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bobbygedd
04-29-2006, 08:25 PM
got into it, with a lady about our payment policy. she said, "that's rediculous, why should i pay in advance?" i said, "no, u don't HAVE TO, you can pay, after each service." she says, "when do u come?" i said, "i'm not sure, it's either wed, thurs, or friday." she goes, "well, i don't know if i'll be home!!!." i said, "ok, then, u need to pay in advance." she goes, "no way." i said, "ok, u want credit?" she goes, "yes". i said, "ok, i'll need your name, address, social secuirity number, your mothers maiden name, your most recent employers, your houshold income, and a "clue". we usually ask a question like, "what is your dogs name " and u answer it, to create a password." she stood there, looking into space. i asked her why on earth, i should issue her credit, without this info? u can't apply for a home depot charge card, without it

Splicer
04-29-2006, 08:28 PM
Why would I pay you in advance when you admit you don't know when you will be cutting??? I would find another service provider. Its not like you are the only game in town...:hammerhead:

PROCUT1
04-29-2006, 08:38 PM
Thats the problem Bob, you can put all these policies in effect that make sense.
However there are a hundred guys waiting to get on their knees and kiss the shoes of that customer for the privilige of being their lawnboy. If they happen to get paid, thats a bonus to them, at least they got the job.

David Haggerty
04-29-2006, 09:06 PM
Bobby; Are you mowing for tennants? I'd demand cash in advance from a tennant on a property.
I have one guy who's a tennant. I just flat told him "I have trouble collecting from tennants. Are you going to pay me?" He said yeah, that he'd even meet me at the job to pay me. I said no, just pay the monthly bill. I think he's a pilot for DHL.

Dave.

BTW it sure sounds tougher to collect in your area. Just from what you have posted before. Good luck with it.

dkeisala
04-29-2006, 09:14 PM
Most of our maint. accts. are annual. They are billed during the first of the month for which service is to be received. Those pay month-to-month need to have a deposit on account which we draw off of and refund any unused payments. One-time jobs are payable upon receipt of services.

Having clear policies assists in business operations. If a client chooses not to play by our rules, they can find someone else to do the job.

mike lane lawn care
04-29-2006, 09:42 PM
i never ask for advance payment. i know where these people live, i know their phone number, and i have a lawyer, so i will be able to get them to pay. just me. others only do up-front payment and some do it if they suspect foul play will be involved.

StBalor
04-29-2006, 09:51 PM
I ask for a payment in advance yesterday. A lady called asking me to look at her property. When i get there it had not been cut yet this year. and probably not the end of last. So i called her, told her the 1st cut would be double. She said no problem, but she wanted monthly billing and was out of town. I said ma'am, i can't do that, i hope you understand, but it would be awfully hard for me to start working for you on trust, without ever meeting you. I asked if she would be willing to send me a check for the 1st cut? I told her when i recieved the check i would cut the grass and send here a service agreement she could sign and send back to me. Then i would bill her monthly and send bill to the address on the return envelope. She Agreed.
How would you all of handled this?

mike lane lawn care
04-29-2006, 10:14 PM
you did it right. good job

topsites
04-29-2006, 10:45 PM
i never ask for advance payment. i know where these people live, i know their phone number, and i have a lawyer, so i will be able to get them to pay. just me. others only do up-front payment and some do it if they suspect foul play will be involved.

yup, I'm in a similar boat except I have a collection agency and the power to play with their credit records should someone not pay. thou sometimes I get money upfront if it is a trust issue, most of the time I'm not worried about it.

Killswitch
04-29-2006, 11:10 PM
haven't you ever heard the saying "the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence", well it's usualy my side. people will look at you differently if you uphold pricipals and company pollicies, people will respect you more is every now and then you say no, or stand up to them, instead of the yes-man lawnboy next door.

You cut grass with a riding lawn mower I can get at Sams Club dude. Give me a break.

mike lane lawn care
04-29-2006, 11:54 PM
why was my post deleted?
anyway here it is again.
you will never find a simplicity at walmart. i tested an ariens and an exmark ZTR before i bought the tractor. the simplicity cuts better than the ariens and just as good as the exmark. The ZTR's were not right for my properties, there were just too many steep hills. you can't assume that because i use a tractor, doesn't mean i am not any good. pros around here like simplicity better than their scags. i am not using some cheap home depot or "sams club" tractor as you dicribe it. i am using a top grade mower that preforms excellent.

dkeisala
04-30-2006, 12:38 AM
yup, I'm in a similar boat except I have a collection agency and the power to play with their credit records should someone not pay. thou sometimes I get money upfront if it is a trust issue, most of the time I'm not worried about it.
Personally, I'd rather have the cash. Playing with someone's credit record may bring some kind of fulfillment but it don't pay the bills.

topsites
04-30-2006, 12:45 AM
Personally, I'd rather have the cash. Playing with someone's credit record may bring some kind of fulfillment but it don't pay the bills.

