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tiedeman
08-13-2004, 08:36 PM
I am curious, but are we the only business type that is a push over for past due payments?

I know that some of you go after you payments and charge past due for customers, but I notice that the majority of us just let it go. We don't charge the late charge and we still keep on doing the work for the customer even though they might be 2 to 3 weeks past due, yet they always will pay. Heck, I do it myself a lot of times, where I just let it go. Do we not charge the late charge because we are in fear of losing the customer if we do?

What do you guys think?

HOOLIE
08-13-2004, 08:49 PM
I'm thinking about increasing my late fees for next year, something like $29. (that's what my credit cards charge). Because I may be a day or two late with other bills, but never with the credit cards, because I DON'T WANT TO PAY THAT $29 LATE FEE.

I don't worry about losing customers over this. Do you really want clients that pay you whenever THEY feel like it? They have no grounds to argue a late fee, I've already cut the lawn 4 times on credit, then given them ample time to pay. If they don't like it, they can go screw some other LCO.

bobbygedd
08-13-2004, 08:57 PM
tiedman, this is why: MOST LAWNBOYS are in fear of losing a customer if they insist payment be made on time. when it gets real overdue, they ASK for thier money instead of demanding it. they have very little self esteem, and feel they are unworthy of setting policies, rules, and guidelines that MUST be adhered to. they allow the customer to run thier business. it's a shame. you have to see the shock on my new customers faces when i show up at the door demanding my money when it's due. i have this one lady, likes to pay cash at the end of the month. ok, fine i tell her, but it better be there. well, it wasn't there. this is the note i left on her car, "payment is due TODAY!! not tommorow, not the next day, NOT NEXT WEEK! it's due today! i will be back at 6 pm, make sure it's here. " as a wise man once said, "sorry, i call it like i see it." get 3 days behind on your bill with me i'll confiscate your dog

tiedeman
08-13-2004, 08:59 PM
Originally posted by bobbygedd
get 3 days behind on your bill with me i'll confiscate your dog

LMAO:D

DennisF
08-13-2004, 09:01 PM
Lets face it...the last bill that some customers pay each month is the lawn care bill. Some of them think that other bills are more important. Mortgage, utilities, car payment, etc all take precedence over the lawn care bill. It's a big problem for us and I don't know of any easy solution. I'm getting pretty fed up with some of them to the point of dropping them. Most of my accounts pay their bill within 10 days of receiving the invoice and I have no problems with those accounts. But it seems that 5-10% of my customers are always slow to pay and it is usually the same ones month after month.

As far as late charges are concerned. If the customer doesn't think that the lawn care bill is important, then a late charge isn't going to impress them to the point of paying on time. They would probably ignore the late charge and pay the bill when they see fit. I think the only solution is to start weeding them out and getting rid of them and replace them with new accounts if possible. But even at that I think that there is a certain percentage of people that are always late paying their bills no matter what.

geoscaper
08-13-2004, 09:49 PM
Part of the problem is that we don't or maybe can't report them to the credit bureaus. If you are a couple months late for a credit card or mortgage payment, it's a ding on your credit report. You're late on landscape payment they don't give a you know what.

Gilla Gorilla
08-13-2004, 09:53 PM
Now that I have around 30 mowing customers I can start weeding out the non payers and pitas. Especially since I have been picking up alot of new weekly customers this month.
Here is a letter that my wife wrote up for one of my customers.

Needless to say after being this behind on his invoices and seeing the damn Schwans ice cream truck pull up to his house last week as I am cutting his neighbors lawn that this will not be a customer of mine for next year unless he wants to pay a month in advance. The FAT AZZ sure can pay his bills for ice cream on time but cant seem to pay me on time.



August 16, 2004



Re: Suspension of Lawn Mowing Service


Dear Mr. Huff,

This letter is to notify you that your Lawn Mowing Service with Mow Me Over has been suspended until your overdue invoices have been paid in full. As of the close of business on August 15, 2004, the following invoices are outstanding:

Invoice Number Invoice Date Invoice Amount
107 07/01/2004 $140.00
148 08/01/2004 $170.00

Mow Me Over expects payments on invoices no later than the 15th of each month. We extend these payment terms to all of our customers as a courtesy. If these payment terms continue to be neglected, another notice will be sent to you and payment for all future services will be required at the time they are rendered.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me.



Sincerely,



Justin S. Kieffer
Mow Me Over

tiedeman
08-13-2004, 09:57 PM
thats a good letter to use...mind if I copy it?

