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View Full Version : Should i give customer a pep talk?


pseudosun
01-31-2013, 07:13 AM
I have this long time customer who i have to remind to pay me about 90% of the time. Sometimes, it's 3 times, maybe 4. For instance, I clearly tell her that i need to be paid by the 1st, and she'll always say something good like "no problem". Now i have a mail slot, and she can't say that she didn't want to leave cash out. One of my least favorite things to do is to remind someone to pay me. It seems there is no nice way to do it. Pay me my money! Other times, she'll say it will be under the mat, and i sure enough, it's not there. She acts scatter brained, and i'm not sure if it's on purpose. The fact is that every time i do her yard, i know it will be an ordeal to get paid. She always says "I'm sorry", but continues to do it. In my mind "I'm sorry" is meaningless. Since i always eventually get paid, i guess it's something i'll just have to tolerate. I'm not late doing her yard, so why is she making me jump through hoops to get my money? I think she may be shocked if i were to bring it up. I'd be interested to know how any of you have dealt with a regular customer who is a late payer? I just left her a message about the last job.

Jimslawncareservice
01-31-2013, 07:38 AM
Make her have a credit card on file. When she's past due charge it. Or raise your rates for being a bank loaning her money. Or you could find a good paying customer to replace her with. Sounds like talking and asking for your money isn't working already, why would talking more help?
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pseudosun
01-31-2013, 07:58 AM
This is something i'll consider for new customers, defintely. I knew her on a personal level before hand. I guess that doesn't help. There are people that i know well, who would do face contortions if i brought up getting a credit card on file. I've been firm with my latest customers, and try not to get too close, because of this situation. I guess this is a messy situation. She's 4 doors down, and i've known her for 20 years. I went there two days ago, and she was in a gown. She stuck her head out, and said "i'll bring you cash, okay", and i just called her this morning. Maybe i'm looking for the right words to use. I don't know. I guess i'll just make it uncomfortable for her, and continue to pressure, so it will be easier to just pay me:)

Jimslawncareservice
01-31-2013, 08:11 AM
That's thing, you shouldn't need to re work for your money. You worked for it once, now work again. I think people get off on it, or think they're making you work harder for your money. I've talked to several fert and spray guys along with a few mowing guys that are making credit cards a must on file, or pre pay all together.
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Landrus2
01-31-2013, 08:15 AM
Guys that is part of bussiness if don't want to put up with it just dropper.:hammerhead:
I just keep on doing till I see it's time for a court letter:waving:

pseudosun
01-31-2013, 08:20 AM
I think you may on to something here. > "" I think people get off on it""

Dropping a customer is easy. This is a little stickier. I've known her and her mom for 20 years. Dropping her would be dropping the relationship. That's why this is a challenge. It's possible that she is so scatter brained, that she does forget, but maybe not. I'm just looking for the right approach.

Jimslawncareservice
01-31-2013, 08:31 AM
You have to decide. Business or charity.
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knox gsl
01-31-2013, 08:31 AM
Just ask for money up front. No pay no work.
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Jimslawncareservice
01-31-2013, 08:37 AM
Guys that is part of bussiness if don't want to put up with it just dropper.:hammerhead:
I just keep on doing till I see it's time for a court letter:waving:

Too many build their businesses to have customers go way late in paying not to cover costs. We are not banks. Not many people give credit to people they don't know or do a credit check. I have to, to get dish tv or get culligan water. There is plenty of good customers in general, I've dropped or raised so many slow payers these last few years its crazy. What did they cost me? Nothing. Nice being able to have money to cover the unexpected break down or just a what the Hell buy. Prior to getting on here I worked and got paid 2-3 months or longer from most.
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BeachysLawn
01-31-2013, 09:12 AM
Maybe it would help if you began to stop mowing her lawn when she is late making payment. When she calls to see why you didn't mow, kindly say that to stay profitable, you had to institute a new company policy dictating that you stop service for your clients the moment payment is overdue.

pseudosun
01-31-2013, 09:38 AM
This is subtle enough to try. I'll just stop caring so much. Let the games begin.

