PDA

View Full Version : Is it worth it for me to mail bills?


TuffWork
03-08-2012, 10:59 AM
Well I had planned on going to a billing system this year, but am now rethinking it. Before I had always been paid as services were rendered, and had to keep track of who owed what if they were not home, etc. It became quite the nightmare last year and I am now looking for a simpler way.

The original plan was to bill by mail at the first of the month for all the mowings in that month and expect payment by the end of the month. However, seeing as I only mow about 60 lawns a week and I and a helper are always there, I think maybe just handing out monthly bills by hand at the first of the month might be less of a headache. I could just use my invoice sheets I used from last year and write them by hand on the fly if needed (or write them up the night before).

What do you guys think? Worth it to mail? If so, why?

weeble67
03-08-2012, 11:18 AM
Mail your invoices at the end of the month for the services you rendered that month.

White Gardens
03-08-2012, 11:43 AM
Get QuickBooks. Best decision we ever made. After invoicing I can just email it to my clients. I think we only have three that we have to send the invoice to in the mail.
Posted via Mobile Device

THEGOLDPRO
03-08-2012, 11:46 AM
Yea i email all my invoices, It saves a ton of time.

knox gsl
03-08-2012, 11:51 AM
My first year I did the catch up with you to get payment plan, as I got more customers this became a hassle. It seemed no one was ever home when I was there and they wanted me to drive back over and pickup payment. It was also a chore it keep up with who paid what and to keep good records. I am now using excel spreadsheets to organize information and to use for billing. I just enter the date, service,d and amount and it will do the math and generate a monthly statement. I am wanting to change over to a routing and billing system geared toward lanscaping sometime this year, but trying to keep cost down till I see how this season is going to go. I do mail them on the 5th of the month for payment of the previous month to be paided by the 15th.

JCLawn and more
03-08-2012, 11:59 AM
I email everything.
Posted via Mobile Device

stang2244
03-08-2012, 01:33 PM
Well I had planned on going to a billing system this year, but am now rethinking it. Before I had always been paid as services were rendered, and had to keep track of who owed what if they were not home, etc. It became quite the nightmare last year and I am now looking for a simpler way.

The original plan was to bill by mail at the first of the month for all the mowings in that month and expect payment by the end of the month. However, seeing as I only mow about 60 lawns a week and I and a helper are always there, I think maybe just handing out monthly bills by hand at the first of the month might be less of a headache. I could just use my invoice sheets I used from last year and write them by hand on the fly if needed (or write them up the night before).

What do you guys think? Worth it to mail? If so, why?

I would highly recommend using either quickbooks or at least making something up on excel to be emailed or paper mailed all at one time during the month. The amount of time spent throughout each day going to the door, chatting with the customer, waiting for them to write the check. I can't imagine having to do this for each account. I simply bill the last business day of each month for services performed that month. The issue I see with sending them out at the beginning of the month, as weeble67 mentioned, is that if you perform any additional services other than mowing, you've already sent invoices so you have to wait until the following month to bill for it and things can get confusing for the customer. Just my thoughts, it may take a month or two to get used to your new billing method but you will wonder how you ever did it the old way.

Roger
03-08-2012, 03:39 PM
.... I am now using excel spreadsheets to organize information and to use for billing. I just enter the date, service,d and amount and it will do the math and generate a monthly statement. .....

Why are you doing Excel? This means you have to enter your information into your financial management software later. It sounds like double work. As others suggested, why not make your invoice in your financial management software? Payments against the invoices flow into a deposit slip. You know who has paid, who hasn't paid. If you have the information in Excel, now you have to track payment separately, but still have to enter the info into your financial management software.

Or, do you have some link between Excel and financial management?

I am always confused why somebody wishes to use a procedure OUTSIDE the financial management software. This double approach seems like extra work, and leave too much risk for error.

crazymike
03-08-2012, 03:42 PM
See if your customers are interested in automatic payment play if you do monthly.

They give you a void cheque and you set it up.

As for mailing bills, say you go from the 15-15, mail your invoice on the 1st and have it payable on the 15

TuffWork
03-08-2012, 09:07 PM
My first year I did the catch up with you to get payment plan, as I got more customers this became a hassle. It seemed no one was ever home when I was there and they wanted me to drive back over and pickup payment. It was also a chore it keep up with who paid what and to keep good records. I am now using excel spreadsheets to organize information and to use for billing. I just enter the date, service,d and amount and it will do the math and generate a monthly statement. I am wanting to change over to a routing and billing system geared toward lanscaping sometime this year, but trying to keep cost down till I see how this season is going to go. I do mail them on the 5th of the month for payment of the previous month to be paided by the 15th.