HOOLIE
08-13-2004, 09:58 PM
Geoscaper,

I'll agree with you on that one. There's definitely a "bill-paying hierarchy" Mortgage is #1, then maybe car/health ins. #2, and so on. The lawn guy is definitely at the bottom of the pecking order.

The thing is, we should always be scrutinizing our clientele. Each year, you should take stock and consider dropping your bottom feeders. Whether they be lawns you underbid, out-of-the-way lawns, or deliquent customers. Either way, its good to continually purge your company of these few clients that lower your profits.
Take the attitude that if you lose a $30 lawn for whatever reason, you'll replace it with a $35 lawn.

LB Landscaping
08-13-2004, 10:00 PM
I have been struggling with this issue too. I have 53 regular customers, about 47 of them pay on time but there are 6 that always pay but are always late. The thing is that each one of the is right next to at least one other mow. I have let them slide only because of they are sooooo easy. I will be attaching a letter to their invoice at the end of this month though, it's the principle of it.

Gilla Gorilla
08-13-2004, 10:01 PM
Sure not a problem. Here is the next letter this guy is going to get sent out next month if he keeps this crap up.

September 16, 2004


Don Huff
123 anywhere st.
USA


Re: Change of Payment Terms


Dear Mr. Huff,

As indicated in the letter to you dated August 16, 2004, Mow Me Over has changed the payment terms for you due to your excessive late payments. Your payments will now be due at the time services are rendered.

Please keep in mind that we have no choice in this matter since this company is a Sole Proprietorship and depends on timely payments from all customers.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me.



Sincerely,



Justin S. Kieffer
Mow Me Over

Gilla Gorilla
08-13-2004, 10:09 PM
I was actually pretty lucky this month. I got all payments in by today except for this one customer. I was pretty shocked about having all but one pay by the 15th of the month. It was really pretty nice finally.

My wife got some of these stickers and put them reprinted the past due invoices and placed a sticker of being past due on each invoice. It did seam to work wonders with the people that were past due. It seems to be a freindly touch to saying { Pay up Motha Ferer }

http://www.rentons.com/commerce/productcategory.asp?NUMBER=1

wiselawns
08-13-2004, 10:40 PM
Been lucky so far. Most of my customers are coming out of their front door with the check while I'm still mowing.

Trevors Lawn Care
08-13-2004, 10:41 PM
Originally posted by bobbygedd
tiedman, this is why: MOST LAWNBOYS are in fear of losing a customer if they insist payment be made on time. when it gets real overdue, they ASK for thier money instead of demanding it. they have very little self esteem, and feel they are unworthy of setting policies, rules, and guidelines that MUST be adhered to. they allow the customer to run thier business. it's a shame. you have to see the shock on my new customers faces when i show up at the door demanding my money when it's due. i have this one lady, likes to pay cash at the end of the month. ok, fine i tell her, but it better be there. well, it wasn't there. this is the note i left on her car, "payment is due TODAY!! not tommorow, not the next day, NOT NEXT WEEK! it's due today! i will be back at 6 pm, make sure it's here. " as a wise man once said, "sorry, i call it like i see it." get 3 days behind on your bill with me i'll confiscate your dog


its easy to be a push over because this market has SOOOOO many other companies who instead of sticking and using THEIR policies they bend on them. the customer can easily replace any of these guys with an lco who doesnt give a rats ass if they get paid or not...or when they get paid.

Trevor

olderthandirt
08-13-2004, 10:52 PM
"August 16, 2004



Re: Suspension of Lawn Mowing Service


Dear Mr. Huff,

This letter is to notify you that your Lawn Mowing Service with Mow Me Over has been suspended until your overdue invoices have been paid in full. As of the close of business on August 15, 2004, the following invoices are outstanding:

Invoice Number Invoice Date Invoice Amount
107 07/01/2004 $140.00
148 08/01/2004 $170.00

Mow Me Over expects payments on invoices no later than the 15th of each month. We extend these payment terms to all of our customers as a courtesy. If these payment terms continue to be neglected, another notice will be sent to you and payment for all future services will be required at the time they are rendered.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me.



Sincerely,



Justin S. Kieffer"
Mow Me Over [/B][/QUOTE]

Mow Me Over expects payments on invoices no later than the 15th of each month. We extend these payment terms to all of our customers as a courtesy. If these payment terms continue to be neglected, another notice will NOT BE sent to you and A LEIN AGAINST YOUR HOME WILL BE ATTACHED FOR AMOUNT OWED PLUS LATE FEES AND COURT COST!

