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loom-gen
10-23-2007, 09:51 PM
I have always wondered how all you other lawn folk get that money from your clients. I bill some every mow and some by the month, and some bigger accounts annually. There seems to be a few that wait for a ridiculously long time but will eventually pay. What are some of your methods of retrieval?

agm
10-23-2007, 10:00 PM
I bill once a month unless it's additional work that is done then it's billed that evening.

Clear-Cut
10-24-2007, 06:55 PM
i do monthly. sometimes it takes a couple of phone calls to finally get it but most of my customers are great and pay right away

Runner
10-24-2007, 07:16 PM
Regular customers - all work goes on their monthly bill. The applications are billed separately, as all SOS have the price on them. For non-regular customers,...like for additional cleanups and such, they get billed upon completion of work. I like to call it "cash and carry". They pay me the cash, and I carry the stuff away. payup :weightlifter: :walking:

davis45
10-24-2007, 08:42 PM
Bill monthly, I have a couple commercial accounts that pay by the quarter.

carcrz
10-24-2007, 09:10 PM
I bill once a month unless it's additional work that is done then it's billed that evening.

That's what I do.

loom-gen
10-24-2007, 10:27 PM
so what are you trying to say? Should I bill monthly or would it be better to bill monthly? I personaly would say monthly but it seems like doing it monthly works better for most of you so I will try just billing monthly, thanks.

deere615
10-24-2007, 11:00 PM
Theres one guy that I bill monthly and he is always a day or 2 late on his payment, but he always pays. I just let him go because he is a good client.

WildLake
10-25-2007, 12:20 PM
so what are you trying to say? Should I bill monthly or would it be better to bill monthly? I personaly would say monthly but it seems like doing it monthly works better for most of you so I will try just billing monthly, thanks.

WHAT:confused:

Clear-Cut
10-25-2007, 04:45 PM
^ lol thats what i said....i guess he is going to either bill monthly or bill monthly?

edit:
no wait...i got it now...he is going to bill monthly

Ant_Knee
10-25-2007, 08:08 PM
credit cards. After we were big enough to say we don't accept a new client without a credit card on file that is all we accepted. 95% of client base is all credit cards the other 5% is what is left over from the first clients. FYI, I had $10,000 in uncollectible receivables the first year because we did not lay down the credit card law. I cleaned that up with threatening liens but now because our marketing and advertising states that we bill your credit or debit card it's not an issue when someone calls to sign up for service.
We bill/charge the cards weekly so cash flow is right on with the month end close (give or take a few). That may or may not be an issue but with a high growth company you need that cash flow. If you are not a high growth company and can go month to month then I would bill credit cards on a monthly basis to cut back on your merchant services fees.
Commercial jobs it will be based on you agreement. Billed monthly but have to wait for job to get to and through accounts payable department which will not usually get back to you until the middle or end of the following month.

rodneyamolt
10-25-2007, 08:20 PM
^ lol thats what i said....i guess he is going to either bill monthly or bill monthly?

edit:
no wait...i got it now...he is going to bill monthly


Thats funny.. Thats all i gotta say..

APV's Mowing
10-29-2007, 01:55 AM
ok so with monthly billing do you just charge a flat fee and just put...
exple: Flat Fee: 120 a month + other service $20= $140...on the bill or do you put down the date and times that you mowed and then send it to them with a total? because i know some people do flat or just charge for wat they do...i dn if i should put dates on it or not...any help would be awsome

Stillwater
10-29-2007, 04:45 AM
credit cards. After we were big enough to say we don't accept a new client without a credit card on file that is all we accepted. 95% of client base is all credit cards the other 5% is what is left over from the first clients. FYI, I had $10,000 in uncollectible receivables the first year because we did not lay down the credit card law. I cleaned that up with threatening liens but now because our marketing and advertising states that we bill your credit or debit card it's not an issue when someone calls to sign up for service.
We bill/charge the cards weekly so cash flow is right on with the month end close (give or take a few). That may or may not be an issue but with a high growth company you need that cash flow. If you are not a high growth company and can go month to month then I would bill credit cards on a monthly basis to cut back on your merchant services fees.
Commercial jobs it will be based on you agreement. Billed monthly but have to wait for job to get to and through accounts payable department which will not usually get back to you until the middle or end of the following month.

You had 10 grand in noncollectable invoices for lawn maint. in the first year? am I understanding this correctly? Also how can billing monthly cut back on service merchant fees when service fees are percentage based, what am I missing hear?

Ant_Knee
10-29-2007, 11:22 AM
that is correct. $10K in uncollectible receivables.

