This edition of “Thriving in Third Party Collections” was conducted mainly with Richard Hoffman of Los Angeles Collection Service, Inc., but also includes insight from the principal collector at the agency (and Richard’s wife) Tyslia Hoffman.
1. How long have you been in the debt collection business?
On December 15th, we will be celebrating our 42nd year in business. We opened our doors on that date in 1975.
2. What is the biggest change in this industry since you started?
There have been many changes, but the biggest have been technology, communication, regulation and compliance.
3. How have you and your agency adapted?
Through diligence, perseverance, and workshops provided through the CAC and ACA.
4. What do you think has contributed to your longevity and success in this industry?
Honesty, integrity, and being upfront with clients. Also by being up-to-date with marketing tools, and through involvement in the community, having a network and working with great vendors. It’s important to work hard and persevere. Anyone who works hard can succeed in this business, but a good marketing program is also vital. For example, the BBB gave us an A+ rating. When people see this, they know you are trustworthy and they want to do business with you.
5. Where do you see the future of debt collections heading?
More regulated, more compliance, more technology. The key is educating people.
6. What is your proudest moment in business?
I’ve had many proud moments, such as being elected to serve on executive committee of the CAC and becoming President for 22 months. Being on the ACA International Board of Directors was another honor I was humbled by. I was also awarded “Unit Leader Of the Year” by the ACA and inducted into the IFCCA, which was another high honor. In 2011 I was also included in a list of the top 25 most influential collectors by Collector Magazine.
Another great moment was this year’s 100th anniversary of the CAC, where they held a dinner for all the past presidents of the organization. We were all really honored to be part of the evening and share our experiences with the group
7. In life?
The day I got married to my wife, the day I opened my business, and the day my kids were born were all great accomplishments. I have also really enjoyed meeting interesting people who become lifelong friends.
8. What PDCflow Products/Services have been most beneficial to your business? In what capacity?
(Tsylia): Any time we have a question or a problem, you solve it right away. It is great being able to get in touch with you any time we need to.
(Richard): You have a user friendly product that’s easy and simple to use. We mainly use credit card processing, but the support team is also great. They provide the training and education needed to use the products well. Everything you have given us has greatly increased our ability to do what we do. Your products and your technology are great, but it’s the service that really counts. On a rating of 1 to ten, we give you a 20.
9. What do you wish you could do with your payment processing that you can’t do today?
There are obviously things that we just can’t do now with payments, but more new technology is always coming down the pipe. It’s going to happen, and you (PDCflow) will be on the forefront.
10. If you weren’t at Los Angeles Collection Service what would you be doing?
I would probably be doing sales and marketing. It’s really about finding people with issues and solving their problems. I love being able to do that.
11. What resources are most valuable to you with staying up to date on the industry changes?
My greatest resources have been the CAC and the ACA. As a collector, they are your pipeline of information. They really have their thumb on the pulse of the industry.
12. What was the last great book you read or move/TV show you saw? Why was it great?
I’d like to talk about a great film I just watched called Hacksaw Ridge. It’s based on a true story about a conscientious objector. It is an incredible story about perseverance, inspiring you to press on and not give up.
13. What jobs did you have in high school or college and what lessons did you learn from them that you still put into practice today?
In college I worked in the business office of a hospital. We dealt with billing. It occurred to me later that it’s just what I’m doing today!
About Richard and Tsylia Hoffman
Los Angeles Collection Service, Inc. was founded over four decades ago in 1975. The office had one desk, one phone, and one shoebox of accounts, and Richard Hoffman was collecting for a single client. The aim was to create a small agency, but the business has had up to 35 employees at times. Now, Richard and his wife Tsylia have found even greater success in their collections by running a true “Mom and Pop” operation helmed by just the two of them.
Richard’s main responsibilities in the business are now focused on marketing the agency positively to new and existing clients. Tyslia handles day-to-day collections. Her warm demeanor and the duo’s dedication to treating consumers with respect and care has resulted in an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and a healthy agency poised for a long and successful future.
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