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me.



Sincerely,

Changed the last sentence for you, it will get better results.

NOT BE SENT TO YOU AND A LEIN AGAINST YOUR HOME WILL BE ATTACHED FOR AMOUNT OWED PLUS LATE FEES AND COURT COST FOR FILING[/B]

Mac

Kelly's Landscaping
08-13-2004, 11:03 PM
I cannot get all upset and freak out over people taking a month to pay me like some of you as tight as I run things I still get by with the late payers. And why I would not mind it coming in faster I sure don't what to spend what little free time I have tracking down some one over a few hundred dollars. Now next year that will change a bit since I am bringing in my mother to man the phones and take over on data entry and billing. But for now I am not going to sweat the small stuff and by my calculations its now the 13th and I still have $29,000 out standing and owed to me from last month if I can get by being owed that what is it they owe you.

Gilla Gorilla
08-13-2004, 11:46 PM
Olderthandirt, I do not have a contract with this customer.

Do I still have a leg to stand on about getting a lein on this guys house if that is what it comes down to?

I like the $40.00 magnetic sign idea with my dually parked in front of his house. It would take up the entire curbed area between his driveway and his neighbors. I think that I would have great results doing that on a Saturday or Sunday, maybe when schools starts back up and park it there about the time the elementary school is letting out and all of the buses are driving buy and then his kids get asked the next day what that truck was doind outside of their house. That would probably embarace him into paying. LOL I like that Idea

HOOLIE
08-13-2004, 11:59 PM
Gilla Gorilla,

In Virginia, you first have to obtain a judgement against the customer before you can put a lien on their property. You go to Small Claim Court, you win your case, now you can persue getting your money.

Even better than a lien is garnishing money from their bank account. I'd rather have my money sooner than in 10-20 years when they sell their house.

HOOLIE
08-14-2004, 12:02 AM
Gilla,

Forgot to add this- you don't necessarily need a contract with this customer. All the court needs is some sort of proof that the 2 of you have done business together. Such as, your route sheets, payment stubs, etc. Or, if the customer just admits that they were your customer, that's good enough.

Ken Kesey
08-14-2004, 12:04 AM
You can always wait 8 months then get good and drunk at 2am and go collect it.

olderthandirt
08-14-2004, 12:39 AM
Originally posted by Gilla Gorilla
Olderthandirt, I do not have a contract with this customer.

Do I still have a leg to stand on about getting a lein on this guys house if that is what it comes down to?

I like the $40.00 magnetic sign idea with my dually parked in front of his house. It would take up the entire curbed area between his driveway and his neighbors. I think that I would have great results doing that on a Saturday or Sunday, maybe when schools starts back up and park it there about the time the elementary school is letting out and all of the buses are driving buy and then his kids get asked the next day what that truck was doind outside of their house. That would probably embarace him into paying. LOL I like that Idea

Not with out a contract, possable but not worth the hassle. Thats why I won't do anything without a contract. its spells out exactly what they get and what I get. I explain it to my customers that it protects them as much as me and never had trouble getting one signed. If someone did not want to sign just put in a 14 or 30 day notice to get rid of you, OR YOU GET RID OF THEM

Good Luck

Mac

LawnScapers of Dayton
08-14-2004, 06:05 AM
I have heard of LCO's having customer credit card numbers on file......and charging the cards if payments are excessively late.

How do your get set up for that and what does it cost?

Derek

bobbygedd
08-14-2004, 06:52 AM
or you can always do like ken, and most other lawn guys, and just forget the whole thing. it's easier that way

DFW Area Landscaper
08-14-2004, 09:03 AM
What are you guys talking about?

All of my customers always pay me on time and over the last 13 years, I've only been stiffed once.

Seriously, though, since I've made the move to credit cards life has been so much easier. Only my old customers and customers who signed up for service with a deposit instead of a credit card are still causing me head aches. I'm just about to the point of refusing work unless they give me a credit card.

Later,
DFW Area Landscaper

tiedeman
08-14-2004, 08:35 PM
Originally posted by dmontgomery
I have heard of LCO's having customer credit card numbers on file......and charging the cards if payments are excessively late.

How do your get set up for that and what does it cost?

Derek

the only way I could see you being able to do that if they sign something agreeing to that