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  #1  
Old 01-02-2013, 01:25 PM
Mowin4Dollas Mowin4Dollas is offline
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Location: Cleveland, TN
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How Should I Bill

Fellow LawnSite fellers,
I was with my father this morning and we were talking about my venture into the green industry. I started talking about how I am going to bill my clients. I think the best way to bill my clients would be to send them an invoice either monthly or bi-weekly. My father on the other hand told me that point of sale would be the best way. My father is an excellent business man. I respect him greatly. I just can't wrap my mind around how just getting money after I'm done mowing will work. I mean there is so many variables such as; client not being there, me being in a rush, weather, and many other scenarios. I need an organized system that will work well, but cater to my valued clients. I will not be legit this year either being that I will only be 17 come mowing season. So that will come into play also.
As soon as my signature becomes credible as an adult I will have all licenses etc.
Thank you all!
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  #2  
Old 01-02-2013, 01:57 PM
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Patriot Services Patriot Services is online now
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Monthly is way easier to track and collect. Per cut gives the customer the option of skipping service and wrecking your schedule.
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  #3  
Old 01-02-2013, 02:31 PM
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White Gardens White Gardens is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patriot Services View Post
Monthly is way easier to track and collect. Per cut gives the customer the option of skipping service and wrecking your schedule.
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Ditto.

That and use quickbooks or some other good accounting software. In quickbooks, we bill to 90% of our clients through e-mail making it much easier.

That and I can just sit down and only take 20 minutes to do billing once everything is set up. I figured we would waist more time than that if we invoiced at each property for each visit.



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  #4  
Old 01-03-2013, 11:20 PM
GSO LAWNEN4CER GSO LAWNEN4CER is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patriot Services View Post
Monthly is way easier to track and collect. Per cut gives the customer the option of skipping service and wrecking your schedule.
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And skipping payment!
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  #5  
Old 01-03-2013, 11:46 PM
GSO LAWNEN4CER GSO LAWNEN4CER is offline
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Think about it!

If you hire a plumber to come out and fix a pipe.He gets paid after he's done.If you hire a auto tech to fix your car.He's paid after he's done with the car. If you go to the barber shop,he's paid after cutting your hair.

Why on earth would you cut someone's grass and wait a month to get paid? Thats insanity. IMHO your a fool to wait 30days for payment.

I bill by the cut, for the cut. No money no cut. Your customers know the day your coming.Leave the check at the property. Gonna be outta town? Pay in advance for the services needed. That 30 BS puts your neck on the chopping block. Before you kno it its 60days and no payment. And by that time,you've cut the property 8-9 times. All the fuel/windsheild time/labor/ wear & tear on the equipment. You just lost a ton of money! At this point good luck getting them to pay for 9 cuts at one time.
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  #6  
Old 01-04-2013, 08:27 AM
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Patriot Services Patriot Services is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GSO LAWNEN4CER View Post
If you hire a plumber to come out and fix a pipe.He gets paid after he's done.If you hire a auto tech to fix your car.He's paid after he's done with the car. If you go to the barber shop,he's paid after cutting your hair.

Why on earth would you cut someone's grass and wait a month to get paid? Thats insanity. IMHO your a fool to wait 30days for payment.

I bill by the cut, for the cut. No money no cut. Your customers know the day your coming.Leave the check at the property. Gonna be outta town? Pay in advance for the services needed. That 30 BS puts your neck on the chopping block. Before you kno it its 60days and no payment. And by that time,you've cut the property 8-9 times. All the fuel/windsheild time/labor/ wear & tear on the equipment. You just lost a ton of money! At this point good luck getting them to pay for 9 cuts at one time.
You can't compare this industry to any other in terms of payment. back when I was solo I sent invoices due on 30th of invoiced month. After I grew enough to be pickier that changed to due on the 15th of invoiced month. Now we are sitting at 286 full time customers that are all on pre-pay year round. Today is Jan 4th, I am waiting on ONLY 5 customers to pay. I'm sure they will be in the box NLT tomorrow. If not I will send a couretsy call and email. I guarantee pay per cut will have you chasing your tail to get paid. Contrary to what a poster replied your customer base will not be stay at homes and retirees. This is a luxury service that is used by dual working parent, single parent, no time for the lawn types. In other words, busy people that have more on their plates than remembering to pay the lawn guy very week. Proven fact, the easier you make it for your customers to pay you the better customers they will be. It's called service. Why wouldn't the utilities use more frquent payment systems? Because it takes time to invoice and mail every week. Another item is you dont want to be on their schedule. We never guarantee a specific time or day of week. Way too many other things happen to fall into that trap which gives the customer a reason to have missed your check. Since I know somebody else will bring this up before long. Any additional light services are invoiced and due at time of completion. Large projects and installs are 50% down and balance upon completion. Explain to the new customer your terms when meeting for first time. Mine are always " we need to paid for first months service at time of first cut", of course it's prorated if mid month. Train your customers early on, getting them to change terms after you've begun can be difficult. I know monthly is unheard of way north, but it's the standard down here. There are good and bad points to both. Think farther down the road too. Do you really want the employees handling customers checks. I can tell you most of mine wouldn't want to leave personal info laying on their front porch. The savings in toner and printing time is enough to make me not want to do it. Not a huge deal when you have 12-15 customers, pita factor comes in at about 40 and then you find a limiting factor to growing. Never build your business around the assumption that you WON'T get paid. I hear this so often you would think everybody is out to screw the lawn guy. I'm well over 20 years into this business, worked in 3 different areas and I have lost maybe a thousand in all that time to stiffs. Do what you want it's your business, we can only tell our personal experiences.
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  #7  
Old 01-04-2013, 12:35 PM
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GreenI.A. GreenI.A. is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GSO LAWNEN4CER View Post
If you hire a plumber to come out and fix a pipe.He gets paid after he's done.If you hire a auto tech to fix your car.He's paid after he's done with the car. If you go to the barber shop,he's paid after cutting your hair.

