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LawnGuy35
06-02-2011, 10:39 AM
While mowing yesterday, a customer (who I just picked up this year) came outside with mail in her hand and said, "You haven't sent me a bill in a while and I don't want to get it and have it be too high. You've mowed four times since the last bill and I don't want to pay for more than four mows at a time."

I said, "I bill monthly and bills for May services just went out last night, so you should be getting it in a few days."

I then went on to say, "Just as a heads up, since today's June 1, next month's bill will include five mows. And, weather permitting, August will probably be the same."

She said, "Oh no, I don't like that one bit. I'd like you to bill me every 4 mows. I don't want to pay for more than 4 mows at a time."

I asked if she'd like to pay me on each visit, but she declined. So, being that I'm happy with my weekly charge there and because it's in a small suburb where I have 9 other customers, I agreed to bill her every 4 mows. I don't like it, but wanted to work something out to keep her happy.

I understand some people live on a tight budget, but she lives in a nice house and is constantly spending money on new plants, flowers, outdoor furniture, landscaping, etc. Plus, her adult daughter lives with her, and I know she has a good job that pays well. So I just don't get it.

Anyone else ever have customers with requests like that? If so, did you say, "too bad, my terms" or did you agree to it?

GravyTrain
06-02-2011, 11:26 AM
First of all, if you bill her every four mows, she won't be saving any money. she'll just be paying every four weeks (assuming you are on a weekly schedule).

For me, I have had several customers say they want cut on the 1st and 15th only. Or, bill me monthly, cut it every two weeks, but don't mow more than 2 times a month.

For each of those customers, I simply explain that they will run into months where the days fall just so, and they will have to pay for an extra cut. That then allows me to offer my averaged payment plan which would probably be a lot easier for you since you are on a strict weekly schedule. I mow on average between 16 and 17 mows per year. So I take my per cut rate (between 40 and 55), multiply by 16.5 and divide by 8. Then with a little bit of rounding, they owe me X amount from March 15th through October 15th. This works well for everyone (assuming they take it), and at that point, I honestly never have to even talk to my customers again, unless it is absolutely necessary.

punt66
06-02-2011, 11:55 AM
These are the type of clients i replace.

MOturkey
06-02-2011, 12:31 PM
I don't see the big problem? Every 4 weeks, mail an invoice. It means you will maybe print 3 or 4 more invoices in a year. I'd complain about customers that want to pay me less often, rather than more often. :)

punt66
06-02-2011, 12:34 PM
I don't see the big problem? Every 4 weeks, mail an invoice. It means you will maybe print 3 or 4 more invoices in a year. I'd complain about customers that want to pay me less often, rather than more often. :)

so why not do that with every customer and see how much you enjoy it. Some at every 2, every 3, every 4, every cut. Fun is.

nolanjim
06-02-2011, 01:09 PM
No big deal. She pays her bills so make her happy.
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DIXIECONTRACTING
06-02-2011, 01:28 PM
There will only be three maybe four months that you will have to charge for an extra cut so why not just send her one extra bill at end of season to cover those so that your monthly billing does not get screwed up?

GravyTrain
06-02-2011, 01:36 PM
There will only be three maybe four months that you will have to charge for an extra cut so why not just send her one extra bill at end of season to cover those so that your monthly billing does not get screwed up?

Good luck with that one. Immediately the response you get from the customer is "you didn't mow this month, why am I being charged?". That's the very reason I only charge customers March through October...to many people have NO common sense to understand how simple things works.

Ijustwantausername
06-02-2011, 03:41 PM
I guess it's your preference. Honestly with new customers unless they are under contract, I require prepayment or payment on site as soon as I am finished. People like to "forget" to pay you a lot these days, beware.

