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DFW Area Landscaper
03-05-2004, 09:35 PM
As some of you know, I re-wrote my contracts over the winter. Complete overhaul.

The T&C's are a lot more onirous this year for a deadbeat.

Anyway, I met with a propect tonight and she says she doesn't have a credit card. She cut them all up. "Good for you" I say. So I explain that I'll need her to pay for the last month's worth of estimated service up front. I ask her for a check for $130.00. She writes the check, signs the contract and we're all good. Now she says, I've called my next door neighbor and she wants a price too.

So I go next door, introduce myself, measure the property and price out all 17 of my standard products. She agrees to the price, but by this time she's already spoken with the lady next door and she knows the credit card on file is an option. She indicates that she has a credit card, but sounds as if she's really disgusted by the whole idea of placing a credit card on file. (Red Flag Number One!) She says I'll pay in advance. She gets her check book out and I have a check for $140.00 made out to my company in my hand. I hand her the service agreement and ask her to initial here and here and sign and date here. She starts reading. Now, I'm thinking to myself "That's fine. She's going to realize that my terms are reasonable and there won't be any problems as long as she pays the bill on time."

She goes "Uh. I think I'm going to think about this for a while." I say "Ok. That's fine. Is there some particular term in there that really bothers you?" She says, "Well, I like to mow the lawn sometimes too and I see that you charge me even if I skip a cut." I explain that I have certain costs and only so much capacity on my schedule. It's hard enough as it is to make a living for a 52 week year with 32 weeks of work. It's next to impossible if people are skipping cuts. You can understand that, right?" She agrees it makes sense but refuses to sign the contract anyway.

Anyway, here are the terms and conditions that she thought were too unfair. I've gotten ink on these T&C's from four other customers so far without a problem. First time it's been a problem for me so far.

Skipping and Damage Waiver
If customer elects to skip a scheduled mowing due to any reason, customer will be billed for 100% of that dayís scheduled mowing service. Should Contractor be unable to access any portion of the landscape, Contractor will skip maintenance on that portion of the landscape and no discounts will be granted for work not completed. Contractor will not be held responsible for damage to improperly retracting sprinkler heads, plastic landscape lighting installed in lawn area, un-buried wiring or coaxial cable or line trimmer wear on wooden fence posts.

Payments and Service Termination
Customer agrees to pay applicable sales & use taxes on all landscaping work. Contractor will invoice customer for service once per month. Customer agrees to pay each invoice within 23 days of the billing date. A late fee of $29.00 will be added to customerís account each time that payment is not made by the due date. A finance charge of 2% per month will also be added to all past due balances. Service will be suspended if payment becomes more than 15 days past due and a restart fee equal to the normal mowing amount will be charged if service is re-instated. Customer will pay any additional collection costs incurred by Contractor. If account is unreasonably past due, but not turned over to an independent collection service or attorney, a fee of $75 will be charged to send each certified mailing and a fee of $450 will be charged if the matter goes to small claims court...these fees are in addition to actual costs. Customer agrees to pay $25 for each check that is returned NSF. Either party may cancel this agreement at any time without cause by providing _________ days written notice of intent to cancel.

Honestly, I think I've just avoided a problem or late paying customer. Afer all, I only require 10 days advance written notice of intent to cancel. It's not like she was getting ready to sign up for an entire year with no turning back. Who really knows for sure? But my gut tells me I just avoided dealing with a slow paying deadbeat or a fraudster.

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper

LHlandscaping
03-05-2004, 09:47 PM
DFW,
I like your no B.S. style in dealing with people. I wish I could sub-contract you out to do my billing for me here. I thought I was the only mean one. I hope everything works out for you. As for me I doubt half my customers even ever had credit cards. So I have to rely on good will and good old fashioned collection agencies for the next couple years.

