly if you are trying to grow. When you don’t have to worry about human resources, accounting, and onboarding, you can really focus on customer acquisition.

One of the first places you should optimize is how you receive and process payments. This process should be reliably strong as your business grows, especially if collecting payment on time is a consistent issue. Here are 4 steps to keep in mind:

Explain the credit and billing process as early as possible

We encourage businesses to discuss payment and billing even at the time of sale. If your payments process is an efficient one, which it should be, this could be considered a valid selling point. Disputes often arise out of confusion, so make your billing process clear. Give numbers and website information as contact points in case your customer has questions or difficulty with payment.

Manage customer data for accurate billing

Nothing is more frustrating than billing the incorrect amount or charging the wrong customer. Keep your records tidy to avoid unnecessary billing requests. Use a customer relationship management tool to keep track of contact information, billing dates, past due letters, and accounting phone calls. This documentation will also come in handy if you have to send your customer to collections.

Assess your accounts regularly

Make sure that you are keeping track of which customers are past due and how long it has been since they’ve paid their bill. It is much easier for a customer to reconcile 30 days than it is for them to pay for 6 months of unpaid services. When you stay on top of your billing process, you’re better able to proactively address late payments.

Automate your billing and collections process

Eliminate any added chance for human error with a completely automated billing and collections process. Just like the customer relationship management tool mentioned above, automated software gives you a data record of all bills paid and unpaid, including partial payments. Automation also allows you to create and manage special payment plans for delinquent accounts.

Even when you’ve taken all the steps to streamline your accounts receivable process, non-payments happen. When you’ve exhausted all your efforts, your best option is to work with a commercial collections agency like Alexander, Miller, & Associates. We are adequately prepared to handle your most difficult collections cases. Contact us now for more information.


5 Keys to an Effective Demand Letter

Business-to-business commercial collections in Houston

When your numerous calls and letters go unanswered, it’s time to involve a recognized commercial debt recovery firm. An official demand letter from a professional, recognized collections agency shows your seriousness and the potential for litigation if a voluntary pay agreement isn’t reached. At Alexander, Miller & Associates, we will work with you to craft a demand letter that gets results.

Confusing your debtor with a letter that is too long or unclear could hinder successful repayment. Get to the point and write in a concise manner while avoiding jargon. This will clarify the urgency of the situation and hopefully yield a positive result. When sending out an official demand letter, keep in mind the following 5 components:

  1. Emphasize that other forms of communication have been exhausted. Underline the frequency in which your business has tried to contact the debtor. You should also have a record of each of these contact points.
  2. Make the possibility of litigation very clear. Normally, a debtor is given 10 days from the receipt of the demand letter to resolve their debt. Whatever your terms are, make it unequivocally clear that a lawsuit is imminent.
  3. Give them the opportunity of alternative payment solutions. Sometimes businesses are unable to pay due to current financial hardship, but will be capable of payment in the future. Knowing that they have the option for a payment plan could encourage them to negotiate terms, rather than continuing to avoid you.
  4. Give them the opportunity to deny the debt. A response, even a negative one, is helpful. It confirms that the person you’re reaching is indeed the right one to speak to about recovery. At that point, a private investigation might be valuable to determine the possibility of successful litigation.
  5. Put your deadlines in writing. Support your legal claim with the chronological facts: when the debt was incurred, when you contacted them for collection, etc. Then be sure to give deadlines on when you must see a response before litigation begins.

Alexander, Miller & Associates utilizes a series of legal demand letters and collector efforts to assist in the collection process. Our 60 years of collection agency experience ensures the highest success rate.


Importance of Accounts Receivables Management

If your business provides products or services on credit, then you are already well aware of the strain that a delinquent account can have on your cash flow and bottom line. Unfortunately, you may have already made the faulty assumption that because a customer has come to you for a product or service then that ensures that they will pay for it. You may have already come to the realization that many customers fail to pay on time or, even worse, refuse to pay at all.

commercial collections agency in Houston TX
Why exhaust yourself chasing money when you can get the experts to do it for you?

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Debt Collection Process: Phone Calls vs. Emails

We already talked about 5 ways to get your not paying customer on the phone and tips on how to collect commercial debt, so, today let’s talk about difference in means of communications for debt collection.

Today, a list of communication means includes a lot of strategies. People call each other, send text messages and emails, use video calls and enjoy other advancements in technology. Individuals have their own preferences about their most comfortable way of dealing with others. The issue of choosing one becomes particularly important when it comes to dealing with debtors. It can be a good strategy to ask your debtor about the way he prefers. This trick helps the debtor keep in touch with you in the way he finds easiest.

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6 Steps How to Ensure a Stable Financial Future as Business Owner

We have been talking about business debt recovery for quite a while, however, wouldn’t it be much better if you as business owner didn’t have any debt in the first place?! So, we gathered some tips on how to ensure a stable financial future and avoid debt for business owners altogether.

