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bobbygedd
01-23-2004, 12:23 PM
as i get closer and closer to beginning my advertising, i am aware that this being my first season full time, i'll be advertising more than ever before, and doing many more estimates, and dealing with alot more nonsense. i have in the past come across people who want service, but will not sign an agreement. this is a bad thing. i was thinking that, if i do come accross a few of these this year, i will offer an alternative. if they don't care to sign an agreement, they can still have us, but must pay 30 days in advance. what do you think?

greensummer
01-23-2004, 12:54 PM
In the application business, we offer the customer a pre-payment plan prior to the season starting. This helps cash-flow which in turns helps "fund" your advertising campaign. Perhaps a variation of this can be some form of help to you. Good Luck!

BTW, custom or sport bike? Just curious........

Tommy, CBR 600 F4i! ;)

pjslawncare/landscap
01-23-2004, 12:56 PM
If thats what you got to do to cover your a$$ and not chase around for your money. I realize people can differ from location to location. Ive consider myself real lucky after reading about so many dealings others have to go thru to get paid for there work they perform. It amazes me. I can honestly say that Ive only been stiffed one time ($35.00) in over ten years. I have a couple slow payers, but about 80% of my customer base Ive serviced for 7 to 10 years and a lot are neighbers of each other. I actually send my invoices upon last mowing of the month and payment due (for existing customers) within 30 days. Most pay within 10 days. I will call if someone goes past due, but havent needed to but 4 or 5 times this past year. I am stricker with new accounts however but I (myself) wouldnt impose a pre pay on my customers. Customers (potential customers) would likely percieve prepay from a new lawncare company suspicious to the consideration of what if they dont like your service, terms or any other expecations from you (someone they dont know yet). Do other lco's in your area insist on prepay? if it is common in your area, then that the norm and go for it. If not, customers will likely try other lco's. An incentive would be more appealing. Perhaps 10% discount for pre pay.

bobbygedd
01-23-2004, 01:04 PM
other companies in my area do not demand pre pay, they do not work with written agreements either. every guy around here who i mention a contract or written agreement to laughs at me and says they have never dreamed of having clients under contract of any kind. but, i'll tell you this, these same guys are always getting ripped off and constantly chasing thier money. maybe it will just be no contract no work, i'm not sure yet. i plan to see more people this year by far than any other year.

fishnetman
01-23-2004, 01:20 PM
do you guys ever tell new customers something like,$40 pay by week $45 per week if you pay monthly.

DFW Area Landscaper
01-23-2004, 01:21 PM
Bobby,

All of my customers signed an agreement in 2003. Everyone of them. Only one exception, and that's the one I've got the largest A/R issue with. Probably gonna have to write something off to bad debt on that mistake.

In 2003, everyone will sign a service agreement before I do any work.

Also, in 2003, everyone will pay the last month's worth of service before I do any work.

No exceptions. I simply have to get a handle on my A/R and both of these requirements are really the only way I know how.

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper

naturescape
01-23-2004, 01:28 PM
I would say they must sign a contract. But tell them that they can cancel it with just 7 days notice (or longer if you want). I tell them it's for my records and for proof that they want service.

Just Cut
01-23-2004, 02:03 PM
I have for the past 3 years I have had customers pre pay, I invoice them on the last week of the month, It is due on the 10th of the that service month, It eliminates a lot of head ache

lawnman_scott
01-23-2004, 03:07 PM
I dont have an agreement or contract with any except for a few commercial, but everyone pays in advance. it is not an "option", if they refuse this they will only be trouble for you. But on the bright side will make one heck of a story come July!!!!!!!!!!!!!

LAWNS AND MOWER
01-23-2004, 03:22 PM
I'll offer a prepay option to some of my customers in March, not because I'm worried about them paying, but because my $$$$ flow is at a trickle. If they prepay for 10 cuts, I'll either give them a extra cut free, not charge for the 1st fert app, or tell them I won't go up on my mowing rate (these are the accounts I had no intention of raising anyway).

