In a perfect world all customers would pay on time, as per agreed terms, and without a single reminder. However, the reality is quite the contrast! Most businesses find that they are forever chasing unpaid invoices, investing countless hours and pennies aplenty with no avail.
Like many business owners, you have come to accept that unpaid bills are just a part of running an enterprise. Regardless of your industry of operation or business size, unpaid invoices hurt your cash flow and undoubtedly cause stress.
Whether another company or a series of individuals owes your business money, an effective means to recover funds is with your local debt recovery service. Debt collection services act on your behalf to finalise outstanding debt owed to your business.
These services employ specialised professionals trained in making your debt a priority for others. Moreover, they understand the legal parameters, apply tested techniques, and know how to settle your accounts in an ethical and respectful manner.
The best debt collection services have high recovery rates, offer a range of ancillary solutions, and recover all types of debt. But with so many agency models from traditional, to debt purchasing, and online, how do you go about selecting the right one for your business?
Fortunately, we have found the best locally based Canberra debt collection services along with a handy means on which to evaluate their services. Read on below.
What makes a great debt collection service?
Great debt collection services are masters of persuasion, highly ethical, and focus on getting the job done. The best work quickly and efficiently recouping monies owed giving you the time to drive your business forward. Here are some things to keep in mind when evaluating your debt collection agency:
- Agency Accreditation. In the absence of licensing here in the ACT, agency accreditation acts as a good yard stick for assessing your debt collector. Check for accreditations with the Australian Institute of Credit Management, the Institute of Mercantile Agents, and the Association of Credit and Collection Professionals. Each of these industry bodies onboard members with strict codes of conduct, practises, and ethics.
- Reputable. Finding a debt collection service that will preserve your businesses reputation throughout all dealings is incredibly important. These services act on your behalf, effectively as an extension of your business identity, so choose wisely. With this in mind seek agencies with flawless reputations, consider client reviews and of course any professional recommendations. What you want is an established track record of successful collections, and ideally experience in your industry. As such the agency should be familiar with industry specific terminology and applicable regulation.
- Professional & Ethical. Debt collection agencies that conduct business professionally and ethically are head and shoulders above the rest. Therefore look for agencies who adopt best practise procedures, understand the law and comfortable oblige to it. Moreover, an ethical approach to all debt recovery should be a given. This should translate to a flexible, fair, and realistic manner when dealing with all debtors.
- Exemplary Communicators. Communication is as always, a two-way street. Great debt collection agencies employ only exemplary communicators. They are highly skilled, emotionally intelligent, and deploy a range of techniques with finesse. The best agencies understand the balance of clear – yet firm – communication and utilise this to deliver the best results. They also understand that keeping you in the loop is incredibly important. As such look for agencies that offer proactive services to keep you abreast of collection payments and progress, so that you need not.
- Results Oriented. Look for debt collection services who prioritise a total return on investment. While low rates are attractive, what you should focus on are dollars back in your books. Great agencies will have high recovery rates and low collection time frames. Finally, look for comprehensive and accessible reporting – recovery rates, age of debt, collection periods, along with updates litigation.
The best debt collection services in Canberra
Riotact’s editorial team has combed through 20 years of on-site comments to compile a list of the most recommended businesses according to you.
To be listed in our Best of Canberra series, each business needs to have consistently received positive feedback on Riotact and Facebook as well as maintaining a minimum average of 4/5 stars on Google.
RSM supports individual and businesses with well-informed debt collection by removing confusion and helping clients make informed decisions on money recovery.
First, RSM’s Restructuring and Recovery team helps clients understand debt collection practices, providing advice and offering consulting services. Second, the team acts as a debt collection agent. Third, RSM can take on the role of appointed trustee in a bankruptcy or liquidation situation.
With businesses, RSM can also help avoid debt collection. Restructuring and Recovery experts support businesses to adjust deposit or invoicing terms and implement a practical debt collection policy.
RSM’s starting point with debt collection is to assess each client’s unique situation and advise on the likelihood of recovering part or all debt. The team has extensive experience in taking action to collect unpaid debts and acts on a client’s behalf in each stage of the debt collection process.
On Google, Boban Stojanovic wrote about RSM's overall services, “Professional all the way.”