I believe in work first, then pay. that's just me. As for the credit record issue, it takes the edge off the anger and makes the whole thing tolerable because it's all so much routine, all in a day's work, I couldn't care less about non-payment issues anymore... Mainly because most folks pay, I can usually smell a rat coming from the other end of the Universe, long before I get ripped I done ran and they can call someone else.

Either way, not to put down your method if you're pay in advance then that's cool by me... Evidently bg's getting frustrated by the fact some folks don't have their checks to him 3 days before they're even due and stuff like that, I'm trying to show the guy the lighter side of things because sooner or later, it always improves.

dkeisala
04-30-2006, 12:53 AM
I totally get it and I understand you can be as "pay in advance" as you want to and it's not going to insulate you from getting ripped off from time to time. Even an ironclad contract isn't bulletproof, just ask any attorney.

NCSERVICE
04-30-2006, 01:19 AM
I agree with dkeisala, no matter the measures you take if somebody is going to screw you they are going to screw you, i bill at the end of the month on accounts, non account small jobs when i finish, and half down up front on anything over 5k. however whenever if a customer offers to pay before or after the job i happily accept :)

Ed Ryder
04-30-2006, 01:21 AM
"ok, u want credit?" she goes, "yes". i said, "ok, i'll need your name, address, social secuirity number, your mothers maiden name, your most recent employers, your houshold income, and a "clue". we usually ask a question like, "what is your dogs name " and u answer it, to create a password." she stood there, looking into space. i asked her why on earth, i should issue her credit, without this info?

I don't understand the necessity of this smartass approach to dealing with customers?

And I wouldn't hang out after cutting a lawn with my hand out to get paid. It wastes too much precious time. I bill. Everybody pays. Half send the money fast. The other half comes in slower, but everybody pays.

If I was the homeowner and a lawn guy laid that garbage on me about applying for credit - well you would have no chance left of getting my business.

The adversarial approach to dealing with customers is strange to me.:dizzy:

rob7233
04-30-2006, 02:02 AM
yup, I'm in a similar boat except I have a collection agency and the power to play with their credit records should someone not pay. thou sometimes I get money upfront if it is a trust issue, most of the time I'm not worried about it.

Your statement about a collection agency and credit records have me real curious.. What does it cost to hire them and how does it work? Do you inform you customers up front about it? I would think that if someone was delinquent, you wouldn't actually threaten them with collections verbally. Tell us more !! :dizzy:

Envy Lawn Service
04-30-2006, 02:27 AM
Well, it's no secret I require advance payment also.
If I didn't I would probably be the only service besides the "consumption" services that doesn't.

There is just absolutely no reason not to.
Yet there are a million supporting reasons why you should.

Yeah, I get asked about the 'advance' arrangement a lot. When I do, I just tell people the truth. I tell them I have been using this system successfully for years and ALL my customers are on the same advanced payment plan for simplicity and streamlined billing... NO EXCEPTIONS. I also tell them I "tried" sending a bill after the work was completed for ONE year, which was a total nightmare, and had me to the point of pulling my hair out in no time.

I also tell them that billing should be a simple thing, not something that turns into a nightmare second job. I tell them I don't have time to be a billing department, accounts recieveable, postal clerk, and a collection agency, plus a lawn and landscape service.... and I shouldn't have to try to do all that just to mow a few lawns.

kipcom
04-30-2006, 05:54 AM
Our billing method is one that the majority of service providers use and is considered an industry standard. When it comes to taking a customer to court and collecting for services rendered the judge always asks what our "normal" method of billing and expected payment arrangements are.