I did the catch up with you thing the last few years. It wasn't a big deal because most people would leave it for me somewhere or drop it by my house later, but last year it became a gigantic headache. I even got burned by a few people because it was just so darn hard to catch them.

My customers are mostly elderly. So the email thing is out. Otherwise I would already have done this. I would say only 50% of my customer base even uses a computer regularly.

As far as billing at the end of the month I'm afraid I'll have trouble with that, too. My customers are going to be really confused as to why they are getting a bill in December or January. I understand the point of not being able to bill for extra work, but I figure that stuff can be payable upon services rendered as everything was before.

Well, I think I have made my decision that I'm going to just drop off a bill in the door of each of my clients at the first mowing for that months mowing. Then, they can all mail me a check, and I can cross them off as I get them. "If no payment is made by the end of the month mowing will not resume the next month until payment is made."

I'm trying to diversify myself away from mowing and focus on irrigation jobs, sod, fencing, tree removal, and stuff like that. I do however wonder if this mowing thing ever does hit a boom again (no thanks to this drought we are in here) if there is a way to economically send bills by mail. Will the postal service cut you a break at some point if you are billing so much at a time?

APLUS LAWN CARE
03-08-2012, 09:13 PM
I have been pondering the same situation and I think I have decided to go with mailing invoices. It is too much of a hassle to recieve payment as the work is completed and try to find the people to get paid. The only thing that I worry about is the people actually paying you when they get the bill. Most of my customers are good at paying but it is possible that the bill could get lost, etc.

TuffWork
03-08-2012, 09:41 PM
That's the problem I have too. I think I stand a better chance of making this work if I have one opportunity for face time a month by delivering as I'm mowing. Then, my customers will be accustomed to paying monthly when I start billing by mail next year. Unlike last year, I plan on being there during all mowing. However, if I really need to, as long as it's not the first week of the month I'll be able to take care of business as needed.

knox gsl
03-08-2012, 10:16 PM
Why are you doing Excel? This means you have to enter your information into your financial management software later. It sounds like double work. As others suggested, why not make your invoice in your financial management software? Payments against the invoices flow into a deposit slip. You know who has paid, who hasn't paid. If you have the information in Excel, now you have to track payment separately, but still have to enter the info into your financial management software.

Or, do you have some link between Excel and financial management?

I am always confused why somebody wishes to use a procedure OUTSIDE the financial management software. This double approach seems like extra work, and leave too much risk for error.

I only use excel and then print off 2 copies of the invoice 1 for the customer and 1 for me. I then mark paid with the date that's it simple and easy. Like I said before I am wanting to get software that handles all of this for me. Right now I don't use excel for anything but invoicing, everything else is in a manual ledger. I'm really wanting a better system but this still beats having to track down customers to get a $50 check.
Posted via Mobile Device

Roger
03-09-2012, 09:39 AM
greenstar, thanks for your response. I understand your position, and your intention to remain with your procedure.

However, I would urge you to migrate to a financial management software. There are several that are mentioned here on LS. I use QuickBooks, and I think many other use QuickBooks too. If you are going to keep a handle on the financial health of your business, keeping track of income, expenses, reconciling bank account, credit card management, invoicing, payment records, etc. you have an easy way to do it with QB. Yes, it takes some time to set up and learn, but the benefits are significant. I don't know what you are giving to your CPA for tax purposes, but the reports from QB makes their job easy, hence, less costly to prepare your tax returns. The savings in CPA fees may pay for QB a couple of times over.

Obviously, just a suggestion, but I am sure I am not alone in strongly suggesting moving your sights to a higher bar in managing your business. We buy hedge clippers, mower blades, belts, and often, much higher priced items, for the purpose of running our business. A good financial management tool is just another important expenditure for being successful.

There are plenty of threads in this section on question and procedures for setting up and using QB. You are not alone. And, I'm sure that many of us would be happy to help as questions arise.

headz77
03-09-2012, 08:48 PM
For invoicing, with light bookkeeping capabilities, Freshbooks.com is fantastic.
Posted via Mobile Device

cpllawncare
03-09-2012, 11:17 PM
I started with the excel thing but it was too cumbursome, I went to QB online best move I've made yet, a few clicks and all my monthly invoicing is done just a matter of mins, also helps keep track of everything, at a glance I can see exactly where I stand financially.