Originally Posted by yazzy
I know there's been a few topics on this particular subject, but thought I'd ask again.
For those that have small operations, how do you collect your payments?
I'm still doing a bunch of research before I jump into the lawn industry so I have lots of questions. I've been debating on requiring pre-payments on all recurring services to ensure I have the money to pay my bills.
I had intentions of making clients either pre-pay a month in advance, or at least leave payments in an envelope outside for my retrieval before I would even attempt to mow their yard to ensure I got paid, (assuming they'd be at work/errands and not at home). No money, no mow.
Then I got to thinking. If they pre-paid a months worth and a service got delayed due to weather, obviously I would credit that service towards their next months payment. However, for those that opted to pay before each service...what would I do then? Here they've got a check waiting outside and it may be a couple of days before I can get over there to mow because of rain -- and then when I do get over there to mow, there may be no money since they didn't know when I was going to get over there.
Do ya'll kind of operate in a similar fashion, or do you just send a monthly bill and hope they pay on time?
The only problem with having to go back and credit them is when you have 10-20 accounts, no problem. But when you have 50-60, or even 100, that's going to take a lot more time to go back and correct/credit their account. Plus you'll probably credit the wrong one at least once, then you'll have the customer that should have been credited mad because they didn't have a credit.
The simplest approach to starting out is to bill at the end of each month through email. Ask for them to mail checks and you check them off on an excel sheet as they come in. This is the method I'm still doing and it works well. Not extremely streamlined but it works.
Now another route you could take is to bill their credit card. This is good because you're practically guaranteed to be paid, however I wouldn't do this unless you had at least 100 weekly accounts. Credit card fees can get pricy when added up. Or check your bank, I know Wells Fargo allows you to do something similar to a credit card charge.
Good luck, and don't listen to the naysayers...