If they are falling behind on their payments, how are they your best customer? That being said, what type of industry are they in? Some areas I am more likely to let them slide a month or two than I am others. If it is a volatile industry, I will usually pull the plug after a couple of months, at most.
If it's a 30 day net account I call if it's 10 days late. If it goes to 30 late and all I get is voice mail I stop service unless they call back and explain. It may loose me a customer, but they are only customers if they pay. We haven't been clipped by a BK notice but it's been close.
That is a tricky question because if it is a good customer and they are having hard times like the rest of us, I will give them more time because a lot of us have been there/are there right now with the economy the way it is but that is me and the way I was raised.
Not having work not only humbles you but opens your eyes to what other people/companies around the world are going through so you really are as close to walking in their shoes without moving your feet into them actually.
I will express to new customers that I need to be paid when the job is done unless they have a net 30 and talk to me about it and you have that good feeling about them. Sometimes you need to trust people out there even if you don't want to because sometimes the favors come back to you, sometimes even bigger favors.
The last few months have been very slow where I am and with the help of friends and family and this new fleet contract I am able to make it and my personality has changed a lot because of everything I have been seeing and in. If I was asked this question 6 months ago I would be answering totally different but now my eyes are open more than ever and I am seeing things in a new light.
Call and tell them they are late. Ask them straight up if they are having financial problems and if they are an established account work with them to get it paid in installments. If they lie or blow off the issue send the certifired letter and begin collections. Empty promises and lies do not pay your bills either.
its a good question, for me I had one that got 90 days out on one invoice, 76 on one, and so on down from 14 day increments all the way down to 0. It was a new account and I had to place the call, they are also the owners of another franchise in town thats notorious for paying their greaser extremely late almost to the point of when they feel like it. After that call were caught up, back on schedule and there is a check in the mailbox every time I do them or within a few days of cleanings.