Early in my career as a commercial collector, I had a small local printing company as a customer. I had met the owner, Bernie, at a local Chamber of Commerce function earlier that week. It was a Thursday when I received a panicked call from Bernie explaining that his largest order had bounced a check for $18,000.00 and he was counting on the funds to make payroll the following Tuesday.
I drove to Bernie’s office and had a look at the check. It was drawn on a bank two time zones a head so I couldn’t simply drive over to the bank and certify the item. I asked Bernie if his customer was offering to replace the check and he said yes, but only $5,000.00 and it would have to be the following week because they had cash flow issues of their own.
As any business owner can relate, Bernie was elated to finally land his biggest order to date. It wasn’t a simple printing job either. It was individually numbered and perforated lottery tickets. The order was a rush and Bernie and his team worked extra hours to get the order shipped on time. In fact, Bernie had paid extra to source special paper stock from his suppliers to complete the job.
I took the check anyway and drove back to the office. Upon contact with the debtor firm, we got the same story as Bernie had received.
It Was 2:00 PM
It was 2:00 PM on a Thursday. Almost as an afterthought, we called the bank to see if there were sufficient funds on deposit and we learned that YES!! there was. I immediately couriered the check to the bank to arrive overnight for next day certification. We received the check back certified on the following Monday. Our firm deposited the funds into our trust account and the issued a special check run so Bernie could access his money in the time to meet his payroll.
Bottom-line? Bernie meets his payroll – staff paid their bills and feed children not knowing how close they were to big problems.
Today, almost 30 years later, Bernie’s firm is thriving and has grown considerably. Bernie has learned many practical tips and techniques to manage his cash flow; however he still likes to tell our story with pride.
I Love This Business