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mcwlandscaping
01-01-2006, 08:37 PM
How does it look guys? Made it up last night, i think it looks more professional than my last one (im not even gonna show that one!!lol)

Any input would be greatly appreciated

Thanks

Mike W

SodKing
01-01-2006, 08:56 PM
Fine for a young person. It is all business though, you should have an announcement area, an upsell area, color...nice note area, (in no particular order)

MMLawn
01-01-2006, 10:56 PM
Okay for a young person that isn't truly a business. The real problem is that it looks like you made it in a word processing type program so there is no way to track payments/non-payments/year to date totals etc. For that you'll either need a true accounting program such as QB, a true Invoicing program (they're cheap like $30) or set up an Excel spreadsheet.

Also at teh bottom you have "Fully payment due..." and it should be Full Payment due....

mcwlandscaping
01-01-2006, 11:49 PM
MMlawn, thank you, i will be adding color and such, it is a word document. I track things by using excel and also i print out two bills and save one for my records and then record on it when the payment was recieved.

I have been looking into QB and Gopher quite a bit, i really like Gopher due to the amount of things you can do with it (advertising, billing, work record, etc.)

SODKING:
What is an upsell area, is that where you include services and such so they will see other things you offer when they are reading the bill?
Also, what do you mean by announcement area?

Thanks guys for the replys!!

qualitylawnmanagement
01-01-2006, 11:51 PM
Looks good mike! Mls huh thats my name too. I just don't know if I want to have LCI as my name.

Jason Rose
01-02-2006, 12:04 AM
I presume you will print out the "blank" invoice and then fill in with pen, correct? I highly suggest you have a way to make a copy of them, such as a duplicate carbonless paper. Having an exact copy of what you sent the customer is invaluable in times of "lost" invoices or having to send out overdue notices for late payers. Also, if someone calls questioning a charge or date on an invoice you can look at an exact copy of what they have and see for yourself if there is a problem.

I have done my invoices the "crude" way from day one. A few years ago I had a printing company do a little editing to what I had and printed them on 3 part carbonless forms. Instead of having a blank area that I'd have to write everything into "Mowing, Trimming, Spraying" Ect..., I broke mine into catagories that I use including an "other" catagory. I can just check the one (s) that I need and write in the dates that I was there.

Persoanlly I like to have the "total" at the bottom of the page under all the amounts. However, most bills I receive, cable, water, ect, come with the total at the top like yours... My invoices look pretty elementry I suppose but I made them functional for me. I am seriously thinking about upgrading myself this winter and going with the gopher software. After looking around I haven't found any other program that works so well and has the customer support they have. I always dread doing my invoices because it sucks up hours of time to do them by hand. computer programs can suck up even more time than that though, so I will have to expriment and see...

Good luck with the invoices. Play around with them more, look at other's examples and get ideas. I know it dosn't matter at all what they look like, it gets the necessary information to the customer so you can get paid. You could use a napkin and a crayon and do the same thing! But you have to have pride in your business. Professional appearence all the way down to the business cards and invoices does make an impression. Plus, you will feel better about yourself and your business, which is a big motivator, if you can look at something like that and be proud to let others see it.

SodKing
01-02-2006, 09:38 AM
Mike, the upsell area would be an area that you highlight a service that your client doesn't currently get. If you look at an invoice most of the area is white space (blank). Why not use that area to sell more of your product instead of wasting it.

mcwlandscaping
01-02-2006, 12:53 PM
Any chance you might be able to give me an example of what would be said in the upsell area? I would really appreciate it!!

SodKing
01-02-2006, 04:02 PM
Give me a couple hours, I may have an invoice in the truck otherwise I'll send one along tomorrow...

mcwlandscaping
01-02-2006, 04:07 PM
Thank you so much!!

Gatewayuser
01-02-2006, 05:32 PM
Looks good mike! Mls huh thats my name too. I just don't know if I want to have LCI as my name.

