Settling Up With Customers
Tuesday morning of each week will begin an extremely busy two-day period for you and possibly any employees working with you. It is “settle-up day,” and all customers who are at or above their settle-up figure must be seen to zero their account. This is when you pay and collect, and it is usually the only time you see your customers face-to-face.
One of the questions people ask is, “Why Tuesday?” It’s not just an arbitrary decision, and it actually goes against what most bookies do, as the majority use Monday as settle-up day. Their reasoning is that Monday begins a new week on the calendar and that’s when we begin our week, too. Others feel that after a complete weekend of games, more customers will be above their figure, either paying or collecting, than at any other time of the week. Whatever their reasons, most bookies are wrong.
The main reason you will begin seeing your customers on Tuesday instead of Monday is the same reason behind most of my decisions: profit.
The only reason I was in this game was to put cash in my pocket, and settling on Tuesdays in much better for that purpose. The reasons? Well, you need to start with some of the basic truths about sports gambling. The first of those is that, at any given time, you will have more of your customers owing you money than vice versa. Given that, you need to remember that on the last night of the gambling week, customers who are down will almost always bets just enough to get under their figure, and thus avoid having to pay you. Since we know that most customers play favorites, you are now in a very powerful position. You have desperate people calling to gamble on sports, and you already know who they want to bet on and how much they are going to wager. You should take great advantage of this situation, and you do that by adjusting the lines.
If your settle-up day is Monday, then the last day for customers to get under their figure is Sunday, and nearly every team in every sport plays on Sunday. It is much harder to tweak the lines when there are 45 games than if you make the last day of your week Monday, when there is only one game in town, and you can do much more effective job adjusting the lines with only one game. Go ahead and check the MLB schedules. Almost like clockwork, the leagues cut Monday games in half once football season begins.
If the last day of your week is Monday, this works to your advantage. You should increase the line on the favorite by a half-point from the outset. If the Monday night game has Dallas as a 9-point favorite at home versus New Orleans and that is the only game available, every customer who is down will come rolling in on Dallas. People who owe money and are about to wager even more money to try and get out of the hole are not prone to making that desperate “I have to win!” bet on a team that is supposed to get its ass kicked. It just doesn’t happen. Go ahead and make it 9.5. Many of those customers will pay double juice to buy it back down to where it was supposed to be in the first place, so at the very least you have just earned a potential extra 10% from many of them if Dallas fails to cover.
Regardless of whether they do buy the half-point, however, when you login to your account you will see many bets coming in early to bet on Dallas. Why do they want to so desperately get their bet in on Dallas as soon as possible? Because loser, degenerate gamblers are at least astute enough to know that everybody else who is down is also going to play Dallas, and they want to get the Cowboys before you move it up 10 or 10.5. By early evening, approximately 75% of your bets have already being on the favorite.
Your smart callers, the ones who know you inflated the line because all the losers will play the favorite, also know that the volume of betting you are sure to get on Dallas will cause you to raise the line even further. They want to bet New Orleans and thus, won’t until the last minute. How do you react to that? Beginning about half an hour before game time, change the line back down to 9. Like clockwork, every week I changed lines at those times.
By doing that I beat the customers based on the simple fact that the night before settle-up only exaggerates people’s betting habits and none of this is possible if, during football season, your week ends on Sunday.
Another reason you will not want to end your week on Sunday is because of the sheer number of wagers you will have to process on Sunday night/early Monday morning. On settle-up day, you need to be up and doing business by 7 A.M. You won’t feel like doing much of anything if you have stayed up until 4 doing the paperwork on an entire Sunday’s worth of games. However, using our pay per head service, all games are graded instantly by computers so you wouldn’t have this problem.
Settling on Tuesday will give your customers who are way in the hole an entire day to visit their financial institution, thus eliminating one of the most popular excuses for not having cash to pay their debts. Additionally, many holidays occur on Mondays, and if you are running around town trying to see people at their places of business and those businesses are closed, no money goes into your pocket. Memorial Day, Labour Day and MLK day as well as a host of others, are observed on Monday. Again, we are in this to make a tax-free, cash income, and settling on Tuesday is best for that purpose.
Many of your customers will have a preference for where they want to pay or collect. Many don’t mind if you stop by their office, while some always meet you in the Sears parking lot near the package pick up lane. Regardless, you will always pay any customers due to collect as early as possible on Tuesday morning. People get jumpy if they are owed money and think for even the slightest reason that you are trying to get out of paying them. Those due money are the ones at the top of your list to see.
While taking care of those customers, you also need to call any sub-agents and tell them which of their customers need to be seen and how much is due to be paid to or collected from them. As the sub-agents go about the business of paying and collecting, they should get in touch with you after each transaction so that you can make the appropriate changes in your account. Tuesdays involve a lot of calling, a lot of updating, and most important, a lot of money. Be professional and work your rear end off on Tuesdays. You players will notice and many will try to repay the courtesy when it’s their turn to pay.
