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Small Bad Debt - Worth the Hassle

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Mike Thornley

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Post Mon Jul 17, 2017 1:14 pm

Small Bad Debt - Worth the Hassle

Had someone call out of the blue in April needing a commercial food vehicle sign writing urgently as his current supplier was not available.... should have heard the alarm bells ringing....

We matched the price on a proviso it was payment on collection, anyway they didn't pay on collection as they promised to do a BACS later that day, and then have ignored our invoice and then reminders. So they took advantage of my trusting nature.

So is it worth the aggro to take this further for 185 quid, its more the principle for me, but lesson learned for me, to me he as stolen from me, simple as.

I have thought of visiting the premises of the said van and stripping the graphics, but its not local.

What do members think?
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KevinGaffney

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Post Mon Jul 17, 2017 1:20 pm

Re: Small Bad Debt - Worth the Hassle

I put Great faith in texting such clowns. Text him day and night, multiple times per day. He may get fed up with his phone constantly buzzing and eventually pay. Even if he doesn’t, you’ve the satisfaction of knowing you’re probably driving him mad
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Chris Wilson

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Post Mon Jul 17, 2017 1:36 pm

Re: Small Bad Debt - Worth the Hassle

Mike Thornley wrote:Had someone call out of the blue in April needing a commercial food vehicle sign writing urgently as his current supplier was not available.... should have heard the alarm bells ringing....

We matched the price on a proviso it was payment on collection, anyway they didn't pay on collection as they promised to do a BACS later that day, and then have ignored our invoice and then reminders. So they took advantage of my trusting nature.

So is it worth the aggro to take this further for 185 quid, its more the principle for me, but lesson learned for me, to me he as stolen from me, simple as.

I have thought of visiting the premises of the said van and stripping the graphics, but its not local.

What do members think?


As Kevin says. Just ring ring ring. Eventually they will pick up and pay.

Always been wanted to buy a vehicle clamp and sticking it on the early hours of the morning, but I've never had to go that far yet. Am sure they would pay up fairly quickly.
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Hugh Potter

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Post Mon Jul 17, 2017 1:47 pm

Re: Small Bad Debt - Worth the Hassle

Texting can work but you can easily be blocked.

I had a bad debt last year (January) for about £300, by July we began small claims, you must floow it to the letter but it's worth it.add interest and direct costs at the rate specified and no more than what the costs are, charge reasonable fee's for letters etc.
we then took it to county court and issued a CCJ. eventually we sent the baliffs on our behalf, we eventually got a cheque from the baliffs for around £700 in Jan this year, so for the few hours of messing, worth it.
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Phill Fenton

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Post Mon Jul 17, 2017 1:56 pm

Re: Small Bad Debt - Worth the Hassle

Out of principle you must chase this one down otherwise word gets around that your'e a soft touch.

And next time this happens , don't release the vehicle until payment has been made. You can't go to a fast fit garage and drive off without paying for tyres so why do they think a sign maker is anything different :rollseyes:
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Iain Pearson

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Post Mon Jul 17, 2017 2:12 pm

Re: Small Bad Debt - Worth the Hassle

Pro forma for all new or irregular clients - Cash up front or no graphics

I hope you get this sorted one way or another :thumbsup:
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Post Mon Jul 17, 2017 2:14 pm

Re: Small Bad Debt - Worth the Hassle

I've used this service before http://www.debtscotland.com/pre_sueletter.cfm it did the trick.
official letter from a solicitor gives it a bit more credibility then a letter from you yourself.

Graeme
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John Harding

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Post Mon Jul 17, 2017 2:37 pm

Re: Small Bad Debt - Worth the Hassle

I agree with Hugh and Phil if they are still trading then they are worth perusing - take a pride in making their life uncomfortable for disrespecting you - good luck John
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Robert Lambie

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Post Mon Jul 17, 2017 2:48 pm

Re: Small Bad Debt - Worth the Hassle

Phill Fenton wrote:Out of principle you must chase this one down otherwise word gets around that your'e a soft touch.