Financial future for business owner

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Alexander, Miller & Associates Debt Collection Agency: Debts Paid, Money Gained, Budget Saved

Alexander Miller & Associates commercial debt collection agency is an expert in fast track debt recovery and onsite investigations. We provide excellent debt recovery services in Houston and nationwide without the expenses and resources needed for tiresome and dragging lawsuits.

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3 Tips for Selecting the Right Commercial Collection Agency

The market of debt crecovery is overcrowded with lots of commercial collection agencies, companies and firms offering their services in the field of debt recovery. Here are 3 more tips to consider when selecting a partner in the debt collection process.

top 3 tips for choosing right commercial collection agency

1. Make a study.

Debt collection agencies may vary in size and range from local firms working only within one state to big international companies with an international network of certified investigators and experience attorneys. Choose the right agency meeting your requirements. Alexander, Miller & Associates offer a wide range of debt recovery services in Houston and nationwide using their cutting edge techniques and methods and cooperating with their extensive network of examined professionals.

2. Choose the right specialization.

Your industry may require specific solutions as each field of business differs in its features. If a collection agency specializes in your industry, it has the required experience to deal professionally with the faced challenges. Alexander, Miller & Associates deals with debt collection in all industries, including trucking transportation & freight, heavy equipment rental, restaurant supply, wholesale produce and seafood, staffing and building supply.

3. Compare Contingency Fees.

The most wide-spread payment models are flat fee which is usually quite small and offered in the early stage of debt collection process and contingency. In AMA firm our low contingency rates are only charged once we collect. We offer a no collection, no cost service.

Tips on How to Collect Commercial Debt

If you are in the unfortunate position of collecting commercial debt, chances are you may not know where to start. Collecting commercial debt can be very intimidating, you rarely know what type of reaction you will get when you speak to a client, so we brought together a few tips that could help you with that first call.

  • Preparation is key.  You want to review the client account thoroughly before reaching out. Make sure to have the account history, any notes on the account, last invoice, and have them in front of you for reference.
  • Adopt the right attitude. Keep your interactions professional. You drafted a contract expecting payment after your services were rendered, it is not uncalled for to expect payment. Do not lose your temper by raising your voice or swearing, this will only make the situation worse.
  • Contact the right person. Avoid calling and getting redirected to “someone in accounting”. You want to identify the person who will be making payments and reach out to them. This can get rather tricky, as you might be stuck talking to the secretary for a while. A deadline might serve useful in this scenario.
  • Control the conversation. Keep the client focused on the debt, not on personal stories and excuses. It’s inevitable that the client will give you excuses as to why the debt is not being paid, but always bring the conversation back to the debt and repayment plan.
  • Remain flexible. Most people hate debt, so there might a good reason as to why they stopped making payments. Make sure to keep your payment options open and work with the client. A reasonable payment schedule benefits both parties.
  • Take detailed notes. While on the call, jot down as much as possible. You want to be able to look through the notes and have enough information to distinctively reiterate the conversation. Take note of contacts, times and dates, product usage, anything that could be used in litigation; the more detailed, the better.

If you have tried the above methods and haven’t had any luck, then you should think of contacting a debt collection agency with a proven track record of success.


The Cost of Waiting: Don’t Bring Uncollected Debt into the New Year

As 2016 comes to an end, many businesses are looking forward to the start of a new fiscal year. A new year brings on different obstacles and growth opportunities, but chances are you don’t want one of those obstacles to be old uncollected debt. This is when a reputable debt collection agency comes in handy.

Statistics show that after the first month of uncollected debt, the chances of recovering debt decreased to 93%. Although that may seem adequate, the numbers take a sudden nosedive; after 3 months, there is a 73% chance of recovery, and after 6 months, there is a 50% chance you will not get paid. Needless to say, if you hit the one year mark of uncollected debt, the odds are stacked against your favor and you face a 75% chance of not receiving any payment.

Commercial collections agency
The longer you wait to collect debt, the less likely it is you will receive payment.

Time truly is money when it comes to recovering payments, so you want to make sure you are addressing uncollected debt as soon as possible. However, collecting payments can be tricky. Some clients may avoid you like the plague! Others may become defensive and shut the conversation down. You also walk a fine line when dealing with long-term clients who are going through a tough time and do not have the ability to pay for rendered services; you do not want to lose a valuable client when collecting debt.

For situations that require a delicate approach, you will be more successful in recuperating payment when partnered with an experienced debt collection agency.  Through our Customer Assistance Program, we are able to approach your invaluable clients with tactics that will retain your relationship and advance the debt collection process.  

At Alexander Miller & Associates, we have developed debt recovery strategies for different industries and our extensive experience will increase your chances of getting your money back. Our debt collection divisions include: Freight and Transportation Commercial Debt Collection, Seafood and Produce Commercial Debt Collection, and Restaurant Supply Commercial Debt Collection.

Let a skilled debt collection agency help you and contact us today for more information.