Cities all over the United States, both rural small towns and large metro cities, are having issues with collecting monthly payments for performing trash collection duties. The downturn in the economy has reached both private and public service providers, city trash collection is not immune to this and cities are now looking for ways to improve cash flow and allow the service to still be viable for the city residents. Many cities are now using collection agencies to collect from past due accounts and the results so far are positive.
When a resident signs up for a service such as trash collection, many people look at it as a small bill that will not even be figured into the monthly budget. After all, what is a few bucks when you make thousands per month? Typically, the few bucks per month ends up not being a big deal. Especially in past years, when investments were soaring, yearly pay raises were standard and total net worth was exploding. Of course, nobody ever predicts the bread winner of the family to be laid off without warning. Furthermore, unemployment rates are rising near 9%, even higher in some areas so new jobs aren’t as easily landed as they were in the past. This is the cold hard truth that many families face and when it comes down to feeding little Johnny and Maria that will always come before paying the cell phone, car or trash collection bill. Cities realize this and the numbers do not lie when it comes to cash flow.
The occasional customer will forget to pay a bill or send off the bill in time, this is to be expected with any service that bills customers monthly. City trash collection departments realize this as well, that is why if a customer goes past due because of a NSF check or just not mailing a payment in then they just send out a notice. Typically, within the next 7-10 business days the account will be paid and brought back to a current status. Another step trash collectors will do is to post a past due notice on your trash bin so that all your neighbors will see which can be both shocking yet humbling experience. After another 60 days have went by, that is when the city realizes that the account is probably not going to be paid unless other steps are being taken. A collection agency can locate a customer with skip tracing tools that will be able to provide information that the city may not have been able to get. Information such as former spouses, former employers, neighbors and family members. The collection agency will make a few calls to the individuals and get all the information needed to contact the customer. In most cases, the individual will call the collection agency wondering how they had the nerve to call that ex spouse after the phone call causes a fight with the current spouse.
Collection agencies after locating the customer, can secure a payment plan for a past due account holder to pay off the debt. In many cases, the customer just moved away due to various reasons and they will happily pay whatever the amount due is in one lump sum payment. Even if it is only a few customers paying each month, this is additional income for the cities that in the past was never coming in and requires zero extra work. In the slow economy, city services are being cut all over and any additional income that can be realized can be the difference in keeping employees on the pay roll or laying off the customer. Keeping services going and people a job is always a plus, even it means hiring a collection agency.