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shovelracer
03-20-2009, 02:06 PM
So I get a contract back a few days ago from a 2 year customer. Payment grace period for her is 10 days for services performed month prior. So I am already 40 days out before it is late. Last year she was good for the first few, then a little later, then "it fell behind the desk" 60+ days, then december came and no check, "sorry the holidays were tight" 50" TV box on the curb. Her final payment was 90 days from date of service.

She took it upon herself to cross off my payment terms clause and write in: "We pay 30 days from date received. We get paid every 30, you get paid every 30." I found this a little upsetting, mostly because I feel I could have at least received a phone call about the matter. So basically according to her I will see money 60-75 days after service. I have been mulling over the pending call, just not sure which approach to take. Opinions are welcome.

I'm leaning toward payment a month in advance, credited toward final invoice.

billslawn89
03-20-2009, 02:12 PM
get rid of them, before you know it, you won't get paid at all. i have a clause in my agreements, if past due after 30 days, service will stop until paid in full.

then once i get paid, i'm done with the client. don't need clients like that.

shovelracer
03-20-2009, 02:33 PM
I stop services as well, and have before on this lady. It is a little more complicated than that. My parents live 2 doors down and I have a few on the street. Problems with me could mean problems for my family. She actually called the town on the guy next door when he put in a pool, he had the permit though. This lady has had a pool for 15 years. Apparently his pool hurt her eyes. I wont accept her terms, but I need to give her the option of making it right before I send her on her way.

billslawn89
03-20-2009, 02:46 PM
i would tell this woman, " there are circumstances out of my control, that i will no longer be able to service your property ", then RUN..it will never get better. once she pays you, tell her that. i've used that line before! LOL make up something man! i would not put up with that BS! changing my terms of service...WTF?

touhey33
03-20-2009, 02:54 PM
no offense, but a payment from most companies is not considered late until after 30 days after bill is recieved. Example Electric you get service the month prior and then payment is due usually 30 days after you recieve the bill. Most of my customers will pay within a week after they get their bill, but some customers will pay at the end of the month.

billslawn89
03-20-2009, 03:02 PM
no offense, but a payment from most companies is not considered late until after 30 days after bill is recieved. Example Electric you get service the month prior and then payment is due usually 30 days after you recieve the bill. Most of my customers will pay within a week after they get their bill, but some customers will pay at the end of the month.

all my invoices had a due date on them, and also most of my clients pay within the time frame, only a few lag behind a few days past, but always pay....thank goodness! :clapping:weeding out the dead beats this year!

shovelracer
03-20-2009, 03:45 PM
no offense, but a payment from most companies is not considered late until after 30 days after bill is recieved. Example Electric you get service the month prior and then payment is due usually 30 days after you recieve the bill. Most of my customers will pay within a week after they get their bill, but some customers will pay at the end of the month.

Fine, understood. Now are you already billing 30 days after service as well. I can tell you when I get my LP bill it is clearly due within 10 days. My problem is the change in terms without my approval. I will reject the changes of course. My problem is they know what they are getting billed for, it is not my problem if they can't figure out that 4 mowings a month every month except the 2 that are five will create a bill of X dollars. and this bill will come every month. This tells me that they can't budget themselves to pay for a service till they see the invoice.

kaferhaus
03-20-2009, 03:54 PM
My commercials are either net 10 or net 30 (most are net 10). Residentials are due when service is rendered period. I realize what some of you guys do (put up with) is the "norm" in your area, but it sucks none the less.

Our folks are either home, leave the payment or pay by credit card. If they "forget" we cut it the first time with a follow up call. If we haven't recieved payment by the time the next service is due, no service.

This has been an issue in only a handfull of occaisions over more than 20yrs. If they want "billing" my competition can have them. Those customers are much more likely to leave you holding the bag (and it's been proven here... only newbies tend to get sucked into the monthly bill system here)

Now we do offer annual contracts with "level billing" Those customers (few) pay a month in advance.... so they miss a payment and service stops and depending on the time of year I may lose a few bucks, but usually not.

