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Show Me the Money!  Five Ideas to Step Up On-time Payments
By Nick Frantz

Every month my credit card company ticks me off with an email telling me that my payment is due in 10 days. I’ve never been late with a payment and half the time I don’t even have a balance. I do however, appreciate their proactive strategy, and I understand that it works.

How do you get the best bang for your buck when it comes to cultivating high-value, on-time payers? It’s a fact: seeking is easier than chasing. With that in mind, here are five ideas to consider for a low-cost, low-effort, proactive strategy to address payment compliance:

  1.   Target your efforts towards habitually late payers. Late payers? Delinquent accounts? Zero in on the segment with the most potential for improvement and retention. Step up your communications to this group to seek their payments before they’re due.
  2. Send personalized reminders that are most likely to reach your target. Use voice messages, text messages, emails and even social media. Send several and stagger them to make sure you hit the forgetful and unorganized.
  3. Protect everyone’s comfort level by adding an anonymous voice to your staff. For voice reminders, choose a natural-sounding, automated voice. Don’t jeopardize your staff’s relationship-building efforts. Get off the phone and out of the hot seat.
  4. Deliver reminders in the languages your tenants speak. It can only help!
  5. Get documentation. If you have to eventually pursue collection options, documentation will be helpful.  Keep reports that confirm your messages were received.

Seeking payments or chasing them down… a proactive approach beats a reactive response every time.

Nick Frantz is national sales manager, property management solutions with One Call Now.

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  • Five years ago, after my first rent collection week at my property, the management company received a call from the owner. They wanted to know why I didn't collect all of the late fees, as they were accustomed to a lot more late payers.

    What I do differently than previous managers is set the expectation that rent should be paid on time. Our rent is due on the first and late after 11:59pm on the 4th. Every month, on the 4th, I post a door hanger to the door of everyone who has not yet paid. This serves two purposes. First, it reminds residents that it's time to pay rent, and second, it shames them into paying earlier because all of their neighbors see this on their door.

    I've had many residents thank me for the reminder, because as primarily retail workers, their schedules are more closely related to days of the week instead of dates of the month. The complaints that I have received are from the shamed residents who are embarrassed that everyone knows they didn't pay on time. I tell them it's easy to avoid getting this on their door- just pay before I post them.

    If they do not pay their late fee, a termination notice is issued, ordering them to pay within two weeks or move out within 30 days. This notice also states that if they fail to pay rent on time for the next 3 consecutive months, they must move out within 10 days with no option to cure.

    We used to collect $500+ in late fees every month, and now we collect about $150. A small decrease in income, but it's more than made up for by the higher quality, longer staying, residents that replace the residents who leave.

  • That is a wonderful idea! My problem is i'm too nice... And right now our little town is suffering due to military budget cuts. I cant afford to really loose anyone but it IS WAY EASIER to give a heads up rather than chase them down afterwards. Thank you for the advice!