I also own a company that does merchant services processing.

Set your rate aside for a minute. Think about the amount of transactions you are processing in a year if you are charging cards on a weekly basis vs. monthly basis. On average that's 4 transactions to 1 per month per card. Now thinking in percentage terms what you would be saving on transaction fees because you pay a per transaction fee. Even though it's nickels and dimes...that's how us credit card companies make money and after time those nickels and dimes add up.

And even though I own a company that does credit card processing I still have to at least pay interchange rates.

Stillwater
10-29-2007, 12:54 PM
ya but you are still paying 2 to 4 dollars for every 100 It doesn't matter if you are a processor or not.

But that really is not the issue, the issue is the 10,000 in uncollected funds for services rendered and your claim that now only accepting credit cards miraculously fixed that. Seriously and with respect I am not buying it. Granted 10,000 is chump change for a established landscaper but it is 10,000 and that represents a large number of unsatisfied customers that are now all of sudden satisfied because you have a merchant account. In your post # 11 you say you bill weekly now you say you bill monthly to save money.

skip1718
10-29-2007, 02:27 PM
if you have trouble getting money from customers try getting your wife or girlfriend to at like a collection agency or your AR depertmant. sometimes that will get the ball rolling on a payment

Ant_Knee
10-29-2007, 07:10 PM
Please re read my first post. I never claimed credit cards to get my $10K back in my first year. I was able to collect on the $10K due to pressuring clients with liens for nonpayment. What I am saying is that I avoided that in the future by only accepting credit cards thus reducing the heartache and headache of going though the collection process with clients. The $10K in uncollectible accounts has nothing to do with service. If people decide not to pay...that's their choice. And when your company grows fast and is large it is not uncommon to deal with large uncollectible accounts. For example, my good friend owns a pest control company with 7500 clients. On average they always have $100k in uncollectible accounts. How did I help him solve future clients from not paying...convinced him to only accept credit cards. Did he put that pressure on old clients to switch...no. But in his business all future clients get a discount for having a credit card on file and that has help reduce his future uncollectible accounts.

For the credit card transactions...if you have 2000 clients all on credit cards and you process them weekly on a 30 visit service schedule thats 60,000 transactions. X .20 per transaction that is $12,000 in transaction fees. If you bill their card monthly on a 9 month schedule that's $3,600 in transaction fees. Other ways to cut credit card processing fees...find a provider with better rates....realize that if you are not swiping an actual card you are not getting the qualified "teaser" rate and find a provider that can reduce your mid and non qualifying rates.

deere615
10-29-2007, 09:06 PM
ok so with monthly billing do you just charge a flat fee and just put...
exple: Flat Fee: 120 a month + other service $20= $140...on the bill or do you put down the date and times that you mowed and then send it to them with a total? because i know some people do flat or just charge for wat they do...i dn if i should put dates on it or not...any help would be awsome

I bill per service. I know alot of guys do a flat fee, which is probably your best way so you don't lose out on droughts etc..

grass hopper
10-30-2007, 10:35 PM
i bill monthly

APV's Mowing
10-31-2007, 01:32 AM
so if you bill per service deer615, do you put all of the dates that you mowed in your bill or not? my dad who ownes a company that installs and sells carpet to commercial companies- for example he does all of the carpet at Creighton University, First National Bank, Omaha Steaks, ect ect. and he told me that i should put the date's that i mowed on the bill...and i just wanted to see wat you guys thought about that, i respect my dads ideas and all and i know that he is a way way way better buisness man then i will ever be, and he knows and thinks about these things way more then me but i just wanted to know wat you guys do?

Stillwater
10-31-2007, 01:56 AM
so if you bill per service deer615, do you put all of the dates that you mowed in your bill or not? my dad who ownes a company that installs and sells carpet to commercial companies- for example he does all of the carpet at Creighton University, First National Bank, Omaha Steaks, ect ect. and he told me that i should put the date's that i mowed on the bill...and i just wanted to see wat you guys thought about that, i respect my dads ideas and all and i know that he is a way way way better buisness man then i will ever be, and he knows and thinks about these things way more then me but i just wanted to know wat you guys do?

Yes your father is 100% correct, dates of service are on the invoices keep your notes and job sheets safe. And never through them out.

deere615
10-31-2007, 08:21 PM
so if you bill per service deer615, do you put all of the dates that you mowed in your bill or not? my dad who ownes a company that installs and sells carpet to commercial companies- for example he does all of the carpet at Creighton University, First National Bank, Omaha Steaks, ect ect. and he told me that i should put the date's that i mowed on the bill...and i just wanted to see wat you guys thought about that, i respect my dads ideas and all and i know that he is a way way way better buisness man then i will ever be, and he knows and thinks about these things way more then me but i just wanted to know wat you guys do?