ALC-GregH
03-20-2009, 04:15 PM
I have all my customers pay when services are rendered. A few when 2 weeks due to simply forgetting to leave the check but a quick call lets them know and they apologize and double the payment the following week. I had one I dumped last year. I should have seen it coming. She wanted to do monthly and like a greenhorn I agreed. After the first months payment was late, I went ahead and cut it. They when I asked for the payment, she said I never cut it that many times. I told her that her property was the lowest priced lawn that I cut and that her lawn was a weed infested lawn and then told her to keep the money and have a nice life. For the small amount she owed, I was happy to get rid of her. and ugly, man.....:hammerhead: she looked like the dude getting hit in the head. LOL

ALC-GregH
03-20-2009, 04:19 PM
As for your problem, I'd set it up to be paid a month in advance and give them 30 days to receive payment or services stop. I think we all know to never let the customer dictate your business and in this case, to change your contract agreement to benefit them. Offer them the advance pay program and if they want it, they'll sign, if not, let them know you can't service their property anymore. Be very firm with them as well so they can clearly see your in charge of your company but try to be nice. :)

newtostone
03-20-2009, 04:25 PM
I don't know how you guys are doing it but the normal thing is net 30, is it not? If you are having a problem set it on a monthly rate and bill the first of the month and have it due on the 30th. Everyone gets their 30 days and you get your money sooner. We bill net 30 for everything and have a few commercial we give net 45.

The only think that would get my panties in a bunch would be the fact she wrote on my contract thinking she runs the show. Simple, mail back a copy with void written on it.

billslawn89
03-20-2009, 05:42 PM
For the small amount she owed, I was happy to get rid of her. and ugly, man.....:hammerhead: she looked like the dude getting hit in the head. LOL

LOL! oh man now that funny! :laugh: she must be ugly...oh man i 'm laughing my a$$ off typing this...........

topsites
03-20-2009, 06:12 PM
Yeah I would just take that as a "no" for an answer.

I don't know how you guys are doing it but the normal thing is net 30, is it not?

Maybe but it doesn't matter, it's his company and it's his contract, from his end of things he can do whatever he wants,
and the customer doesn't have to like it but then either accept the terms or don't.

The customer doesn't have to sign it, the customer does not have to return it, the customer can
wipe their butt with it and throw it in the garbage while giggling hysterically for all I care.

But what this customer did is out of line, in my book.

kaferhaus
03-20-2009, 06:13 PM
I think we all know to never let the customer dictate your business and in this case, to change your contract agreement to benefit them.

Nor relatives.... (your relatives live close by) business is business. I'd be polite but firm. IE: this is our contract and the terms of the contract are not negotiable. I appreciate your business and would like to keep it. However, I'm not a bank and cannot carry open accounts on my books for the low fees I'm charging for your service.

In the past I've told some of them that if I carried open accounts, I'd have to hire a bookkeeper to keep up with the billing and collections which means I'd have to rasie everyone's prices and no one wants their price to go up.

Frontier-Lawn
03-20-2009, 06:24 PM
So I get a contract back a few days ago from a 2 year customer. Payment grace period for her is 10 days for services performed month prior. So I am already 40 days out before it is late. Last year she was good for the first few, then a little later, then "it fell behind the desk" 60+ days, then december came and no check, "sorry the holidays were tight" 50" TV box on the curb. Her final payment was 90 days from date of service.

She took it upon herself to cross off my payment terms clause and write in: "We pay 30 days from date received. We get paid every 30, you get paid every 30." I found this a little upsetting, mostly because I feel I could have at least received a phone call about the matter. So basically according to her I will see money 60-75 days after service. I have been mulling over the pending call, just not sure which approach to take. Opinions are welcome.

I'm leaning toward payment a month in advance, credited toward final invoice.

i would send her a letter stating she's dropped due to alterations of a contract with out prior approval.

Woody82986
03-20-2009, 07:53 PM
I'd give her a call and ask her if she crosses out terms when she gets a statement of terms update from her credit card issuer or the electricity company. I'm not interested in clients who try to dictate their own terms to me. I'm fairly flexible if we discuss things before service begins, but I'd give her a, "who the hell do you think you are?" call.

shovelracer
03-20-2009, 09:45 PM
Here's what Im leaning towards since no one ever answers the phone.

"Thank you for submitting your lawn agreement for the 2009 season. We appreciate your business and look forward to providing a quality service in the upcoming year.

