Selecting a Reliable Commercial Vendor – Doing Your Due Diligence

When selecting a commercial vendor, it is important to feel confident that you are entering into a contract with a trustworthy company.  As the nation’s leading provider of data solutions to the multifamily housing industry, CIC is committed to helping clients vet companies before entering into business agreements.

Evaluating business credit data is an essential part of the vendor selection process. This allows you to analyze any financial risks before entering into a contractual agreement and hiring outside services. Conducting research before agreeing to work with a new vendor can save you a lot of heartache and money in the back-end, by avoiding contractor fraud, poor workmanship, or a vendor on the brink of bankruptcy.

As an authorized reseller of Experian®, CIC provides clients with a variety of background reports on more than 27 million credit-active public and private U.S. companies, including international businesses.   Like personal credit scores, business credit scores provide a quick view of risk potential based on where the score falls on the scale – the higher the score, the lower the risk.

What information is included?

Experian’s most robust report, BusinessIQ Premier Profile, provides “quick glimpse” views and comprehensive details related to business payment performance,  public record history and company background so you can quickly and precisely determine the creditworthiness and reliability of a business.  Included are an OFAC screen, credit risk score with quarterly score trend, average days beyond terms to indicate how timely a business pays its bills, any bankruptcies, tax liens, judgments, collection activity, banking and government loan information, and uniform commercial code filings – in an easy-to-ready format.

Do I need the vendor’s permission?

No.  Written or verbal authorization is not required to access a company’s business credit report so long as personal credit data on the owner is excluded.

Get vendor references from those you trust.

Before working with a company, it is a good idea to talk with their current clients about the vendor’s values, work ethic, standards, reliability and trustworthiness.  In construction ask to see examples of their work.  Conduct an online search for reviews and check the company’s standing with the Better Business Bureau, the Secretary of State and the state’s licensing board.   In addition to soliciting references, shopping around and having multiple written bids provides you with options for comparison.

Keep documents and written records.

Do not pay vendors in cash and keep detailed records of any financial transactions. It is important to have a written contract or work order containing the specific details of the arrangement and have a documented plan in place for any additional changes that may occur.

Additional considerations for construction projects.

If working with a contractor for construction or renovations, it is also highly recommended that you keep photos and maintain detailed records of correspondence. Photos should include before, during and after the project is completed for protection should a problem arise. The contract should include materials being used and a plan of action for handling warranties after construction. Finally, it is recommended that you refrain from making final payments until the project is successfully completed.

Protect your company, protect yourself.

Experian’s business credit tools are used to mitigate unnecessary financial risks. It’s important to continuously monitor and analyze credit for your business. Lower risk makes it easier to obtain loans and increase credit lines, which means more for your bottom line. Remember, taking the time to identify and avoid unwanted risk, can help you properly identify responsible vendors.

For more information.

CIC remains committed to protecting clients through superior data and information services. To learn more about vetting commercial vendors by obtaining business credit reports through CIC’s industry-leading data solutions, click here or call 888-316-4242 to speak with an expert.

By: Laura Mowry