J&R
03-05-2004, 09:52 PM
One thing i would ask you. If it rains for 7 days and you can't cut do you charge her.

tiedeman
03-05-2004, 10:01 PM
we wouldn't be able to pull that up here. If we didn't mow it or couldn't mow it we couldn't charge them for it. Sure, I would love to do it, but customers would be dropping off so fast

gene gls
03-05-2004, 10:25 PM
DFW

I'd put my self out of business with that contract.......

Gene

DFW Area Landscaper
03-05-2004, 10:31 PM
++++One thing i would ask you. If it rains for 7 days and you can't cut do you charge her+++++

Nope. "If customer elects to skip a scheduled mowing due to any reason, customer will be billed for 100% of that day's scheduled mowing service." The customer has to initiate the skipped cut, not me. For what it's worth, the worst we'll ever get around here, from May on, is hard rain that keeps us from working a half a day. In the summer, the ground dries up pretty fast and if rains in the morning, we can be cutting that afternoon by 3:00 usually.

I've gotten ink on that skip policy for close to a year now. That was included on the version 3 contract that I printed up last April. And I've had dozens of customers sign that without batting an eye.

It wasn't the skip policy that scared her off. I'm convinced she didn't like something in the deadbeat language. Good riddin's. I sure as heck don't want any more deadbeats or fraudsters signing up for my service again. This new contract is very clear: either you pay me on time every month or you get fugged up the azz without the common decency of a reach around. And the advance payment for the final month's billing ensures that. But I really prefer to have the credit card on file.

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper

NCSULandscaper
03-05-2004, 10:34 PM
If it was me as the customer, and you didnt show up to do the work, there is no way i would want to pay for services not performed. Even if it did rain.

lawnman_scott
03-05-2004, 10:42 PM
I would hire the neighborhood kid. And think that the ones that do this for a living are crazy. Credit card? I think not, i have owned this house for 17 years, how long have you been in business? ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh a whole year.... Yeah, i think i would have to think about that one also.

DFW Area Landscaper
03-05-2004, 10:43 PM
++++If it was me as the customer, and you didnt show up to do the work, there is no way i would want to pay for services not performed. Even if it did rain.++++

Why is everybody interpreting this to mean that I'm still charging them if weather prevents me from mowing?

Look, I've gotten ink so many times on my skip policy it isn't funny. No reasonable customer has a problem with it. Now I will admit that last year I didn't include the part about not being able to access any portion of the landscape. I added that this year because two of my customers, who have both turned deadbeat on me now, were constantly leaving their gates locked and I couldn't mow the back lawn. I'd mow the front lawn and because the issue wasn't addressed in my contract, I'd feel guilty about charging them full price. So I knocked $5 off each time the gate was locked. But that only promoted the problem. After they saw I was discounting the work, the gates were locked every other week like clock work.

Maybe because I address the no-access immediately after I address the skip policy, all in the same paragraph, people are mis-interpretting the agreement?

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper

DFW Area Landscaper
03-05-2004, 11:03 PM
++++I'd put my self out of business with that contract++++

++++we wouldn't be able to pull that up here++++

++++I would hire the neighborhood kid. And think that the ones that do this for a living are crazy. Credit card? I think not, i have owned this house for 17 years, how long have you been in business? ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh a whole year.... Yeah, i think i would have to think about that one also.++++

Is that cut between your legs ever gonna heal????

Are you guys serious????

Is your self confidence really that low????

Listen, this is nothing compared to the guys that are getting 12 month commitments from residentials. Jim Lewis gets a friggin' bank draft on his customers...and a one year contract.

I guarantee I'll continue to get ink on this agreement. This is nothing. Heck, I already have four or five signatures on this contract. Got several credit cards on file too. I just started taking those a week ago. Those people didn't seem to be focused on how long they'd owned their homes vs how long I've been in business. Did it ever occur to you that some customers think we are INSANE for not getting an advance payment or credit card before doing work??? Outside of lawn mowing or lawn care, name one product that you can get in our society without some form of payment or deposit if you have bad credit? I'm here to tell you friend, you can't buy anything in this country without either a SS# credit check, a bank draft, a credit card on file or money down. People expect these things from legitimate businesses.

