FIRM OWNERS-What do you call your "handling or administrative fee"

I have now just spent the better part of 3 weeks attempting to vigorously pursue past due invoices....VERY frustrating. It seems to me it's the few that pay within 30 days and at least 85% of those ordering reporters/copies take over 90 days + to pay.

I am now in the mindset of 'pre - billing' for carrying costs of these attys but am at a loss as to what or how
to describe this other than administrative fee. We already have a p+h fee, of course.

Does anyone else have a fancy line item to describe 'extra' charges such as a 'frustrated that you don't pay on time fee:-)


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Comment by Debbie Landi on July 17, 2009 at 21:47
We've taken to calling once a week now, mostly to no avail. Guess I'll be spending my time in small claims court this fall. All this for the 25% that I as the agency owner receives. I think we're moving to a new least for the copy folks. Problem is it is MY clients that are now withholding payment or managing their float. Now that's just not nice.
Comment by Tori Pittman on July 17, 2009 at 17:40
don't release your transcripts until you have payment. I accept MC/VISA - granted I"m in court - but I tell people that it applies to ALL TRANSCRIPTS. If you want it, I send you an invoice; once you pay, it's yours.

Alas, this is not the norm.
What I did in freelance is send out a fax saying: The transcript in X matter is completed. Upon receipt of your firm's check in the amount of Y, it will be shipped to you.

My attorney and my accountant also agreed that if you're going to put in a finance charge (interest charge), you MUST put the notice on the first invoice.

Wish I could be more helpful.
Also, are you calling every Friday? I used to make it a point to make collections calls between 10 and 11 a.m. on Friday mornings. Kept a log of who I talked to, when, and what they said.

Comment by Debbie Landi on July 13, 2009 at 9:57
The "p&H" fee is postage and handling. I'll give a try of rebilling the finance charges, but honestly, most seem to ignore, ignore, ignore. I know some folks just COD EVERYONE...but I am not sure that's appropriate either.
Comment by Cynthia M. Clark on July 11, 2009 at 13:54
Debbie: I'm not sure what a "p-h" fee is. I assess 18% finance charge after 30 days (sometimes I wait 45 days) and call it a finance fee. You need to put that language on the invoice when it is first generated is what I understand. This is what I have at the bottom of my invoices: INVOICES PAYABLE UPON RECEIPT * Payment is not contingent upon client reimbursement*
1.5% monthly (18% annually) interest will be charged on all invoices over 30 days.
My thinking is when they start to see the finance charges it will motivate them to pay (maybe). If they pay after the first finance fee is assessed I reverse it. However, if there's 3, 4, 5 months of finance fees and they pay the invoice and omit the finance fees, I rebill them for the "balance due". You'd be surprised how many come back and pay the finance fees! If you don't rebill it they'll never pay the fees. I can't help but remember what I overheard an attorney tell his client when his client asked him for parking money. He said, "I'm not your bank." WE ARE NOT THEIR BANK! If all agencies took this approach I think less attorneys would take advantage of us. Unfortunately, lots of agencies just grin and bear it - enabling them to do it to the next agency.
Comment by Quyen on July 8, 2009 at 18:23
Oh, another alternative is to put "Pay $X.00 after DD/MM/YYYY" right on the invoice from the get-go. This might encourage them to pay more quickly or "on time."
Comment by Quyen on July 8, 2009 at 13:25
Debbie, whether it's a fixed fee or a certain percentage of the original invoice amount, just simply call it a "late fee."

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