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Preventing Payment Problems

EDWARD JACOBSON: You are a contractor and you have a lot of time, money, people invested into that job, and if that customer does not pay you, it is going to have a potentially devastating effect on your business.

ELIOT WAGONHEIM: One cannot un-tar a driveway or un-print a business card, you have got to look to your customers, your patients, your clients to actually fulfill their contractual obligations and that means you have to be able to get paid.

EDWARD JACOBSON: Business owners should almost play bank sometimes. You should be looking at your customers and say is this the right customer for me.

ELIOT WAGONHEIM: You want to take certain information from the prospective customer, that information can talk about where they bank, where they are employed, assets.

EDWARD JACOBSON: Request a credit report, get some references on that business. Just do not be so happy that the business came in the door, be able to discriminate.

ELIOT WAGONHEIM: The second part is what rights have you given yourself in the contract, signing a contract that says they are obligated to pay me a $1000, that is a lot a different from a signing a contract that says they are obligated to pay me a $1000 and, if they do not, interest at the rate of X per month or per year will accrue for any unpaid balance and if I have to go to collection, that customer is also responsible for my attorneys fees. The contract has got to say the payment is due at X date or upon delivery of Y material. There got to be a benchmark that says, "I have earned my money," because that is when the clock starts ticking if you have interest and that is when you are able to go to court and say this balance is overdue. I fulfilled my contractual obligations and this person did not fulfill theirs because they did not pay me on time.

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