Out of principle i would do same...

Yes chasing by text is one thing, or calling them but you simply tap "block caller" on your mobile and thats sorted. works for me when people are chasing me for paying for my van. :blushing: :lol: :lol:

I am not sure about you, but we request multiple contact sources when taking any sort of order.
Email, mobile number, Landline number, full postal address etc.
we take deposits or payment in full, but even when you have a deposit you sometimes find yourself chasing to get a van booked in for install. so having multiple sources of contact helps here, as well as bad paying customers.

Other way to chase payment:
Check if they have a website and do it via that.
With hold your number when making calls to them.
Check if they have facebook, twitter, linkedin etc and post on those pages politely asking for them to get in contact.
they will understand at that point your not letting it go and could go public!
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Steve Morgan

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Post Mon Jul 17, 2017 5:51 pm

Re: Small Bad Debt - Worth the Hassle

Don't even consider letting it go. Use the Small Claims Court It works; although somewhat slowly and you need to sit down and fill out the details carefully but as those of us who have used it will agree - It works.

You could start the ball rolling with a solicitors letter and you could add that to your expenses. A County Court judgement is a pretty serious matter and could affect him a great deal in the future and the bailifs on the front door step are not a welcome sight for anyone.

Think of it as theft of your property.
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David Hammond

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Post Mon Jul 17, 2017 7:36 pm

Re: Small Bad Debt - Worth the Hassle

Chase it!

We have a debt collection agency we use who apply 15%+VAT to the debt. We send a final letter asking for payment in 7 days and then turn it over to them.

They do all the communication, and don't take any BS. They'll continue to court if needed, but as yet it's not resulted in that.

It is imperitive your find out who your customer is, are they Ltd, Sole Trader, Partnership, as you need to chase the correct person/company. Especially as the pre action protocol is changing for Sole Traders/Individuals in Oct, requiring you send a wedge of documents to them, allow 30days for them to reply, before taking them to court.
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Pane Talev

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Post Mon Jul 17, 2017 7:59 pm

Re: Small Bad Debt - Worth the Hassle

Small claim court. Didn't took me long to do it online.
1) They paid me in full.
2) They paid the claim court fee.
3) They paid interest.
As soon as I emailed them the claim, they've paid the next day.
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Kevin Mahoney

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Post Mon Jul 17, 2017 8:06 pm

Re: Small Bad Debt - Worth the Hassle

I'm afraid I've been very British about this, not wanting to offend or lose a customer in the past, but do you really need repeat business from these types?
It's the Woolworths policy from now on for me. Payment on collection unless you have an account. Accounts won't be so easy to come by either.
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David Hammond

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Post Tue Jul 18, 2017 8:39 am

Re: Small Bad Debt - Worth the Hassle

FYI - Here's the information available on the changes coming in from October, which is why if you're granting credit you MUST know who you're giving it too.

http://ukbusinessforums.com/threads/deb ... 17.376194/
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John Harding

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Post Tue Jul 18, 2017 11:17 am

Re: Small Bad Debt - Worth the Hassle

Useful stuff David thanks
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Mike Thornley

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Post Sat Jul 22, 2017 2:05 pm

Re: Small Bad Debt - Worth the Hassle

Thanks for the wise words

Letter now gone off, would anyone go the the level of actually stripping the graphics from the catering van we sign wrote.
After all my terms and conditions state that all goods remain property of my business until paid for.
Are we legally entitled?
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Steve Morgan

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Post Sun Jul 23, 2017 8:53 am

Re: Small Bad Debt - Worth the Hassle

I think that you are trying to get full payment for the work and materials you have supplied. If you now go and take a part of that service back then how can you proceed with the claim?
Additionally you could leave yourself open to criminal damage etc etc, just stick with the claim through the correct channel.
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Iain Pearson

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Post Sun Jul 23, 2017 9:58 am

Re: Small Bad Debt - Worth the Hassle

As Steve says, removing installed materials will open up a can of worms. It's a couple of hundred quid, follow the procedure and let the law take its course.

