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Be Thorough With Your Collection Processes

Mandy McIntyre June Influencer
July 5, 2022 at 7:00 a.m.

RCS Influencer Mandy McIntyre says that having a standard operating procedure for billing can prevent future scammers. 

Editor’s note: The following consists of a conversation between RCS Multimedia Manager Megan Ellsworth, and 1st Choice Roofing’s Operation Officer Mandy McIntyre. You can listen to the podcast or read the transcript below. 

Megan Ellsworth: Hello, everyone. Welcome back to RoofersCoffeeShop.com. My name is Megan Ellsworth, and I'm here with Mandy McIntyre talking about this month's influencer response. June's question is what advice do you have for staying on top of collections? Mandy, take it away. 

Mandy McIntyre: Okay. This is everyone's favorite topic, the topic everyone loves to hate. Everyone always complains about collections, but no one wants to do anything about it because it's a pain. I mean, it is. Here's my key takeaways with this is: have an SOP, a standard operating procedure for your billing. Here, we do within two business days, a customer is getting their invoice because if you're waiting weeks on end, or you're waiting till the month end to send them an invoice that you are just delaying their... You're delaying A, your cash flow and B, it's too much time. You need to collect that payment right away. It also gives them room to question it because time has passed. We've had some issues in the past where a customer said, "Well, too much time has passed, so I think I should get a discount." It's like what? 

Invoice right away and make it easy to pay. Have a link for them to pay via credit card. Add that 2% credit card charge or whatever your charge is, add it across the board into all your estimates so that you don't have to add that extra percentage because I mean, when I have to pay the credit card and I see that I'm like, "What?" I hate it. Customers hate that. Just build it into your price and make it easier for them to pay. Add the fee, have it a flat rate for they pay what they need to pay and make it as easy as possible to pay, which is online bill payments. I mean, everyone loves to pay online. Cash is king. Obviously, checks are great so that's a good option too, but if you want good cash flow and you've already built in that credit card processing fee, then I am a big advocate of credit card payments in that regard. 

One thing with that you do want to be careful with, though, is that people, if they're not happy, they can... And we had this happen, so now we don't do anything over 20,000 via credit card because one time someone... And this goes back to last month's topic with firing customers because we knew early on this guy was going to be a problem and he was, but he said that we didn't do his roof when clearly there was a new roof on there. The credit card company reversed the charge and it was this whole legal battle. You do have to be careful with that. 

Megan Ellsworth: Whoa. 

Mandy McIntyre: Yeah, it was. Well, the guy was going through bankruptcy and so it was all a scam. It was a scam, but that's why last month's topic, knowing when to fire a customer, those early signs. Go with your gut and know when to just cut it off early. 

Megan Ellsworth: Absolutely. 

Mandy McIntyre: The other thing that we do is we send pictures with all of our invoices because that alleviates any discretion, like, "This is what we did." They can see what we did because most people can't climb up on the roof and see how good the chimney flashing is. They might be able to see it from the ground, but maybe not. Pictures are worth a thousand words, and do a final walkthrough before you send your invoice because there is nothing worse than sending an invoice and the customer says, "Oh, but the job's not done," because no one bothered to do a final walkthrough. Bill within two days, have pictures, make sure there's a final walkthrough, make it easy to pay with that credit card link and have those standard operating procedures in place. 

The other thing I would say too is once you get past 30 days, have your lien process in order. Know your lien rights for your state. Have the forms ready to go. You can send an intent to lien letter. Usually, that alone will get someone to pay so that you don't have to go through the process of actually filing a lien, but know your lien rights and make sure you do that within the timeframe for your state because there's nothing worse than missing your lien rights and not getting paid on a project. 

Megan Ellsworth: Absolutely. Oh, my gosh. Well, geez, I hope everyone listening to this has been taking notes because those are all such great points, especially the final walkthrough, making sure you bill them in a timely manner. So true. Any last words of wisdom or advice for anybody trying to maybe put their system of operations in place? 

Mandy McIntyre: I think this goes back to customer service, really. If your customer service and your company culture, your core values and you are a service-based company where you are having that constant communication, the customer's going to love you. I mean, there is value to that. When you have that in place and you have your SOP you write it out, everyone on your team knows what to expect for customer service, what to expect for billing processes, then really, there's no wiggle room for the customer not to pay because they should love you. They should love you so much because you are going above and beyond to tell them everything they need to know and more and telling them even when you don't have an answer, "Hey, I don't have an answer, but I'm just checking in." I mean, that's what people love. They just want information and then they'll pay you. 

Megan Ellsworth: Absolutely, absolutely. So true. Thank you so much, Mandy. This has been wonderful. Really great advice. Excellent words of wisdom. 

Mandy McIntyre: Thank you. 

Megan Ellsworth: We'll be chatting in July. I'll see you then. 

Mandy McIntyre: Yes. Thanks so much. 

Mandy McIntyre is the operations officer at 1st Choice Roofing Company. See her full bio here. 



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