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Dr. "G"

I've started a new business. What is the maximum late fee I can charge on delinquent accounts?

Should I charge a straight fee or a percentage? Is there someplace I can look to get the law on this? I called the State of Oregon Corporation Division and they did not know, nor could they refer me to anyone.

You can charge anything you like, as long as you state it in your initial contract. I've seen people charge anywhere from 5%-20% per month. Our business we charge 15% per month. You may want to look up what your industry standard is.

Goodbye, Cruel World:

skoosha is basically correct. However, some businesses often have restrictions, such as housing. You may need to find the bureaucrats in Oregon specific to your business.

You need to protect your cash flow. Too low and you will not cover your own costs, such as needing to borrow on receivables or hiring a collection agency. Too high and people who would pay may try to walk away or force you to go to court.

A monthly percentage probably matches your needs and is very typical. However, you could have two tiers -- a flat fee for the first month and then a percentage after that. The flat fee covers the extra cost of sending out additional statements, etc. The percentage covers your financing costs plus.

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