If all else fails, write the debt off, and move on, I've had to do that a couple of times
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Mike Thornley

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Post Wed Aug 09, 2017 3:06 pm

Re: Small Bad Debt - Worth the Hassle

Thanks everyone, after sending a solicitors letter (costing £3.00) he finally paid up 5 months after the job, the day before the deadline before proceedings would have been issued. What an idiot....
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Steve Morgan

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Post Wed Aug 09, 2017 3:09 pm

Re: Small Bad Debt - Worth the Hassle

He may well have been down that path before and knew what the implications were. Glad it's sorted for you.
Last edited by Steve Morgan on Wed Aug 09, 2017 6:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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David Hammond

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Post Wed Aug 09, 2017 6:00 pm

Re: Small Bad Debt - Worth the Hassle

Glad you got paid!

Did you claim your statutory interest & compensation?
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Martyn Heath

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Post Thu Aug 10, 2017 10:56 am

Re: Small Bad Debt - Worth the Hassle

Well having had 2 non payers in the last 12 months i can tell you what i did.

The first one was a shop, owing 800 pounds. Sent letters, phoned her for a few months then she closed down. So we went down the legal road, our debt collector told us she owed 10s of thousands. We set up a payment plan but with this for the first 3 months the debt collector recieved all the funds to cover their costs then after that payments would come to us. So as expected after 3 months she stopped paying and we could take her to court however we were told that we are such as small fish that we wont get a penny. So she has gone bankrupt and wiped the slate clean.
Last edited by Martyn Heath on Sun Aug 13, 2017 6:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Martin Grimmer

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Post Thu Aug 10, 2017 11:38 am

Re: Small Bad Debt - Worth the Hassle

Martyn,

Fully appreciate your frustrations but you might want to delete...if he searches you name in future this post may come up...

Martin
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Martyn Heath

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Post Thu Aug 10, 2017 12:25 pm

Re: Small Bad Debt - Worth the Hassle

Martin Grimmer wrote:Martyn,

Fully appreciate your frustrations but you might want to delete...if he searches you name in future this post may come up...

Martin


Appreciate your concern, but im based in finland, he doesnt speak or read english. So its highly unlickly. Plus the debt is still owed so im pretty sure he doesnt want anything to do with me :)

Anyway, my thoughts from now are treat people well until they treat you wrong. Then deal with it according to situation. I took it personally as im a one man band, in the village of the client. Respect has to be gained somehow.
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Steff Davison

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Post Thu Aug 10, 2017 5:41 pm

Re: Small Bad Debt - Worth the Hassle

Martyn Heath wrote:Well having had 2 non payers in the last 12 months i can tell you what i did.

The first one was a shop, owing 800 pounds. Sent letters, phoned her for a few months then she closed down. So we went down the legal road, our debt collector told us she owed 10s of thousands. We set up a payment plan but with this for the first 3 months the debt collector recieved all the funds to cover their costs then after that payments would come to us. So as expected after 3 months she stopped paying and we could take her to court however we were told that we are such as small fish that we wont get a penny. So she has gone bankrupt and wiped the slate clean.

Numer two was a client we have done a few bits for, he came and ordered a few hundred pounds of stickers and magnetics. 2 months later i am chasing him on the phone and emails. No answers. He has closed up shop. Turns out its not the first time he has done this, he went bankrupt few years ago owing thousands.
So having learnt lessons from the first experience, legal isnt an option and im ( oh i swore ). So a few household visits which he wasnt home.
Few weeks later i go into the village shop and guess who is sitting in the car park in his nice mercedes. So i walk over and say hi how you doing? wheres my f*****g money. He tells me he hasnt got any money :) so i tell him this is his last chance to get over to the cash machine and sort this out. After me pushing him across the car park i lost it and gave him an uppercut. Down like a sack of (oh i swore !). Anyway, he called the police and an ambulance but no evidence to pin it on me.

