Local entrepreneur gives collections industry a makeover

Vancouver entrepreneur Eric LaBrant

“The reasons people don’t pay or that they’re running late are never what we think,” said LaBrant. “It’s not some kind of moral failing or someone’s desire not to pay – it’s usually something medical or personal.”

Business Spotlight image 2LaBrant believes that understanding the facts behind why accounts go into the red makes companies more successful in not only negotiating through the debt, but also keeping the client for the long-run instead of intimidating them into paying.

What’s more? Where LaBrant Receivables really stands out is in allowing companies to keep 100 percent of what customers pay. It’s a stark contrast to the high commissions debt-collection agencies usually charge small businesses.

“After working with the companies instead of for them, their problems are fixed and they stay fixed,” LaBrant said. “If [the companies] go through an outside debt-collection agency, in six months they’ll be in the same boat.”

Changing the status quo of the collections industry hasn’t been easy. LaBrant Recievables has been up and running for a little over a year, but growth has been a challenge. LaBrant believes he’s “one of the best of the best” in terms of getting businesses the highest returns on collected debt, but figuring out how to sell and market his services has been a challenge.

“I’m kind of unique in what I do as far as consulting,” LaBrant said. “In terms of receivables, people who work with the businesses themselves are rare because the industry is dominated by third-party agencies.”

But success is what LaBrant believes will rule in the end. His biggest success story is saving a small business $18,000 all thanks to a $6 box of donuts. The company’s finance, service and shipping departments usually didn’t communicate – until the box of powdered treats allowed LaBrant to open them up and develop relationships with one another. One department had an inkling their client was going to file for bankruptcy, but the $18,000 shipment was still set to go out. Stalling the shipment by a few days (thanks to the newfound relationship established with the shipping department) saved a full shipment of what would have been forever unpaid items from being sent off.

“It pays to be nice,” LaBrant said. “We got through to one of the departments because of that personal relationship we’d built just by bonding over a box of donuts.”

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