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Credit Checking – Worth doing or not?
It is of key importance that you always run a credit check on your clients. When you consider that performing a credit check could cost as little as £2.50.
It is good practice to make credit enquiries for:
- Any new customer
- An existing customer whose payment pattern has deteriorated
- An existing customer where your credit exposure is very high (e.g., If as a result of non-payment, you are left in financial difficulties)
In the credit process, you cannot afford to rely on the apparent size of the organisation. It is normally the larger organisations that fail to pay or fail to pay you on time.
Once you have decided to extend a customer credit terms, then set them a credit limit and notify them of both the limit and the general terms of trade upon which you are prepared to do business with them. Also, ensure that these terms are stated in your contract and on your invoices.
Withhold further credit from any customer who has exceeded their credit limit or whose account is significantly overdue. Alternatively arrange to supply them with, say, £500 of extra work for every £1000 that they pay off their account.
Credit checking is not a “one-off” exercise, it should be continuously monitored and re-evaluated, taking account of both the customer’s payment history with your own business and by regularly updating the externally available information such as that provided by Creditsafe, Experian, Dun and Bradstreet etc.
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