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Guest pension doc

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Guest pension doc

I am a sole proprietor, pension consulting firm, specializing in the small plan market. I administer over 150 plans, ranging in size from one participant to 50 participants.

Does the economy stink, or do employers just not like to pay their bills?

My receivables in any one month can be as high as $6000.

My billing practice has been to get the whole fee up front, but if the client complains, at leasst 50% up front, balance upon completion of the 5500s.

Up until this year, the majority of my clients would pay at least the retainer. Those that do not, used to pay within 30 days.

That 30 days has turned into 60-90 days this year, and some of the checks were even "bad" checks.

I follow up for a fee every 10 days. Clients either don't answer the call ow, when they do, I think I have now heard every lie on the books, ranging from " the check is in the mail" to "I thought I mailed it out yesterday" to "Your bill has sitting on my desk for a while and the dog ate it-- please send me out another bill". I do, and they claim they didn't get that one either.

How does one:

keep his head above water in this scenario

keep from going nuts

keep from getting a persecution complex

go on to market for new business??

Any thoughts or similar problems?

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Well, let's see.

I, too, am a solo practitioner - strictly fee for service - and I bill AFTER the work has been done...not in advance...for my regular clients.

For new clients and those where it may be a one time job, I get a retainer agreement with a modest fee in advance.

Most of the clients come by referral and I can use the referral source to pry money out of late payers.

My experience has been the opposite of yours - clients pay promptly - most of the time - the exceptions are occasional, and, after hitting the wall a few times, I try to forget about them and go on with the good clients and the fun part of the job.

In your situation, it would appear as if those clients who balk at the full fee in advance are the troublesome ones.

You may have to decide if it is worth keeping them, at the reduced fee, or if you should start charging late fees for their work or if you should just resign, or raise the "advance retainer" for them.

By the way, in my practice, and mainly because I don't have the stomach for going to court, we have not filed small claims court suits against them. [My time and energy are too important - and I'm chicken!]

Other firms in this area (So. Cal.) do go to small claims court on a regular basis and collect. ... and sometimes keep the client.

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Guest boetgerinc

We are a small TPA firm - fee for service only. We also invoice after the work is complete. We deliver our reports, and present the invoice at the same time. We do not have an extreme problem with receivables, and usually a letter when they hit 60 days does the trick. Reocurring work also helps - when the client wants their next statements, they pay their bill. We will also wait to file the 5500 until they pay. The worst offenders for our frim, are other TPA firms! We provide actuarial work for other firms, and invoice them. They in turn, add to our fee and invoice their clients. These are the constant 60 to 90 day late payers.

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