The business model of doing work and hoping that I get paid is a failed business model for me. In my opinion, the only customer who has a problem with my contract is a customer who doesn't intend to pay.

End of discussion.

Now I'm serious guys: If you think you can't dictate terms to your customers, you need to grow a pair.

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper

Jackman
03-05-2004, 11:03 PM
DFW where I live and work no one and I mean NO ONE has a contract like that you scared the customer with all that jibrish. What total nonsense you need to learn how to size up the customer some are total dirt bags and no contract is gonna protect you from that kind, just figure out what kind of person the potential customer is and make an intelligent choice on wheather or not to give them your services.....

lawnman_scott
03-05-2004, 11:09 PM
I get advance payment from everyone, but wouldnt ask for credit card.

Woody82986
03-05-2004, 11:18 PM
I suppose people down here where we live in Texas just like to do business with no BS or sneaky ends that could cost us time or money. The terms seem quite alright to me. I don't see one part of that entire document that is unreasonable or unfair if you look at it with any common sense at all.

proenterprises
03-05-2004, 11:25 PM
DFW,
I agree with your agrivation with people skipping weeks, i can relate. However, I would charge 50% for weeks skipped (provided that it was on the clients terms) Its hard to turn around and bill for 100% of what you did not do.

I see the meathod as to why you want a credit card on file, to avoid getting ripped off....but let me tell you......7/10 people will buck to the idea of forking over a CC for you to put on file.

Not saying you would be likley to misuse, but even myself, I would not give a CC to some strange new landscaping company.

DFW Area Landscaper
03-05-2004, 11:41 PM
++++you scared the customer with all that jibrish. What total nonsense you need to learn how to size up the customer just figure out what kind of person the potential customer is and make an intelligent choice on wheather or not to give them your services++++

And how the fugg do you that???? Exactly what does a deadbeat look like????

All of the people who turned out to be deadbeats seemed like nice enough folks when they signed up for my service last summer. But I only collected on 92% of the work I did in 2003.

Never again will I be so naive with regards to the credit worthiness of the average american.

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper

DFW Area Landscaper
03-05-2004, 11:47 PM
++++7/10 people will buck to the idea of forking over a CC for you to put on file.++++

You say that with authority. I must have a bad sample. I got 3 out of 4. Believe it or not, I actually believed the lady when she told me she had cancelled all her credit cards.

In fact, this is a letter I sent to one of the customers who placed their credit card on file with me. If the customer intends to pay, the credit card isn't a problem. Everyone knows about consumer fraud protection.

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper

dkeisala
03-06-2004, 12:21 AM
Originally posted by DFW Area Landscaper
++++I'd put my self out of business with that contract++++

++++we wouldn't be able to pull that up here++++

++++I would hire the neighborhood kid. And think that the ones that do this for a living are crazy. Credit card? I think not, i have owned this house for 17 years, how long have you been in business? ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh a whole year.... Yeah, i think i would have to think about that one also.++++

Is that cut between your legs ever gonna heal????

Are you guys serious????

Is your self confidence really that low????

Listen, this is nothing compared to the guys that are getting 12 month commitments from residentials. Jim Lewis gets a friggin' bank draft on his customers...and a one year contract.

I guarantee I'll continue to get ink on this agreement. This is nothing. Heck, I already have four or five signatures on this contract. Got several credit cards on file too. I just started taking those a week ago. Those people didn't seem to be focused on how long they'd owned their homes vs how long I've been in business. Did it ever occur to you that some customers think we are INSANE for not getting an advance payment or credit card before doing work??? Outside of lawn mowing or lawn care, name one product that you can get in our society without some form of payment or deposit if you have bad credit? I'm here to tell you friend, you can't buy anything in this country without either a SS# credit check, a bank draft, a credit card on file or money down. People expect these things from legitimate businesses.

The business model of doing work and hoping that I get paid is a failed business model for me. In my opinion, the only customer who has a problem with my contract is a customer who doesn't intend to pay.

