For many small wholesalers, the decision to offer net payment terms is oftentimes one of the most difficult business decisions to make. While it may seem easier and safer to just take a credit card, from a customer’s point of view it is the exact opposite. There are even situations where credit cards may not even be an option. In order to determine whether it is time to start offering net payment terms to your customers, it is important to look at several factors. Why do customers prefer net sales terms, How do you take the risk out of net sales term, how to you manage accounts receivable, and how do you maintain healthy cash flow.
Perhaps the most important reason why a customer would request net payment terms is so that they have time to pay for their merchandise. While it would be simple to argue that charging an order to your credit card means that they don’t need to pay for it until their next statement becomes due, the amount of time they have to pay can vary by an entire month depending on if they are near the start or end of their billing cycle. This means that when paying with a credit card they will have somewhere between 15 to 45 days to pay for their merchandise. The big problem of course is that if they are unable to pay their credit card on time, they will be assessed late fees and interest for not making a payment on time. With net payment terms, customers know that so long as they pay their bills within a reasonable amount of time, they will not be charged any interest, and there are never any late fees. So, while they can’t wait 90 days to pay a net 30 day invoice, if it takes them 45 days it shouldn’t be a problem. As a result, they may be willing to place a larger order if offered net payment terms as they won’t be as worried about needing to make a payment exactly on time.
There is also the case of customers who need more than 30 days to pay. For seasonal businesses, such as garden centers or gift stores, they will need to place the orders early for their busy season. So whether they sell outdoor products and need to stock up for the spring and summer, or sell gifts and décor for the holiday season, they may ask for longer payment terms than just 30 days. It is not unusual for seasonal businesses to request extended terms of 60 or 90 days, which is something that a credit card company will never offer them.
Another issue with paying via credit card is credit limits. While it is true that there will always be a credit limit whether paying with a credit card or getting net payment terms, companies are able to purchase more when they are given net payment terms. A credit card has a strict credit limit which applies to everything that the business purchases with it. For a business placing orders at a large trade show, they need to be conservative with how much they charge to their credit card with each vendor or they will risk maxing out their credit limit before they are able to place all of their orders. Furthermore, they most likely already are using their credit card to pay for business expenses such as cleaning supplies, phone and internet, advertising, and in the case of a trade show, their flight and hotel, meaning they have less credit available to spend on merchandise.
This also is problematic with seasonal businesses as their credit limit may be sufficient for them to make purchases on for most of the year, but can become woefully insufficient as they stock up for their busy season. As a result, any wholesaler who sells seasonal products may face even greater difficulties in making sales if they require their customers to pay via credit card.
Of course, if you offer your customer net payment terms, you will still need to impose a credit limit on them. You don’t want to overextend to a customer or they may have difficulty paying you back. However, if all their vendors establish appropriate credit limits for them, then combined they should have more credit than what a credit card would give them. Furthermore, as you develop a good working relationship with a customer, you will be able to gradually raise their credit limit over time so that they will be able to order more from you in the future.
Finally, there is the issue of selling to major retailers. One of the best ways to quickly grow a business is to get into a major retailer such as Target or TJ Maxx. Not only are the orders they place very large, but they have the ability to get your products out to large number of consumers all across the country, which of course is a great way to expand your sales territory and market your products. While it is possible that you may be able to negotiate the price of your merchandise with the major retailers, one thing you will not be able to negotiate with them is the payment terms. Refusing to accept the payment terms that they are requesting, or simply trying to negotiate the sales terms, is the easiest way to lose a sale, and even worse, losing future sales. While it may seem unfair that a multi-billion-dollar corporation is asking you to wait to get paid, the simple fact is you need their business, if you are unwilling to play along then they will simply find another vendor who will.
Another thing that major retailers look for is long term relationships. If they are going to make the investment in selling your product at their stores, then they want to make sure that the shelf space they are giving you will always carry your product. For many major retailers, most notably Walmart, they associate the ability to offer net payment terms with stability and financial strength. A company that can give them 60, 90, or even 120 days to pay has their finances in order and will be around for many years to come. A company who is requesting payment via credit card may not even be around in one month’s time when it is time to place a reorder.
It can be very difficult for most SME’s to deal with all the challenges associated with net payment terms. There is a need to perform credit checks to make sure that the businesses that are being offered net payment terms are credit-worthy and will pay their bills. Even if a business is credit-worthy, you still need to send out reminders and make collection calls in order to get paid on time. Of course, you can do everything that you need to do in terms of credit checking and collecting, but sometimes even when you do everything right things can still go wrong and a customer can unexpectedly go bankrupt or out of business, meaning that you will be stuck with bad debt. Of course, perhaps the biggest problem for any SME that offers net payment terms will be managing their cash flow. Instead of being paid instantly by a credit card company, with net payment terms you will need to wait 30 days or longer before you get paid, making it difficult to pay your own bills.
Luckily, there is a simple solution to all of the above problems, that is accounts receivable factoring. With accounts receivable factoring you eliminate all the work and stress associated with net payment terms, plus you get paid just as quickly ensuring that you have healthy cash flow as well. With factoring, you are selling your receivables, or invoices, to a factoring company who will pay you for them the same day you bill your customers. They will also handle all of the credit checking, collection work, and insure your receivables against non-payment. So basically, you are outsourcing all the work associated with net payment terms, eliminating your risk, and getting paid just as quickly as you would have if you had charged a customer’s credit card. Best of all, the cost of factoring is comparable to a credit card processing fee.
If customers are requesting net payment terms, don’t let the fear of offering terms get in the way of doing business with your customers. Instead, give DSA Factors a call today at 773-248-9000, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or chat with us right here on this web site. We have been providing accounts receivable factoring for over 35 years and have the knowledge and expertise to allow you to take the next step forward in doing business with your customers. At DSA Factors we make net payment terms easy.