Handing my tenant financial debt instantly to some collection agency is not really my first preference. Myself, I would first report the debt to Experian, Equifax and TransUnion, and let the ding on the debtor’s credit work a few months before I gave it to an agency that can charge me a hefty commission.
Collecting tenant debt is significantly different than collecting other debts, like credit debt. A collection agency represents you and your business, and you may be come to court if they violate the law. And, just as vital as any legal matters, is how well they will collect your debt.
We have worked in the industry for 12 years and would like to believe that most collection agencies work hard, ethically and inside the law. But, as in most industries, there are those agencies that I consider to get renegades. They operate outside the law, or right on the edge. Unfortunately, these companies get all of the press, thus making all agencies look bad.
The fact of the matter is that the collection industry fills a vital need in the business world. Imagine if everyone could just stop paying their bills with no repercussions. Do you reckon any bank would loan anyone any cash? And what can it do to the costs of all the products or services?
Listed here are what I consider the most important factors in hiring an agency to accumulate tenant debt:
o Has got 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 the agency licensed in every 50 states? Although this is not necessary to do business, this question helps me sort out your businesses that use a national presence and are big enough to fulfill the many state requirements.
o Will be the company bonded and insured? When the company will not carry a minimum of $1 million dollars of insurance, I might not provide them with my business.
o Does the agency have membership in the American Collectors Association? Again, not essential to use in the business, but it can show the amount of interest and participation the company has in the own industry.
o Does the company report debts to Experian, Equifax and TransUnion? This is among the biggest collection tools agencies use to motivate a debtor to cover his or her debt. Not every companies report.
o Which kind of debt does the company specialize in? This list of kinds of debt agencies collect is extensive. They may collect commercial or consumer debt. Consumer debt may become a car loan, charge card, utility bill, mortgage, medical bill, rent, etc. To do a great job collecting tenant debt, an awareness of the terminology and also the business is critical. Very few nationwide collection agencies specialize specifically in collecting this type of debt.
o Does the company collect judgments as well as non-judgment accounts? Few firms that collect debt for landlords collect both kinds of accounts.
o Do they work the make up the life span in the account? It is actually common for agencies to work the most recent accounts they have the hardest. As an account ages, it is actually deemed less collectable. Often agencies will work the account hard eight to ten months, and after that they rely almost solely on the credit bureau reporting to help collect your debt. It costs a company more to possess a collector working older accounts; therefore expect a good agency to charge a greater fee. I want a company that works well the make up as long because it is legally possible. If reporting your debt towards the credit bureaus is enough to collect your debt, I can do that quickly and inexpensively myself without paying any commissions.
o Does the company pre-judge accounts? In the market this is known as “rating the paper.” Amazingly, at least one company that focuses on tenant debt brags which they rate accounts before they even begin collecting them. This enables the company to invest it’s some time and resources on debts they “believe” are definitely the most collectible. This reduces their overhead, but does nothing to help most of their clientele. Landlords that lose out are the types that rent average apartments to everyday average people. Do you want to hire an agency that only targets high-end properties, with well-to-do debtors? You will get approximately the same amount of effort if you reported your debt to Experian, Equifax and TransUnion yourself, for much less cash!
o Does the company accept collection accounts from independent landlords? A minumum of one of the few nationwide agencies that focuses on tenant debt will simply undertake clients who own or manage no less than 100 rental units. This can be because they do not desire to be bothered by customer support calls from independent landlords.
o Will the company provide you with references off their landlords who use their services? References are essential so you may learn not only how well the company collects your hard earned money, but additionally the way that they treat their clients. I have known of agencies that treated their clientele poorly when they called using a question or concern.
o Does the company you interview boast about how significantly better they recover debt than other businesses? Should they do, run! Run for a few reasons: If indeed they do collect a lot more than other agencies, just how do they do it? Do they threaten debtors and violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA)? This might increase the likelihood of your being dragged in to a lawsuit. Likely their boasting is just a sales ploy, and a cheap one at this. A complete average of methods much they collect means about the maximum amount of for you as what they had in the morning. Plus, you may have no chance to confirm their claims. The truth is that is not any one can predict how well they can collect for you until they look at your accounts and work to them for awhile. In reality, it may be a few years before you can realistically evaluate whether the company you hired was effective. This is why performing your research at the start is really very important.
o Does the company charge a fee to battle your debtor file? Unless they can justify the charge, and it seems as should they be an excellent company, I might continue looking for another company.
o Precisely what does the company charge for collecting your debt? This query comes last, as it is the least important; but, it is usually the initial question I am just asked. When I am asked this query first, I know I am just talking to someone who does not know what else to ask. The truth is you may look for a company that charges 30 percent of what they recover. But, for 30 percent, they mgwisy limited within the resources they can agree to collecting the debt. Could you rather see a recovery of 30 percent of nothing, or 50 percent of any $3,000 debt? Usually do not be fooled by way of a very low commission rate.
I realize that it is a very long list of questions and concerns. But, when you have done your research and hired an agency, you can jump on with all the task of running your 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 the time to gather what you are actually owed, but recovering lost profit at any point is icing on the cake.