ddixon7
01-31-2013, 10:18 AM
I have a long time customer who has become a late payer. Sometimes its 3 months late. But I have had her for 25 years and I think it is due to her age so I don't say anything. Her yard is small and next to 9 other accounts so it isn't out of the way. I get my money eventually... If she wasn't in her 90s I wouldn't put up with it.
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pseudosun
01-31-2013, 03:11 PM
I think this lady is right at 60. I think someone was probably right when they said that some customers get off on making you work on collecting the money. Last payment she was late, she made it sound like she was doing me a favor. She said "i'll give you $50". Well, that was our price which includes spraying behind her fence. I know this woman; she'll try to go back to 40, and expect the ivy/vines not to come in her yard this spring, and act dumb when i remind her of our discussion. It is trickier when you have known someone on a personal level before they were a customer. Right now, i'm waiting on my money, because tomorrow is the 1st. Haven't heard from her since i called and left a message this morning. I also cut the yard of her friend's mom, so it's the collection game X 2. I never forget what i'm owed, it must be frustrating for her; the same as it is for me. Personally, i don't like to leave people hanging. It doesn't sit well with me, but that's me.

ddixon7
01-31-2013, 03:34 PM
I would dump that lady in a heart beat. I learned long ago that the goal is to dump crummy customers and replace them with the creme of the crop. If you knew her on a personal level before she was a customer, who cares. She obviously doesn't care. Forget her. Or if you really feel like it would be weird to totally drop her, let her yard go for a month. Make her call you to come and cut it. Make her pay you double since it is so tall now, and make sure it is in advance.

All my customers pay or they get replaced. I hardly ever have to worry about getting paid. When someone asks me to cut their lawn, I can just tell by looking at them if they have good credit or bad credit. I'll ask them certain questions to see how they respond. If I suspect they don't pay their bills and will end up screwing me, I will give them a real high price. If in the 1 out of 10 chance they accept, I make them pay me a months in advance.

pseudosun
01-31-2013, 03:52 PM
I am getting better at this > ""I can just tell by looking at them if they have good credit or bad credit""

It will probably be real weird if i drop her. I'm outside alot and she's a few doors down. Also, i'll lose another one she pays me for. On other customers, i don't hesitate to bring down the hammer. I'll get paid, but i just want to whip her with a bull whip.

yardguy28
01-31-2013, 04:44 PM
I have this long time customer who i have to remind to pay me about 90% of the time. Sometimes, it's 3 times, maybe 4. For instance, I clearly tell her that i need to be paid by the 1st, and she'll always say something good like "no problem". Now i have a mail slot, and she can't say that she didn't want to leave cash out. One of my least favorite things to do is to remind someone to pay me. It seems there is no nice way to do it. Pay me my money! Other times, she'll say it will be under the mat, and i sure enough, it's not there. She acts scatter brained, and i'm not sure if it's on purpose. The fact is that every time i do her yard, i know it will be an ordeal to get paid. She always says "I'm sorry", but continues to do it. In my mind "I'm sorry" is meaningless. Since i always eventually get paid, i guess it's something i'll just have to tolerate. I'm not late doing her yard, so why is she making me jump through hoops to get my money? I think she may be shocked if i were to bring it up. I'd be interested to know how any of you have dealt with a regular customer who is a late payer? I just left her a message about the last job.

I discontinue service 15 days past due and after 30 days past due a final notice with the possibility of turning them over to collection goes out.

this applies to ALL clients. doesn't matter how short or long you have been with me. I'm not interested in chasing after my money. I may chase it once but after that its done.

clydebusa
01-31-2013, 05:45 PM
Drop now! A little secret of mine, if you drop them then the chances are the newbe will get them!

94gt331
01-31-2013, 06:30 PM
I have 3 customers all the same way as you. They all should know better, 1 is a buisiness owner the other two are a doctor and a lawyer. I have to call them every 2 or 3 months for my money, it's embarrasing. I don't know how much longer I can put up with it either.
I hate owing people money. I try to pay people as soon as possible. But I feel like these customers just don't respect me sometimes.

Fresh_Cut
01-31-2013, 09:48 PM
I have 3 customers all the same way as you. They all should know better, 1 is a buisiness owner the other two are a doctor and a lawyer. I have to call them every 2 or 3 months for my money, it's embarrasing. I don't know how much longer I can put up with it either.
I hate owing people money. I try to pay people as soon as possible. But I feel like these customers just don't respect me sometimes.

