Commercial Collections Blog

What Does a Debt Collector Do?

When you think of debt collectors, it may conjure up words like; bully, sleazy and annoying.

Recently in the news, Bloomberg published an expose on the New York City Marshal (debt collector) Vadim Barbarovich. Bloated revenue and aggressive collection tactics were just a few of the accusations which are pretty typical of the public’s attitude towards all debt collectors. It’s true that debt collectors have a history of being frowned upon by the rest of society, but in truth, they play a crucial role for businesses.

What a debt collector does

Debt collectors contact people who owe money to a company and negotiate a payment plan. Debt collecting is usually outsourced but may be done in-house if the business is large enough or has frequent issues with debts being unpaid. A debt collector will get their information from their hiring company, like name, address, phone number and amount owed of the debtor. From there, they try to contact the debtor in every way possible. They may also research if the debtor has changed phone numbers or address to track them down.

what does a debt collector do - Burt and Associates
What Does a Debt Collector do? – Burt and Associates

Negotiation is a big part of a debt collector’s job. Debt collectors know that if the debtor had the money, they probably would have paid already. Many times, debtors have a reason for why they aren’t paying their bill like sickness in the family or loss of income. Debt collectors find out why debtors aren’t paying and work out a payment plan. Getting half of a bill paid is better than getting no money at all, so debt collectors will work with debtors for the chance to get any payment started.

What a debt collector doesn’t do

As with any job, not all debt collectors perform their job the same way, but in general, there are several things that debt collectors don’t do. Debt collectors don’t bully or verbally intimidate debtors. They also don’t call at unusual times like before 8 a.m or after 8 p.m., or call your workplace if they have been told that they can’t call you at work.

How debt collectors are essential to business

Imagine that you own your heating and air business. A customer calls you and schedules a visit to fix their heater, and they agree to pay the technician when they come out. Your technician goes out and fixes their heater, but the customer leaves before your technician can collect payment. Despite repeated calls and emails from the office, weeks go by, and you don’t hear anything back from the customer. From a business standpoint, you have lost money because you paid your technician and bought the necessary parts to fix the customer’s heater (not to mention paid your office staff to spend time reaching out for payment) but never got paid. Depending on how large your business is, if one or two customers do this, you may be able to absorb the cost easily. But if you have a small business and 30 customers do this throughout a year, it could put you in a tight spot. Situations like this are where a debt collector comes in.

Debt collectors are the answer when businesses aren’t able to collect payment from their customers. Businesses must get paid to keep their business afloat. They also need consistent payment to be able to keep their prices the same. Collecting debt is a crucial part of many businesses balancing their books and making sure they know where the business stands financially.

At the end of the day, being a debt collector is just like any other job. Behind every phone call is a real person working to support their family. It is easy to demonize someone who is reminding you of debt (no one wants to be reminded of debt), but they are just doing their job.

Essentially, debt collectors have a long-standing stigma but ultimately fulfill a very necessary niche in the business world. If you get a call from a debt collector, realize that they are a person just like you who are trying to work hard and provide for their family. Without debt collectors, businesses would have to charge more and would be much more hesitant to offer payment plans or negotiate with customers.

Though some debt collectors may abuse their power, overall debt collectors should be respected as a needed part of the business ecosystem. Burt and Associates have been a trusted debt collecting firm for nearly four decades. We understand the value of dedicated and hardworking debt collectors. If your business has uncollected debt, don’t just sit back and hope you will get paid. Give us a call and let us get started on getting your cash flowing back to you.