PDA

View Full Version : am i wrong?


bobbygedd
03-30-2002, 01:13 PM
picked up a customer last season in mid summer. since it was late, we billed on a ala cart system. this year, we sent contracts out on jan 10th. its a 10 month payment plan, the first payment do by march 1st, then the remaining payments due by the first of each month. didnt get this contract back, so i followed up with a phonecall on feb 25th, they said they want us, but "didnt get a chance to look over the contract" well, that was the last i heard of them. now, yesterday i get a call asking when i will be getting started over there. i said i need the contract, and the march and april payment. the guy freaked, said i had no right to ask for money until i did some work, he said no one else does it this way. i said all my customers are on this plan, u r the only one who dont like it. he says he would rather pay "ala cart", i said ok, when each and every service is complete, i expect him to be standing there with a check. now, the full service contract carries a 5% discount, so i told him there will be no discount on the ala cart system. also told him that if i had to knock on the door to get paid, and stand there waiting for him to find his checkbook and write a check, there will be a fee for that also. he said he needs to think this over.

65hoss
03-30-2002, 01:44 PM
Your business, run it like you want to. Everyone does things differently. That is the good thing about being your own boss. You make the decisions. If you want everyone on this system then stick to your guns.

Some people do all one way or the other, some do a combination. You choice, whatever works best for you.

Russo
03-30-2002, 03:07 PM
I believe that your response to the situation is what seperates you from the scrubs who are working just to get their next 12 pack. The standing on the porch thing sounds a little over the top, but it's posts like yours that help me stick to my guns when customers try to treate me like second class citizen because their attitude is "anyone can cut grass."

Good Luck and Thank You, Landscraper.

bruces
03-30-2002, 03:07 PM
Originally posted by bobbygedd
I said ok, when each and every service is complete, i expect him to be standing there with a check. now, the full service contract carries a 5% discount, so i told him there will be no discount on the ala cart system. also told him that if i had to knock on the door to get paid, and stand there waiting for him to find his checkbook and write a check, there will be a fee for that also. he said he needs to think this over.

No offense, but why didn't you just tell him no instead of telling him you would charge him for time to write his check. At that point, if I was the potential customer, I would have told you to get lost.

My attitude is either take the customer or not, but why say or do something that will tick them off.

I know people are tough to take sometimes, but I try to smile as I tell them no thanks, that won't work and walk away. I figure that there is no benefit to creating any ill will with customers or potential customers.

bobbygedd
03-30-2002, 03:14 PM
believe it or not, i actually want this customer. i have four more in the nieghborhood. i just dont want to be screwed around with the payment. just tryin to make my point, we dont extand credit, and my time is valuable. walkin away is not a way to keep a customer, giving them options works better. they have plan a, or plan b.

bruces
03-30-2002, 03:36 PM
Originally posted by bobbygedd
believe it or not, i actually want this customer. i have four more in the nieghborhood. i just dont want to be screwed around with the payment. just tryin to make my point, we dont extand credit, and my time is valuable. walkin away is not a way to keep a customer, giving them options works better. they have plan a, or plan b.

Would you be offended if I told you "I will charge you for my time if I have to wait for you to write a check"? I guess my point is that if you said that to me the way it sounds like you said it to the customer, I would probably be ticked off. As a result, I would probably not want to do business with you.

In my mind you weren't really giving him an option, but more of an ultimatum, my way or the highway. Granted, it is you business to run the way you see fit, but it just seems that this is a needless antagonizing of the potential customer. Why give them a reason not to like you?

LAWNS AND MOWER
03-30-2002, 04:48 PM
Why not just send this guy a bill at the end of each month? If you don't get a check by the 15th of the next month tack on a late fee. I know what you mean about people d@cking around looking for their checkbook or talking to you as it takes them 15 minutes to write the check. I've started mailing bills instead. One postage stamp yard I have took 10 mins to mow. Would take lady 15 mins to write check.:angry: :angry:

LAWNS AND MOWER

HBFOXJr
03-30-2002, 06:59 PM
I know where the emotion comes from but probably a little harsh none the less.