I don't know if you told me before where are you located?
LCI, Lebanon Correctional Institute, is that why?

qualitylawnmanagement
01-02-2006, 06:19 PM
I live in lima Ohio. No I don't know if I want to use LCI ( lawn care inovations)

Reliable Lawns
01-02-2006, 07:18 PM
I am pretty small co. but I bought lawn pro and it has worked well for me, keeps track of my needs ie; scheduling, invoicing, payments, equipment and supplies etc. Only about 54.00 dollars if I remember right. www.lawnpro.com

Mower For Less
01-02-2006, 07:54 PM
No offense, but I dont see much design to your invoice. Looks alot like the ones you can d/l for free from microsoft and just slap your name on. Try personalizing it more with a logo, and possibly a payment coupon area that they can tear off and send back to you with their payment. That will make it much easier to keep track of where the payments are comming from. It may not sound like much, but get 50+ customers and it will make things alot easier. And a customer message area/upsell area as mentioned previously. You could also redo it in Excel, and it will be alot easier to fill in. You can add autocomplete fields, formulas to add colums and do totals, etc...
Also I would get rid of the signature line on the bottom, dosent really seem necessary for invoices, and will become a major PITA when you get a larger customer base.

Kevin

mcwlandscaping
01-02-2006, 08:07 PM
Mower For Less, thanks for the input, i agree with what you are saying about the signiture line. I like the bottom tear out idea and had it on there originally but took it off as it didn't look all that great. I am going to end up with some software soon so i probably won't be needing this, but good to have.

mcwlandscaping
01-02-2006, 08:13 PM
I am pretty small co. but I bought lawn pro and it has worked well for me, keeps track of my needs ie; scheduling, invoicing, payments, equipment and supplies etc. Only about 54.00 dollars if I remember right. www.lawnpro.com
Reliable Lawns- I clicked the link, it took me to a lawn care companies web page. Is that yours? Or was that suppose to be a link to the lawn pro software page?

RELIABLELAWNMAN
01-02-2006, 08:48 PM
Mike, Change the word "Fully" to "Full" and is 2.5% late fee legal in your state?

mcwlandscaping
01-02-2006, 08:54 PM
2.5% is what my uncle told me, he is also has a landscaping company here. And i did change the fully to full.

Mower For Less
01-03-2006, 12:27 AM
Mower For Less, thanks for the input, i agree with what you are saying about the signiture line. I like the bottom tear out idea and had it on there originally but took it off as it didn't look all that great. I am going to end up with some software soon so i probably won't be needing this, but good to have.

I have a tear off payment coupon on my invoices, It also has a 1-5 satisfaction survey that I use to gauge customer satisfaction every month. I also accept Visa/MC so there is a spot for payments by CC on there too. I did not have one the first year I was in biz, and it seemed that customers didnt know how to handle a bill without some type of payment coupon. Some would photocopy the bill, some would send the invoice back with it, it was a mess. The tear off payment coupon solved all of that. I think they also like it because they know when the coupon is gone they have paid the bill, so there are no double payments or any sticky situations like that either.

Kevin

Jason Rose
01-03-2006, 12:33 AM
I have a tear off payment coupon on my invoices, It also has a 1-5 satisfaction survey that I use to gauge customer satisfaction every month. I also accept Visa/MC so there is a spot for payments by CC on there too. I did not have one the first year I was in biz, and it seemed that customers didnt know how to handle a bill without some type of payment coupon. Some would photocopy the bill, some would send the invoice back with it, it was a mess. The tear off payment coupon solved all of that. I think they also like it because they know when the coupon is gone they have paid the bill, so there are no double payments or any sticky situations like that either.

Kevin


LOL! I get the same thing... Customers folding up the invoice into some sort of origami and sending it back with their check inside. It's obvious that my invoices are a multi part form, I even put a note on them "white-customer copy". This is another reason I want some type of invoice software. The tear offs would be nice, would have the invoice total on them and a blank them can fill in with their check amount if they like.

Killswitch
01-03-2006, 02:44 AM
Im not a big fan of this 2.5% late fee jazz Im seeing around.

To me it seems silly and more of a threat than a means of making up for lost revenues or making sure payment is recieved.

It just strikes me as a drag....I dont know how to explain it.

What do you guys think?

walker-talker
01-03-2006, 05:54 AM
I perforate the top of my invoices. They write the check amount, tear off and return with payment. You have the top of your invoice designed so that you can put it into a double window payned envelope, that will make things simpler for you. You could make some address labels up so that you wouldn't have to fill them out with a pen. I print my invoices so I never have to touch a pen, and it's nice.

Mower For Less
01-04-2006, 02:45 AM
Im not a big fan of this 2.5% late fee jazz Im seeing around.

To me it seems silly and more of a threat than a means of making up for lost revenues or making sure payment is recieved.