The reason for this letter is to inform you that your unapproved changes to the payment terms of our agreement have been refused. Our terms for our agreements are non-negotiable. We appreciate your business and would like to keep it. We however are not a bank and can not carry open accounts for extended periods of time for the low fees that we are charging you. Open accounts lead to more bookkeeping time and this leads to raised prices. Our goal is to provide a quality service with fair prices. This is only possible when we are paid in a timely manner for the services we provide.

I remind you that services are invoiced the beginning of the following month. According to your changes we would receive payment for our services no sooner than 60 days from the first service of a month. This is not acceptable. We have attached a new copy of the terms of contract for your records. Payment will still be due no later than 10 days from receipt. Interest will begin at 30 days past due as well as stopping of services until paid in full.

We would like to continue to provide services for your account, but it is unacceptable to change the terms of contract without approval. We suggest that if you can not schedule your payments in a timely manner that you submit a prepayment of four lawn services including tax before April 15th and to be credited to your last invoice of 2009."

kaferhaus
03-20-2009, 09:54 PM
Sounds good Shovel.

IMAGE
03-20-2009, 10:01 PM
If you send them that. They will drop you. ( and they will feel they are "winning", because they are the 'dumper'- and your the 'dumpee')

Dont give them the satisfaction. Return the contract with "VOID" stamped on it, and tell them they need to look for a new lawn jockey. It may make you look like an Ahole to them, but you'll feel better inside because you got to be the 'dumper' and made them the 'dumpee'.

I dont know about you guys, but I dont jump for anyone.

jlawnman
03-20-2009, 10:10 PM
The best way to deal with slow payers: Drop their arses! But do it in such a way that you'll preserve your reputation. Just tell them that you're no longer able to take care of their property... yada yada yada... Good luck dude!

shovelracer
03-20-2009, 10:32 PM
If you send them that. They will drop you. ( and they will feel they are "winning", because they are the 'dumper'- and your the 'dumpee')


I dont care about that, it will be there decision. If I wanted to I could hit them up with dog waste and kid toy fees galore, but bottom line is they are abusers and I wont stand for it. Terms can be negotiated prior to within reason to meet needs, but not changed without approval.

keepoffthegrass
03-21-2009, 12:36 AM
lawncare is a "business" everyone from my $25 commercials to my $3000/cut municiples get an invoice net 30 days. believe it or not, if i do a one-time-cut worth $40 on may 7th, i send an invoice out may 31st that is due june 31... etc


i actually used to work for a guy that did the groundsmaintenance at fords at a few of their plants.. the contract was i believe around 350k and net 60 days... try floating a 4-5 man crew 5 days/week for 90 days from service :S

brucec32
03-21-2009, 01:20 AM
Ditch this loser.

1. Rude, crossing out and putting the snotty comment in rather than calling it to discuss it like a human being.
2. Deadbeat, paying late and lying about why, repeatedly.
3. Broke-ass. Can't pay a lawn service bill because they don't have that much in the bank account.

What's the upside of this account?

If you keep them on on these terms you'll be writing a post in a few months about how to best attempt to collect the 4 months revenue you haven't been paid for.

This is a no-brainer.

ExtExc
03-21-2009, 01:29 AM
what bruce said x 2.

brucec32
03-21-2009, 01:40 AM
no offense, but a payment from most companies is not considered late until after 30 days after bill is recieved. Example Electric you get service the month prior and then payment is due usually 30 days after you recieve the bill. Most of my customers will pay within a week after they get their bill, but some customers will pay at the end of the month.

go check your cell phone bill, satellite tv bill, phone bill, garbage collection etc. Then go check your credit card bills. You won't see a due date anything near 30 days after the statement date on those for sure.

Many of them you'll actually be prepaying for service. My garbage is due in 15 days for the next 3 month period. TV and cell is due in advance of the month of service, with about 10 days after receipt being the due date.

So I'm not sure where you're getting the 30 day thing. This is a RESIDENCE not a business to business transaction. With those the thinking is they have to run checks in batches and the bureacracy demands a certain time frame to get payments out. Commercial accounts 30 days may well be the norm.

And unlike all of the above, you have very little leverage when collecting on a personal service whose "proof" you did the job evaporates as the grass grows. You don't have a collections dept. You're not a monopoly like the power company. You may not have the ability to affect their credit history. So 30 days is very generous terms. I did that for several years and was sick of the collections hassles and the extortion one faced when you finally tried to collect. I switched to charging for a month in that month with invoices dated the 1st and due the 15th. TWO people in 10 years have balked. Honest people don't mind it People with money don't mind it. But broke deadbeats hate it.