In short: Regular Monthly Customers = Billed on the 1st of each month / Due upon reciept
all others are billed and payable after completion of services rendered.

bobbygedd
04-30-2006, 08:13 AM
when i had a house cleaning service come to my house to clean, they charged $60 a week. payment was due, each week, when they completed . nobody sent me a bill at the end of the month. i am currently offering 2 payment options: #1- pay at time of each service. if you're not home, and no chech is left, you get a late fee. #2- pay in advance, with the due date being the 1st of each month. here is option #3-:waving:

Sean Adams
04-30-2006, 01:23 PM
You cut grass with a riding lawn mower I can get at Sams Club dude. Give me a break.

If you don't like this industry, or the perception of those in this industry, or the equipment people use, or even the people themselves on this site, you have two options as I see it...

1. stop posting with disrespectful comments and keep your negative comments to yourself

or

2. keep posting as you have been, and I can personally show you the door

No need for the comments like the one above.... keep it clean and professional.

mulcahy mowing
04-30-2006, 01:43 PM
i dont worry about getting paid like what was said before...but i don't use a lawyer i have 2 of my buddy's (big guys) come and knock on the door when there eating and ask politely for the check if they wont pay.. it works

NCSERVICE
04-30-2006, 06:15 PM
i dont worry about getting paid like what was said before...but i don't use a lawyer i have 2 of my buddy's (big guys) come and knock on the door when there eating and ask politely for the check if they wont pay.. it works

Really? i have a buddy who used to play football for duke, line man, he keeps offering to do collections for me however im afraid of harassment charges. you havent had such problems?

Team-Green L&L
06-29-2006, 12:20 PM
Maybe my industry is different, but pre-payment for mowing services could never fly with my clients. To be successful in an industry that bills for a service that anyone can provide you must seperate yourself from "anyone". Being an aggressive contractor only leads to never-ending association with contractors that have no Customer Service values. Instead of worrying about getting paid by bad clients, you should learn to screen your clients better. If you cannot screen clients properly, then you will be counter-productive in your image to the public. People see your truck and compare the property as a whole, not only the cut. Taking an immediate loss by screening potential clients well will leave you with a better image and less frusteration in collecting payments. Try billing at Net 15 on the 15th. That way all payments are in by the beginning of the next month and you're not pre-billing. By tracking when each client pays, you can generate a rough profile for their "credit rating".

Just keep in mind that mowing is not art, it is maintenance of art! An artist paints the picture, not the guy that restores it.

Envy Lawn Service
06-29-2006, 12:48 PM
For me, pre-pay is a major way I screen prospects.
It cuts the BS pretty quick.

I guess the phone companies, cable companies, internet service providers, and cell phone companies in your area are all going broke or have gone out of business already then??? I highly doubt that is the case. Around here, all these service providers bill in advance for your regular service selections, so you pay for this month before you get it, and any additional charges you run up during the month are paid on the spot or billed with the next cycle. Most even require service agreements/contracts and some even require a deposit that is held for some time.

I don't know why it is that guys who provide lawn & landscape maintenance services regard themselves as less worthy than the rest of the service providers? Me personally, I'm quick to let them know that I am just as worthy as all the other types of service providers.

Without my methods of billing I'd either be in the nuthouse or the poorhouse by now.

Mrk'sLawn
06-29-2006, 01:42 PM
I issue a bill before I start servicing a clients lawn. 30 days net usually... if it's a one time cut or shrub work I expect payment when service is complete.. I really need to work harder (smarter) on my billing routine.. I get so caught up in the mowing and all the actual work I neglect the paper work part. I guess I have to allow more time for this part of my business. It's only my first year and I'm learning everyday how to do things better ways. Next year will be better..:hammerhead:

J&R Landscaping
06-29-2006, 01:52 PM
For mowing, I set up a payment schedule with each customer. For landscaping jobs where I will need materials, I get the material money upfront, and collect the ballance upon completion of the job!

ChadsLawn
06-29-2006, 02:04 PM
pre-pay would never work here either. Yesterday I got a new customer. I gave her my 2 options. pay per cut or 1 price per month every month. @ the end of the billing period.
I look at it this way, the majority of us are doing maintenance. most maintenance providers for whatever industry there in collect after the job is complete right? right. There for the proper way to collect is after the job is complete. rather its per cut or monthly.Ive never had a problem either way. Maybe some were alittle slow, but I always got paid for my work.

mulcahy mowing
06-29-2006, 02:09 PM
Really? i have a buddy who used to play football for duke, line man, he keeps offering to do collections for me however im afraid of harassment charges. you havent had such problems?
none what so ever they never have to say anything, just have them in uniform with a truck and trailer all they ever have to say is "Hi we're with Mulcahy mowing just wondering if you have that last payment" :weightlifter: always works only once did it not work and you can't file a claim for $10:rolleyes:

