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stevenf
12-13-2011, 06:39 PM
Every year around November people seem to have the hardest time paying there bill. Last year I had 3 people pay me an October invoice in January. This year I am sending out the third roll over invoice to several people who otherwise pay on time religiously. Slowest part of the year for me and also the time of year I have to put in the most effort to get paid. Anyone else have this problem?
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KrayzKajun
12-13-2011, 06:46 PM
Tis the Season of late payers.
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RGM
12-13-2011, 06:48 PM
I have kind of gotten use to some customers paying me late for last bill. Sometimes I don't see the money till the end of January which helps me out having some money then.

GMLC
12-13-2011, 07:18 PM
Same here every year. Next year I hope to transition most of my clients to auto-pay. I already mailed surveys and most are on board!

stevenf
12-13-2011, 09:10 PM
I usually spend winter tinkering with software's. I setup an online invoicing program. I may give that a try
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GreenI.A.
12-14-2011, 06:30 PM
I have three who own me right now. Two of them told me flat out that money is tight because of christmas. My simple response to them, "does that excuse work for your mortgage?" In a few more weeks they will recieve my letter of intent to file the mechanics lien. That always gets the checks coming in

Ticolawnllc
12-14-2011, 07:40 PM
I have three who own me right now. Two of them told me flat out that money is tight because of christmas. My simple response to them, "does that excuse work for your mortgage?" In a few more weeks they will recieve my letter of intent to file the mechanics lien. That always gets the checks coming in

I don't work for any one that owes. That way for Thanks Giving the houses of late pays don't get done. They end up calling with check in hand. I take advantage and bill them for the clean up then and there. They do end up owing later but for much less. Lots of $40 and $80 which is much better than $480

grass-scapes
12-19-2011, 06:42 PM
Sent out 32 invoices Mid November. As of today, 8 have come in. December invoices being created as we speak.

Dr.NewEarth
12-19-2011, 07:43 PM
Use a signed contract and state in it that there is a late fee that will be applied to accounts over (for instance) 30 days from the issuance of the invoice.

We will still get flakes from time to time, but if you have to take legal action you still need agreements in writing.

JContracting
12-23-2011, 04:02 AM
The issue with dead beat customers is they'll just find some hack to get the work done, and then your old acct looks like a$$ and you're out you're money.
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jsslawncare
12-23-2011, 11:06 AM
If it is just a few then use the money when it finally comes in, in January when it is needed. I have a few that do this and I don't really mind it. You can "state" all you want in a contract but, if they want to use their money for something else then it's not going to matter what was "stated" in the contract. My question is -Do you really have the time and money to do all of this with a contract? I don't. Many years in business without contracts and don't use them unless a business wants one.

Big C
12-23-2011, 12:55 PM
Every year around November people seem to have the hardest time paying there bill. Last year I had 3 people pay me an October invoice in January. This year I am sending out the third roll over invoice to several people who otherwise pay on time religiously. Slowest part of the year for me and also the time of year I have to put in the most effort to get paid. Anyone else have this problem?
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That's why in 2012 I am having my customers pay in advance. Invoices will be sent out on the 15th of each month for the next months service and will be due on the 1st of that month, if I do not receive their payment by the 1st-no service. I if I don't receive the payment by the next invoice cycle, I will drop them and they will be replaced with a new customer. If I chose to reinstate their account, I will charge them an additional fee to get the property back to a serviceable condition.....I am done being Mr Nice Guy with these deadbeats...don't have time for their BS!

GreenI.A.
12-23-2011, 08:35 PM
If it is just a few then use the money when it finally comes in, in January when it is needed. I have a few that do this and I don't really mind it. You can "state" all you want in a contract but, if they want to use their money for something else then it's not going to matter what was "stated" in the contract. My question is -Do you really have the time and money to do all of this with a contract? I don't. Many years in business without contracts and don't use them unless a business wants one.

What time? How long does it take to do a contract? I know I sat down and typed up the terms for a few different contracts. 1 for lighting. 1 for irrigatio installs. 1 for hardscaping and softscaping. 1 for sub contractors. I then sent the 4 contracts to my attorney who looked them over to be sure the were binding and that was it. You don't need to do an individual contract for each client, you make up general ones that cover a large amount of things

Roger
12-23-2011, 10:32 PM
This is my best year for getting payments, ever. I only have a couple outstanding, ones that were billing in mid-December. All others paid up better than in years past. Why? I don't know.

Somebody above discussed adding a late fee. I've read that statement many times on LS over the years. But, I never (rarely?) read of anybody collecting the fee. In so many areas, the customer will merely drop you off and find a new contractor. If one drops off, there are 10 others waiting in in to get the work. Supply vs. demand, ... not much leverage.

As far as contracts discussed above, they do nothing about collecting payments. All the strong language in a document will do nothing to the dishonest person who chooses not to pay. Usually, the amounts outstanding are in the hundreds of dollars or less, and are not large enough to enforce much. Yes, you may get a favorable court ruling. But, all that means is codifying what everybody knows: The money has not been paid. Liens only mean something when the property is sold, and that could be years, decades.

I had a customer for one year that I learned followed the pattern: Don't pay for Oct and Nov. Then find a new contractor for the next season. The customer did this year after year (learned later). He had no intention of paying the last bills, and knew that nobody was coming after him for the few hundred dollars outstanding. Wrong? To be sure. But, it worked for him. I have no idea how many of us he screwed over. He never worried about how much leaf removal/control was going to cost him. He knew it was $0.00.