ALC-GregH
06-02-2011, 05:33 PM
I mow ever 7 days. Each customer besides a commercial place pays per cut. They leave a check in a given place at each. The commercial is billed monthly. I get a check for the coming month usually before I start the first mow of that month. No getting stiffed from them. In reality, I owe them each month.

topsites
06-02-2011, 05:33 PM
It depends, with some one little favor even if it's a pita and all is well for a long time,
with others that's just the start of a long line of never-ending requests each one sillier than the last,
but I figure since there's no telling which way it's going at this time you did the right thing,
make the customer happy and be done.

But yes, I'll turn one down from time to time.
All depends, each situation, what kind of day I'm having, all of that.

Kleen Kutz
06-02-2011, 07:59 PM
so do u think its better to get paid monthly from your people than weekly. all i do is call or text my people a day in advance as a reminder that i'm coming tomorrow so my $ will be waiting on me. don't always work like that sometimes i have to go back to get it.

Golfpro21
06-02-2011, 08:49 PM
if she insists on ony 4 cuts per invoice...give her an aditional invoice for 2 cuts, that covers the june and august 5 week months

Greyst1
06-02-2011, 08:52 PM
These are the people that are idiots! Mortgages, utilities, credit cards, etc....just about every bill is monthly. None the less its an easy fix so bill her every 4 weeks and make her happy.

In the end, get a good laugh and beer off of her payment and move on.

I have people like this and as long as they do what they say they are going to do i will conform to their request.

gebby
06-02-2011, 10:36 PM
No big deal here. I bill all of my customers every 4 weeks. I have for years. Good cash flow. But, what ever floats their boat as long as I get paid.

Zak's Pro. Lawn Care
06-02-2011, 11:33 PM
^same here i bill every 4 cuts...on the 4th cut i leave the bill in their door. it saves me envelopes and postage stamps. yes some people are billed different weeks due to weather but the system works for me. i could see it being sort of a porblem being that you already have a monthly billing system set up

knox gsl
06-02-2011, 11:52 PM
I would just bill her every 4 cuts and be done with it. I also wouldn't do the weekly pay thing. I dud that when I first got started and quickly went to monthly billing, much easier to keep up with everything and looks more professional.

MOturkey
06-03-2011, 12:22 AM
so why not do that with every customer and see how much you enjoy it. Some at every 2, every 3, every 4, every cut. Fun is.

Well, I do all my invoicing after the last date of service in the month anyway, which means I am sending out some invoices periodically the last two weeks of the month, every month. I've also got a few customers that insist on paying me every time I mow. I have one that catches me when they happen to be home, and generally pay me up through that days' cut, which might be one week, or two or three. It all seems to work for me.

As for this specific example. He wasn't talking about multitudes of customers, he was talking about one. I wasn't aware there was some kind of unwritten "rule" whereby customers can't pay you more than once a month.

chuacro
06-03-2011, 12:41 AM
I bill to my customer needs. Weekly once a month. Every 2 weeks every 2 services. Twice a month services will be there to pay me or catch them the next visit. When I invoice I leave a self addresses envelope (no stamp) and has worked great. I keep a carbon copy of invoice and review who paid each week. I also keep a daily journal of what I do as reference. I mow only about 45 lawns a week. I learned my lesson on 10 day cut never again. I will price at 2 week cuts. I have only been stiffed once and the young man wanted me to apply fertilzer when needed. I do not mow anymore but when I stop to try to collect and no one will come to the door I just leave a big bag of dog turds on his lawn at no extra charge. I do have a saved email with this request.

punt66
06-03-2011, 08:46 AM
Well, I do all my invoicing after the last date of service in the month anyway, which means I am sending out some invoices periodically the last two weeks of the month, every month. I've also got a few customers that insist on paying me every time I mow. I have one that catches me when they happen to be home, and generally pay me up through that days' cut, which might be one week, or two or three. It all seems to work for me.

As for this specific example. He wasn't talking about multitudes of customers, he was talking about one. I wasn't aware there was some kind of unwritten "rule" whereby customers can't pay you more than once a month.