It just strikes me as a drag....I dont know how to explain it.

What do you guys think?

How could you, as a business owner, have an issue with late fee's?
Even if it was a SMALL amount, and you where truly splitting hairs over interest lost vs. late fee's charged... what about the additional time and expense involved in sending out past due notices, collections attempts, etc.. Not to mention the accounts that turn into complete non-payers. This all impacts the business, and needs to be paid for. IMO 2.5% is miniscule compared to the actual costs involved with dead beats and non-payers.

Kevin

skidmaster
01-04-2006, 07:48 AM
Spend the money, have your invoices professionally made. First impressions are lasting ones. Also, take it from someone who has been in the biz a long time. You are not a creditor. You are an outdoor janitor, and nothing more! Payment should be due upon reciept. That way if they take five or even ten days to pay you your still cool by the pool. Let people know you mean business! At thirty days they are more likely to take sixty days. Your setting yourself up for alcholism. Which I might add may be fun in the beginning but it gets old after a while. Think of it this way, if you service someone on the first of the month, and go weekly thereafter, then you give thirty days, and you know the mother fokers are going to make you wait longer. By that point, you have now waited sixty days to be paid for the first cut of the month. Rethink this, make a stratergy, and your best medicine is this lawnsite. It has helped me tremendously and I have been in the business a long time. Smarten the fock up, or you will, and I guarentee you be in AA meetings when you could be doing your outdoor janitorial tasks!

grass_cuttin_fool
01-04-2006, 08:01 AM
this is what I use
http://www.lawnsite.com/showthread.php?t=91190

wayne

General Landscaping
01-04-2006, 01:52 PM
The top of my invoice/statement has the customer address that shows through the sending envelope window. Just stuff, lick, & stick.

The bottom third is perforated, has both addresses and fits in a #9 double window security envelope, which is sent with the statement.

Nobody has to write anything but a checkpayup

mcwlandscaping
01-04-2006, 03:46 PM
General Landscaping, i like your idea with the window envelopes, thanks

marionlandscape
01-04-2006, 04:06 PM
you can take what you have so far and build from it. save it as a document template and add text boxes where you would type. this will allow you to print a customer copy and store a copy of it on your computer in an unpaid invoices folder.

Killswitch
01-04-2006, 10:23 PM
How could you, as a business owner, have an issue with late fee's?
Even if it was a SMALL amount, and you where truly splitting hairs over interest lost vs. late fee's charged... what about the additional time and expense involved in sending out past due notices, collections attempts, etc.. Not to mention the accounts that turn into complete non-payers. This all impacts the business, and needs to be paid for. IMO 2.5% is miniscule compared to the actual costs involved with dead beats and non-payers.

Kevin

Because 2.5% of any number isnt worth me hacking off legitimate customers with idle threats of late fees.

People are sick of "fees" and the last person they want to have threaten them with one is their lawn care man in my opinion.

If someone didnt pay you $1000 do you think threatening to charge them $25 is worth insulting the other 99% of your client base?

Not me.

Mower For Less
01-05-2006, 12:32 AM
Perhaps I am missing the alternative to late fees? How do you handle the situation? Buy them lunch and ask them to please pay their bill at their next earliest convienience?

A late fee policy is stated as company wide. Hopefully, it will not even impact 99% of your customers, and therefore dont see how any of those 99% could take offense to it. Certainly you can decide what kind of grace period you extend, and to what customers you extend it so that you are not truly charging good customers who are just a few days late. That is not my intent, nor do I believe the intent of anybody who has a late fee. I do not add late fee's typically until the account reaches 45 days past due. Unless I have a gut feeling that the customer is a PITA, or has no history with me, then I start them at 15 days. (Payment terms are net 15 days from invoice). I cannot in good faith see why you would be worried about offending a deadbeat who is 30, 60, or 90 days past due? Certainly these cant be your good customers?

I have never had a legitimate objection to a late fee. The only objections I have ever had to late fee's where from accounts that were over 90 days past due and they were dead beats trying to save a buck. Not really people whose feelings I was worried about hurting.

Kevin

JimSolo
01-05-2006, 02:03 PM
I think you can buy carbon copy paper for your printer at home.
That would make life alittle easier :)

Mower For Less
01-05-2006, 03:13 PM
Yeah, but do they make dot matrix printers anymore to utilize the carbon? lol