Team-Green L&L
06-29-2006, 02:11 PM
What a statement Envy! Before comparing ourselves to other service providers, we must look at client options. In the services your comparing our industry to there is little to no competition (half dozen providers or so). In our industry, there is normally 6 pages in the phone book of qualified providers offering very similar services at very similar prices with very similar policies. If you are SIMILAR you will be over-looked. Is it your dream to mow grass for a career or to learn your industry and become a landscaper? Attacking good advise is ignorant and I would like to think your not ignorant. Please open your mind beyond the Fortune 500 companies that you are trying to stand beside.

Team-Green L&L
06-29-2006, 02:31 PM
Just to clear things up without sounding like a jerk, landscaping is not beneath other service providers and neither is mowing. What places you beneath them is policy. Customer don't care about anything except for quality and service. The most common service issue is billing. This is fact not opinion. We have a 0% non-payment rate. If a client decided I had to work for free they would spend a day in court. No questions asked! When you're legit you have more options. Make sure your paperwork is good and your performing your service at a satisfying level and quit worrying about getting paid. If this is your biggest issue at this time, my suggestion is as I stated above. America has a wonderful civil court system that protects all wages. In most states you can even put a property lean in effect for non-payment. Just keep a real good paper trail and you will find that this issue will disappear. Your contracts should read so that late payments are charged a percent of the total outstanding balance, not just 1 cut. This is a great way to deter late payers. Secondly, always leave yourself an "out" for non-payment in the contract. If worded correctly (and you perform as you should) you will have a contract worth enough to file a claim if needed. Let's hope it is never necessary.

topsites
06-29-2006, 02:38 PM
We have a 0% non-payment rate.

Well then either something is wrong or you've been real lucky thus far.
That, or what you're actually trying to say is none of them pay you :laugh:

I mean seriously, do you really think a judgement forces someone to pay?
The ONLY thing I know that stands a 999 out of 1,000 guarantee that will get you paid is jail, hard time does make MOST people pay, but even that is only good for 999 / 1,000 so sooner or later you'll get one.
The only other things I know work are all illegal. Showing up with big dudes is strong arming, even without violence, it is against the law to intimidate someone to pay via the show of force, but it works and I'm not beyond trying it, thou I don't like it because you can do some time for it.

As for the rest, you can see most of them coming but a few still slip past my radar every once in a bit, it just so happens. A judgement doesn't force them, a lien here in VA disappears after 6 months and that's IF they own it and are not renters, if you garnish their wages they can switch jobs, if you think of seizing their bank account that is likely empty by now, not to mention every piece of paper I file costs me another fee.

I do agree that advance payment would lose me too many customers, but the policy of no check / no cut works great: Anytime I perform a service, I get paid for that service before I show up again. For larger jobs, I do them in bits and pieces, 200-300 dollars at a time, send me the check fast and I can get 400-1200 worth of work done per month, every month if you think you can afford it.

That more than anything saves me some loss, but nothing is 100% loss free.

ProStreetCamaro
06-29-2006, 02:48 PM
I am surprised anybody pays any attention to bobby. It is very clear he just makes these posts to stir up the pot around here. :hammerhead:

topsites
06-29-2006, 02:52 PM
I am surprised anybody pays any attention to bobby. It is very clear he just makes these posts to stir up the pot around here. :hammerhead:

I suspect that but I also truly believe that is the way he is out in the field.
He might get conversation going (and argument), but I can deal with it so long he's not just trying to do that, if that's the way he really is then so be it. Meanwhile, I have found more than some truth in what he says, thou it takes time to see it and I do feel he's a bit over the top about things (thou I can be, too).
But I haven't seen him around in a month or so...

dcgreenspro
06-29-2006, 05:07 PM
i believe he was kicked off for some reason.

ProStreetCamaro
06-29-2006, 05:17 PM
I suspect that but I also truly believe that is the way he is out in the field.
He might get conversation going (and argument), but I can deal with it so long he's not just trying to do that, if that's the way he really is then so be it. Meanwhile, I have found more than some truth in what he says, thou it takes time to see it and I do feel he's a bit over the top about things (thou I can be, too).
But I haven't seen him around in a month or so...