What you guys are not considering is that its YOUR business. YOU run YOUR business. The customer does NOT. I will not take payment at time of service because i dont want to drive around all day with their checks. I bill the 1st of each month for the prior months service. I dont want conversations at every stop. I am trying to work. To each their own.

Kleen Kutz
06-03-2011, 10:44 PM
Hey what type of invoice do u guys use and where do u get'em from? Cause I don't bill my people I just collect after every cut.

Roger
06-03-2011, 11:06 PM
It seems like a pretty simple task, ... every fourth mowing that makes an entry on the invoice, print and mail. For those thinking this is a big deal, what do you do with checks coming in the door? Do you insist that all checks come in and are entered on one day of the month?

Checks come in the first 15 days of the month, sometimes a few after the 15th. The date of receipt has to be posted when it comes, and they don't all come the say day. Making an invoice on a day NOT on the 31st of 1st of the month should be no different.

I charge on a per visit basis. Yes, some months have five cuts, others have four. Some customers always will be paying for five cuts, but most are paying for four. So, my records are unique for each month as well. This is all part of operating a business. Yes, it is your business, and you can choose to operate as you choose. But, if your financial management system is so inflexible, or so difficult to accommodate these situations, then it may be time to look for a different financial management system.

I agree with those objecting to per visit payments. Time in the field is for production. Time at night, or weekends, is to deal with making invoices, recording receipts, managing the finances, preparing deposits, etc. Most of my customers are never home when I make my weekly visit anyway.

As for me, I am happy that people pay on time!

Bagit
06-03-2011, 11:16 PM
Send a statement after every cut. That way they know when you cut. They can send you a check once a month.

knox gsl
06-03-2011, 11:17 PM
What you guys are not considering is that its YOUR business. YOU run YOUR business. The customer does NOT. I will not take payment at time of service because i dont want to drive around all day with their checks. I bill the 1st of each month for the prior months service. I dont want conversations at every stop. I am trying to work. To each their own.

I do the monthly billing for the same reasons, and if I want to talk to you I'll knock on the door or call you. The only time I will take payment at time of service is for a new customer (make sure check clears) and for a larger project that I want to be paid on now instead of waiting till the next billing cycle. Weekly route work will be billed out by the 5th of the following month.

Kleen Kutz
06-04-2011, 12:08 AM
Ok, do you use a special program for your invoices, recording receipts, and managing your finances. Oh, they also havethis device that's call remote deposit. It's a machine you can get from your bank and make your deposit from home instead of going back and forward to the banks!!!

chuacro
06-04-2011, 01:06 AM
Once again I am a full time solo company. My monthly invoices are left at their home the first visit of the next month. I manually write these and leave them with a self addressed envelope. This has served me good for 4 years. My wife tracks all incoming payments and lets me know when to pull out paid invoices.

soloscaperman
06-04-2011, 01:16 AM
What you guys are not considering is that its YOUR business. YOU run YOUR business. The customer does NOT. I will not take payment at time of service because i dont want to drive around all day with their checks. I bill the 1st of each month for the prior months service. I dont want conversations at every stop. I am trying to work. To each their own.

So you avoid all your customers? Don't you want to chat or see them once in a while if there home? Just a matter of time till they kind of forget you and the next landscaper is there smiling and chatting away trying to build a relationship with your current customers. Remember that every time you talk to them you have a better chance of up selling other services. I also understand if you have a customer that talks away for an hour then that makes sense but you know which ones those are.

cut level
06-04-2011, 01:19 AM
I dont see the big deal if they pay and want to pay very 4 mows is it really as tough as Punt 66 is making it. I'll take every one of his customers that want to pay every 4 mows since he doesn't like that kinda money. I hate getting my money at time of service I'm hot and wet with sweat ready to wipe my face and grab sone cold water
Posted via Mobile Device

Darryl G
06-04-2011, 01:25 AM
You're the contractor and the customer needs to accept your policies, period. I've got too much going on to accomodate strange requests like hers. I mean what's the difference, it's the same amout of money regardless of when you bill it!

loyd meeks
06-04-2011, 01:54 AM
These are the type of clients i replace.

