In sitting down to write this Blog, I tried to think of a business that doesn’t have customers. I can’t come up with one – if you can, send me an email and let me know. If you don’t have customers, well then, read some of the old Blogs because this one is not meant for you.
It is important for you to know who your customer is, particularly if you provide credit to that customer.
I am not talking about the marketing aspect of what your customer expects, who they follow on Twitter, etc. I’m talking about legally: who is your customer.
If your customer is a corporation, ask for copies of the Article of Incorporation: this will give you the exact legal name as well as prove that the person representing the corporation has authority to do just that.
If your customer is a partnership, as a for a copy of the Partnership Registration: this will give you the name of the individuals who are personally responsible for the liabilities of the Partnership – i.e. who you will sue if things go wrong.
If your customer is an individual: get a copy of their Driver’s License – this will help you track them down if they go missing with your unpaid goods.
Sometimes who the customer is gets complicated, often because the customer representative doesn’t understand that themselves. For example, a Canadian Subsidiary of a USA Company … who is the customer? Well, legally speaking, that depends on how the Canadian Subsidiary is set up. It may be worth the price of contacting our firm to talk through a specific customer in this situation to ensure that legally, you have contracted with the right party.
Doing the research up front reduces the likelihood that you will lose money in the future.