• Help With Late Payments

    How easy is it to get help with late payments from customers.

    Is it easy to get help with late payments? Well that is one of the issues that we help customers solve, however I have a suspicion that it is not that easy to find your way to the solutions if you are a business experiencing late payments from your customers or debtors.

    Help With Late Payments

    Putting myself in the place of a UK company, that was experiencing slow payments from some of its debtors, I wanted to find out how difficult it would be to find support. This would be the type of customers that could be ideally suited to a factoring facility or outsourcing their credit control activity.

    In order to find out I conducted a search on Google specifically "help with late payments" - that sounds like a reasonable search phrase that a company experiencing a slowdown in debt turn might use.

    The Expected Solutions

    If such a company conducted such a search, I might expect them to find information about:

    What Google Provided

    So I conducted the Google search and the results fell some way short of those that I would have hoped for. I have focused on the first page of search results, as most people go no further.

    Top 4 Paid Results

    The top 4 results were all paid advertisements. In all cases, they related to personal debt advisers, offering debt consolidation into low monthly repayments and Government support (allegedly) to write off up to 90% of your personal debts. Not at all what a company with slow paying debtors would be interested in.

    Organic Results

    The top entry of the organic search results, showed a list of steps you should take if you have paid your personal debts late e.g. contact your lender. This was published by Equifax. Helpful for personal debt situations, but not relevant to my company.

    The 2nd result was from the Government's business support site, titled "Dealing With Late Payments". This looked like it might have some useful advice. On following the link, it was information about:

    • Guidance on charging interest.
    • The Small Business Commissioners role in policing unfair payment terms of big businesses.
    • Small business claims court.
    • Business debts and failure - an overview of insolvency issues.
    • Payment terms when dealing with the Government.
    • The financial Ombudsman.

    All useful information, but not really what my example company needed, and no mention of factoring.

    The 3rd result related to personal credit scores again, which is not relevant to my case.

    The 4th entry of the organic results was "5 tips to get paid on time" published by an online direct debit specialist. It set out 5 very basic tips:

    1. Set terms at the start.
    2. Send invoices promptly.
    3. Make it easy to pay you.
    4. Talk to customers about why they haven't paid on time.
    5. Give customers regular reminders.

    The tips were very much focused on direct debits as the solution - which could be the case in some circumstances.

    The 5th result was from the FSB and was titled "Late payments and what you can do about them". It sounds promising, however the advice was very basic: agree a payment date, charge interest on late payments and a piece about how to start a debt recovery claim. There was a checklist to get paid on time, but you had to be registered in order to download that. There was also a high level article about "how to avoid late payments", but the credit control advice didn't extend beyond a couple of short paragraphs. I didn't see anything about factoring or outsourced credit control as options.

    The 6th result was again regarding personal debt. The 7th was a Government article about late commercial payments, suggesting that interest can be charged along with debt recovery costs.

    Factoring At Last

    The 8th result was from Bibby Financial Services, an article about "Financing Late Payments". Bibby are a factoring company so finally this is the type of solution that my example company might be looking for, even if they didn't understand that such solutions existed.

    Conclusions - It Takes Some Work To Find What You Need

    So there were a lot of irrelevant results that preceded finding the type of support that my example company needed. I would be surprised if many made it all the way to the point where the results became more helpful and they finally found something about factoring.

    Related material: read our article on Solving Late Payments.

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