:clapping:

hi_speedreed
01-31-2013, 11:15 PM
I am getting better at this > ""I can just tell by looking at them if they have good credit or bad credit""

It will probably be real weird if i drop her. I'm outside alot and she's a few doors down. Also, i'll lose another one she pays me for. On other customers, i don't hesitate to bring down the hammer. I'll get paid, but i just want to whip her with a bull whip.


I thought the point was she was not paying you. I would hope two accounts wouldn't break you.

Since you feel it would be weird just tell her she has to pay and pay on time or you will suspend services. That should be ample enough warning for when she does it next time. She obviously does not care about you to the extent you care about her or she would make sure you got your money.

pseudosun
01-31-2013, 11:45 PM
I hear you. Again, I have no trouble dropping people who disrespect me. I guess i'm not making the point clear about having a history with this woman and her mother. Her mother knew me as a young dude, and the woman was the first, or one of my first customers in the biz. Dropping her would be a shock to the block (neighborhood). I don't want to do that. I don't want to be the grouch of the neighborhood. I really think it's hard to explain the situation. This is one reason i'm not excited to work for friends of family, etc. I've actually turned a few down, because i didn't want it to get messy like this. I really can't lay down the law without a huge backlash. Update: she just called at 9:33. I don't even want to play the message until tomorrow, because it's the same "i'm sorry b.s." She'll probably try to say "why didn't you tell me" and flip it on me. I told her twice. Sometimes i feel that the words coming out of my mouth have no meaning to her. She knew i had to get to the bank before the 1st. I should add that she did take my cat to the vet when i was unable to, but in my mind, that doesn't give her the right to be late all the time. Summary: I believe it is much better to get total strangers for customers.

Mayor of Mow Town
02-01-2013, 01:13 AM
I agree that it becomes complicated when there's a personal relationship at stake. Why not have a chat with her, let her know how you feel, and give her some options...


"Hi <insert name>

You've been a wonderful support to my business, and I really appreciate you being one of my first customers.

However now I am getting pretty busy, and it's really important that I manage my cashflow so I can continue to grow my business.

I'd really appreciate if you could pay your invoice by the ?th of each month, as this will help me out immensely. To make it easier for you, I could arrange for the payment to automatically come from your account each month. That way you don't have to remember to do it. Or you could pay in cash on the day if that's easier for you.

Getting paid on time is really important for my business. If you prefer, I can give you the names of a couple of other guys who could look after your lawn for you if those options don't work for you.

What do you think?"


Hopefully she will understand the impact she is having, and the threat of being "dumped" may be the trigger for her to start paying you on time.

Let us know what you decide to do, and how it works out.

CreativeLawncareSolutions
02-01-2013, 07:33 AM
My aunt still owes me $100. I stopped mowing her yard and saw her at a family party. She was always a late/slow payer....she said she go get me a check. Never got that check. Never cut that yard again.

The pond guy is now suing her too. Nice woman.

I don't care if it's an acquaintance, a friend, or a family member. You don't pay you don't get the work done.

pseudosun
02-01-2013, 07:57 AM
Good pitch, mayor. I may alter that a bit, take a deep breath and do it. I'm getting ready to play her message on my phone now. Her voice is hard to handle. Do these people actually think that saying they'll pay is somehow comforting? Just freaking do it. Just drop it in the slot. It has worked 100% of the time. I did drop her neighbor because she called me to come back to blow. This was when i lived away from this street. The wind blew some debris in the corner of her patio, and she accused me of cutting corners. I told her straight up that i was coming to blow. So, i don't know if that's considered her firing me, or me dropping her. O boy, does she regret it, because i always see different yard guys there, and she's always driving by me when i work. Now that i'm thinking about it, i dropped her neighbor across the street also, because he had alzeimer's and thought he paid me when he didn't. I also brought him to home depot for some posts with the assumption that i'd get a few bucks. His wife asked me to do it on a workday, and i thought she'd hook me up. I brought the old guy back after he gave the cashier a hard time, and the wife said thanks.:) I'm no softie when it comes to dropping, so this is why this particular account has my panties in a wad.

MOturkey
02-01-2013, 11:08 AM
Customers are people, and people are funny critters. In all likelihood, those same customers that are always late paying you, live their whole life that way. They normally aren't singling you out, it is just that it is easier to pay the lawn bill late than it is the mortgage or car payment, for example. I have customers that put the check in the mail the day the invoice is received, and I have customers that do so when they get around to it. As long as they get around to it on a more or less regular basis, I can live with that. However, I have decided that starting this year, I am no longer going to work for anyone that makes me chase my money. Anyone can forget, myself included, but when it happens multiple times, I'm outta there.