So you have so many customers that you can be stupid enough to dump one that pays her bill but would like to only pay every 4 instead of 5 mowing's.
I read post like this and think what kind of As_hole you must be

punt66
06-04-2011, 01:58 AM
So you have so many customers that you can be stupid enough to dump one that pays her bill but would like to only pay every 4 instead of 5 mowing's.
I read post like this and think what kind of As_hole you must be

a successful one with a clean list and little to no turn around. Keep your business running smooth and it gets easy.

punt66
06-04-2011, 01:59 AM
Ok, do you use a special program for your invoices, recording receipts, and managing your finances. Oh, they also havethis device that's call remote deposit. It's a machine you can get from your bank and make your deposit from home instead of going back and forward to the banks!!!

routes go on a spread sheet. Monthly billing and general ledgers and such i use Quickbooks.

punt66
06-04-2011, 02:03 AM
So you avoid all your customers? Don't you want to chat or see them once in a while if there home? Just a matter of time till they kind of forget you and the next landscaper is there smiling and chatting away trying to build a relationship with your current customers. Remember that every time you talk to them you have a better chance of up selling other services. I also understand if you have a customer that talks away for an hour then that makes sense but you know which ones those are.

Avoid? No, How do you avoid them when your on their lot? Most are at work and i dont want to spend my day chasing their payments or chatting the day away. My schedule is too full to upsell. If they want something i am the first one they call. I have not advertised in years. My work and consistency speak for themselves.

Darryl G
06-04-2011, 02:21 AM
Guys, how many vendors do you deal with that you can dictate your preferred billing terms to? Your insurance company, your phone service, trash service, water, electric, credit card company, mortgage? Nope! You pay their bills on their terms don't you? Man up and stick to your policies. It's all about having systems. Do it the same way all the time for everyone. That's how you become efficient.

7625
06-04-2011, 02:22 AM
My customers are billed monthly. Some months have five weeks some have four, and sometimes it just depends on the day of the week that their yard is cut the next month. I never have any complaints. My longest customer has been with me over fifteen years and the newest one only one.

Roger
06-04-2011, 07:28 AM
....

Your insurance company, your phone service, trash service, water, electric, credit card company, mortgage?

....



The grass cutter hardly fits into the same category as these businesses. To think otherwise is making something bigger than it is in reality.

I see nobody who wants a fixed schedule has answered the question about getting customer payments on a fixed schedule.

Golfpro21
06-04-2011, 08:51 AM
What you guys are not considering is that its YOUR business. YOU run YOUR business. The customer does NOT. I will not take payment at time of service because i dont want to drive around all day with their checks. I bill the 1st of each month for the prior months service. I dont want conversations at every stop. I am trying to work. To each their own.

I can understand you not wanting to have to stop and tak to your clients due to time restrictions, but come on......its called customer service......poor customer service skills might lead you to a day full of time for conversation......it doesn't matter if its taking your order at the burger joint, the teller at the bank, or the lawn service guy, all need customer service skills.....you might say, "well I am full as far as clients" well that might be so but you will not out grow your competition if they have great customer sevice skills and you vue talking with clients as an inconvenience...also never say no to a clients handing you a cheque.

punt66
06-04-2011, 09:19 AM
I can understand you not wanting to have to stop and tak to your clients due to time restrictions, but come on......its called customer service......poor customer service skills might lead you to a day full of time for conversation......it doesn't matter if its taking your order at the burger joint, the teller at the bank, or the lawn service guy, all need customer service skills.....you might say, "well I am full as far as clients" well that might be so but you will not out grow your competition if they have great customer sevice skills and you vue talking with clients as an inconvenience...also never say no to a clients handing you a cheque.

geez, you guys need to open your eyes. So what your saying is every vendor such as , cable, light, car loans etc etc etc is bad customer service because they bill monthly? Not following you. If a new client comes out and hands me a check i will take it that once and explain to her that i would rather not drive around all day with her bank account info in the truck for her own safety. She then thanks me. It isnt rocket science people.

punt66
06-04-2011, 09:20 AM
The grass cutter hardly fits into the same category as these businesses. To think otherwise is making something bigger than it is in reality.