The thing is if he tried to do that around here he would have absolutely zero business. Nobody around here will deal with somebody like him. They would just get Julio, Juan or chavez down the street to do it so I find what he has to say hard to belive most of the time. If some of it is true then I will admit its hilarious.

Precision
07-01-2006, 10:34 PM
For me, pre-pay is a major way I screen prospects.
It cuts the BS pretty quick.

I guess the phone companies, cable companies, internet service providers, and cell phone companies in your area are all going broke or have gone out of business already then??? I highly doubt that is the case. Around here, all these service providers bill in advance for your regular service selections, so you pay for this month before you get it, and any additional charges you run up during the month are paid on the spot or billed with the next cycle. Most even require service agreements/contracts and some even require a deposit that is held for some time.

I don't know why it is that guys who provide lawn & landscape maintenance services regard themselves as less worthy than the rest of the service providers? Me personally, I'm quick to let them know that I am just as worthy as all the other types of service providers.

Without my methods of billing I'd either be in the nuthouse or the poorhouse by now.


I agree.

First check recieved at time of contract signing.
next bill sent out 15 days later with a due date 15 days after that.
If not recieved within 7 days after due date service is suspended and the collections process starts.

Or they can be on Auto pay.
credit card run automatically on the due date. Immediate suspension if card is declined.

I also charge more money monthly to be on the check system. Around 4%.
On the estimate I show it as a discount for paying with Credit card.

topsites
07-01-2006, 10:46 PM
The thing is if he tried to do that around here he would have absolutely zero business. Nobody around here will deal with somebody like him. They would just get Julio, Juan or chavez down the street to do it so I find what he has to say hard to belive most of the time. If some of it is true then I will admit its hilarious.

I noticed (and learned) a few things over time...
- Bobby didn't have all cream of the crop customers, he had more than a few throw-aways and this is what I learned happens when you act like this. True zero tolerance just doesn't work in the real world, it is nice to play the enforcer sometimes but you are right, you will have a much more difficult time in the long run if you overdo it.

It is one reason I like lawnsite, it is a main reason why I post what I do but I learned to listen to you guys. I've heard once or twice this year that my own attitude needs adjusting at least in the field, and after watching carefully and just looking at the whole picture, decided to be more tolerant for the simple reason that we all have to deal with some bs because like you said, they will call someone else.

In the end I think the best way to do things at least for me is to be the least tolerant with brand-new customers, but once we get over some initial dealings and all goes well, to relax some and let it be, I do like to say we have to give them SOME rope.

////////
On another note, some of the stuff he did was beyond the worst I've ever done... Well, maybe not quite but he just did it a lot more, to the point where some of us suspected him or his wife had a drug / alcohol problem lol (thou it's really not that funny).
In the end, he seemed awwrite just a bit uptight and nutty, I hope he'll be fine thou.

chipk1
07-02-2006, 12:10 AM
I don't ask for advanced payment in lawncare. In 4 years I have only been stiffed for about $125.00.

Freddy_Kruger
07-02-2006, 12:14 AM
"ok, i'll need your name, address, social secuirity number, your mothers maiden name, your most recent employers, your houshold income, and a "clue". we usually ask a question like, "what is your dogs name " and u answer it, to create a password." she stood there, looking into space.
yer a nut.

General Grounds
07-02-2006, 12:15 AM
:hammerhead: Bobby i hear ya, i now have a area on my contract for a visa/mastercard and ill give you credit but when your account falls 5 days past due you CC getting wacked for the invoice amount, i have a CC on file for every customer, and i will not sign you up with out it. tony

poonero
07-02-2006, 01:42 AM
Really? i have a buddy who used to play football for duke, line man, he keeps offering to do collections for me however im afraid of harassment charges. you havent had such problems?

nothing intimidates like a duke player. you might better send a couple of angry girl scouts. GO HEELS!

Team-Green L&L
07-02-2006, 12:48 PM
The only thing I can say is that I'm thankful for idiots that don't know how to run a business because the ridiculous policies I'm reading from a guy with a mower only opens the door for more income for me. We are a landscaping company that has only 1 mowing team. This may seem ludicrous, but I had so many customers complaining that their mowing service was inferior and sometimes destroying precious plants and causing alot of blight. Guys, we spend days and even weeks installing a new landscape only to have a jerkoff come and throw clippings all over the beds without blowing them off, ect. Now we maintain our clients and it only allows for a small profit margin, but it keeps idiots off our properties!