Choosing a commercial collection agency is practically unavoidable. If you extend credit, you will eventually have some customers who don’t pay their bills. And after you finally tire of listening to their excuses — or cursing their uncanny ability to avoid your phone calls — you will think about contacting a collection agency.
Contrary to popular perception, there are plenty of good bill collectors out there. While the occasional bad actor gets the headlines, less than 0.01 percent of all collection contacts end in complaints to state or federal regulators or the Better Business Bureau, according to ACA International, a Minneapolis, Minnesota-based industry trade group.
Finding a reliable commercial collection agency
Once you’ve committed to the idea of hiring an agency, you can find out if the agency is a good fit for your business. Ideally, you want an agency that has done work for other companies in your industry involving the same types of debts. While bigger firms often handle both commercial and consumer debts, many agencies specialize in one or the other, and often specialize in certain industries, too.
Also check to see whether the company is licensed to operate in all 50 states. If you’re trying to collect from one local customer, it’s OK if the agency is only licensed in your state. But if your debtor or debtors are crossing state lines — or have businesses or residences in other states — you’ll want an agency authorized to go after your money in those areas.