End of discussion.

Now I'm serious guys: If you think you can't dictate terms to your customers, you need to grow a pair.

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper I'm with JimLewis on this one as I operate my business in much the same way but without the bank draft. I should post my contract because it's simple, to the point and I've never had a problem with it. It spells out exactly what is expected of everyone and protects both parties without sounding hostile - as yours does.

bobbygedd
03-06-2004, 12:21 AM
i was in the casino, half blasted, havin fun. well, the rule is, you cannot touch the dice with both hands. one hand at a time, and they must remain over the table. well, i pick the dice up , put them in my hands, blow on them and shake them, the manager says in a stern voice, "drop the dice. now, drop them on the table NOW!" then he picks them up and proceeds to examine them, then tosses them and orders a new set. i said, "do i look like a cheater or something." he says, "what does a cheater look like? you all look like cheaters to me." i think your contract is right on the money. try reading the back of your credit card application, thoroughly, before you sign it.

Jason Pallas
03-06-2004, 01:17 AM
DFW - I totally applaud you. I cou;dn't agree more with your contract and the wording. I've been in this biz for 25+ years and I can only say that more people in the industry should adopt this type of attitude toward contracts and their work. Believe me - we (landscapers) get stiffed more than the paper boys - and it's largely due to the fact that we don't demand respect. What your contract says is "I'm a professional - here to do a professional job (for which i expect to be paid) and I will treat you and your property with the same kind of respect that I expect from you.

As per the credit card, etc..... the lawn service sector is based on credit - there's no place easier to get $200-$300 instant credit by just saying - OK, CUT MY LAWN. Try to get that much credit any place else with no ID, no credit check, no employment verification. etc.... People laugh at us for how easy it is to get credit from us - maybe that's why we get stiffed so much - we practically beg for it!

Anyway DFW - good job! Keep it up! The rest of us should adopt similar contracts (make it an industry standard!).

Finally, re: requested skips - we give each customer 2 free skips (after that, we can skip, but we charge them full price for the space that they take up on our schedule). The 2 free skips is built into our pricing to begin with. If they skip, ok. If not, ok too. Since adopting this policy (5 years ago) we've had very few complaints.
Good luck!

Tbarchaser
03-06-2004, 01:25 AM
Dfw..your right on...We do the same..Pre-pay only and if they get late a few times we require a CC on file to continue service. This just weeds out the pita's. We have all customers set up like that.
Very few collection problems. And if someone gives me a hard time about the contract (rarely) I tell them sign or grab the phonebook... I can walk away feeling great, knowing I found a pita before they found me.

Mikes Lawn Landscape
03-06-2004, 06:27 AM
Originally posted by DFW Area Landscaper
Skipping and Damage Waiver
If customer elects to skip a scheduled mowing due to any reason, customer will be billed for 100% of that dayís scheduled mowing service. Should Contractor be unable to access any portion of the landscape, Contractor will skip maintenance on that portion of the landscape and no discounts will be granted for work not completed. Contractor will not be held responsible for damage to improperly retracting sprinkler heads, plastic landscape lighting installed in lawn area, un-buried wiring or coaxial cable or line trimmer wear on wooden fence posts.[/B]

Hey DFW,
I'll be looking for some good SLIGHTLY used equipment this fall. Just keep that in mind.

bobbygedd
03-06-2004, 09:48 AM
he'll also be looking for a job

DFW Area Landscaper
03-06-2004, 10:36 AM
++++he'll also be looking for a job++++

Yup. You're probably right. If Mike's Lawn & Landscape doesn't have the guts to insist on a contract that's fair to him, his customers will probably eat him alive. I think they figure 90% of all small businesses fail within the first five years. I'm gonna do everything I can think of to ensure that I'm in the top 10%.

I've stated in this thread several times that I've had literally dozens of customers sign off on that skip policy over the last 11 months and they don't bat an eye. It's no big deal. Yet, people are still telling me I won't be able to get ink on that policy. Unbelievable.

