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View Full Version : How long do you give residentials to pay?


MudslinginFX4
08-29-2004, 10:51 PM
How does everyone do their billing? I currenty bill on the 1st of the month and request payment be made by the 20th on all residential customers. How much time do you give them to pay up? Am I not giving them enough time? Or am I giving them too much time?

1MajorTom
08-29-2004, 10:56 PM
I bill out our customers on the last day of the month, sometimes I run a day or two behind depending upon how motivated I am.... Due date which is listed on the invoice is the 15th of the month.

dkeisala
08-29-2004, 11:02 PM
I bill in advance of the month for which service is to be received. If we are going into September, I bill September 1st. If payment is not received by the time I generate the next months invoices I charge a 4% late fee. If payment is 45 from the date the invoices were sent out, I'm on the phone. Situation is usually resolved by the following week. If payment is not received within 60 days of the date of the original invoice, service is stopped and my phone calls are non-stop. My fervor in collections depends on the client and how long they have been customers.

Dwan
08-29-2004, 11:09 PM
I bill on the 1st. and 15th of every month and give a discount if paid in 10 days of billing.if they are 30 days late I call if 45 days late I stop work and call if 60 days late I send a regestered letter informing of filling small clames and a $100 service charge if I have to file. in 22 years I have only had to file 1 time.

HOOLIE
08-30-2004, 12:19 AM
I bill on the last day of the month, invoices are marked "due upon receipt" Usually I get the bulk of the money in by the middle of the month. If no payment is received by the next bill, they get a late fee. I don't have any official policy on cutting off service. I just base my decisions on each individual customer (how long they've been a customer, payment history, etc.)

Andyinchville2
08-30-2004, 12:19 AM
We send out bills the week of the 20th and on the bills it says payment due on receipt.....Late fees (5% per month.....yes have to make a little money on the slow payers) apply if the billings go out the following month and we still have not been paid.....additionally, accounts that are 45 days late gets a call from the office staff to renind that paayment needs to be sent in and that an automatic $50 penalty will be added for letting it go to the 45 day mark....after about 60 days we file for judgements.....All terms in the contract.....Actually we make alot more if we collect every 45 days because of the interest and $50 penalty clause.....Unfortunately most of our customers pay asap....

qualitylandscaping
08-30-2004, 12:26 AM
I do the same as you ECM.. bill on the 1st, due on the 20th... If not paid by the 20th, 5% per week late fee is added..

jerryrwm
08-30-2004, 12:47 AM
Just a couple of quick questions to those that charge a late fee.

1. Is the fact that you will charge a late fee spelled out somewhere on your invoice and contract?

2. Is the rate charged for your late fee within legal rates for interest and/or late fees?

I worked for a supply house several years ago and there was a dispute over equipment sold to a customer. In court they said that 1-1/2% per month on the unpaid balance was legal (18% per annum). But, since there was nothing on the invoices that stated that invoices past due would be subject to interest and late fees. So the judge threw that part of our suit out, and awarded us the $15K he owed us. You can bet your butt that the following week there was a statement added to the invoices about interst charges on unpaid past due balances.

So, you might check your invoices and also check with your lawyer and accountant about this.

Jerry

Lbilawncare
08-30-2004, 01:04 AM
We send ours out every last mowing day of the month, due by the 15th. Monthly charge of 1.5% for late fees (18% apr) minimum $5.00. We have a few customers who don't pay until their bill gets to be at least $500.00, they pay the late fees and never complain. I guess getting out a pen and the checkbook is just too time consuming for them once a month. We don't worry about non-payers, they signed the contract.

MiracleMan
08-30-2004, 01:09 AM
Residential is billed on the 5th-10th day of the month served.
ie September service is billed Sept 5-10 and due Net-10 days.
5% late fee after due date.

eshreve1234
08-30-2004, 09:14 AM
After last cut of the month. Due by 15th, no payment received by next bill date service is stopped. (Not happened yet)

Randy Scott
08-30-2004, 12:29 PM
I don't remember where we got this information either, I think my wife told me there was a law about only 1.5% per month or 18% annually. She deals with contracts where she works and I believe that is all you can charge. Obviously you can charge whatever you want unless a customer is savvy enough to tell you to pound sand for any charges more than 1.5%. Also, I don't know what would happen in court.

impactlandscaping
08-30-2004, 12:40 PM
Originally posted by 1MajorTom
I bill out our customers on the last day of the month, sometimes I run a day or two behind depending upon how motivated I am.... Due date which is listed on the invoice is the 15th of the month.