Why not establish the contract way as your are doing or if ala carte, check is on the door for you when you get there each time or a credit card to bill each time.

I don't know why we should extend credit. That's what credit cards are for.

Folks go get grocerys every week and pay each time. Go to the hardware store, doctor or whatever. Everywhere you go you pay at time of service.

bobbygedd
03-30-2002, 08:09 PM
well, i went thru alot of crap last year with this guy. knock to get paid, im waiting 10 min cus hes on the phone, or cant find his checkbook. or, id rather pay u cash, and i dont have it right now, can u come back tommorow. as far as mailing a bill at the end of the month.... i dont give credit, anytime i do a service, and leave without getting paid, im extending credit, aint doin it no more, yes i was a bit "stern" with this client. i was a little pissed off that he recieved the contract in january, and had so little respect for me, that he didnt even call to discuss it.

gusbuster
03-31-2002, 11:00 AM
bobbygedd
I don't have a problem with you demanding a signed contract before starting your season work. I do have a problem with you asking for payment up front, unless in the contract it says why you want pre-payment due to previous poor credit history.

You go to 7-11, grocery store, restaurant, you know you have to pay on the spot. Gas, suppliers, mechanic, ect... will let your purchase go on credit. The point that I'm trying to make is that our industry is one of those credit providing. In other words, people expect that we will perform the work and wait to be paid. Been like that for years, and have been working like that. BUT, any of my problem late payers have either been dropped or have them on a pre-payment plan.

John

proline32
03-31-2002, 01:44 PM
Maybee you should try to get him to pay every two weeks, I can see your point about getting your money up front, That won't work around here.... But this year I do make new customers pay me every two weeks, and if I do not see a check within 20 days of billing I add on a 5% late fee, If I do not see a payment within 30 days I terminate the contract. It sounds to me that this guy may not be worth your time If you feel that you have to charge him while your standing at the door to collect a check, when a customer says "he'll think about it" you can bet your ass that he may be looking for other options as far as lawn service and you may have shot yourself in the foot as far as his neighbors go, All it takes is this guy to say that you're hard to work with to the neighbors to spread around and people think twice about doing business with you.

bobbygedd
03-31-2002, 03:35 PM
JOHN, U R SOOOO RIGHT! and yet, u r very wrong. if this works for you, then do it. i do not have a mechanic, gas station, or parts supply that will let me go on 7 or 8 weeks credit. when i buy something, i pay for it on the spot. and, all my full service customers do it my way, and they dont have a problem with it. they get the luxery of paying an equal payment each month(this helps them budget/plan their finances), and they get a 5% discount also. i do appreciate your advice, and whatever works for u, great. a few yrs ago i was slow on a payment for the add i put in the paper, guess what? 4 yrs later, anytime i call to place an add, they say cash up front! now, just consider the amount of credit i would be extending if i didnt get a "downpayment " on the contract: 4 cuts in april @$30 ea=$120. now the bill is sent, 2 or 3 cuts in may, before i even see a check for april service, plus an aplication @$60, now they r up to $270! times this by 30 customers and ive now extended $8100 worth of credit! no thank you, not me. the great thing about working for yourself is, u do it your way. HAPPY EASTER EVERYONE

Tyner Lawn Service
03-31-2002, 08:58 PM
I have been saying this for years that we can't go into a retail store and tell them '"oh my wife has the check book,we'll send you a check" or try dodging a utility bill without interest. Unfortuntely we are in a strange business. I have found leaving a self addressed envelope and billing every 2 weeks keeps the cash flow even. I do like the idea of prepay also. I would love to tell commercial companies I want the first and last month of work paid up front plus the bill is due on the first and a late fee would be added after 5 days plus I need a credit app filled out. Yeah right!!!

LJ lawn
03-31-2002, 10:02 PM
life is too short to even deal with idiots like that guy.there's more work out there.wait a month.the phone will start ringin' and you'll be freaking out again with too much work.