Yep, dates, services performed, and costs of service on each bill.

sclawndr
10-31-2007, 09:45 PM
so if you bill per service deer615, do you put all of the dates that you mowed in your bill or not? my dad who ownes a company that installs and sells carpet to commercial companies- for example he does all of the carpet at Creighton University, First National Bank, Omaha Steaks, ect ect. and he told me that i should put the date's that i mowed on the bill...and i just wanted to see wat you guys thought about that, i respect my dads ideas and all and i know that he is a way way way better buisness man then i will ever be, and he knows and thinks about these things way more then me but i just wanted to know wat you guys do?

Food for thought - IMHO mowers screw themselves by billing on a per mow basis, whether monthly or weekly. A lot of your expenses are the same whether you mow or not. This is why you should move to a fixed monthly billing based on an average number of mows. It's not your fault if it's hot and dry - you still need to pay your bills and your customers need to understand that. There are a lot of companies out there that do it this way and they're easy to spot - they're the ones making a decent living.

APV's Mowing
11-01-2007, 08:52 PM
ok thanx for all of the input...and if you do the fixed monthly billing would you still put the dates and all of that?

Stillwater
11-02-2007, 12:29 AM
ok thanx for all of the input...and if you do the fixed monthly billing would you still put the dates and all of that?

yes and without question.......

deere615
11-02-2007, 10:18 PM
ok thanx for all of the input...and if you do the fixed monthly billing would you still put the dates and all of that?

Yep, people might get mad when they see you only mowed twice this month and charged the x amount of dollars but everyones right when you have bills to pay(luckily for me I am debt free!)

sclawndr
11-03-2007, 05:58 PM
ok thanx for all of the input...and if you do the fixed monthly billing would you still put the dates and all of that?

Not for mowing but yes for less regular services such as fertilizing. Look at snow plowing as a better example of what I mean - suppose you're in an area where some years you get 10 plow events and other years only 2 or 3. In either case you have to have a truck, a plow, etc. so your fixed costs are the same but you never know how many plows to divide them over. The only way to handle this and still make money is to charge a monthly or seasonal fee based on an average and just plow when needed. Some years you'll be ahead, some behind but on average you'll be fine. Mowing is easier though since you know that unless you have the mother of all droughts, you'll mow about the same number of times each year. So why not spread that charge out evenly over the season? It's all in how you explain to the customer.

JayD
11-07-2007, 03:12 PM
How do you go about making the change to a flat fee on a monthly ?
Right now I charge a per cut and bill at the end of month. I'm afraid that my customers would suddenly want me to cut more than once a week whether it needed it or not.
I could see where it would help during the drought, but does your customers complain if you only have cut once that month?
I have one commercial account that I got from another guy who quit mowing and just went into lawn application work, I bill them at the end of the month but they always wait at least 30 more days to put it in the mail. It erks me to no end because when you think of it, you have mowed from the first day in the month all the way to the end and they want you to wait another month to pay you. How do I get away from this?
Like I said, I am there every week without them having to call me, keeping their property mowed and yet they want to sit on my money. Its not like I'm big business, I'm just a little guy out here trying to make a living.
Do any of you feel this way?

Stillwater
11-07-2007, 05:09 PM
JayD their is a easy fix for your commercial account. You need to be billing a month ahead exactly like the cable and sat. companys do it. the month before you start next season you bill them. so every month they pay they are actually are paying for the next months service. you are paid on time and they get assured quality.

sclawndr
11-07-2007, 06:02 PM
How do you go about making the change to a flat fee on a monthly ?
Right now I charge a per cut and bill at the end of month. I'm afraid that my customers would suddenly want me to cut more than once a week whether it needed it or not.
I could see where it would help during the drought, but does your customers complain if you only have cut once that month?
I have one commercial account that I got from another guy who quit mowing and just went into lawn application work, I bill them at the end of the month but they always wait at least 30 more days to put it in the mail. It erks me to no end because when you think of it, you have mowed from the first day in the month all the way to the end and they want you to wait another month to pay you. How do I get away from this?
Like I said, I am there every week without them having to call me, keeping their property mowed and yet they want to sit on my money. Its not like I'm big business, I'm just a little guy out here trying to make a living.
Do any of you feel this way?

I offer both options - monthly payments and bill at the time of service. Monthly pays are much better! I explain that it helps the customer with their budget since they know exactly how much they'll be spending each month. I also offer a small discount if they use monthly billing (and pay on time) and explain that I'm passing on the savings of mailing bills out each month. Look at it this way - how many stores offer to let you buy something and let you pay whenever you want? You just need to explain how you want to be paid and stick to it.

