Over the last couple of weeks, VMG company members dsl (UK) have received a number of calls from veterinary practices affected by the closure of a different debt collection agency. Director, Mike Brooks, has written this article to help managers chose a suitable agency, and gives some tips to limit exposure in light of recent experiences

In recent weeks a major player in the veterinary industry debt sector has informed clients that it is closing down its activity in the market. Managers affected by this sudden shutdown may be looking for a new debt collection agency, others may be concerned that the one they currently use is robust and best suited to their needs.

Here is a checklist that may be used when selecting your first, or replacement agency:

  • Choose a specialist reputable company. Ask for references from practices that you know, request recent customer testimonials and/or talk to existing customers.
  • Discuss your debt issues with potential agencies and ask how they can help you.
  • Find out what collection processes they have in place and how that will fit into your organisational ethos.
  • What add on services do they provide? For example: Legal action; court enforcement; High Court charging orders; attachment of earnings; corporate and individual bankruptcy; tracing; court judgment and property ownership searches; individual and company credit reports and good old-fashioned door knocking!
  • What percentage paid in full success rate do they obtain for other veterinary customers?
  • How can your customers pay the recovery agency? For example, do they offer debit and credit card payments? Standing order, direct debit, website, mobile payment apps, PayPoint Cash Card, Paypal etc?
  • Communication between agency and practice is so important, so what is their reporting frequency, weekly, fortnightly, monthly, bi-monthly?
  • How will you receive monies collected from your customers? Can they provide BACS transfer or will you have the hassle of a cheque?
  • How often will you receive funds? Are payments weekly, monthly, six monthly or annually? To minimise exposure should the worst happen, insist on weekly remittance thus your total exposure is limited to 1 week’s collection activity.
  • Will collection costs be netted off or invoiced?
  • How often will you pay collection and disbursement costs?

When choosing a debt collection partner price should rarely be the deciding factor. There are so many more important issues to consider and the check list above highlights some of those issues. After all, the agency you choose will become an extension of your business, so trust and professionalism have to be top of your list! If you would like to discuss this issue in more detail, call Mike Brooks on 01527 543672 for a no obligation chat.

Download the full VMG News for September 2018 here

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