I am with Jodi and Matt, bill the first, and due on the 15th.

Patrick.B
08-30-2004, 01:50 PM
i'll give my customers 5 days after the bill due and they be charge $10 a day everyday they late ,,,,,never had any problem yet ..most of my customers pay on time and some pay before i send them an invoiced

ProStreetCamaro
08-30-2004, 02:47 PM
I dont know how you guys get away with it. If we charged a late fee they would laugh at us and say bye bye. Then they would open up the phone book and call one of the 2,000 other lawn services that are around here. Most of our 70 cunstomers we have had a long time and we already know which ones will be late when we leave a bill. We have about 5 that after about 2 months we go to the door and they pay us on the spot. We shouldnt have to do that but it is no big deal. Most pay with in 20 days and about 10 are always one month behind.

TClawn
08-30-2004, 03:01 PM
I always bill on the second week of the month and the due date is two weeks after I drop the bill of at there house.

if a customer doesn't pay up after the 1st of the month they then recieve a call asking if they got the bill and could they please pay the balance in a timely manner. if they get one month behind I tell them that there will be a cancelation of services untill the balance has been payed.

Fantasy Lawns
08-30-2004, 03:04 PM
Randy you are very correct ....

Fore those whom need it instead of a late fee .... why not offer a discount fee

Say you want $35 per cut .... why not say it's $40 per cut BUT $35 per if paid by this date

Same with monthly billing ..... if you want $100 per month .... just term if $110 per month or $100 if paid by the 20th

MMLawn
08-30-2004, 03:42 PM
The only problem I see with billing at the end of the month (IF you are billing for work already done and not in advance for work to be done) and then allowing until the 20th for payment you are running 50 days out of collecting your money and thus footing the weekly or bi-weekly payroll and taxes out of your own pocket for 3-7 payrolls depending on how you pay. I just personally think that giving anybody 50 days to pay is too much. Our old monthly accts we bill at the end of the month with payment due in 5 days. After all it's not like they didn't expect the bill and know how much it would be. All of our newer and future monthly accts we now bill a month in advance. In other words the invoices mailed in August will be for Sept's cuts.

bobbygedd
08-30-2004, 04:07 PM
if bill is not paid within 15 days of being sent, service is cancelled. if we miss 3 cuts before you decide to pay, you must pay for these 3 cuts in order to re activate service

Yard Perfect
08-30-2004, 04:19 PM
Bill at the end of the month, net 15 days. I do include a self addressed envelope with a stamp. Thus, all they have to do is write a check and mail it. Usually have 90% of my money by the 10th of the month, with at most 1 carry over per month, usually casued by an out-of-towner or some question about the service.

precisioncut
08-30-2004, 04:24 PM
They are billed at the end of the month and have until the 15th to pay. $10 late fee. Only had one constant late payer this year, which is good.

Liberty Lawncare
08-30-2004, 06:08 PM
Originally posted by bobbygedd
if bill is not paid within 15 days of being sent, service is cancelled. if we miss 3 cuts before you decide to pay, you must pay for these 3 cuts in order to re activate service
Dude you crack me up :D

bobbygedd
08-30-2004, 06:14 PM
why liberty, cus i don't let the client dictate terms and conditions of payment? one of the biggest things that gets me about lawn guys, is that they allow the client to dictate terms and conditions of payment. that's INSANE!!!!!!!!. and they claim to have late fees, but do they ever really enforce them? no, of course not. what good is a policy if it's never enforced?

txlawnking
08-30-2004, 06:15 PM
Monthly billed clients are billed on the third visit of the month. If not paid by the last serive of the month, service is cancelled. If they pay weekly, ( something I kinda want to get away from, even though I've had no probs. yet) payment is due at time serive is rendered, no exceptions. And lastly, if the clinent lives outside of my serive area, ( as in a river/resort property ) payment is due in advance, and the client is e-mailed pix & invoice.