I feel very happy now. Unfortunatly the car park had many spectators and i was worried how this would affect business. Well, everyone has paid ontime since :)


Maybe get payment upfront from new customers, and credit check customers who want to open a credit account with you.

OR you could have a "non payers" wall with pictures of non payers all bloodied and bandaged up :lol: oh and obviously the amount owed underneath each photo which could be arranged with the amount of money they owed and the beating which would correspond to that amount ( black eye £100-£200 black eye some facial bruising £201-£400 etc etc).
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Martyn Heath

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Post Thu Aug 10, 2017 6:10 pm

Re: Small Bad Debt - Worth the Hassle

:smiles: Now thats an idea steff. Ive got just the space for the wall of pain in reception.

No your right, we never did checks on people before these troubles but now with new customers and new businesses we have a look into them.
Payment on collection or deposit for anyone that gives me bad vibes.

But no matter how hard you try i think everyone will get stung at some point.
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David Hammond

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Post Thu Aug 10, 2017 6:25 pm

Re: Small Bad Debt - Worth the Hassle

Trouble with Payment on Collection, is if they don't want to pay, they'll walk out leaving you with a job that's no use to anyone else, and you're still out of pocket.

Cash up front!
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Martyn Heath

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Post Thu Aug 10, 2017 6:54 pm

Re: Small Bad Debt - Worth the Hassle

That is very true david but I have also lost a lot of jobs because they dont want to pay upfront.

Clients should be more understanding, especially when your a small business.
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David Hammond

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Post Thu Aug 10, 2017 7:42 pm

Re: Small Bad Debt - Worth the Hassle

We have a minimum 50% deposit... if it's a £100 job, 100%, if they can't pay £100 up front, then alarm bells will ring. Trying to weed out the cash on collection jobs, as we end up with a collection of posters and bits that never get collected!
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KevinGaffney

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Post Thu Aug 10, 2017 7:48 pm

Re: Small Bad Debt - Worth the Hassle

Fitted a 24ft x 4ft dibond panel some years back on a warehouse in three panels. Didn’t get paid despite several attempts so arrived at warehouse on a Saturday evening when I knew client wouldn’t be around and removed the middle panel. He called to me on the Monday and had the brass neck to hurl abuse at me for what I’d done. He finally asked what would it. Take to get the panel back. I explained full payment in cash and he had to refit himself. Took him about six weeks to come up with the money. Got a great kick out of that one
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Martyn Heath

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Post Sat Aug 12, 2017 3:08 pm

Re: Small Bad Debt - Worth the Hassle

KevinGaffney wrote:Fitted a 24ft x 4ft dibond panel some years back on a warehouse in three panels. Didn’t get paid despite several attempts so arrived at warehouse on a Saturday evening when I knew client wouldn’t be around and removed the middle panel. He called to me on the Monday and had the brass neck to hurl abuse at me for what I’d done. He finally asked what would it. Take to get the panel back. I explained full payment in cash and he had to refit himself. Took him about six weeks to come up with the money. Got a great kick out of that one


I like your style Kevin :). It does amaze you sometimes the front of people, they dont seem to understand that its our property until paid for.
I think ( oh i swore, im a bad boy so i am! ) off a sign maker is the last thing you want to do. We have many ways of getting our own way :lol:

I believe action speaks louder than words. Start off nice, give then a chance, give them a chance, then enough is enough. Whatever you have sold them, if you can take it down, partly strip off leaving all the glue, maybe add a few more kind words to the side of the van, then it must be done. I cant sleep at night thinking someone has got one over on me.
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Denise Goodfellow

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Post Sun Aug 13, 2017 7:54 am

Re: Small Bad Debt - Worth the Hassle

Debt can sometimes be down to a few things.

