For contractors, a good credit management policy goes a long way to reducing the risk of non-payment. It should set guidelines for extending credit, and include a well-written collections policy that spells out what to do in the case of overdue accounts. If your Accounts Receivable are in arrears and you’re ready to take them to court, it may be time to consider hiring a collection agency for construction debt.
Collection agencies get a bad rap, and it’s not a totally unwarranted. A lot of bill collectors use aggressive, predatory tactics that can cause irreparable harm to existing relationships. But a good collection agency can be a valuable asset for a construction company to have on their side.
The best collection agencies are firm enough to get the message across, but with a soft touch that can help you repair the relationship after you collect the debt. And for contractors, it’s important to hire a collection agency that knows construction. Agencies that focus on collecting construction debts will understand how to help you protect and enforce your lien rights.
Here’s a list of some of the top collection agencies in the country for construction companies.
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5 Collection Agencies Focused on Construction
Collection companies made this list according to their capability and experience in the field of construction collections. We highly encourage every company to do their own verification research. Before you hire someone to help you collect, read these 5 steps to hiring a collections agency.
1. Murkin Group
The Murkin Group has a strong focus on construction, with a nationwide group of commercial construction debt collectors. They work with a network of licensed and bonded private investigators that conduct site visits to get in touch with an unresponsive company. They also conduct asset investigations to determine a debtor’s ability to pay.
With an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB), the recovery team at the Murkin Group makes an effort to maintain the relationship between all companies involved in a collection. They know that a slow-paying customer isn’t necessarily going to stay that way forever.
The Murkin Group is a member of a number of construction-related organizations across the country, including:
- The National Ready Mixed Concrete Association
- The Florida Building Material Association
- The Mountain States Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association
Though they have offices in Florida and South Dakota, Murkin Group works with clients across the country.
2. Saba & Associates
Saba & Associates is a debt recovery firm with an office in Washington State. They’ve been collecting debts in the construction industry since 1975. They have an A- rating from the BBB. That’s not shabby at all, considering that collection agencies generally tend to attract quite a bit of negative attention from debtors.
In addition to collections, Saba & Associates provide a number of other services:
- Judgment execution
- Returned check collection
- Promissory note collection
- Commercial accounts collection
- Contractor & subcontractor payment
Saba & Associates report they have never been sued for their actions while collecting a debt. Plenty of debt collectors are under scrutiny by state and federal authorities for violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). This company takes measures to ensure their actions on behalf of their clients fall within civil and ethical guidelines.
3. Mesa Revenue Partners
Mesa Revenue Partners is a collection company with more than 40 years of experience in the construction industry under its belt. They are an affiliate of Altus Receivables Management, the largest debt collection company in North America.
Operating since 1976, Mesa has offices in Arizona, Colorado, and California. They have a collections license in 11 additional states: Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Washington.
Mesa Revenue Partners offer a broad range of support for their clients with the following suite of services:
- Commercial collections
- International collections
- Asset investigations
- Business credit reports
- Collections litigation
In addition to the above, Mesa Revenue Partners offers free 72-hour Tax Demand letters and 10-day Demand letters for their customers. Their owner/principal is a licensed collections attorney, so they can handle collection litigation if necessary.
4. Account Adjustment Bureau (AAB)
Account Adjustment Bureau is a nationwide collection agency, with affiliate offices in each state. AAB has been collecting construction debts for over 40 years. They currently have an A+ rating from the BBB.
In addition to collection services, Account Adjustment Bureau also offers:
- Bad debt recovery
- Credit risk management
- Training courses in Accounts Receivables
AAB is a member of the International Association of Commercial Collectors, Inc. They have insurance through ACA International, the Association of Credit and Collection Professionals.
5. Construction Collection Specialists (CCS)
Construction Collection Specialists has over 30 years of experience working with construction companies and construction debts. That’s a commitment to construction that’s hard to find in the collection business. They have long-distance reach, and can recover delinquent money anywhere in the US.