Even though Tuesdays will find you with 20 or so people who need to be paid (based on a 200-customer business), most likely that will consume your entire day. Some of the sub-agents will also need to be seen, as they may either need to get some money from you if one of their customers had a particularly good week and they don’t have the available cash, or if they have just collected $10,000 o $12,000, for example, and want to go ahead and divide that up. Either way, you will have customers to see in person, as well as employees. Start early and get your customers paid.
The slightly more tiresome exercise will begin on Tuesday night and continue through Wednesday, as you now start collecting from those who owe. It will be more tiresome as you will have 5 or 6 times as many people to see and depending on the quality of people you have on your paysheet, it could continue well past Wednesday. There is a very important point to be made here. The ease with which you will collect is directly related to the type of people you are doing business with. Professional, well-educated, well-paid sports fans like to gamble as much as anyone else, and they give you the best chance of getting paid what you are owed. Understand that there is a huge difference between a customer having the money to pay and the customer actually paying, but if you subscribe to the idea of “surround yourself with good people,” you do increase your odds.
Most customers think that the bookie is making tons of money (and they are right, actually), so “my not paying this little $1,200 I owe is no big deal.” While $1,200, for example, should never make a noticeable difference in your cash flow, it is kind like littering. One person dropping a trash bag out the window may not seem like much, but if a big deal is not made about it then everybody will start throwing them out of the window and pretty soon you have made the Indian cry.
Most of your customers either know or work with other customers and if someone has shown an unwillingness to pay, you can adopt the “I owe your co-worker Steve $1,200 and you owe me the same. You just pay him, and I will zero both you out on the paysheet.” Steve is the guy’s buddy. He can be much more of a pain in the ass (and get away with it) than can you. The bottom line is that most of your customers should pay their debts, but some don’t. They may tell you they can get it to you next week, or next month when they get their bonus, or blah, blah, blah. The best thing you can do is continue to pay in full and on time and never give the customers any justification for withholding payment from you.
If 8 to 10 of your players all work at the same restaurant or law firm or hotel or whatever, you should have one of that group of people as the point man for all those accounts. You will call him on Tuesday morning and run down all the figures for the people at the location. When you arrive there, you can just meet him and he will give you an envelope with the net losses for the entire group, or you can give him an envelope if the group is a net winner for the week (not likely). This is just extending the Steve example from above by several people, though it is not done out of effort to collect a bad debt.
This is a way you can zero out 10 accounts by seeing one customer. At the end of the season, the customer who does this for you will usually get a small amount of cash in a separate envelope that is his to keep. If he is a typical player (wagering $100 to $200 a game) and you give him $500 for having done this each Tuesday during the season, he will think it’s all the money D.C ever printed. Sometimes he will ask you to just start his account for the next season as +500. Hey, no problem, he will lose it, probably within the first week.
Sometimes a customer who has seen you every Wednesday for 2 years may call you on a Wednesday morning to say he needs to see you on Thursday, instead. Many times he will, in fact, see you on Thursday… until probably the next weekend, at which time he will suggest rolling over the figure until the next week. Usually a player who doesn’t call all week will precede his suggestion to roll it over by telling you he has been out of town all week or his mother is sick or she is dead but is getting better or the dog ate his homework or any one of many other excuses you care equally little about. He is lying, and you know he is lying and this is probably one of the worst jobs of lying in the history of lying, but you know what? The player actually thinks he has come up with something that you have never heard before and that you really believe him. Strange how no one who is ever up a ton of money suddenly has to go out of town and can’t see you.
Occasionally, you will have customers wanting to give you checks. Proceed with caution, as checks leave paper trails. This is another instance of when you feel like reminding the customer of how you always pay him on time, in full and in cash. It’s OK to say to want to say this, just don’t say it. Depending on how good a relationship you have with this player, you may want to accept the check and have no fears of it bouncing or leading any type of law enforcement to you. I had one customer who owed 51 auto parts stores and routinely wrote me checks for $20,000 to $25,000. No problem there. For the most part, however, remind the customer that cash is always the right color, the right pattern, fits perfectly, never needs to be returned and is the preferred way of doing business.
When collecting money, treat people the way you would like to be treated. Be reasonable, be fair, be willing to set up payment plans if need be. Do not only think that you have “always paid them when they were owed and never been late…” That will only anger you, and you do stupid things when you are angry. If somebody is down $4,000 and doesn’t have it but wants to start payment plans of $200 a week, then you should do it.
Realistically, you will probably get about 3 or 4 payments and then he will need to skip a week because things are tight and then you won’t get any more from him ever again. The $800 you got is $800 more than nothing. Be grateful you got that much.
During one football season,, we wrote off more than $300,000 in bad debt from customers who we then cut loose and refused to accept any more action from. Sounds like a ton of money that you are owed and people simply refuse to pay, doesn’t it? That season we were winners to the tune of 1.1 million from August 1st through the Super Bowl, less $300,000 in deadbeats. After paying expenses and bonuses from the remaining $800,000, I sacked away my share of the profits for those 6 months – $513,000. Most of your customers will pay in cash, on time and in full, but some won’t. When dealing with bad debt, keep your eyes on the forest.