I see nobody who wants a fixed schedule has answered the question about getting customer payments on a fixed schedule.

Why not? You obviously dont think too much of your business. With that kind of thinking your going to struggle. You need to run your business and not let your business run you. You are no different then any other company.

topsites
06-04-2011, 09:50 AM
Start wishing in one hand, and take a crap in the other.
Which one fills up first?

Darryl G
06-04-2011, 10:33 AM
The grass cutter hardly fits into the same category as these businesses. To think otherwise is making something bigger than it is in reality.

I see nobody who wants a fixed schedule has answered the question about getting customer payments on a fixed schedule.

Yes it is the same category, service provider.

I'm in complete agreement with Punt on this one. I don't mind if a customer hands me their payment envelope for the previous month the next time I service their lawn though. I have a spot to keep them in my log book cover. But otherwise I don't want to get paid at the time of service for routine mowing. I want one check in my PO box every month. One invoice, one check to enter into my books, one check to deposit in the bank. And I want everyone on the same payment schedule. And I really don't want cash either, not that I'd refuse it.

LoweJ82
06-04-2011, 02:19 PM
hmmm what up ol buddy!

I like the pay every 4 mow's if I'm not collecting weekly, how ever that will really f up billing if you send out bills after 4 cuts. I leave a bill on the 4th cut to have a check left before the next cut.

kb9nvh
06-04-2011, 04:55 PM
Will she let you bill her credit card automatically after each mow? Then she can pay at her leisure...I guess then you loose credit card fees.


Send a statement after every cut. That way they know when you cut. They can send you a check once a month.

Roger
06-04-2011, 09:16 PM
Why not? You obviously dont think too much of your business. With that kind of thinking your going to struggle. You need to run your business and not let your business run you. You are no different then any other company.

Not in the same class at all. You can shine the wheels on your truck, you can add a striping roller to your mower, you can make straight passes across the lawn, but, ... in the end, it is just grass cutting. Almost anybody can do it. Grass cutting takes no special skill, no training, no experience, no unique education. Grass cutting is a menial task, often one that many people just don't want to do -- not because they couldn't, but just don't want to do it.

Painting with different brushes, with different colors, in different strokes, ... just the same, still grass cutting. In the words so often used by coaches in NFL post-game interviews, or Tuesday press conferences, "It is what it is." Trying to persuade most others that it is something else is a dead-end path. Yes, there are a few takers here on LS, but I'm doubting not other places.

Darryl G
06-04-2011, 09:39 PM
No matter what your business, you have a right to set policies for your customers. That's why it's nice to have an agreement/contract with terms and conditions. Mine says, and I quote "Invoices are prepared at the beginning of each month for services performed during the previous month. Payment in full is due within 15 days of the invoice date." If they don't like it then they shouldn't sign it.

One of the keys to success in business is to have consistent policies and procedures. Sure there is always room for flexibility as long as it isn't burdensome. To me, wanting to get billed on a different billing cycle than everyone else is burdensome. I'll e-mail your invoice, snail mail your invoice, or even e-mail and snail mail your invoice, but I'm going to send it out on MY SCHEDULE.

Why some of you think that lawn care is in a different category is beyond me. Maybe you guys are just "Little Johnny" from down the street or something who mows when you call him. But I'm a contractor. I do things my way on my schedule at my prices under my terms and conditions. If someone wants things done otherwise they'll have to put me on their payroll as an employee.

Roger
06-04-2011, 09:49 PM
[QUOTE=darryl gesner;4052077....