This business isn't about mowing lawns. That's $10/hr labor. It's about contracting with customers and insisting on terms that are fair to you and the customer. That's why we're called "Contractors". If you're not insisting on terms that are fair to you, experience tells me that your customers will beat to you death.

You want to let your customers skip. Fine. Because they will. If you're creating budgets to feed your face for 52 weeks and your budgets are calling for 32 weeks of work, it's hard to do that. Now, try to factor in an unknown variable for skipped cuts. If every customer on your route skips an average of just one cut, what does that do to your bottom line? Now try cranking that up to 1.5 cuts on average. Or even two. Not to mention your added costs when you come back the following week and there's two weeks of growth to clean up.

Believe it or not, you don't have to explain this to your customers. If they have any common sense at all, they already understand this very basic principal of business.

No skipping for me. I'm certain my business model won't work if customers are allowed to skip whenever it suites them.

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper

bobbygedd
03-06-2004, 11:00 AM
we have a "skip " policy. it simply says that "skipped " cuts are striclty at our discretion. we promise to be fair and resonable. if the customer call and asks us to skip, we will skip. if we show up the following week, and i need to double cut, the fee is doubled, period. and we do not by any means "drive over and take a look." if we drive over, we cut. if u come out waving your arms asking not to cut, then u just paid $30 bucks to see my smiling face. we are selling alot of contracts under these terms, as well as pre pay, with little to no resistance by 95% of the people we are estimating. jason palce hit it right on the nose. no wonder lawn boys are percieved as "stupid", or lower life forms. where else can you get $200-$300 worth of credit, without any qualifiying terms, strictly by saying, "yes, i'll let you cut my grass."

DUSTYCEDAR
03-06-2004, 11:30 AM
stick to it dfw the only line that slows me down is the 450 court fee mine reads customer will pay any and all court cost

dkeisala
03-06-2004, 12:52 PM
Originally posted by DUSTYCEDAR
stick to it dfw the only line that slows me down is the 450 court fee mine reads customer will pay any and all court cost similar here, mine says "signing client agrees to pay any and all reasonable collection cost should the account by in arrears".

I don't allow for skipping. I've never had a client that wants to mow their own lawn from time to time. It even kind of strikes me as odd. If we do skip, which is very rare, they still pay and we make up for it in another way. They are still getting what they are paying for.

While my contract is based on 40 visits throughout the year, and we can service accounts year round, our contract basically says we agree to maintain the lawn and landscape, period. This way we don't get into "how much per cut" because we are doing more than that.

Flipperneck
03-06-2004, 02:02 PM
I think its ridiculous, you just lost work because of this. The most important part to any business is having money for the tough times. If they want skipped and the next time you have to bag because its over grown charge extra. Do you have a mechanic that send you a bill for maintenance because you were supposed to bring your car in but didn't? Does your doctor bill you for anual visits if you don't go? I think you are dividing the line of trust with your customers. I'd say if they didn't give you 48 hours notice you cut em and charge em. you make it sound like your schedule is so hectic, can't you find somewhere else to make up the money?

Mikes Lawn Landscape
03-06-2004, 02:51 PM
My apologies DFW I was just kiddin' man:angel:

By the way I do have the guts to do contracts.

Fantasy Lawns
03-06-2004, 03:15 PM
http://fantasylawns.com/Profit.jpg

One of my favorite Dilbert thoughts

Anyways for us it's the same $$ every month even if the customer tells us to skip it .... I have "proposal's" my self but for most of my smaller resi's we work on a handshake .... customer gets behind 1 month we suspend service

Been in the business 20 years .... 7 in this location n never been to court once

gramps
03-06-2004, 03:39 PM
DFW. Whats a reach around? If the cust. doesn't want it ,do you still charge?

bobbygedd
03-06-2004, 05:10 PM
flipper, my doctor sent me a bill because i had an appointment, and blew it off, so, the answer to that question is yes. does the mechanic charge more if i don't show for my scheduled maint? sure, why? because now its not an oil change, for $22, it's alot more as a result of the damage done from me neglecting to show up for scheduled maint. as far as just charging them extra for the extra work next week as a result of the missed cut, that opens a whole new can of worms, they will moan about that too. so, best thing, put policies in place, and stick to them.