Why on earth would you cut someone's grass and wait a month to get paid? Thats insanity. IMHO your a fool to wait 30days for payment.

I bill by the cut, for the cut. No money no cut. Your customers know the day your coming.Leave the check at the property. Gonna be outta town? Pay in advance for the services needed. That 30 BS puts your neck on the chopping block. Before you kno it its 60days and no payment. And by that time,you've cut the property 8-9 times. All the fuel/windsheild time/labor/ wear & tear on the equipment. You just lost a ton of money! At this point good luck getting them to pay for 9 cuts at one time.
You are comparing apples to oranges here. I'm willing to bet that 99% of the time you call a plumber or electrician to your house, some one is home at the time of service. When you go to the barber, you are walking in their with your wallet in your pocket. The barber is not going to waste his time to collect your name and address and send a bill to you, how many one time customers run in to get a hair cut and wont be back for months if ever at all again? Be realistic hear. Getting paid at the time of service works for some lawn companies, if your clients are home or will remember too leave a check under the mat every 4th tuesday. But once you get cash flow, then waiting the extra 2 weeks for them to receive the invoice and send a check shouldn't kill anybody.
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  #8  
Old 01-04-2013, 11:54 PM
GSO LAWNEN4CER GSO LAWNEN4CER is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GreenI.A. View Post
You are comparing apples to oranges here. I'm willing to bet that 99% of the time you call a plumber or electrician to your house, some one is home at the time of service. When you go to the barber, you are walking in their with your wallet in your pocket. The barber is not going to waste his time to collect your name and address and send a bill to you, how many one time customers run in to get a hair cut and wont be back for months if ever at all again? Be realistic hear. Getting paid at the time of service works for some lawn companies, if your clients are home or will remember too leave a check under the mat every 4th tuesday. But once you get cash flow, then waiting the extra 2 weeks for them to receive the invoice and send a check shouldn't kill anybody.
Good points! But just as you stated about the one time only hair cut.What about the one time only lawn cut? You've cut the lawn and now your stuck waiting on payment. I dont play that game.
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  #9  
Old 01-06-2013, 09:42 AM
Orderlawncareonline Orderlawncareonline is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Cleveland, Ohio
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GSO LAWNEN4CER View Post
If you hire a plumber to come out and fix a pipe.He gets paid after he's done.If you hire a auto tech to fix your car.He's paid after he's done with the car. If you go to the barber shop,he's paid after cutting your hair.

Why on earth would you cut someone's grass and wait a month to get paid? Thats insanity. IMHO your a fool to wait 30days for payment.

I bill by the cut, for the cut. No money no cut. Your customers know the day your coming.Leave the check at the property. Gonna be outta town? Pay in advance for the services needed. That 30 BS puts your neck on the chopping block. Before you kno it its 60days and no payment. And by that time,you've cut the property 8-9 times. All the fuel/windsheild time/labor/ wear & tear on the equipment. You just lost a ton of money! At this point good luck getting them to pay for 9 cuts at one time.


I completely agree with this quote. The lawn care industry I think is always behind other industries in terms of advancements. The Lack of customer service and automation in the industry I just don't understand. I first started lawn care with no experience but with mass knowledge in Operation management and finance. I am a firm believer in automating the payment process and taking payments from customers either before service or usually as soon as service has been completed. Monthly payments only for large businesses and corporations. My company didn't start growing until I implemented systems like how will bill and how we handle customers.
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  #10  
Old 01-06-2013, 12:20 PM
BradLewisLawnCare BradLewisLawnCare is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Albany NY
Posts: 278
Quote:
Originally Posted by GSO LAWNEN4CER View Post
If you hire a plumber to come out and fix a pipe.He gets paid after he's done.If you hire a auto tech to fix your car.He's paid after he's done with the car. If you go to the barber shop,he's paid after cutting your hair.

Why on earth would you cut someone's grass and wait a month to get paid? Thats insanity. IMHO your a fool to wait 30days for payment.

I bill by the cut, for the cut. No money no cut. Your customers know the day your coming.Leave the check at the property. Gonna be outta town? Pay in advance for the services needed. That 30 BS puts your neck on the chopping block. Before you kno it its 60days and no payment. And by that time,you've cut the property 8-9 times. All the fuel/windsheild time/labor/ wear & tear on the equipment. You just lost a ton of money! At this point good luck getting them to pay for 9 cuts at one time.

The difference between plumber is recurring service. That being said, we have a bunch of customers that pay late. By late I mean, we do the spring cleanup in march and start mowing in may. Then we do fall cleanup in october and by december, they start calling saying: " I know I owe you a bunch of money. I will get you a check when I am back from florida."

Most people would say, you are crazy. They have a financial formula for this called Accounts receivable turnover. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Receivables_turnover_ratio

Every business is structured differently. I personally would rather have the money now rather than later, but I don't mind the guys working and getting the money in the winter so long as I am not completely broke. It seems as though no matter what happens, we can not get Accounts Receivable under $10k until the winter time.

Then we just send a pink invoice saying "Last bill before we apply for a mechanic's lien". They always pay then.

That being said, I bill monthly. If it has been 60 days we usually go out of our way to make sure we are not sending to the wrong email address and/or they are getting the invoices.

Some people think that is outright crazy. Some would say normal course of biz. Everyone has different levels and tolerances.
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