I say build your foundation on rock instead of sand by pre-dropping the losers who don't believe in paying bills in a timely manner. It will pay off by having retention rates soar since you aren't having to ditch customers constantly for late and non payment.

dishboy
03-21-2009, 01:41 AM
Do you need the account or not. I've had slow payers who always paid that I kept because the were next door to another account. I would accept her terms but, edit you contract so if she is later than she specified a $30 late fee would be applied for every x days. Also get her to agree to pay any/all court costs or any other costs incurred to collect a unpaid invoice. If she accepts I would think your bases would be well covered.

Roger
03-21-2009, 07:46 AM
Your position is a "take it, or leave it." You are saying that you are unwilling to negotiate any terms of your contract. That is fine, if that is how you choose to do business. There is no need to even discuss other options. I'm not sure why you even made the initial post. You already staked your position, "take it, or leave it," so there is no need to discuss.

I have no idea what is meant by "making changes without approval." In all other business environments, making proposed changes in a contract is called negotiation. Business-to-customer relationships do this all the time. One party puts T & Cs on the table, the other party either chooses to accept, or to propose changes. Only when both parties agree to the final version of the contract language, then both parties sign, and the deal is done. This is the common way of doing business.

In your case, all you are saying, "your proposed changes are unacceptable to me." It is that simple, no more complex. There is no deal. End of story.

Having said that about principles in contract negotiation, in this case, I think you should be pleased you got paid. The requested change of 30 days seems like such a minor deal, there is no reason to be concerned. Most likely, you are looking for a reason to drop this customer, and are wanting to use the 30 day term as a reason. That is OK. Why not just send a letter, stating you will no longer be offering lawn care services for their property? The 30 day term sounds like a red-herring in the relationship.

supercuts
03-21-2009, 08:29 AM
this is stupid, its up to you. either you need the work and you'll wait, or you dont need the work bad enough and you dump her! whats the big choice?? grow some

shovelracer
03-21-2009, 10:19 AM
Ditch this loser.

1. Rude, crossing out and putting the snotty comment in rather than calling it to discuss it like a human being.
2. Deadbeat, paying late and lying about why, repeatedly.
3. Broke-ass. Can't pay a lawn service bill because they don't have that much in the bank account.

What's the upside of this account?

If you keep them on on these terms you'll be writing a post in a few months about how to best attempt to collect the 4 months revenue you haven't been paid for.

This is a no-brainer.

I agree with you some, but you couldnt be more wrong about the collections. I have people that take care of this for me should it go bad. They are very good at what they do. Thankfully these are minimal though.

shovelracer
03-21-2009, 10:28 AM
Someone asked why I even posted this. When I did, I realized that the majority would say drop her and some would tell me what works for them. That is fine. I post things like this because somewhere in the several pages of responses there will usually be a good piece of advice that will put the situation into perspective. A lot of us post out of frustration looking for advice or approval from our peers on issues we can not look at clearly. For myself it is a way of venting, then getting opinions, then after a day or two of calming down, making a decision. This has saved me from making some over the edge calls or sending inappropriate letters in the past. We each have our ways.

ed2hess
03-21-2009, 10:31 PM
I agree with you some, but you couldnt be more wrong about the collections. I have people that take care of this for me should it go bad. They are very good at what they do. Thankfully these are minimal though.

This is probably the most important thing that most all lawn guys never learn and that is how to get someone to collect the money. Our last resort fallback is our law firm who gives the bills to a rookie law guy and he goes and gets the money every time. And it cost us nothing. So what do we gain usually a years mowing plus a little late fee and the lawyer gets the experience. I am sure there are other ways but this idea that I am going to select my customers based on when they pay is stupid.

Quality Cuts PLS
03-21-2009, 11:08 PM
Bottom line, it's your company and your terms, either they agree or not, their choice.
The other option would be to pay per visit or, for them to pay up front by the 1st. for the entire month and credit visits the following month if you had to skip due to weather, etc. At least you won't have to chase your money. I have had to do this with a few. Remember it's YOUR company, not theirs, you dictate the the way things are.