The company is also committed to protecting existing relationships. According to CCS President Debbie Nute, “the best collection solution is when both the debtor and the creditor are able to maintain their business relationship through a difficult time.”
More plain talk: They publish their rates for collecting debts right up front on their website. Their standard agency rate is 20% for all claims.
Located in Phoenix, Arizona, Construction Collection Specialists handle delinquent accounts in all 50 states.
6. Miller, Ross, and Goldman (MRG)
Miller, Ross, and Goldman have been in the collections industry since 2010, with a commercial collections success rate over 90%. They have a “staff of master negotiators, credit-trained investigators and collection attorneys in all 50 states.”
Their collections process includes:
- In-depth research into key aspects of each debtor business
- Diligent, personalized telephone contact with responsible parties
- Strategically timed letter, email, fax and hand-served notices
- Face-to-face meetings with locally licensed field investigators
- Telephone and letter contact from a local attorney
MRG are members of The International Association of Commercial Collectors and the International Business Brokers Association. They are also a Board Member on the Texas Commercial Collection Agency Association. They are BBB accredited with an A+ rating.
7. Rauch Milliken International (RMI)
Since 1989, Rauch Milliken has been “committed to serving the cash management needs of commercial businesses.” While their headquarters are based in Metairie, Louisiana, they are licensed and bonded in each of the 23 states that currently require licensing & bonding for collection agencies. Their proprietary DebtMaster system allows them to evaluate risk and track account activity for any debtor. It’s no wonder why many Fortune 100 & 500 companies choose to partner with them.
They have provided collections services for giants like Coca-Cola, Stanley Tools, DISH Network, and Black & Decker. RMI operates in all 50 states and globally. They have full skip tracing capabilities and the ability to uncover hidden assets. They even offer a free demand letter service, delivering 72-hour fax or email demand letter, or a 5, 10, or 20 day demand letter via mail at no charge.
RMI are members of International Association of Commercial Collectors, Inc., Commercial Collection Agencies of America, and the Association of Credit and Collection Professionals.
8. CRF Solutions
CRF Solutions (also known as Continental Recovery Services) has been providing collection services since 1991. They specialize in collections for the construction industry, even sending preliminary notices and filing mechanics liens on behalf of their clients. CRF Solutions even designed a “LienView process” to provide lien management solutions to their clients in the building supply industry. Their COO, Donna-Michele Dorado, has focused on improving accounts receivable for material suppliers for 14 years.
Accredited since 2013, CRF Solutions carries an A+ rating from the BBB with only two complaints. CRF understands that clients are concerned about protecting relationships. Just take it from one of their customers, Quicksilver/DC Shoes: “In particular, you have treated our customers with respect and dignity while balancing the need to be firm.”
CRF Solutions are members of the Commercial Collection Agency Association, the International Association of Commercial Collectors, the California Commercial Collection Association, to name a few.
How contractors can reduce collections and get paid faster
Contractors can improve their chance of getting paid on time (and reducing debt collection) by planning ahead before a project begins:
- Communicate your credit and collections policy with the hiring party as a friendly notice of your company’s process. Communicating up front sets expectations for everyone on the job from the start.
- Protect your lien rights by sending preliminary notices on every project. Even if you’re in a state where it’s not required, notifying the parties that control the purse strings shows them that you’re serious. Let them know about your credit policy up front, and what your process looks like.
- Use progress billing, so you’re not stuck waiting for a lump sum after the project is over. Use lien waivers to give the paying party peace of mind, get paid faster, and build stronger relationships.
- Be prepared to file a mechanics lien if you don’t receive payment according to the contract terms.
Anyone who works in construction is bound to encounter payment problems at some point. No one wants to get to the point where they need a collection agency. But unless you’re prepared to write off any uncollected debt, collection agencies serve as an important part of a contractor’s credit management policy.