Offering credit to your customers is a big step for most businesses and it’s vital that you ensure that you have a system in place to manage this effectively.
The first aspect of offering credit to a customer is to get them to complete a credit application form. It’s important that you create a document that gives you all the information you require to complete this process and it’s important that the form asks for all the relevant information. Ideally you would want the following information from your credit application form.
- Ascertain whether the company your are dealing with is a Sole Trader or Limited Company. This is important as this will affect how you actually perform your checks. We will deal with this in more detail in a follow up article.
- Confirm the name and address of the customer along with company registration number if limited. You should also get contact telephone numbers and fax numbers for both your main contact and of course the accounts department (they’ll be paying you afterall! ). These details will help ensure you can contact the company and that invoices etc are being sent to the correct place.
- You should also ask for a minimum of two trade references and a note of their bank details so that you can get a bank reference should this be required. One of the best ways of checking a customer is to see how they pay other suppliers but please bear in mind what type of companies the customer is putting down as referees. For example fuel companies typically require payments weekly or they wont deal with you, these aren’t great in terms of guageing how well a company is paying their bills.
- You can also use your credit application form to highlight your terms of business, this can be invaluable if you ever get into a dispute over what has been agreed with regards to payment. It’s also important to ensure that you leave space for your customer to sign the form and you should always make sure that they do sign it.
We have created a sample credit application form in Word format that you can use as a template for your own form. Please click on the button below to download, you will be asked to save the document directly to your computer.
We would love to hear any comments or suggestions you may have for improving the form etc so please feel free to comment