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Meier
04-24-2003, 07:55 PM
I took everyone's advice from Lawn Site on billing accounts. I originally contemplated asking all my new customers to give me a credit card such that I could bill their card at the end of the month for services performed. I'd then send them a statement detailing the charges.

The bank charges 2.1% for this, which seems cheap to me.

However, many on Lawn Site indicated that they collected far over 97.9%, and to give up 2.1% would be silly.

I took their advice and now all my work is done on 100% credit.

I sent out 9 bills on the 25th of March. They are due on the 24th of April...today. 7 paid on time and 2 have not paid.

What is the advice from the folks on Lawn Site? I've got new statements going out tomorrow, and I'll be assessing a 2% late fee on those two acounts.

Should I call the customers today? Or should I wait and call them tomorrow? Or should I just send a 2 week cancellation notice with the new statements and threaten a collection agency?

Thanks for any advice.
DFW, TX

strickdad
04-25-2003, 02:19 AM
as a general rule we will let one go for 45 days past due before we start an inquiry. you may need to "inquire" sooner, depends on your cash flow...

Tidycut
04-25-2003, 09:23 AM
A 2% late fee is waaaaaaaaay too cheap IMO. Thatís 2 dollars on a $100 bill, big deal. If thatís the only penalty some may put off paying for three or four months. Make the customer think itís better to pay now than later, make it costly for themÖ 15% Ė 20% or a minimum of $15.

Rick

Mueller Landscape Inc
04-25-2003, 09:35 AM
Honestly, 30 days is to long too. That is almost 60 days credit for the first mow with no interest.

glenjr10
04-25-2003, 04:55 PM
we send bill to everyone on the first of the month. payment is due by the 15th. after the 15th, the account is then past due. a 10 late fee is charged, no matter the balance. a late notice stamped with "PAST DUE" is sent to them.

i have never been more than 45 days past due, but i keep a close eye on all accounts. courtesy call can be done to remind them of their payment's due date, (around the 13th).

Meier
04-25-2003, 05:19 PM
I agree. When I print up the next batch of contract forms, I will state that a late fee of $10.00 or 2% of the balance will be charged, whichever is greater. Maybe $15. Most people don't expect to have late fees when they sign up. Doubt anyone would bicker over another $5. Probably should just make it $20 or $25. Credit card companies aren't too forgiving, why should I be?

I can't stand people who don't pay on time.

By the way, one of the customers drove his payment by the house on the due date, so of 9 statements, 8 were paid on time.

Later,
DFW, TX

strickdad
04-26-2003, 07:58 AM
check your state regulations on late fees.. our state only allows a 1.5% fee on the balance..

NYRookie
04-26-2003, 12:03 PM
In New York state, you can only charge 1.5%, per month. Any more and they call it loansharking. If my customers don't pay within 45 days of the invoice , I give them a call and remind them. I have only had to do it 3 times in the last year. 1 of them was a snowplowing client and another 20" storm was on the way, they payed very quickly.

tiedeman
04-26-2003, 05:52 PM
Originally posted by NYRookie
In New York state, you can only charge 1.5%, per month. Any more and they call it loansharking. If my customers don't pay within 45 days of the invoice , I give them a call and remind them. I have only had to do it 3 times in the last year. 1 of them was a snowplowing client and another 20" storm was on the way, they payed very quickly.

I am glad that people besides myself that knows that you can't charge no 20% a month for interest..it is illegal. Here in Michigan if you are incorporated you can charge 17% a year annual but if you are not incorporate only 7% a year.

Everybody needs to check to see whether the interest rate they are charging is legal.

CMerLand
04-27-2003, 10:18 AM
As in so much of life the devil is in the details. If you charge your customers a "finance charge" then you are limited to the ursory laws in your states that may limit you to 1.5 to 2% of the balance. But youre not a bank or a finance company so stay away from using such terms on your contracts.

Now if you were to write into your contracts that you will bill your clients a $ 10 or $ 15.00 re-billing fee for any invoice not paid by the due date, then you are now billing for a service provided called "re-billing". Because you have outlined this policy prior to signing the contract then it is an agreed term of the contract and not considered a financing charge but for a service provided.

Obviously its best to check with your accountant or states laws for the laws in your area.

CMerrick

longviewlawncare
05-03-2003, 07:16 PM
I bill all my residentials on net 10 day terms and commercials on net 15. I very seldom recieve a late payment. If i do they normally let me know it is on the way. MOst accounts are returning customers so that makes it easier. A late fee is a must. Anything over 30 days is assesed a $15 dollar late fee and if not payed within 45 days service is stopped until all pastdues invoices are paid. BUt this is what works for me. Everyone gets someone who won;t pay on time. That is just the way it is when the econmy is down like it is.

Mueller Landscape Inc
05-03-2003, 08:27 PM
Here is what I did;

All customers have until the 15th to pay. Anything received after the 15th is charged a $15 dollar finance charge. However, every customer that has paid on time gets their name put into a monthly drawing. On the 15th we draw a name and that customer gets $20 bucks off their next bill. I didn't lose 1 customer when I started that. I still had a few that paid late and they paid the finance charge because of it. After that, 99% have paid on time. That $20 bucks hasn't come out of my pocket yet :)

Forget the 30 days. Even my electric company doesn't give me 30 days. It's your business! Do you want to issue credit to someone for 30+ days for free? That's what you are doing when you give someone 30 days to pay a bill after you have already worked for 30 days to generate that bill.