Handing my tenant debt immediately to some collection agency is not really my first preference. Myself, I would personally first report the debt to Experian, Equifax and TransUnion, and let the ding on the debtor’s credit work a couple of months before I gave it to an agency which will charge me a hefty commission.
Collecting tenant debt is significantly distinct from collecting other debts, including personal credit card debt. A collection agency represents both you and your business, and you could be come to court should they violate legal requirements. And, just as essential as any legal matters, is the way well they will collect your debt.
I actually have worked in the market for 12 years and would like to believe that most collection agencies work hard, ethically and in the law. But, as in most industries, there are those agencies i consider to get renegades. They operate outside of the law, or right on the edge. Unfortunately, these companies get all of the press, thus making all agencies look bad.
The actual fact of the matter is the fact that collection industry fills a vital need in the industry world. Imagine if everyone could just stop paying their bills without any repercussions. Do you reckon any bank would loan anyone any money? And what can it do today to the costs of goods and services?
Here are what I consider the most crucial factors in hiring an agency to accumulate tenant debt:
o Has the agency had any verified Federal Trade Commission (FTC) violations? The FTC regulates and investigates the collection industry; several violation would concern me.
o Is definitely the agency licensed in most 50 states? Although this is not essential to accomplish business, this question helps me sort out the businesses that use a national presence and therefore are big enough to fulfill the numerous state requirements.
o Is the company bonded and insured? If the company fails to carry at least $1 million dollars of insurance, I would not allow them to have my company.
o Does the company have membership within the American Collectors Association? Again, not necessary to operate in the market, however it can show the degree of interest and participation the company has in its own industry.
o Does the company report debts to Experian, Equifax and TransUnion? This is one of the biggest collection tools agencies use to motivate a debtor to cover their debt. Its not all companies report.
o What sort of debt does the company specialize in? The list of varieties of debt agencies collect is extensive. They may collect commercial or consumer debt. Consumer debt may become a auto loan, charge card, utility bill, mortgage, medical bill, rent, etc. To accomplish a good job collecting tenant debt, a knowledge from the terminology and the organization is critical. Very few nationwide collection agencies specialize especially in collecting this sort of debt.
o Does the company collect judgments as well as non-judgment accounts? Few companies that collect debt for landlords collect both kinds of accounts.
o Do they really work the take into account the lifestyle of the account? It is common for agencies to work the most recent accounts they have the hardest. Being an account ages, it is deemed less collectable. Often agencies will work the account hard 8 to 10 months, and after that they rely almost solely on the credit bureau reporting to aid collect your debt. It costs a company more to have a collector working older accounts; therefore expect an excellent agency to charge an increased fee. I want a company that actually works the make up as long because it is legally possible. If reporting your debt for the credit bureaus is sufficient to collect the debt, I can accomplish that very easily and inexpensively myself without having to pay any commissions.
o Does the agency pre-judge accounts? In the industry this is known as “rating the paper.” Amazingly, one or more company that specializes in tenant debt brags that they rate accounts before they even begin collecting them. This permits the company to spend it’s time and resources on debts they “believe” are the most collectible. This reduces their overhead, but does absolutely nothing to help a lot of their customers. Landlords that lose out are the types that rent average apartments to everyday average people. Do you wish to hire an agency that only focuses on high-end properties, with well-to-do debtors? You will get approximately the same level of effort in the event you reported the debt to Experian, Equifax and TransUnion yourself, for a lot less cash!
o Does the company accept collection accounts from independent landlords? At least one from the few nationwide agencies that specializes in tenant debt will simply undertake clients who own or manage a minimum of 100 rental units. This can be as they do not want to be bothered by customer support calls from independent landlords.
o Will the company present you with references off their landlords who use their services? References are essential so you may learn not just how well the company collects your cash, but also how they treat their customers. I have known of agencies that treated their clientele poorly once they called having a question or concern.
o Does the company you interview boast about how exactly much better they recover debt than others? Should they do, run! Run for several reasons: If indeed they actually do collect more than other agencies, how do they are doing it? Will they threaten debtors and violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)? This might increase the probability of your being dragged right into a lawsuit. Likely their boasting is just a sales ploy, and a cheap one at that. An overall average of methods much they collect means about the maximum amount of to you personally as what they had in the morning. Plus, you may have no chance to ensure their claims. The reality is that is no one can predict how well they can collect for you personally until they take a look at accounts and work on them for awhile. Actually, it may be a few years before you can realistically evaluate whether the company you hired was effective. For this reason performing your research up front is so essential.
o Does the agency charge you with a fee to take on your debtor file? Unless they can justify the charge, and it also seems as should they be an outstanding company, I would continue trying to find another company.
o What does the company charge for collecting the debt? This query comes last, since it is minimal important; but, it is often the first question I am asked. When I am asked this query first, I know I am speaking to somebody that will not know what else to ask. The reality is that you may locate a company that charges 30 percent of the things they recover. But, for 30 percent, they mgwisy limited inside the resources they can invest in collecting the debt. Could you rather visit a recovery of 30 percent of nothing, or 50 % of any $3,000 debt? Tend not to be fooled with a suprisingly low commission rate.
I realize that this can be a very long set of questions and concerns. But, when you have done your research and hired an agency, you can jump on with the task of running your small business and not be worried about it further.
A large amount of tenant debt is recoverable if you as well as the agency you hire do your jobs. It may take some time to accumulate what you are owed, but recovering lost profit at any point is icing on the cake.