Election Day Trivia & Fun Facts

Posted on November 02, 2010 by Saldutti

You’ve studied the issues and cast your ballot. Now all that’s left to do is bide your time until the results start coming in.  To help you in that effort, we introduce some interesting voting/Election Day fast facts:

 What is the rule to determine the date of Election Day?

  • Election Day is the Tuesday on or after November 2nd

Why is Election Day the first Tuesday in November?

  • November was selected because the harvest work was done.
  • Tuesday was selected because many people had to travel the day before to reach the polling place. Since most people did not travel on Sunday for religious reasons, they did not want it to be on a Monday.
  • They did not want Election Day to fall on November 1st because it is All Saints Day.
  • They did not want Election Day to fall on the first of the month because many shop keepers did their books for the preceding month on the first.

When is the next Presidential Election Day?

  • Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Who was the Presidential candidate with highest popular vote?

  • Ronald Reagan in 1984 with 54,455,075 votes

Which Presidential candidate ran the most number of times?

  • Norman Thomas (Socialist Party) ran six times (1928, 1932, 1936, 1940, 1944, 1948)

Which Presidential candidate was elected, defeated, and then reelected?

  • Grover Cleveland was elected in 1884, defeated in 1888, and then reelected in 1892

When did women first have the right to vote?

  • In 1920, women were granted the right to go to the polls and vote

What did some people use as an excuse NOT to vote?

  • In a recent poll, more than 25% of the people who do not vote say they don’t have enough time in their day to vote. It’s an interesting sign of our times because voting is easier than it ever has been.  In fact, Idahoans can vote by mail ahead of Tuesday’s Election Day.

“Those who stay away from the election think that one vote will do no good: ‘Tis but one step more to think one vote will do no harm.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Perfect Credit Score – Myth or Legend?

Posted on October 19, 2010 by Saldutti

Unlike Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Fountain of Youth, a perfect credit score is actually not a myth.  According to FICO, the company that designed our current credit model, these overachievers do exist.

Craig Watts, senior PR manager for FICO, says that while most people score in the middle-to-low 700s on their credit scale, less than 1% of the U.S. population (about 1 million people) do, in fact, net a full score of 850.  These rare individuals “tend to be more conservative and a little older” Watts explains.  To reward their financial expertise, these credit elite are treated to the lowest annual percentage rates, the best credit card rewards programs and qualify more readily for large loans.

While a perfect credit score is a noble goal to try to achieve, credit professionals agree that it’s not necessary.  Those with a FICO score above 760 are typically privy to the same benefits as those with perfect credit.  However in today’s economic climate, even those scores can seem out of reach.  So what can you do to be included in this class of credit superstars?  Or at the very least, improve your credit score by a few points?

In addition to maintaining a positive payment history and a low debt to credit ratio, MainStreet, a division of TheStreet.com, has put together the following checklist:

  • A Long/Impressive Payment History with a Clean Record – The bulk of your credit score is determined by your payment history and the amount of debt you may or may not have currently on file. Unsurprisingly, those with perfect credit scores use credit regularly while paying it off on time, every time. They also have a squeaky clean record.  The credit elite have no debt to speak of – no liens, no bank repossessions, no settlements.
  • Maintain a Diverse Set of Accounts – Credit lines fall into two major categories. Installment accounts are closed-ended and require consumers to pay a fixed amount each month until the entire balance has been depleted (think mortgages or car loans). Revolving accounts limit the line of credit, but have balances that fluctuate (the credit cards in your wallet).  Top credit scorers have a careful balance of both accounts on record – for example a mortgage, a car loan and a few credit cards on file. 
  • “Well-Aged” Credit Report – Just like a fine wine or cheese, credit reports usually get better with age.  In addition to wisdom and experience, one more advantage to being older is that you tend to have a longer credit history.  Keep in mind, though, that it’s not your age, but the age of your oldest credit account on file that influences your overall score. As such, you may want to keep open that store charge card you opened up on your 21st birthday.
  • Very Limited Number of Credit Inquiries on Record – While having large number of credit card inquires on file won’t dramatically decrease your score, it can keep you from joining the credit elite, especially if several inquiries are recorded over a short period of time. Most credit professionals would advise that you refrain from opening up a litany of store accounts during the holiday season, no matter what type of discount the retailer is offering as an incentive to do so.  In other words, don’t risk your credit score to get a 10% discount at the mall.