1.Bad management or planning on their part.
2.All out nastiness by the customer.
3.Miss communication
4.Not taking a deposit
5.Not happy with the job.
6.Talking the talk but can't back it up with the cash.
7. Short deadlines.


1. Customer creating a new business, usually works from the inside out, and the last thing they think of is the outside appearance. He'll pay but might take alittle time, unless the business fails. Taking a deposit softens the blow.

2. This customer is a nasty piece of work, very up themselves, knows your business better than you, thinks he can offer you 50% of what your quote is and you should think yourself lucky...... Avoid at all cost unless you get all the money upfront. We tend to overprice these people and hope they go elsewhere.

3. You've not explained what the sign will look like properly or the customer hasn't explained himself correctly. Artwork must be shown, colours clearly stated and shown, pictures of similer jobs shown, materials used shown etc etc. Take no chances with this one, cover your butt. End result customer not happy as its not what he wanted, a deposit softens the blow. Oftern to put this right it means starting again, where you lose money or break even.

4. Deposit all the time or payment in full. Large signs where there's 3D letters, LEDs involved etc, most of us just farm it out, but we have to pay for that upfront. A deposit must cover material costs. All our debt has been from jobs where we didn't take a deposit or we dropped off the signage and they said they would call to pay the rest of the bill. When the sign is finished ask for full payment over the phone before delivery or pick up. Ask if the person picking up the sign has the funds to pay, all to oftern a dogs body will get sent to pick it up who hasn't a bean to his name. Don't be afraid to ask for payment.

5. Not happy with the job, could be our fault tbh, let's face it, how many times have we seen really bad signage. I would not pay for something that was terrible workmanship, so why should you get paid. Do your best, be critical of your work, replace that wonky line on the van before the customer comes to collect it. Keep mistakes inside the shop don't let them outside. Price jobs correctly and use good materials.
On a side note, I quoted for a diabond signs to be fixed to railings, I didn't realise the costs of the Chanel and the post clips, I lost £200 off the profit. Research prices.

6. We've all net these folk, they ask for an all singing and dancing 3D lite sign, you quote £3000, 4 days later you drive past and you see a banner outside... We were asked to price leaflets for a new shop, he bigger it up how he always had runs of 50k and 100k at a time. So far his biggest order has been 1k. This guys running his business on a budget, if you don't take payment in full when they Order you'll be helping his cash flow.

7. Short deadline jobs, means mistakes happen, either the customer or you. Artwork signed off helps, payment in full with this one. Never let them pin you down to a day or that's their excuse not to pay if you miss it.

Not by all means 100%.
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Martyn Heath

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Post Sun Aug 13, 2017 8:45 am

Re: Small Bad Debt - Worth the Hassle

Nice explanation Denise. Will keep my eyes open for all these points
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David Hammond

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Post Sun Aug 13, 2017 1:33 pm

Re: Small Bad Debt - Worth the Hassle

Good post Denise.

Always worth spending 5 minutes sending a 'Final Proof' and getting it approved. Quote all deadlines from 'Approval of final proof'.

Saves you ending up getting approval on Monday, and the customer still expecting it installed Wednesday.

Amazing how taking a deposit focusses the customers mind.
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Denise Goodfellow

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Post Sun Aug 13, 2017 3:33 pm

Re: Small Bad Debt - Worth the Hassle

Reading a post on screen printing on Facebook about deadlines.

The writer said that oftern deadlines for delivery are missed because the printer does not give deadlines for artwork to be sent over or artwork approval.

So the first deadline to ge issued if a required by date is wanted, is I need your artwork by "X" in order to meet your deadline.

Once artwork is sent over and laid out on the proof, it should be sent back requesting approval by "X" date, in order to meet your deadline.

As David says, if you don't give a deadline for approval, how does the customer know?

It's all a learning curve

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