I regularly have call centres approach me telling me that they are not being paid by their clients. Whilst you will never stop bad payers altogether, you can reduce the amount quite dramatically with a number of simple steps.
1. Firstly, always due dilligence on the potential client. This means understanding their business and their financials. A credit check could help but it's typically more important to understand the client and their industry. There are many industries which use offshore call centres which aren't legitimate businesses. Processes known as "technical support" or "grants" processes are very dubious. They are typically based on ripping off the recipient of the telemarketing call. Do you really think that a company or individual who is prepared to rip off their customers will think twice about ripping off a call centre. Be very careful. Not only do these processes cause huge reputational damage to offshore call centres, they are bad business for you.
2. Secondly, keep the amount of credit to a minimum. UK call centres typically bill clients every month with 28 days to pay the invoice so you can basically be 2 months before you get paid. In international dealings, it is far more common to bill every 2 weeks with 14 days to pay. If a client doesn't pay, then reduce or stop the service.
3. Don't take on projects through intermediaries. The more people who touch your money, the less likely you are to get paid especially when you consider that these intermediaries are often very small businesses with no assets to claim against.
4. Get a contract. I believe that most offshore call centre projects don't have a signed contract in place with their client. Contracts needn't cost the earth to protect some of your rights.
5. Do the work properly. Several years ago, I helped a call centre who was owed over $100,000 by a client. I was asked to conduct an audit and discovered that many of the call centre agents had been making sales which could only be described as fraudulent. If you have an operation which doesn't have the correct procedures to manage a project correctly, don't be surprised when you don't get paid.
6. If you're in the right, take action. If you are owed money, you need to go through a process. When you have exhausted the informal process, you need to take legal action to recover your money but barely any call centres go through with it. The legal process in The UK may seem cumbersome and time consuming but is a fair system and one which "normally" means that the loser pays the legal costs. Many companies will make it difficult to claim but always remember that if you're in the right, you should win. Don't give up. For a small one-off-fee, we are happy to analyse your case, provide you feedback on the strength of your case and help make contacts if required. This is only available for UK based companies who have failed to pay you.