The Importance of Philanthropy

Posted on October 12, 2010 by Saldutti

The act of philanthropy is a spiritual act, an expression of caring for one’s fellow human beings. It is a belief in the future and that the future can be good. It is investing in that future. It is helping to make the dream come true. ~ Arthur Frantzreb

With a slow economy and incresed need, Salvation Army officials have already begun to prepare for the holiday season.  Like the Salvation Army, other charitable organizations are gearing up for the holidays – a time when they typically get contributions that help them throughout the year.  Last year was tough for various community organizations.  The Salvation Army saw a large decrease in kettle donations in 2009.  The economy and bad weather hurt donations as did a lack of volunteers.

While there is a sharp decrease in charitable donations, many organizations have noted an increased need for food, support services, and other basic necessities.  As Americans struggling with rising unemployment and home foreclosures turn to charities for help, charities themselves are running into financial difficulties as donations dwindle.

In light of these challenges, charitable agencies are forging ahead.  They are being forced to increase their outreach, hold more fund-raising events and seek out new donors to make ends meet.

Charitable donations make sense for both individuals and corporate donors. The equity from your charity donation helps these noble organizations continue to benefit both your local community as well as numerous other causes.  While the feeling of generosity may be reward enough, you might also benefit from a tax deduction which can come in very handy at the close of the fiscal year. 

At Saldutti, LLC, we are committed to supporting charitable organizations – both local and national.  The firm recently announced its sponsorship of the Rangers Lead the Way Fund by participating in the ING New York City Marathon on November 7, 2010.  The non-profit organization was established to raise funds in support of disabled U.S. Army Rangers and the families of Rangers who have died, been injured or are currently serving around the world.  Here is just one example of how Lead the Way impacted a U.S. soldier’s family …

A U.S. Army Ranger was shot in Iraq.  As a result of his injuries, he was left brain dead and on life support in Germany.  It was the Ranger’s wish to donate his organs so he was transported rapidly to Walter Reed to turn off the life support and move forward with the donation process.  His mother was a single mom, and he was her only child. She wanted her father (his grandpa) to be at her side when the machine was turned off, but the government only pays for parents, spouses, and children to be flown for these end of life events.  It would have been a great hardship for the family to purchase a last minute ticket from Minnesota to Walter Reed.  However the Lead The Way Fund paid for the grandfather to fly and be by his daughter’s side when the life support machines were turned off.

For more information on the Lead the Way Fund or to join us in our sponsorship efforts by making a corporate donation, visit www.firstgiving.com/robertsaldutti.

Small Businesses Share Success Stories

Posted on October 05, 2010 by Saldutti

It’s no secret – money is tight is these days … for consumers, for employers, for businesses of all sizes.  However, small businesses are more likely to feel the pinch more as they lack the manpower and resources of larger companies.  More and more businesses are implementing strategies to speed up collections during difficult economic times.

Last week, we shared some of our tips to ensure debt collection success.  This week, we’d like to share some secrets from actual small businesses.  These companies have been able to reduce average collection periods on accounts receivable, resulting in increased cash flow.  As a whole, average collection periods have dropped from 78 days in 2009 to 74 days in the current year.  That’s down from a 10-year high of 82 days in 2008.

