Commercial collection agencies are a dime a dozen. They handle all sorts of routine debts including utility bills, medical bills, etc. But within the broader industry, there is a specialty known as judgment collection. It is a specialty that a lot of collection agencies just don’t undertake.
Judgments are a different kind of debt in the sense that they are the result of legal proceedings. To get a judgment entered against an individual or company, you first need to go to civil court. You essentially need to sue. So right off the bat, judgments are a different animal.
Judgment Collectors, out of Salt Lake City, UT, says that succeeding in this particular collection specialty requires some key things:
1. A License
Before anything else, collection agencies need to be licensed. Whether an agency specializes in general debt or decides to go the judgment route, they cannot legally operate without a state license. Note that states have different rules about how licenses are obtained. Each has its own fee schedule as well.
2. A Thick Skin
Next up, succeeding as a judgment collector requires a thick skin. Some debtors go out of their way to be mean and nasty in their attempts to avoid paying. They can be downright rude when you try to contact them. They have a tendency to be incredibly evasive. Some are aggressive, both verbally and physically. You just need to let it all roll off your back.
3. Knowledge of the Law
Succeeding in the judgment game requires a fundamental knowledge of state law. Remember that judgments are legal proceedings. Therefore, collection is governed by strict laws that courts are willing to enforce. If you don’t know the law, how are you going to know what you’re legally allowed to do?
It is also important to note that enforcement laws differ from state to state. If you were to operate in multiple states, you would have to familiarize yourself with the law in each one.
4. Research Capabilities
The average debtor in a civil case is not particularly cooperative about making payment. A lot of them go out of their way to avoid supplying information as requested. Some quit their jobs, move, and even hide their assets. All of this is to say that success requires research skills. Collection agencies need to know how to locate debtors and their assets. They have to know how to use the research tools at their disposal.
5. A Bit of Curiosity
Research skills are the starting point for tracking down debtors and their assets. But to maximize one’s research skills, a bit of curiosity is needed. You might see something strange and wonder why. You might pick up on a small clue that others have missed. One way or the other, your mind is always thinking about how you can use any little detail to find what you are looking for.
6. A Lot of Patience
Patience is the proverbial icing on the cake. Debtors rarely make things easy. Many of them seem to have a love affair with stall tactics. A collection agent with little patience will be easily frustrated and angered by debtors who like to play the waiting game. That could lead to actions the agent will later regret. On the other hand, patience almost always wins the day.
Judgment collection is one of a few interesting specialties within the greater collection industry. Not a lot of agencies specialize in it. Perhaps that’s because successfully collecting outstanding judgments requires a lot. If an agent doesn’t have what it takes, things are not going to work out.