WildLake
11-07-2007, 06:28 PM
I offer both options - monthly payments and bill at the time of service. Monthly pays are much better! I explain that it helps the customer with their budget since they know exactly how much they'll be spending each month. I also offer a small discount if they use monthly billing (and pay on time) and explain that I'm passing on the savings of mailing bills out each month. Look at it this way - how many stores offer to let you buy something and let you pay whenever you want? You just need to explain how you want to be paid and stick to it.

I'd love to go with a set monthly rate for each account, but after this years drought, I don't think it would go over well. They would certainly feel like theirs would be the short end of the stick

Burkhart Lawn Care
11-07-2007, 06:42 PM
I think I will start billing monthly now... LOL Thanks guys..

sclawndr
11-07-2007, 07:25 PM
I'd love to go with a set monthly rate for each account, but after this years drought, I don't think it would go over well. They would certainly feel like theirs would be the short end of the stick

So it's better that you get the short end of the stick? It all depends on how you present it. All I can tell you is that if I have to bill after each service, I charge more because of the weather risk and I explain this to every customer. Not every customer accepts this explanation but if only half of yours do, then half of your cash flow becomes very predictable and thus more valuable. And don't forget to mention to customers that there are months where they're getting way more than they paid for also.

WildLake
11-07-2007, 07:47 PM
So it's better that you get the short end of the stick? It all depends on how you present it. All I can tell you is that if I have to bill after each service, I charge more because of the weather risk and I explain this to every customer. Not every customer accepts this explanation but if only half of yours do, then half of your cash flow becomes very predictable and thus more valuable. And don't forget to mention to customers that there are months where they're getting way more than they paid for also.

Just to be clear, I bill monthy. I know you're talking set price, but some others may be confused. I am going to see who I can get to go with this in the spring, maybe just inform them all of the change and if any cry too bad, let them off the hook for this season. I have many costumers who I believe would stay with me regardless. Some will definitely be against this due to this seasons drought but could probably be pursuaded.
I bill for as many as 7 cuts on some May and June invoices depending on how the days work out, so unless its a bad year, this will only help me by simplifying billing(they alway know what is due and when), which alone should make billing and payment go smoother. Does anyone just stop billing or do all still send invoices?

Stillwater
11-07-2007, 07:48 PM
So it's better that you get the short end of the stick? It all depends on how you present it. All I can tell you is that if I have to bill after each service, I charge more because of the weather risk and I explain this to every customer. Not every customer accepts this explanation but if only half of yours do, then half of your cash flow becomes very predictable and thus more valuable. And don't forget to mention to customers that there are months where they're getting way more than they paid for also.

what months do the customers get way more than they pay for? what exactly are you doing for them. please don't reply with when it rains a lot because that is crap. to a lot the customers out their flat monthly billing is a sham. their is not to many ways you can coat this to be appealing.

WildLake
11-07-2007, 08:55 PM
what months do the customers get way more than they pay for? what exactly are you doing for them. please don't reply with when it rains a lot because that is crap. to a lot the customers out their flat monthly billing is a sham. their is not to many ways you can coat this to be appealing.

in early season I commonly do more that one cut per week but they would only pay for four at that time and it would balance in july/aug when you may only get in three cuts.

JayD
11-07-2007, 10:34 PM
JayD their is a easy fix for your commercial account. You need to be billing a month ahead exactly like the cable and sat. companys do it. the month before you start next season you bill them. so every month they pay they are actually are paying for the next months service. you are paid on time and they get assured quality.

I like that, but will they say anything about it. Should I just do it and not say anything or what. I will bet that they will have something to say. What do I tell them, " well you take so long to pay me, so I just bill you a month early" LOL.
On my invoice, it does state payment due upon receipt, but I guess that dos'nt mean anything to them.
I would hate to lose the account but I do plan on raising the price next year, so there's a chance of that anyway.

JayD
11-07-2007, 10:41 PM
JayD their is a easy fix for your commercial account. You need to be billing a month ahead exactly like the cable and sat. companys do it. the month before you start next season you bill them. so every month they pay they are actually are paying for the next months service. you are paid on time and they get assured quality.