  •  Shorten your billing cycle by 15 days.  This worked for a Missouri-based engineering company that was able to increase their cash flow by 50% in 2009 by doing so.
  •  Focus on the entire business process: credit approval, billing processes, and collection efforts.  By doing so, you will maximize cash flow and minimize back-end collection efforts.
  •  Shorten the gap between the close of the accounting cycle and the day invoices are mailed.  Many companies have found success with this process.
  •  Save your invoices as a PDF and send as an attachment in an e-mail message.  If your email system permits, ask for a message confirmation reply to ensure that the email was received and opened.  A design firm based in California found that this strategy reduced collections by an average of 10 days.
  •  If you’re doing business with a company/customer that is too new or too small to have a credit record, require payment up front or implement COD deliveries.  This is a safe (and fair) way to conduct business until the company has a history of regular payments with you.
  •  Another way to deal with companies with no credit history is to require a down-payment of 50%, and/or periodic installment payments at certain milestones. Down-payments and installments work especially well for consultants and service providers, because you can discontinue work if the customer misses a payment.
  •  Offer discounts for early payment. Call or email the customer and ask if they can pay that day (or that week) if you give them a discount, and then get the money right away through wire transfer, PayPal or a credit card payment. While this process might require a fee, it is worth it to ensure a timely payment.
  •  Be on the lookout for signs of trouble. If you have trouble reaching someone by phone or email, take that as a negative sign. A sudden silence often signifies distraction and turmoil at the customer’s business. Discontinue services or future deliveries, and work fast to get any outstanding invoices paid.
  •  Create a watch list for slow-paying companies/customers by staying on top of your receivables.  Locate those with the weakest payment history and take action faster with them.  Call within 3 to 5 days of a missed due date.
  •  Utilize ProcessAway, a charge card terminal for the iPhone. The mobile application turns the devices into portable card-charge terminals. The service links to a payment processing system which enables the Apple device user to accept credit payments anywhere there’s Internet access. Customers receive an e-mail receipt for each transaction.  This is particularly good for on-site workers (plumbers, electricians, craft show businesses, etc.)

Secrets to Getting Paid

Posted on September 29, 2010 by Saldutti

Hate collecting your money? Join the crowd. Recent OPEN Small Business Network Polls from American Express shows accounts receivables is the top cash flow concern of small business owners.  You started your business to make a difference, to delight a customer, to express your vision, not to become the bank of choice for your customers.

Handling the debt collection process is a responsibility of successful business ownership. Too many small businesses place aging receivables and collections as a low priority. It’s important to monitor your cash flow and aging receivables on a monthly basis or more. It’s ok to write off bad debt, but in the end, it’s your business savvy to handle the matter that will impact your growth.

So what is a business owner to do?  Here are some suggestions, secrets and other tips to ensure debt collection success.

Plan Ahead

  • Create a Credit Policy: Review our previous blog posts, Credit Policy … Take Two (September 21, 2010), Credit Q&A (September 14, 2010), and The Importance of a Solid Credit Policy (January 26, 2010)
  • Run a Credit Report: Reduce your overdue accounts by running a credit check on your potential business client before the deal is done. Expect to spend at least $30 on a Dun & Bradstreet report. D&B uses self-reported data but adds credibility by including: banking data from company suppliers, bankruptcy filings, media sources, suits, liens, and judgments.
  • Check References: Any small business planning to sign a “big deal” would be advised to run trade and bank reference checks. Simply inquiring with your potential client’s or partner’s bank can reveal important banking relationship information and how they have maintained their accounts.

Send a Collection Letter

  • Take a Positive Stance: Don’t take it personal if your customers aren’t paying the bills. Explore why the bill is late. It could be your client simply forgot. Provide a gentle reminder immediately following the due date.
  • Increase Directness Gradually: One of the secrets of collection letter mastery is to gradually increase the assertiveness of the letter over time. Your first letter is positive and helpful, the third collection letter may show concern for their situation, and so it builds.
  • Use Multiple Channels: In today’s electronic age, handling your entire invoicing and collection letter sending by email is simple and quick. It also can ensure your correspondence is buried in an overstuff inbox and low priority. Use additional means of sending out your collection letter correspondence including faxes, phone calls, regular mail, and courier.

Empower the Right People

  • Make an Executive Decision:  As a small business owner the temptation is great to have the sales people handle accounts receivables. It’s better to assign one person to the task and provide proper support, training, and incentive.
  • Call in the Heavy Hitters: After numerous calls and collection letter correspondence you’ll reach a point where the account is long overdue. Bring in a collection professional to handle these delinquent clients. Spending too much time and resources can be draining on your operations.

Hire the Right Team

  • Collection Agency vs. Legal Collection Firm: While both collection agencies and law firms can collect debt in a suitable manner, a legal collection firm does have significant advantages.  While both may use similar techniques in the beginning, a letter or phone call from a lawyer will likely prove more intimidating than one from a collection agent.  However if a payment is still not received, a legal collection firm can protect a creditor by promptly proceeding with litigation.
  • An Extension of Your Business: Whether you opt for a collection agency or legal collection firm, think of these associates as an extension of your company.  Their professionalism and courtesy (or lack thereof) will ultimately reflect on your business and could alter your reputation among your customers.  It is crucial to select a reputable firm, preferably one that is a member of at least one trade group such as the American Collectors Association (ACA International), Commercial Law League of America (CLLA), or the Commercial Collection Agency Association (CCAA).
  • Don’t Ignore FDCPA: There are laws and regulations as to how collection professionals can go about collecting debt. Debt collectors cannot lie to, mislead, or harass your customers. Make sure the collection specialists you select abide by the Fair Debt Collections & Practices Act (FDCPA).  See post The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (February 10, 2010) for more information.   