As Canberra's largest independent commercial law firm, MV Law are well placed to assist businesses with their debt recovery needs. Their high calibre team know Canberra business inside and out; with years of extensive experience managing legal issues for some of the ACT's biggest employers.
Lead by Alisa Taylor, their debt recovery services extend to both creditors and debtors and are designed to fast track a resolution. Whether this be via negotiation, information communication, or formal mediation they take the time to properly understand the facts and deliver advice on each parties legal options.
Michelle Chou shared this feedback on the firm via Google, "Reliable law firm, very professional and efficient. Saved lots of my time."
As one of Canberra’s most experienced law firms Snedden Hall & Gallop have built an enviable reputation that spans almost sixty years. Their experience, personal, and dependable team are exemplary practitioners particularly when it comes to commercial disputes relating debt and debt recovery.
They believe that the recovery of debts owing to business should rank as a top priority in financial management. Their team guide clients through the dispute resolution process with as little disruption to business as possible. Be it debt recovery proceedings, debt arrangements, through to status enquiries this team are there to help.
Rob C shared his experience with the firm on Google, "Emily is a gun. Great practical business advice that helped a lot."
Baker Deane & Nutt have an extensive history offering a full suite of legal services to Canberra and surrounds for over 150 years. Their prestigious commercial law team assist businesses both large and small, with navigating legal risks and issues that often govern, and affect trade.
This wealth of experience extends deep into all facets of commercial law, including debt recovery. Their goal is to assist clients with resolving commercial disputes quickly and cost efficiently, with litigation as the last resort. Rest assured you are in capable hands when the need to pursue debt arises.
Mike Hutchings shared this feedback on the team via Google, "Professional, efficient and friendly. Spent time following up and explaining details we were unsure of and made all necessary arrangements to organise our affairs in a timely manner. Definitely recommend."
Founded locally in 1988, Capital Collection Service have grown to be on the largest locally owned debt recovery agencies in the region.
Licensed to operate in both ACT and NSW jurisdictions, Capital Collection Service offer a comprehensive range of services from field calls, to letters of demand, court action, and process serving.
Their team of astute collection professionals provide maximum support and optimum outcomes for businesses large and small. Look for Capital Collection Service as your accounts receivable team and welcome missing cash flow back into your business.
Frank Walmsley shared this great feedback on Google, “Geoff is great and the business supported by great systems. Small businesses looking to recover debt should give him a call.”
If you’re looking for more information to improve the running of your business in Canberra, you might like our article on the best business advisors, the best mediation and conflict resolution services, or the best commercial lawyers Canberra has to offer.
Your experience with debt collectors in Canberra
Thanks to our commenters who have provided insightful feedback. If you believe we have got it wrong, please let us know.
Have you had experience with any of the debt collectors listed above? If so, share your feedback in the comments below.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a debt collector?
A debt collector is a person who collects overdue debts as a course of business. This could be for themselves, collection agencies, creditors, internal collection departments, debt buy-out companies, agents, lawyers, and government bodies.
When should I outsource debt to a debt collection service?
If you debtor has consistently failed to respond to your internal collection efforts, then it is worth considering a referral to a collection service. This may include numerous reminders via email, text, or phone call; an overdue payment of over 60 days or more; or perhaps failing to honour promises to pay.
Is there a minimum or maximum debt value that I can refer?
Generally, debt collection services are happy to assist without minimum or maximum amounts. The amount of debt will however help to establish the most effective course of action. Your agency will be able to provide an overview of the various options available to you based on your debt amount.
How much do debt collection services charge?
Fee structures are typically commission based, scaled against the value of total debt. Some services apply the scalable commission along with a no collection no fee offer, or pair with an annual service charge to lower the commission bands. Additional charges may apply for legal items such as solicitor letters, so always review fee structure and exclusions with your agency.
Do debt collectors need to be licensed?
Within the ACT debt collectors are not required to be licensed. That said, many debt collectors will work across borders and those who extend services into NSW will require a Commercial Agents and Private Inquiry Agents (CAPI) license issued by the NSW Police. CAPI licensing is issued under two classes, operator licences for employees, and master licences for employers.