Top Service Tips: How to support and protect your business

Top Service Tips: How to support and protect your business

SPONSORED ARTICLE· By Top Service · 25 September 2020

During these challenging times we urge our members and the wider construction industry to protect their businesses by actively monitoring trading experiences and acting upon early warning signs. 

Don’t wait for the information to come to you, use an industry specific service that can spot changes in payment patterns resulting in regular, more in-depth and up to date checks being carried out to pick up information quickly.

Look at your options for collection, take advice from your collections service provider on the best course of action for you and your customer. Consider your options, a one-step approach is not always the most effective. Above all, ensure your credit control team have the tools and support to be able to be pro-active.

Our debt recovery service is operating normally. Our team are proving that their skills are second to none with the results they are achieving during this challenging time. Top Service members have access to our exclusive combination of no collection, no fee recovery services.

We welcome the opportunity to talk to you about any bespoke changes you would like to make to our debt recovery procedures to fit the culture you have for maintaining customer relationships, whilst addressing the need to keep cash flow as fluid as possible for your business. Please contact our collections team to talk through any individual cases or to explore how else we can support you.

It is important to me to know that we are doing everything we can to support our construction industry during this challenging time.

Emma Miller, Company Director of Top Service

Emma Miller, Company Director of Top Service answers some of your frequently asked questions to help you improve the success rate of your payment collection processes.

How can we improve the success rate of our debt collection process?

Ideally for the best chance of collection a debt should be no longer than four weeks overdue before passing to a third party. At Top Service we would suggest no more then three letters are sent in-house. If they haven’t responded then they are most likely ignoring you and it will be prudent to refer swiftly into the next stage of your collection process.

Know your rights when it comes to claiming interest. Whether it is contractual interest or statutory interest, you are entitled to it. If you are unsure about what interest and other charges you are entitled to contact us for FREE advice.

Can we pass the debt collection cost onto our customer?

Yes, for commercial debts you can claim interest, compensation and costs of using third party collectors when applying the statutory legislation for late payment.

Under the Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998 you can claim interest at a rate of 8% above base rate and a compensation figure, depending on the value of the debt you are collecting:

If your collection costs are more than the compensation figure you are claiming, you can claim the surplus under the late Payment of Commercial Debts regulations 2013.

Winning a legal battle in court –  does this mean the opposing side pays our costs?

Judges in the County Court have discretion in relation to costs and can make a costs order if they feel it is appropriate whilst taking into account the value of the claim, the successful party and the conduct of the parties during the litigation process. However, generally the recovery of legal costs depends on the track your case has been allocated to. If your claim is allocated to the small claims track, then usually costs are not awarded and each party pays their own.

However, a judge in the small claims court may decide to award costs & Part 27 of the Civil Procedure Rules outlines the maximum costs which a judge can order a party to pay.

Where cases have been allocated to the Fastrack, normally the successful party is able to recover their costs on a fixed scale from the losing party. The amount awarded and whether an award is made at all is decided by the Judge. The costs limits that apply to small claims and fast track cases do not usually apply to cases in the Multi-track.

The losing party will generally be ordered to pay the costs of the winning party where the costs are reasonable and proportionate.

If we have credit insurance do we still need credit information & recovery services?

Yes, with your policy you will have discretionary limits which is a limit you can trade up to without the formal approval of the insurer. If you need to make a successful claim you will need demonstrate you have carried out credit checks and other due diligence to mitigate any risk of trading. When an account becomes overdue you will also need to demonstrate you have taken relevant collection steps and effective litigation to collect your money, this process needs to meet the requirements of your credit insurance policy.

With credit insurance premiums being so high it is likely you have smaller customers that you decide not to insure. It is important you don’t forget about the importance of credit management for your un-insured accounts and make good use of your credit information and collections services.

Are you struggling to recover the money you are owed? If so, contact our helpdesk team today on 01527 518800 to discuss how Top Service can support and help you protect your business.