Credit Policy … Take Two!

Posted on September 21, 2010 by Saldutti

Because we feel that a Credit Policy is an invaluable tool (and a necessity in today’s unstable economic environment), we’ll further expand on last week’s post.

By definition, a credit policy is simply “clear, written guidelines that set (1) the terms and conditions for supplying goods on credit, (2) customer qualification criteria, (3) procedure for making collections, and (3) steps to be taken in case of customer delinquency.

Every business that doesn’t accept payment at the time of the sale must have a credit policy in place or they run the risk of losing money.  This doesn’t have to be a slow and painful process.  In today’s world, people have come to expect convenience and speed – and your customers are no different.  Here are a few tips to make your credit policy quick and simple:

  1. Make it easy  – have packets paper-clipped together at the front desk; include the credit application, automatic payment permission forms and anything else you want filled out before opening an account.
  2. Make it quick – have these packets ready and waiting for anyone who comes in.  Have pens and clip boards available so they can be filled out immediately.
  3. Make it painless – have your customer wait and run the credit application while they are still there or respond to them within a reasonable period of time (24 – 48 hours).

Additionally, here are some helpful Do’s and Don’ts when it comes to Credit Policies:

THE DO’s

  • DO develop a credit and collection policy if you are going to offer credit to your customers. Planning ahead and knowing how things are going to work will save you a lot of time and energy later.
  • DO be sure that your credit policy meets your cash flow needs. Be sure that you have enough money coming in from your invoices to pay your company’s bills to its vendors.
  • DO try to talk to your customer in person or on the phone about his or her past due bill. It is much easier to ignore a bill or reminder notice than a person.
  • DO ask your customer to give you a specific date when the payment will be made when you talk to him or her about a past due bill.
  • DO listen to your customer’s reason for not paying the bill. If there is a problem that your company can fix, you should do so.
  • DO contact your attorney regarding your credit and collection policy. Your attorney will be able to advise you regarding state and federal laws applicable to collection matters.

THE DON’Ts

  • DON’T let customer obligations “slide” without taking any collection action. The longer that you let an account go, the harder it will be to collect.
  • DON’T get angry if your customer makes excuses for not paying. Instead, calmly ask the customer for a promise of when he or she will be making payment, and in what amount.
  • DON’T have the person who sold the product be the one to collect the debt. The sales person will usually not have the ability to be impartial.
  • DON’T threaten to turn the account over for collection unless that is what you are actually going to do.

Credit Q&A

Posted on September 14, 2010 by Saldutti

Do you have a question about credit or collections?  Do you need advice on how to handle a late-paying customer?  Do you have concerns about your credit application?

Email us with your concerns – and we’ll post your questions, along with our response, on a future blog post or in upcoming newsletters.  Contact us at newsletter@saldutticollect.com.

Q&A – Creating a Credit Policy

One of the most frequent questions we receive from our clients pertains to their credit policies.  We’ve discussed in a previous post how crucial it is to implement a credit policy (see The Importance of a Solid Credit Policy), particularly in today’s tight economy.  If your business doesn’t currently have a credit policy, or if it just needs a fresh update, consider these 12 steps in creating a sound and effective policy:

