Every time you offer your customer terms on their invoices, you are extending credit. Do you have an application procedure in place in order for your customers to qualify for extended payment? Or do you offer 30-day payment terms or longer as a matter of course?
If the answer to the last question is yes, you may want to rethink your policy. No matter what, your customers should be applying for the privilege of paying anything from 30 to up to 90 days past the due date of their invoice. A well-constructed credit application tells your customers you are serious, and may also make them feel more comfortable about doing business with you.
Establishing that your customer is creditworthy means collecting all the information needed should the account become delinquent. It is always prudent to be prepared for late or non-payment from any of your customers. There are certain references that help establish the security of each account, such as bank references and trade references. Using these references enables you to establish past history with creditors, and also how well financial commitments are handled. In some instances, it may also be worth asking if good customers with less than healthy references are prepared to sign a personal guarantee. Should their business go into default, they will be held personally responsible for any outstanding payments.