MJB
03-31-2002, 10:45 PM
I have several commercial accounts and a few residential accounts that were slow paying. So I put them on a 9 month payment plan Jan - Sept. I mow them April - Oct. This way I know I'm getting my money, and it was very easy to sell this to these customers because they wanted my service. Any additional requests or extra services I bill monthly, but these are limited as most services are figured into the contract. So far it's working no problems. Keep in mind though I just do this with customers who have a bad track record with me. This way I can charge more, spreading it out over time. The rest of my customers are great at paying on time.

lamblawnscaping
04-01-2002, 12:31 AM
This year we are changing our billing policies. We used to bill at the end of the month for the services that month. I spent almost all winter chasing after money that was owed to me. This year are using service agreements that take the price of the mow times the number of cuts in a year plus 2 extra mows to make up for times when the grass needs to be double cut of bagged. That figure is divided by 8 and that is the monthly payment. The payment is due before we will start. We probably lost 25% of our customers due to our new policies, but they were easily replaced, and most of them were the ones that I didn't really want anymore anyway.

My point is people will pay in advance, you just have to tell them that is the only way you can provide them with service. If they don't want to do it that way, they can find someone else. Be polite, but stick to your policies.

SLS
04-01-2002, 12:59 AM
Most of my clients like to pay for each time they are serviced instead of being billed monthly or whatever.

I too like to payed with each visit (I'm not a lending or credit institution) but have run into the same problem of it taking longer to collect than it took to actually cut the lawn. They take forever to come to the door, write the check, and then want to chat your ear off (you know how lonely little old ladies are)...and I do not have the time to come back later because they were not home that day.

So.......

I printed up a neat little 'bill' on my computer with spaces for their names, the date, and the amount they owe. I stuff it in an SASE and stick it on their door when I'm finished...and head for the next stop.

The payments are in my mailbox 2 or 3 days later.

This method has saved me a TON of time for very little costs and because the envelopes are already addressed and stamped they have NO EXCUSE for delayed payment.

This also works great for clients who are not at home when you are there mowing...without having to wait a month (by monthly billing). All of my accounts are payed up within 3 to 5 days after the services are rendered.

In this way I don't have to worry about 4 or 5 mowings that I've done before getting paid, or worse 'stiffed' on them because I wont mow more than 2 times before cutting them off if I don't see their payment in my mailbox.

Not a very fancy method of collections, but it works like a charm. It saves me a bunch of time I used to waste waiting for them to hand me a check (or chasing them down because they were not home) and I can't get 'shafted' for no more than a couple of cuts...max.

LAWNS AND MOWER
04-01-2002, 10:30 AM
Do a search on "auto pay" and go down to Jim Lewis' thread " Take care of slow/late payers for good!!!" There's a ton of info in this thread.

LAWNS AND MOWER

Brickman
04-01-2002, 07:31 PM
I say what ever works for your company. We all like to get paid at the time of the service. But that isn't always possible. Especially with commercial accounts. I have some customers that pay me as we go, others at the end of the month, others that pay in the middle of the month for the whole month. I try very hard to make it work for them. As for billing monthly the same charge, that also depends on the person. Some LOVE that, others will not even consider paying you in advance. Why they expect ME to extend them credit is beyond me.
One way I have taken steps to ensure that I get paid is that ALL of my invoices say "2% interest charged after 30 days. ALL accounts go to collection at 60 days."
I have yet to be shafted out of more than $200 in one season.

For commercial accounts that pay one monthly fee, bill them at the beginning of the month. By the time they get around to paying (30 days) you have already done the service, and you didn't have to wait 60 days for your money. Another thing I do, at the beginning of Dec. I make contact with all unpaid accounts, and find out what their plan is. And make sure they know that I must be paid before the end of the year, for my tax purposes. That has worked so far.

ADLAWNCUTTERS
04-02-2002, 02:35 AM
i send out my bills at the beginning of each month.because i want to get paid but more important so i don't foget. i don't mind waiting 30 days or so. BUT AS LONG AS I GET PAID.im used to dealing with honorable people.if he wants some extra time give it to him. just charge him a little more.