  1. First and foremost, you must understand its purpose.  A credit policy is essentially just a consistent set of rules for deciding which of your customers is credit-worthy.
  2.  Decide on how much of your cash you are willing to set aside to cover credit purchases. Essentially, you are financing purchases with cash out of the company’s pockets. Don’t allocate so much of your capital for credit that your company has to borrow money to cover its ongoing expenses.
  3.  List the factors you will consider when deciding whether to give a customer credit.
  4.  Consider how much credit you are willing to extend to individual customers. Start all but your most credit-worthy customers with lower amounts that build as they prove their ability to pay on time.
  5.  Decide on your credit terms, including the length of time for which credit will be offered, how late paying customers will be notified, the penalties for late payments and when you will write off bad debts.
  6.  Have your credit policy written up (or at a minimum reviewed) by a professional collection attorney.
  7.  Put the policy into practice. Apply your credit rules to all customers. Enforcing the rules inconsistently is not only bad for business, but also illegal.
  8.  Test your credit policy in real time. Track the results looking for the impact credit has on your sales and cash reserves.
  9.  Analyze the data. Look for trends which may indicate if your policy is too strict or too lax.
  10.  Revise your credit policy based on your findings. If you are having too many slow or no-pays, or if too much of your money is being tied up in credit, create new guidelines.
  11.  Experiment with using incentives to balance out your cash and credit sales. Offer discounts for paying with cash if you have too many credit customers. Extend low interest rates to your good credit customers to encourage them to spend more using credit.
  12.  Monitor your sales constantly. Tweak your credit policy as necessary to keep it an efficient tool for increasing sales.

Show Me the Money!

Posted on September 07, 2010 by Saldutti

According to a recent Experian report, the national average number of days that businesses paid their bills beyond contracted terms increased by 2% in July compared with June. When compared with six months ago, the average payment beyond contracted terms has increased by 3.3%. The Experian report also showed that the national average dollars delinquent and dollars severely delinquent (91 or more days) are up (6% and 13%, respectively) when compared with six months ago.

If your business is owed money, there are many ways to handle the situation – as we have discussed in numerous posts.  However one of the most easy – and effective – solutions is to simply pick up the phone.

In addition to reviewing the FDCPA guidelines (see our post, “Taking Matters You’re your Own Hands” for more info), here are 10 important Do’s and Don’ts that can help ensure successful telephone collection.

10 Telephone Collection Do’s

  1. Do know the details of the account – what amount is due, for what products/services, and when it was due.
  2. Do have positive expectations of every call.
  3. Do identify yourself and the person you are speaking with – every time you call.
  4. Do maintain control of the conversation; stay calm and professional.
  5. Do insist on payment – in full – unless other arrangements are necessary and acceptable to you.
  6. Do listen – make the customer feel he has your undivided attention.
  7. Do follow the “Golden Rule” – treat the customer the way you would like to be treated.
  8. Do document all details of the call, especially if there is a dispute.
  9. Do set specific follow-up dates with the customer.
  10. Do maintain a good relationship with the customer.

10 Telephone Collection Don’ts

  1. Don’t eat, drink or chew when speaking on the phone.
  2. Don’t use a speakerphone when talking with a customer.
  3. Don’t put the customer on hold, unless absolutely necessary.
  4. Don’t take a negative attitude. Do not use the words “can’t”, “won’t” or “don’t”.
  5. Don’t threaten, shout at, curse, or hang up on the customer – no matter how he/she behaves.
  6. Don’t interrupt the customer.
  7. Don’t accuse the customer of lying.
  8. Don’t give the customer an excuse for non-payment.
  9. Don’t consent to smaller payments without knowing all the facts.
  10. Don’t overlook alternate sources for obtaining payment – guarantors, owners (if it’s a sole proprietorship or partnership), etc.

Money 101: Life Lessons for Kids

Posted on September 01, 2010 by Saldutti

Did you know …

  • The average college graduate has nearly $20,000 in debt?
  • Nearly one in five 18 to 24year-olds is in “debt hardship?”
  • Undergraduates are carrying record-high credit card balances – the average (mean) balance is $3,173?

Now more than ever before, it is vital that we teach our teens and young adults about credit.  One of the reasons so many Americans seem mired in bad debt is that financial education is practically nonexistent.  The life lessons we have learned through the years are not regularly taught in schools.  While access to credit might be harder to acquire now than in the height of the credit card boom, half of college undergrads had four or more cards (according to a 2009 Sallie Mae survey).  Teenagers are also more susceptible to consumer fraud due to today’s technology and a general lack of experience in the financial world.  Young Americans don’t realize just how much damage a bad credit score can do and how it will force them to put some of their future dreams – owning a home or car, starting a business, or even getting job – on hold.

Here are a few tips for teenagers to consider before they step into the “real world.”

