For most business owners, chasing down clients for payment is at the top of their list of things they’d rather not do. At Funding Gates, we’re all about making this process as painless as possible, and one of the ways to streamline your payment process is to have all the collection letters you need on-hand from the beginning.
By dedicating a chunk of time right now to set up the various collection letters you might need, you will save yourself and your team countless hours later.
Before the Problem
Start with our collection letter templates and dunning letter templates – they account for every situation, from friendly wording to formal and all the way up to severe. Asking for payment can be uncomfortable, so a template can help you get over the hump of getting started.
The best part about writing these collections letters now is that you can do it with a dispassionate mindset. You’re not writing because you’re upset that a trusted client is 60 days late with a payment, which might result in a letter that’s less than professional, to say the least. Instead, all of these situations are hypothetical right now, so you can focus on getting the wording right for your business and its culture.
Where to Keep Them
Once you’ve done all the work to put together your collection and dunning letter templates, make sure you keep them somewhere that your team can access them when they need them.
In order to avoid confusion with different versions of files, it may be best to save these letters in a file sharing service rather than on hard drives or thumb drives:
Your Company Cloud: If you have cloud storage for your company computers, that’s a great place to keep these templates.
Google Drive: If you don’t already have hosted cloud storage, there are several free options. Google Drive might be the best if you will be working on the templates collaboratively and want everyone’s changes to be reflected immediately.
Dropbox: Also free, Dropbox will host the files in a shared folder that everyone can download to their desktops.
Some businesses like to save a separate file for each letter – a separate file for the Harsh Collection Letter and the Friendly Collection Letter – and others like to save all collection letters in one file together.
Whichever works best for your workflow, remember to title the files clearly so everyone will know how to find them. A clear, descriptive title is best: “90-day Dunning Letter Template” works nicely, for example.
A Template is Just a Template
Remember that these templates are just guidelines. One of the templates might work perfectly for a situation today but might need serious rewording for a different client next week. For that trusted client who is uncharacteristically late with a payment, the 60-day dunning letter template might be too stiff. In that case, reword it accordingly. But since you already have a template ready to go and easily accessible in your company’s files, you have a concrete place to start.
Ultimately, remember that you’re dealing with real people. As always, you want to appeal to their sense of responsibility and treat them like the professional adults they are. The wording will change, of course, depending on who sends the letter and who is receiving it.
Investing time now to create the right templates for your business will save you valuable time in the future. Moreover, you’ll have confidence going forward knowing that you already have the tools to deal with any future payment issues that might arise.