Monday, August 4, 2008


I just read a post by Megan Dorn on the Start Up Blog about collecting bad debt. It got me thinking about how we can collect bad debt as sharpeners.

Sometimes, at least in our businesses, it seems like chasing delinquent customers is a waste of time. But let's face it, in this economy ever dollar counts. So let me give you two ways I've collected from customers in my mail order business.

Hungry Kids
This one is for the people that owe you sharpening money. I sharpened a bunch of clipper blades for a customer, sent my bill, and never saw a check. Four weeks went by and I sent a reminder; still no payment. Six weeks, another reminder; still no payment. At nine weeks she got a polite phone call. She apologized and told me, "The check is in the mail." Can you guess what happened? Yup! No payment. I figured the conventional way wasn't going to work. So I waited one more week and then sent a picture of my children eating with this note attached, "I'd like to keep doing this. Let me know when you can send that check." I was paid two days later.

Give to Get
This one owed me money for a shear. She paid me 50% up front and I told her she could pay the rest in 60 days. I sent a reminder out about two weeks before the due date, but the check never came. So I waited two more weeks and mailed her another reminder, but this one came with a nice little case for the shear with this note, "Just in 'case' you forgot about that last reminder. :)" I was paid the next week.

Don't Be Afraid to Be Creative
This is a much better way to collect if you can. Of course some people are just dead-beats and you'll have to decided whether collecting it is worth going to court over. It's easy to get mad when customers don't pay. Relax! Take a step back and look for some fun ways you can get paid. Anyone else have some stories?

Image: ian_jarvis

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