Encourage Financial Responsibility – Young adults who are still living at home and make money through a part-time job have ample opportunities to spend their money.  More often than not, they chose to spend on entertainment, transportation, apparel or other tangible items because they don’t have major obligations such as a mortgage, electricity or water bill.  It’s important to teach teens how to prepare themselves to make major decisions involving money and consumer transactions. An ideal time to do this is while you’re paying the monthly bills.  Let them review your cable and utility bills with you so they have an idea of what’s in store for them when they move into their first apartment.  Involve your teen but letting them assist you in reconciling your bank statement.

Teach Good Debt vs. Bad Debt – It is imperative that your children know the difference between good debt (debt that’s used to buy assets that grow in value over time) and bad debt (debt that’s used to buy things that will lose value) early on.  See our August 10th blog post for more on this subject.

Give an Allowance – Starting in kindergarten, give your children a weekly or monthly allowance and offer them the opportunity to perform extra jobs around the house for money. According to the 2010 Charles Schwab Families & Money survey, 53% of parents whose children had four or more regular chores while growing up considered their now young adult children to be “very financially responsible,” compared to 46% of parents whose children had one to three regular chores, and 39% of parents whose children had no chores. The more chores they did, the better the kids were with money (at least in the parents’ eyes). I’m sure many of us who ever did chores for an allowance can remember how it helped teach the meaning of a dollar.  Refrain from constantly buying them things and show them how to make choices with their own money-buying decisions.

Open a Savings Account – Encourage your children to save by opening a savings account.  Ask them to put a percentage of their monthly income into it as well as a portion of monetary gifts received throughout the year, for holidays, birthdays, graduation, etc.  If possible, offer to make a contribution once it reaches a certain amount or even match their donation.  Let them watch their savings and interest grow by reviewing their bank statements.

Get to Know Us – The Good Debt Collectors

Posted on August 19, 2010 by Saldutti

When times are tough there are always certain companies that thrive based on their business model.  From discount retailers to fast food restaurants, health care firms to tobacco companies, some businesses are riding out the financial storm in good shape.  Another sector that is usually over looked is the debt collection business.

During the recession, debt collection firms were in high demand as the default percentage on loans surged. Initially it was more difficult for firms to collect but now that the U.S. is slowly showing signs of a recovery, collection rates are improving.  Hence, the account receivables industry is predicting future growth.  According to a recent survey, 39% of collection agencies reported that they will be adding jobs in 2Q 2010. 

The debt collection industry is practically recession-proof and has done its part in chipping away at the high unemployment rate.  So why are we continually perceived as “the bad guys?”

A July internet news story titled Payback? Consumer Lawsuits Against Bill Collectors Skyrocket, provides an important perspective on the challenges faced by debt collection firms. While the issue of collectors being overly aggressive is legitimate, the reality is that there are other factors contributing to the rise in consumer complaints and lawsuits.

As we’ve said in previous posts, any reputable and professional collection firm opts to be part of a trade group such as the National Association of Retail Collection Attorneys (NARCA), Commercial Law League of America (CLLA) or Association of Credit and Collection Professionals (ACA International).  Members of these groups adhere to a stringent code of ethics that requires both respect for the law and respect for consumers’ rights. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and individual state laws regulating the industry are the law. Debt collectors who disrespect consumers and break the law should indeed be held accountable.

When complaints or questions do arise, most collection firms will work quickly to resolve the issue.  The trade groups are continually working with the Federal Trade Commission and state regulators to better assess consumer complaints and to ensure that, as an industry, they better understand and diligently address them. According to the Council of Better Business Bureau’s 2009 data, the collection industry resolved 85% of the complaints it had received, compared to the average of 73.8% among all industries tracked by the BBB.     

It is truly a shame that some of these “bad eggs” taint a profession that benefits our nation’s economy. Recovering money owed to creditors is essential. Typically, U.S. businesses write off more than $140 billion in consumer debt. Debt collection firms are able to recover more than $40 billion of that. The collection industry directly and indirectly employs more than 300,000 people with a payroll of more than $11.5 billion.

If you’re in the market for collection assistance, we can assure you that there are many “good guys” out there.  In addition to collection rates and fees, make sure that the company is affiliated with at least one professional trade association.  Also, a collection law firm will always be able to take those additional legal steps if necessary.  Don’t immediately write off a law firm due to the perceived high price tag.  In addition to blended arrangements and flat-fee rates, Saldutti, LLC will work on a contingency basis allowing us to share the risk with our clients.