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Where do you turn when you’re owed money?

What do you do when they don’t pay your bill?

That’s a sticky problem no one wants to encounter, yet it happens all the time: You sold expensive equipment to a company, and the bill hasn’t been paid. Your office staff has called. You’ve sent letters. You’ve waited. And still, you’re out the money. It’s affecting your bottom line.

Where can you turn?

A collection agency is your next stop, and there are plenty of choices out there, ready to help you get what is owed. Mark LeFevre wants you to choose Kearns Brinen & Monaghan Inc.

The 15-year-old company is the brainchild of LeFevre, who serves as president and CEO. The company is based in Dover, Delaware, with a second office in Greenville, South Carolina. It offers a spectrum of services to help companies collect the money they’re owed – while retaining the goodwill of the customer.
That’s a pillar of the Kearns Brinen & Monaghan business philosophy, LeFevre said, and it’s just one of the things he believes sets his company apart from the competition.

Most important, he said, is the company’s credentials.

“When I decided I wanted to start a company, I knew I wanted accreditation to have the credentials to stand out over our competition,” he said. “So, I patiently pursued and became a member of the International Association of Commercial Collectors (IACC). And I’ve found that if an agency isn’t a member, it’s because it can’t be a member. After that, I became a member of the Commercial Law League of America, which is similar to the IACC but leans more to the legal aspect of business and collections.”

Today, because of its performance in the industry, Kearns Brinen & Monaghan is one of only 29 agencies worldwide to have attained certification status with the IACC, LeFevre said. An agency must have a clean record, and that entails faithful remissions to clients. “Unfortunately, there are agencies that just don’t do that,” he said. “We’ve never missed it.” The certification status ensures potential clients that Kearns Brinen & Monaghan have avoided litigious issues and has no debtors, no class action lawsuits, no regulatory complaints or state violations. The company is also licensed and bonded in every state that requires it.

One of LeFevre’s other goals in founding the company was to provide the best return on the dollar for his clients. “I’m lucky to work with the best professionals in the industry – they truly are better than any team I know of – and we do get the best return on the dollar for our clients.”

In addition to a top-notch team that includes 68 attorneys across the country, Kearns Brinen & Monaghan gets the job done with advanced proprietary technology that LeFevre keeps close to the vest. “It took me 37 years to develop a system that works,” he said.

Although the staff is ready to help by phone, the company’s technology allows clients to place accounts, request information, and check progress on collections online.

The company’s approach to debt collection is almost holistic, coming at it from a problem-solving perspective, LeFevre said. 

“A lot of people can call someone and say ‘Pay your bill,’” he said. “But we look at why it hasn’t been paid so far. We talk to who they’re paying and not paying, and we find out why. Is the rent on time? Is payroll on time? Is there a loss of vehicles, suppliers, or vendors?

“We have systems that gather that information, and we know all this before the conversation starts. We look for solutions for what avenues can be taken to why and how they’ll be paid. Maybe there’s equipment that can be bartered or traded if you specialize in that.”
 
Then, LeFevre said, it’s time to pursue the debt.

“We go after the debtor. We find out why the debtor hasn’t paid them, and we take that reason and work out a way to get the matter resolved, looking at all the angles of what can be done: Consolidate vendors, or maybe you get rid of three cranes and get three less expensive cranes – you’re saving a slew of money and your cash flow will improve.”

With every step, the company is also looking out for the client in a proactive sense – keeping a collections situation from happening again. “We want to resolve the issues at hand, so we go deeper: How did this happen? What decisions were made that you have this group of folks that owe you money, and how can it be prevented? We help you fix the issue upfront, so you don’t have the problem again.”
Goodwill between creditors and debtors is another pillar of the company’s business philosophy, and it’s not surprising, then, that the goodwill extends to the community.

“We do a lot of local sponsorships, donations, and we’re involved with Pop Warner football and with youth basketball,” he said. “We like the idea of kids being active and having something like that to do after school. We’d rather see kids go out and play sports that they like because it builds character and keeps them busy.”
 
Come the holidays, Kearns Brinen & Monaghan pulls out all the stops. LeFevre dons a Santa suit and kicks off the company’s annual Santa Run. Employees join in and form a caravan of vehicles, police escort included, that travels to local shelters with donations and toys and concludes at the children’s floor of a local hospital.

At the shelters, LeFevre is always moved by the needs he sees. “What surprises me is the supplies they need,” he said. “They need clothes for interviews, and they need toiletries, even socks and pillowcases.”

But most moving, he said, is Santa’s visit to the hospital. “I would never want to miss the look on their faces.” Then, he said, “I like to take the beard off and close the door and chat with the family.”

In addition to commercial debt recovery, Kearns Brinen & Monaghan also provides services related to asset-liability investigations. Suppose, LeFevre said, you’ve been talking to a company that could be a big player for you. “We have tools to help you pull a credit report that will answer your questions about the company. We can send a representative out to view the business, to verify licensing, even to verify this is a business that exists. You’d be surprised how many times it turns out to be a PO box.”

In the end, it’s resolution and good will that Kearns Brinen & Monaghan is known for, LeFevre said. “We don’t go in with a hammer approach. When we get your issue resolved, they stay your customers. It’s our firm belief that doing business together is in their best interests: They know our client wants to get paid, and that makes for a healthy relationship.”

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