Question about ABC Company from Timbuktu - a lesson about diligence
I keep seeing posts asking for feedback about a company that "just contacted me and promised me all kinds of work." I hope your due diligence and research are not limited to posting on a random forum filled with random folks who may or may not have your best interest at heart.
Here are some tips to learn about researching FNC (New Client):
1) Use Google and the search feature on this forum and read the information critically (assume it may or may not be true)
2) Ask for at least 3 vendor references - other vendors who work for them (expect to get vendors in other service areas - they don't want to put you in touch with local competition). If FNC is above-board they will provide this information. If FNC is shady, they will try to find any way to avoid providing references - they may cite some BS reason such as confidentiality, don't buy it. You are a creditor for FNC and you have every right (in fact, you have a duty to your organization) to investigate their practices before extending them any credit. Of course, when they give you references, they will cherry-pick vendors who are their closest allies - that's fine - go back to point #1 - take in the information graciously but critically
3) REVIEW the contract - a contract that covers every contingency in FNC's favor is a sign - you decide what that means to you and if the risk/reward ratio is favorable to you. Chances are good, if FNC has a bulletproof contract, that they can find a way to burn you at-will.
4) If FNC called out of the blue and they are desperate for you to start right away, don't rush in because of their sense of urgency - you are forging a new relationship and quality relationships take time to build. Just because they have 2000 lawns in your region doesn't mean it's your responsibility to cover that work and extend x-amount of credit. It may be a legitimate opportunity, or not. Why are they desperate? Who are they doing the work for? Is the entire supply chain reliable? If FNC's clients don't pay then you will certainly be left holding the bag.
5) There may be a good reason FNC is calling right now - grass cut season starts, for the most part, on April 1st. FNC may have just found out that they have thousands of lawns and they need coverage ASAP. It may be a good opportunity, or not - problem is, you may not know for sure until 6 months or a year from now, after you have been paid and the chargebacks have worked their way through the system.
Why do I care? Chances are good that if you are new in the business and you don't know anything about FNC then you will get burned. I don't like to see honest, hard-working people get burned.