“I normally do, but I knew him well so I didn’t”

Or this “He was a long-term client so I waived the normal 50% deposit”. Or this “I thought we were friends which is why I looked after her”. Sound familiar? We hear this all the time. Because of an existing relationship, or because the customer was a referral or a friend, or a friend of the family, making exceptions for people that you thought you could trust often ends badly. Just last week we were sent a $9000 debt from a commercial fisherman who let the customer pay the following week instead of up front like normal, just because it was his cousin’s mate. Obviously he never did, and now it is highly unlikely he is going to get paid as the guy is close to bankruptcy. Having business policies are great and we highly recommend they are implemented in every business, but it really is one of those all or nothing scenarios- if you are going to ask for 50% up front, it needs to be every single time. Likewise, if you require all new customers to complete an engagement form or credit application, then don’t ever proceed without it. So many bad debts that come across our desk could have been avoided had the people followed their normal processes. If you are going to do it though, do it 100% of the time, no exceptions. Otherwise spend a day in our shoes and see how often people get shafted by so-called “friends”. If the customer asks you to look after them, just say you can’t and blame “company policy”. If they really care about you and your relationship, they will respect your decision and understand.  Cheers

“I normally do, but I knew him well so I didn’t”

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