A newly published PrintWeek briefing offers some insight into credit control in the printing industry – and you may be surprised by the stringent measures some of the biggest names in the sector take to protect their cash flow.
While small businesses often feel reluctant to chase for payment due to the belief that it may lead customers to be reluctant to do future business with them, some printers are taking the opposite approach, cutting off non-paying customers completely.
Steve Walters, director at Hartgraph, says: “A lot of it is having the right people in place; you have to not be afraid to put people on stop if necessary … You can’t be afraid to turn around to your clients and have a firm but polite conversation.”
Tim Solway, owner of Solways, adds: “I know of one very large print management company that takes 90 to 120 days [to pay] and I won’t deal with them. For me it’s unacceptable.
“It does happen in print, particularly a lot of the print managers, but you as individual business owners choose not to do business with them. I need my cash to pay my suppliers.”
This is particularly pertinent in the present market, as Mr Solway adds that the print industry has seen profit margins fall in recent years – a trend likely to be repeated in many other sectors over the course of the recession.
As a result, he says “there’s no fat anymore”, meaning that even a single bad debt could be enough to push a breaking-even company over the edge and into insolvency.
The interesting point in the PrintWeek briefing is that credit control in the printing industry seems to be a priority, rather than an afterthought; and it is the printers themselves who are taking on that responsibility, rather than looking to the government to legislate late payments out of existence.
For those with no in-house capabilities, outsourced credit control is one way to make sure you keep on top of all of your invoicing and overdue debts, while putting your credit in the hands of an expert and experienced team who will stay abreast of any legislative developments too.
If you would like to talk to a member of our team please don’t hesitate to call 0808 256 1877.