Flex-Deck
01-23-2004, 03:41 PM
Contract-No Contract - That is the Question?????

Have a lawyer friend that put it the best in my opinion.

You can have a 20 page contract, a 1 page contract, and neither one are worth a dang unless you are dealing with honest people.

If they are honest, and you are honest (provide what you said you would), you will probably have no more problem collecting than if you had a big fancy contract

Just my opinion. Live in SE Iowa, and a handshake around here still means something.

Thanks Brad

REALtreeGodFather
01-23-2004, 03:43 PM
Originally posted by bobbygedd
other companies in my area do not demand pre pay, they do not work with written agreements either. every guy around here who i mention a contract or written agreement to laughs at me and says they have never dreamed of having clients under contract of any kind. but, i'll tell you this, these same guys are always getting ripped off and constantly chasing thier money. maybe it will just be no contract no work, i'm not sure yet. i plan to see more people this year by far than any other year.

Always get it in writing. A signed contract carries weight in court, if it comes to it. Otherwise, it's just your word against theirs over whether or not you were paid, and how much.

Phishook
01-23-2004, 04:06 PM
I could see asking for, 30% or so, in advance for an installation or similar job. But, asking for cash a month or two in advance for regular maintenance is a little ridiculous.

I'm going to have a service agreement for everyone this year. Basically saying: Hey, we are going to be doing some work here. You have everything picked up, and we'll do the job. We will give you a bill, and you pay on time. If you want to cancel or delay, or we decide to, a minimum of 15 days would be nice.

Roger
01-23-2004, 04:37 PM
My customers would think I'm nuts if I asked for any prepayment. I'm solo, small, so probably know my customer better than those with a large operation.

Also, they would think I'm nuts to arrive with a contract to sign. As somebody said earlier, contract/no contract, honesty still wins. A contract is only as good as you choose to enforce it. Even if somebody opts out of a couple of months payment, am I going to pay an attorney to take the action to enforce the contract - NO.

Mutual agreement between the parties means trust; I do good work, they pay their bills. If a customer chooses to take a different path, then they will need to find somebody else next season for their work.

rodfather
01-23-2004, 06:07 PM
The same ones bobby who say they will not sign an agreement will say to you, "Maybe I'll give you a month in advance. But how do I know you will show up when you're supposed to? And how do I know you won't just take my money and run?"

This is a double edged sword IMO...

HOMER
01-23-2004, 08:57 PM
I have no written agreements and no contracts with any of my clients. I've had great success keeping them and they know they can get rid of me any time they want.

The only trouble I've had was one guy filed bankruptcy and owed me the $45.00, and now my recent troubles with the real estate company who owes me $950.00. I can live with the 45.00 but I can't the other.

Once you establish relationships with your customers and they know you'll do what you say your gonna do I think you'll be fine without a contract. Or go for the contract/agreements and suffer through the first several seasons with miserable revenue.

chipk1
01-23-2004, 09:00 PM
Originally posted by fishnetman
do you guys ever tell new customers something like,$40 pay by week $45 per week if you pay monthly.


??? I have done the exact opposite.

HOMER
01-23-2004, 09:04 PM
Ya,

The discount should come if they want to go with you on a regular basis.

bobbygedd
01-23-2004, 09:23 PM
i see what you're saying homer, but, i'll be taking on alot of new clients, and i can't tell which one is a crook. what does a crook look like? i have never been stiffed by a client who i have a written contract with. it is our policy to only work under contract, but, if for some reason a new client is intimidated by a contract, i'd hate to lose them , maybe they are not a thief, so, if they state the contract for some reason is the only thing standing in the way, i'd offer them the option of pre paying a month in advance. it's just an idea that i'm tossing around

olderthandirt
01-23-2004, 10:00 PM
Won't work till they sign on the dotted line. Just explain it as a contract protect them as much as you, it state you will provide xxxx services in exchange for xxxx amount of money. Then if you feel you need to cover your azz even more you can add all the legal stuff.

Mac

bobbygedd
01-23-2004, 11:21 PM
so mac, it's never ever without a contract, no exceptions?