Dealing With Vendors During These Hard Economic Times


If you are not a business owner who has experienced a hard time collecting from your clients and in return have not fallen behind with your own vendors during these difficult economic times, then you are among the lucky few.  There are a few things that I have learned this past year when things have gotten a little tough.  As a customer to a vendor, first and most importantly, it pays to be upfront. I have heard numerous stories from vendors telling me that they have customers who lie, saying that the check is in the mail, or have received checks that are conveniently not signed, or have heard promises that they know can’t be kept. I have been thanked even when I have had to say there is nothing coming your way and I don’t know when I will. Vendors are appreciative that they know what to expect. It is not good business to play games with people.  I know that when I have a client who doesn’t pay and that I have had to call numerous times, if they have the courtesy to tell me that they just don’t have the funds, I am more forgiving and willing to give them time. Nobody likes to be strung along. Secondly, even if you  don’t  have an answer or you have to relay not so happy news, do not avoid calls. There is nothing worse to have a customer who won’t answer or return calls. It is frustrating and a waste of time to have to keep trying.  So, as hard as it is, at least take the call. Lastly, vendors are much more willing to work with you if you explain your situation and they know that you are at least making the effort.  Communicate.  We all seem to be in the same boat on various levels and to have respect for each other’s time and to be as forthright as possible on both ends will go a long way. It will make getting through these times a little easier for all of us.

Suzanne Ferguson