You simply have to decide whether the income from an account like this is worth the aggravation. If it is, fine, grin and bear it. If not, cut them loose. That is perhaps the only advantage of owning your own business, it is up to you who you choose to deal with.

ReddensLawnCare
02-01-2013, 12:14 PM
If you need an excuse then tell her you are working with an accountant and they are pressuring you to increase your return on ARs. Also, i had a customer who was the same way and now we have an understanding that if there is no money under the mat when i arrive, i won't work and there is a $15 penalty for me to come out and do it another day or twice the cost if i have to wait till next week to mow. Took some getting used to on her end. This is also why I do contracts. She is one of 10 customers that are pay per mow to help with cash flow during the growing season
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pseudosun
02-01-2013, 12:57 PM
update: talked to her this morning and she assured me it would be under the mat at 8:30. Well , it wasn't there, so i rang the bell. She came out "i'm sorry, i'm sorry, etc." She gave me an extra 20 for feeding her dogs this weekend. So that's a wrap until the next one. Aahhh.

yardguy28
02-01-2013, 02:24 PM
I hear you. Again, I have no trouble dropping people who disrespect me. I guess i'm not making the point clear about having a history with this woman and her mother. Her mother knew me as a young dude, and the woman was the first, or one of my first customers in the biz. Dropping her would be a shock to the block (neighborhood). I don't want to do that. I don't want to be the grouch of the neighborhood. I really think it's hard to explain the situation. This is one reason i'm not excited to work for friends of family, etc. I've actually turned a few down, because i didn't want it to get messy like this. I really can't lay down the law without a huge backlash. Update: she just called at 9:33. I don't even want to play the message until tomorrow, because it's the same "i'm sorry b.s." She'll probably try to say "why didn't you tell me" and flip it on me. I told her twice. Sometimes i feel that the words coming out of my mouth have no meaning to her. She knew i had to get to the bank before the 1st. I should add that she did take my cat to the vet when i was unable to, but in my mind, that doesn't give her the right to be late all the time. Summary: I believe it is much better to get total strangers for customers.

I realize everyone is different but in my opinion history or not, no matter how long you've had them as clients you need to drop them. you don't need or want late payers.

the very first client I ever turned over to collection was a lady who had been with me for the first 5 years I was in business. she always payed on time. to the point that I'd see payment 2-3 days after I had mailed her the invoice. one month on the 5th year she was late. suspended services. she paid. next month late again. suspended services. never saw that payment. turned her over. haven't worked for her since. she seems to have a different LCO each season as far as I can tell.

THERE IS ABSOLUTLY NO EXCUSE to continually be late on your bills. I've fired some of the best clients I've had because they started to be late on there invoices for one reason or another. actually looks like I'm gonna have to do it again here soon.

this lady has been with me for 6 years now. her husband passed away last winter. I'm still waiting for my money from november of last year. I've invoiced her twice now. gonna make one last attempt then she gets a final notice and will have 15 days to either contact me or pay or I release her name to the collection agency and will no longer be servicing her properties.

I'm in business to make money, not be a charity.

J&TLawnPA
02-02-2013, 12:51 AM
Unfortunately people seem to think "oh its just the lawn guy, he will get paid when my more important bills are paid...".....needless to say when u don't show up their on the phone wondering what happened....like we don't have bills to pay as well..its our livelihood.
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herler
02-02-2013, 01:27 AM
Yeah I get a bit scatter brained myself when it comes time to mow certain person's lawn and I haven't been paid, you'd be amazed how that money issue seems to affect my memory, I haven't got paid because they forgot to pay, why I don't know, why I forgot to mow the lawn, too!

They can call, oh yeah, yeah, shoot I forgot, wait, I'll get to it tomorrow.

yardguy28
02-02-2013, 08:17 AM
Unfortunately people seem to think "oh its just the lawn guy, he will get paid when my more important bills are paid...".....needless to say when u don't show up their on the phone wondering what happened....like we don't have bills to pay as well..its our livelihood.
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which is why I'm so strict with my payment policy.