DFW Area Landscaper
03-06-2004, 05:54 PM
++++Whats a reach around?++++

Some of the younger guys may not have ever seen Full Metal Jacket. You gotta rent that one if you've never seen it. But that's a line from Full Metal Jacket.

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper

Expert Lawns
03-06-2004, 05:57 PM
DFW, I really like that letter. I need to write one similar to that for my 2 deadbeat EX customers that still owe me money.

Expert Lawns
03-06-2004, 05:58 PM
Full Metal Jacket is a great movie private snowball

Jackman
03-06-2004, 08:48 PM
DFW looks like your contract has support here, maybe some areas demand a contract like that for your own protection. Where I live and work(10 years in biz) the people are reasonably honest I have had good results with no contracts I do feel out the customer and can protect myself from the ones that I sense are potential problem makers by just not giving them my service. On the skips when we have a dry season skips are expected I dont bill them in a drought situation,however if a customer skips and the grass is high the next cut I will charge extra but agian I choose my customers and dont have a problem them cheaping out and trying to save money at my exspense it just doesnt happen.

TurfGuyTX
03-20-2004, 12:38 PM
I'm late putting in my 2 cents...I applaud your efforts DFW! We all know what it's like to be cheated by some deadbeats.

Expert Lawns
03-20-2004, 01:04 PM
Originally posted by tiedeman
we wouldn't be able to pull that up here. If we didn't mow it or couldn't mow it we couldn't charge them for it. Sure, I would love to do it, but customers would be dropping off so fast

so true.....

If I had a contract like that I would have no customers. I'd love to be able to do it though

bastalker
03-20-2004, 01:53 PM
I grew up in San Antonio, I can tell you that the use of contracts there would be well warranted, an a necessity. I live in Ct. now, and the people up here are much different than down in that area.

I dont use contracts. They are to impersonal for me, but thats just me. I like to build a repore with my customers, that becomes more like a bond sort of speaking. Customers look forward to you servicing thier properties, an pay accordingly.

I have had a couple of dead beats dont get me wrong, but after I had stopped service because of non payment. I realized that I wouldn't want to maintain thier properties anyway. I did get payed eventually. These couple of instances have helped me develope a customer base that I want to do buisness with, as well as customers that want to do buisness with me...There hasn't yet been any instances that would really warrant me developing a contract for customers to sign.

There was one thing in your contract that would have kept me from signing it. You not being responsible for damage you cause to sprinkler heads, lawn lights, an wooden fence posts would have raised a red flag with me. That would have told me you are careless, an dont care if you damage them or not.

mtdman
03-20-2004, 02:01 PM
As far as the contract goes DFW, I see nothing wrong with it. I'm not sure I agree about the credit card thing, but that's just me. I say go for it. Most likely you avoided a crappy customer if she turned you down.

As far as skips go, it is a tricky problem to deal with. On one hand, I don't want to seem like a nazi that isn't flexible and can't work with the customer. On the other hand, I don't want to get screwed by people that will ask to skip every other week for no good reason. And on top of all that, I don't feel right about charging for skipped work in dry weather, or skipped work because of rainy weather when I can't keep up.

So, what I did this year with my customers is this. First, I got everyone paying on an equal monthly payment plan, seven equal payments based on 26 weeks of cutting. Which is the average for my season. But I set my work period from April 12 to Thanksgiving, which gives me 32 weeks to get all those cuts in. If I do end up skipping because of weather, I have 6 extra weeks to make up the cut or trade for another service. This gives me leeway for weather conditions.

Then I changed my customer call off policy. I give the customer 2 call offs per season. After that they pay for the cut no matter what. At this point most of my regulars don't call off during the season. Those that will, only get 2 and I still have the 6 extra weeks at the end of the season to make up that work so as not to lose out on revenue.