Liberty Lawncare
08-30-2004, 06:24 PM
No it has nothin to do with the customer dictating terms. The thing that cracked me up was.If we miss 3 cuts you pay for three cuts to re activate service.
If for some reason I was your customer and lets say forgot to mail the payment and went on vacaion. I would expect to pay a late fee and a double cut to fix the overgrown lawn. But I would tell you whare to go with paying for three cuts you did not do. I would just pay the original bill plus late fee and get a new LCO to cut my grass.
Then you would be out a customer. On the bright side you could start a thread about the guy who fired you :D

bobbygedd
08-30-2004, 06:33 PM
it's like this. i start you in april. i mow april 7th, 14th, 21st, and 28th. the bill for these 4 cuts is sent out on april 15th. after i was nice enough/dumb enough to extend u credit. now, my terms are simple. payment is due by may 1st. check isn't there? i call you. if you don't call back, or give me a lame excuse, then u r done. if you ARE GOING ON VACATION, have the courtesy to send a check BEFORE you leave. i'll tell u why i insist on the 3 payments for the missed cuts being paid. cus people, in order to save money, KNOW i will interupt service if i am not paid on time. so, they PURPOSELY send it in late, thinking i will skip one service, recieve check, then pick up the service again the following week. NOPE, it aint goin down like that. i made policies that i see fit, like them, great, don't like them, you end up on story of the month on lawnsite.com.

Liberty Lawncare
08-30-2004, 06:49 PM
Bob what you said is true people trying to save $ on a skip. But what I am getting at is a good customer who always pays on time and forgets then is away for a while. The customer comes home and says oh crap I forgot to send the $ . The guy knows he is wrong and pays the late fee and extra to get the overgrown lawn fixed. I would not want to loose a good customer over "policies"

MudslinginFX4
08-30-2004, 06:49 PM
Originally posted by bobbygedd
i'll tell u why i insist on the 3 payments for the missed cuts being paid. cus people, in order to save money, KNOW i will interupt service if i am not paid on time. so, they PURPOSELY send it in late, thinking i will skip one service, recieve check, then pick up the service again the following week.

Well said Bobby, I have had customers do that and I charge them how ever many cuts they missed if the grass hasn't been cut since the last time I was there.

bobbygedd
08-30-2004, 06:55 PM
now liberty, this is a different story. if it is a good customer, who has an established relationship with us, certainly we wont cancel them for being a few days late. i had a brand new one who was late on me this year, i stopped service immediately. the late fees are adding up as we speak, and we will be in court soon enough.

odin
08-30-2004, 06:58 PM
My bills, go out first of the month due the 15th.I don't charge on per cut basis .I put them on yearly contracts .
Its all billed so they are paying before i do the work not after .They don't send it in they are behind the 8 ball .All they get is a extra charge for any extra time it takes me after a discontinuance of service.

brucec32
09-02-2004, 04:36 AM
after 12 years plus my best piece of advice would be to always keep on top of receiveables and work to drop slow payers and replace them with prompt payers. Some people give lots of leeway to customers and do fine, but my experience has been that slow payers will eventually turn into no-payers one day if you keep them long enough. No excuse not to be able to write a check and stick it in a pre-addressed envelope. Takes 2 minutes. If they can't do that they're marginal people. You will make just as much money with new customers, and you will not be irritated all the time at people who owe you money and stressed wondering if you're making a mistake by continuing to service past-due properties.

Your bill on the 1st, pay by the 20th system is very reasonable. I do it similarly, but want payment by the 15th so I can still give them a little grace period. If I made it the 20th, I might not get paid till the 25th or 30th, and that's too long for me.


When I moved, two of my customers who had been years-long slow payers (one for 10 years) stiffed me. They were just the types who were looking for a reason not to have to pay a bill. Me not being around to collect it was all they needed.

Stick to your guns. Anyone who can't pay a bill in nearly 3 weeks needs to go buy a mower and do it themselves.

brucec32
09-02-2004, 04:41 AM
Originally posted by Liberty Lawncare
Bob what you said is true people trying to save $ on a skip. But what I am getting at is a good customer who always pays on time and forgets then is away for a while. The customer comes home and says oh crap I forgot to send the $ . The guy knows he is wrong and pays the late fee and extra to get the overgrown lawn fixed. I would not want to loose a good customer over "policies"

You have a point, and I do let good customers slide. But always keep in mind that you're a legitimate business too. Nobody expects their credit card, cellphone or utility providers not to ding them with charges if they're late to pay.

With lawncare, if you have to suspend service for non-payment, that's blocks of time you ostensibly can't ever get back (although often you can use the time elsewhere so it doesn't really hurt). Signing on as a customer means you're reserving my time. If you cause me to skip you 3 cuts, it's your fault, not mine, and you owe me for that time. If one has a lot of slow payers, it can really add up in terms of lost revenue. And yes, the "skip a cut" types will use paying late as a way to force a skipped cut to help out their stretched budgets.