Here is something I wrote after the residential housing bubble burst in order to help my clients protect themselves. Over the last few months we have seen a size able up-tick in commercial clients having trouble getting paid, so I thought I would re-post it here. Even though the Dallas local economy is “good” compared to other parts of the country I think right now you can’t be too cautious in protecting your business.
1) Require a Credit Application
Whether your clients are other businesses or individuals, if your client has an open account with you in which you are supplying a good or service prior to getting paid, you must first require a completed credit application. The credit application should include:
* Full legal name * Address * Social Security or Tax Identification Number
If your client fails to pay their account, your costs in collecting will be much lower if you have adequate information.
2) Require a Personal Guarantee
If you enter into contracts with other companies, you should always require a personal guarantee from the person acting as principle of the company. If your client fails to pay on the account, or otherwise breaches your contract, the principle is personally responsible to you as well as their company.
3) Receivable Turn-Around
Re-structure your companies billing cycle to issue invoices immediately or, at the very least, monthly. Also, shorten the due-date. Your companies accounting will operate much more smoothly without a 45 – 60 day lag in receivables. You will also be able to more accurately estimate your income for operating. This also helps companies that can use Mechanic’s liens to recover money owed by being able to notify and file within the deadlines of the statutes.
This blog is for educational purposes only and not legal advice. We do not guarantee the information provided is either complete, current, or reflect the latest legal developments. Do not act upon anything contained in this blog without seeking the advice of legal counsel since every situation is different.