Why some of you think that lawn care is in a different category is beyond me.

....[/QUOTE]

Darryl, I explained the "why" in my last post. Can you tell me why grass cutting is something other than menial work that somebody with no education, no special training, no unique skills, no long-term experience, can do? You have used the term "lawn care," but the previous discussion was grass cutting.

Your question can be restated, "Why some of you think that grass cutting is something beyond a menial task is beyond me."

Darryl G
06-04-2011, 10:05 PM
Darryl, I explained the "why" in my last post. Can you tell me why grass cutting is something other than menial work that somebody with no education, no special training, no unique skills, no long-term experience, can do? You have used the term "lawn care," but the previous discussion was grass cutting.

Your question can be restated, "Why some of you think that grass cutting is something beyond a menial task is beyond me."

Sorry, I thought grass cutting was lawn care, LOL. Somebody as you described would have never been able to get through my route last week after a week of rain. While mowing a lawn may be menial, running a business isn't. That's why my customers hire me!

Having my garbage removed and my septic tank pumped out are menial tasks too. But I still respect the terms and conditions of my service providers.

GreenGuysLC
06-05-2011, 08:49 PM
So you avoid all your customers? Don't you want to chat or see them once in a while if there home? Just a matter of time till they kind of forget you and the next landscaper is there smiling and chatting away trying to build a relationship with your current customers. Remember that every time you talk to them you have a better chance of up selling other services. I also understand if you have a customer that talks away for an hour then that makes sense but you know which ones those are.

:clapping: AMEN! A customer contact is a good thing. It helps ensure everything is going as they expect! And any problems are headed off before they get too far gone. Leads to more sales in cases. And... while it is YOUR business.... you work for THE CUSTOMER! Without the CUSTOMER ... we are nothing more than people with mowers.

Bill however it is necessary .. some customers may have reasons for their request... if they pay good and are easy to work with go the extra mile to please them. No need to be a grouch and lose a good pay check over something so small.

punt66
06-05-2011, 10:38 PM
:clapping: AMEN! A customer contact is a good thing. It helps ensure everything is going as they expect! And any problems are headed off before they get too far gone. Leads to more sales in cases. And... while it is YOUR business.... you work for THE CUSTOMER! Without the CUSTOMER ... we are nothing more than people with mowers.

Bill however it is necessary .. some customers may have reasons for their request... if they pay good and are easy to work with go the extra mile to please them. No need to be a grouch and lose a good pay check over something so small.

I think their are too many people in here pretending to be in business. :drinkup:

soloscaperman
06-05-2011, 10:54 PM
I think their are too many people in here pretending to be in business. :drinkup:

Not sure if that was directed to me but from what I can tell from you, your very straight minded and always think your way is always right and has to be your way. Is this the reason why you started your business because you couldn't work for someone else because your stubborn? I would feel bad being your customer since you have strict rules. Good luck. Not being a prick just being open minded.

DLCS
06-05-2011, 11:45 PM
I think their are too many people in here pretending to be in business. :drinkup:



Yes, I have to agree with you, like I usually do.:drinkup:

GreenGuysLC
06-05-2011, 11:57 PM
Hard to tell if It was geared to me or not .... I will put my revenues up against most. But no matter what you think of me or anyone else on here . . when you lose sight of your customers ... you can close your doors! Without them you would be riding the trash truck.

Darryl G
06-06-2011, 12:09 AM
I learned the hard way that you have to take control and not let your customers push you around, because given the chance, many will. First they balk at the price you quote, so you drop it. Then weekly turns into every other week and then "I'll call you when it needs it". Then they start adding things to the scope of the job that weren't included in the original price. And then they start paying you when they feel like it. You have to think of yourself as a contractor and not an employee. For some people that's hard because all their life they're worked for someone else and been told when to do a job, how to do it and how much they're going to get paid. It's your business and you're the boss now! The when, how and how much are all in your control now.