The problem is, people WILL try to weasel you. They will try to get away with chiseling you here and there to save $$. Especially lawn service professionals. But only if you let them. Setting a firm, fair policy and making them abide by it gets rid of a lot of those problems.

spoolinaround
03-20-2004, 10:57 PM
this year we are doing a $150 deposit or valid credit card on file that will be validated every week, it is cheap insurance and if you dont like the terms then dont sign, go find a scrub to cut your lawn

qualitylandscaping
03-20-2004, 11:16 PM
waste of time.. if they aren't going to pay, they aren't going to pay. It doesn't matter if you make or force them to sign a contract. So you mow a lawn for $30/cut. Thats $120/month... If someone doesn't pay, is it really worth your time to sue them??? I know I don't have the time to chase after $120..

DFW Area Landscaper
03-21-2004, 11:19 AM
Well, I thought I'd post a follow up to this thread. I've encountered no resistance to this contract what so ever. The terms are completely reasonable.

I have encountered some resistance to the credit card on file. Two weeks ago, I was only offereing the valid credit card on file as a means of payment. I soon realized that I had won only 1 out of 11 proposals. So I changed the sales pitch a little. Now its either a valid credit card on file or pay for the last month up front. Now I'm winning a lot more.

Since I've started offering the option, half my customers give me a credit card. I do find that people who find me in the yellow pages generally have no problem with placing a credit card on file. Those that find me from one of my "el-cheapo" door hangers typically pay the last month up front.

But I have refused a couple who wouldn't do either. It's frustrating to drive out in the evenings to meet with a customer who expects me to do all work on credit and bill them afterwards. These are the ones who always ask about the check under the door mat. Thanks, but no thanks. I guess that's going to happen when most of my competitors are still operating this way.

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper

qualitylandscaping
03-21-2004, 12:22 PM
DFW,

You have a good idea but the "credit" system will always be used in this industry.

If you hire an electrician, they give you credit. If you hire a plumber, they give you credit. I've never heard of anyone in this industry who uses a system like yours.

Yes, I ask for first month in advance but ONLY if I've had a problem with late payments from that customer in the past.

I think your getting alittle ahead of the game. If it works out for you great, but you might lose a LOT of customers along the way.

DLCS
03-21-2004, 12:38 PM
Originally posted by spoolinaround
this year we are doing a $150 deposit or valid credit card on file that will be validated every week, it is cheap insurance and if you dont like the terms then dont sign, go find a scrub to cut your lawn


Nate,


So, what kind of results are you getting with that method? Goog idea, but people wouldn't go for that here.

Kelly's Landscaping
03-21-2004, 04:14 PM
I read what you posted and I am not convinced she was a dead beat or was going to become one. After being screwed enough times with ridiculous contract clauses I would certainly be reading the contract and I know I would not give you a credit card number or pay in advance. That doesnít make me a dead beat what I would be concerned with is you raiding my credit card and skipping town and when you ask me to give such info that is what I think you intend to do. I think you talked your self out of business My contracts are nothing like what you have and I collected around 98% of my money last year and I still will be suing 2 of them so that will hit 99% when I'm done. Refusal to sign a contract is a tip off they will be trouble but itís a little different than having them question a clause that says they have to pay you weather you preform the work or not. I know I read your reasoning but the bottom line is your still asking to get paid for work you didnít do with that clause. There has to be a little trust they are trusting you to take care of their propertys its realy not that big a stretch to expect you to trust them with a whole 100-200 dollars worth of credit for a months services.

spoolinaround
03-21-2004, 04:42 PM
only had 3 people say no way so far Mike and I have signed 11 new customers up for this season and all want billed to their CC.

everyone knows that the card will be billed at the first of the month for that months total, the only exception is october/november will be billed once leaves are done

another plus is when a current customer is tight on cash but need some special work done you can offer to bill their credit card