I like this, but what will they have to say about it?
I know what I would like to tell them, " you take so long to pay me, so I'll just have to bill you a month early". LOL.
So how do you go about getting it started, or what do you tell them.
This will go over pretty good, because I am planning on raising their price next year anyway.

baddboygeorge
11-07-2007, 10:47 PM
of sending invoices i go an give a personal visit! I like to see my customers face to face when needed !!!:hammerhead:

JayD
11-07-2007, 11:29 PM
of sending invoices i go an give a personal visit! I like to see my customers face to face when needed !!!:hammerhead:

NOW I LIKE THAT TOO!:clapping:

Stillwater
11-08-2007, 12:55 AM
I like this, but what will they have to say about it?
I know what I would like to tell them, " you take so long to pay me, so I'll just have to bill you a month early". LOL.
So how do you go about getting it started, or what do you tell them.
This will go over pretty good, because I am planning on raising their price next year anyway.

I don't know what they would say about it. If they question it in anyway very politely and in a non confrontational way say your invoices are simply due when services are rendered. It is important to remain friendly and polite the reason they wait 30 days to pay is simply customary for many if not all business to pay out on a schedule. In their eyes they are not paying late they are paying on a schedule.They have to pay people to pay people when all their monthlies come in they pay at one time it is more efficient and economical that way for them. You billing in advance allows them to maintain their accounting schedule and satisfy your needs as well. Don't address it as a problem or think of it as a problem just do it. They are satisfied with your work or they would have someone else servicing them. just continue with class A work and make their area stand out and shine. Just remember most business recognize a NET 30 day. Your advance billing is just a method for them to continue with their NET 30 and you in return get paid in a more reasonable time frame.

JayD
11-08-2007, 10:56 AM
I don't know what they would say about it. If they question it in anyway very politely and in a non confrontational way say your invoices are simply due when services are rendered. It is important to remain friendly and polite the reason they wait 30 days to pay is simply customary for many if not all business to pay out on a schedule. In their eyes they are not paying late they are paying on a schedule.They have to pay people to pay people when all their monthlies come in they pay at one time it is more efficient and economical that way for them. You billing in advance allows them to maintain their accounting schedule and satisfy your needs as well. Don't address it as a problem or think of it as a problem just do it. They are satisfied with your work or they would have someone else servicing them. just continue with class A work and make their area stand out and shine. Just remember most business recognize a NET 30 day. Your advance billing is just a method for them to continue with their NET 30 and you in return get paid in a more reasonable time frame.

Yeah, I kind of understand that that is the way big business'es do, but I'm just a little fish and we're only talking about at most $275 a month.
I do thank you for taking the time to respond. In the event that they would say something about billing in advance, what next?
I guess then I could bill at each time I am there, it would be an invoice sent to them every week, wonder if they would pay each one after 30 days or just let them pile up until the last one LOL.
Thanks,
Jay

sclawndr
11-08-2007, 06:05 PM
what months do the customers get way more than they pay for? what exactly are you doing for them. please don't reply with when it rains a lot because that is crap. to a lot the customers out their flat monthly billing is a sham. their is not to many ways you can coat this to be appealing.

Usually May and June around here. Another post here said they sometimes mow 7 times a month. If you based your bill on $30 a cut for example, then that month would be $210. If you based the monthly bill on 35 cuts per year, it would be $150 per month. As I said before, sometimes you're up and sometimes you're down but it always works out about the same.

But why are you arguing the customer point of view? The customer will do that for you. You're supposed to argue the business owner point of view. Most owners are not sales people, they're operations people (myself included). Fortunately I had a lot of sales people around me that helped me develop better pitches to customers. It's easier to give in but it's better for every owner to run a profitable business.

Stillwater
11-08-2007, 07:10 PM
I really don't feel I am argueing their point of view. I am argueing a fact what the heck is wrong with that.

JayD
11-08-2007, 07:24 PM
Bill monthly, I have a couple commercial accounts that pay by the quarter.

Did you add more for that?

DuallyVette
11-09-2007, 11:46 PM
ok thanx for all of the input...and if you do the fixed monthly billing would you still put the dates and all of that?

No..keep it simple.
Lawn maintenance during the month of Janurary.....$200.00
add on services.......(description)........................$ 50.00

If you bill per cut, put the dates.

If monthly, Don't give them room to criticize or justify your fee. ie: January. ...We drove by and picked up a few sticks and blew off the driveway on 1/5/2008 & 1/18/2008.

Charge a monthly fee year round, and service the lawns 12 months out of the year. Some months you mow 5 times, and some months, you pick up leaves, and some months, you check for sticks.

I also bill on the 23rd of each month for the service plus any extras. Fees are due on the 4th of the month. When I billed at the end of the month, many customers would pay just before they got a 2nd months bill. I also e4enclose a return envelope for the check with a barcoded address on it to expedite the process.