View Full Version : Do I have to pay

11-09-2011, 07:19 AM
Here is a great industry topic. In adding new accounts this fall, I get people that ask "will you bill me". I'm so used to the nonsense I politely respond. they pay the tech at the time of service. They don't object. However it shouldn't even be a question. We all pay every time we buy gas, food, clothes, Dr., car wash, plumber, etc.

We tightened up on credit in 2007, and insisted on payment at the time of service even though it had been our policy for years. We had a couple people get cranky over that, and we held the line.

I feel the issue behind the consumer question is, people in this industry so reluctant to bill and get paid. Why bill a little service like a blow out especially when people are there? It's less than a grocery bill for many families.

So we have people afraid to ask for enough money for what they do and then they are afraid to collect. Meow. They'd never survive if they were animals.

AI Inc
11-09-2011, 07:25 AM
I prefer to bill. The time it takes for them to get their checkbook , write a check, and talk about that 1 head they may want to move in the spring I could be done with the blowout next door.

11-09-2011, 07:29 AM
We have about 40% pre pay. The billable ones leave a check on the timer for us, or we give them the bill when we get there and pick up when complete. We don't like chasing blow out receivables and shouldn't have to.

11-09-2011, 08:19 AM
Lots of winterizings are done with no one home, and an invoice left in a door-hanger envelope.

AI Inc
11-09-2011, 08:30 AM
Lots of winterizings are done with no one home, and an invoice left in a door-hanger envelope.

or emailed.....

11-09-2011, 08:42 AM
Why not arrange for payment at the time of service?

11-09-2011, 08:50 AM
Too much work for the return

AI Inc
11-09-2011, 09:04 AM
Why not arrange for payment at the time of service?

Employees have enough to do without having to deal with payments.

11-09-2011, 09:14 AM
Worrying about doing the work when I could get a check screwed up my schedule. If they left or weren't there I just left an invoice. Same with Henry. I did leave a long message on their answering phone explaining all the work done while driving to the next job. If they didn't send a check by 30 days i sent another invoice. Rarely failed to get paid. I'd prefer to wait for a check than use a cc and get paid quickly.

11-09-2011, 09:44 AM
98% of our clients are prepay under a contract. The others are billed after complete with our monthly billing. Checks, cash, or EFT only. No CCs.

11-09-2011, 12:08 PM
same here. For winterizing we have pre printed invoices in the truck and leave it for the client. If the custoemr says something like "hold on I'll grab you the check now" then we'll wait for it, but like AI said that opens the door for the customer to start a conversation. If 6 customers strike up a 5 minute conversation that sets the truck behind schedule a half hour. On regular service calls were time usually isn't as much of an issue this is fine as it is often a great time for up selling the customer or selling additional services. But on blow outs time is to valuable to be spent waiting on payments.

11-09-2011, 12:58 PM
An opportunity to be face to face with the customer is a great business and relationship building tool. It collecting the check doesn't need to be involved, but making them aware of any thing you found when ready to leave, getting to know the tech's is important.

When you have people that often times you may only see at blow out because they had no repairs or started themselves, a no contact blow out becomes "just a blow out" and becomes a commodity to buy as cheap as possible.

We like to the philosophy, to know us is to love us.

11-09-2011, 07:25 PM
I would say less than 2% of my customers pay for anything at time of service. Most are only home on weekends or working when I am at their house. I have a few customers that I have never met. Many of my customers don't even pay the bills personally, they have their asistants do it or book keepers take care of all their paper work. Some of these estates are run like small companies with full time employees.
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11-09-2011, 10:34 PM
We just bill. Send the invoice in the mail or email.

Other then doing my leak jobs. I've been doing 20 houses a day for a month strong now. I couldn't imagine grabbing all of those payments everyday.

11-10-2011, 10:01 AM
I have almost no clients that pay at time of service - bills are sent out the last day or each month. Payment received by ten days.
Used to chase payment for service when I had an economy of scale type business and for a while it worked. Ended up re-targeting my business to concentrate solely on high end residential/commercial with the invoices emailed. Since the majority of my clients have multiple residences this has worked best for me.
The one thing I really don't miss is the bullcrap interaction I used to suffer through when presenting a bill upon service completion. I tend not to enjoy the inevitable negotiation some customers would start when I would provide the written estimate or the "I can get the kid down the street" bullshit.
Now all of my existing client base is provided with a price sheet which clearly explains their yearly contract pricing, additional services and cost, payment cycle, etc.
And no more price whiners.

AI Inc
11-10-2011, 10:54 AM
I send out invoices almost every night.

11-10-2011, 11:11 AM
tgg I agree with you on the negotiation bs at the door sucks. If I even suspected it might happen I took an aggressive approach. I'd start off by saying I've got the bill let me go over it with you. Then I'd go line by line on the materials and explain what it entailed to do this part of the job and the time involved blah blah blah by the time i finished they were so desperate to escape me they wrote the check with no comments. He who nukes first wins.

11-10-2011, 11:44 AM
That's one of the great things about flat price billing, they know a rotor is going to cost $40 to replace before we show up so they can't really complain about it when that's what they're billed.

On the rare occasion that one will try to negotiate with me, I go up equal to what they went down so we can meet in the middle. So say the bill is $100 and they offer to pay $75, I offer to accept $125 and then we settle on $100.

Hissing Cobra
11-10-2011, 09:22 PM
Do you guys take EBT cards? JUST KIDDING!:drinkup: