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Old 05-14-2015, 07:17 AM
CEGreen CEGreen is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Huntington, WV
Posts: 42
How do you guys manage Customer BILLING & PAYMENTS?

Having billing options [instead of demanding payment immediately after the service(s) are rendered] for customers, I assume, is pretty standard in this industry. It's easier on the customer and easier on us (sending out statements once a month instead of trying to track each individual customer down).

I just wanted to bounce how we bill off of you guys and see what you all do. Offering billing options to customers create quite a risk to the business, but in my opinion are a necessary evil if you want to run an efficient business.

What we do is send out customer statements around the 15th of each month. They then have two weeks (the last day of the month to pay - whether that be the 30th or 31st depending on month). We don't make due dates a full month out (from the statement date) because we would end up mowing 8 or more times before receiving payment on the balance due. But even giving customers 15 days to pay means that when you send the statement out you've already mowed 4 times (without payment). By the time the statement's due you've done 6 (without payment), and if they are a week or two late that goes to 7,8, or more without payment.

How do you guys manage this? Mowing a customer 6-8 times before getting paid is risky. One thing I'd like to point out is that we do get payment after the first mow or two for new customers, but nearly all of our customers go on monthly billing after a couple mows.
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Old 05-14-2015, 08:38 AM
hackitdown hackitdown is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Groton, MA
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I am more willing to keep on cutting even if they are late. Say a customer owes $400 for 8 cuts from the previous 2 months. If they don't pay, you have not lost $400, you have lost only your variable costs (labor and gas used directly to service this one account). I'm willing to take that risk with the expectation that they will pay.

I bet policies need to be very different in less affluent areas.
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  #3  
Old 05-14-2015, 08:51 AM
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grassmonkey0311 grassmonkey0311 is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: MD/NC
Posts: 1,091
My head is spinning with too many 6,7,8,15's....


I advance bill with a credit card. Customers have a credit card on file, invoices are billed on the 20th of each month. So next week, on May 20th, I bill for June services. This helps is 2 ways- the lawns are prepaid before we show up, and it allows time incase a card is declined to fix the issue without a service interupt.


I don't track late payers because I don't have any. I don't worry about people short paying me because they can't. I don't worry about non payment because I don't get those either.

Some say the fee's are too high, but whats it worth to you? Your time to collect non payments and late payers, or pay a small fee?
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Old 05-14-2015, 09:41 AM
WenzelOSLLC WenzelOSLLC is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Maplewood, MN
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I mail my invoices on the first. 15 or 30 days to pay depending on client and services.

Most pay within a week, some pay on like the 20th with a bill pay service, occasionally a few roll in a little late. Never not had anyone pay.

I'm solo so I'm only out about 2 hours at the end of the month and a couple gallons of gas for each client, As was said, and I can deal with that for a month or so. I don't have flakey clients and if they're late it's usually because an invoice got misplaced and they send a check immediately if I let them know they're late.
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Old 05-14-2015, 09:57 AM
PaperCutter PaperCutter is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Northern VA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WenzelOSLLC View Post
I'm solo so I'm only out about 2 hours at the end of the month and a couple gallons of gas for each client
What about opportunity cost? In those X hours that you were out there busting butt for free, how much could you have brought in from a decent customer?
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  #6  
Old 05-14-2015, 11:27 AM
CEGreen CEGreen is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Huntington, WV
Posts: 42
Yes I wouldn't take losing a couple hundred as easily as some of you. That 25, 100, or God forbid 300 or more is directly off of my dinner table. Exxon got paid. Chevy got paid. Toro got paid. Husqvarna got paid. Employees got paid. Customer got the services they requested. If the money doesn't come in, I'm the big loser (that's business, but man that hurts if nothing more than on principle alone).

Takes a lot of money, sweat, blood, tears, and stressful days & nights...to keep things going... as you know...

Do any of you suspend mowing services if the payment is say 2 or 3 weeks late? Why would you mow 8 times, not get paid, then mow 4 more times. That is asinine.

95% of my customers are great, but trying to figure out where to draw the line with the other 5%
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  #7  
Old 05-14-2015, 04:00 PM
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Cedar Lawn Care Cedar Lawn Care is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Utah
Posts: 826
We mail or e-mail a bill on the last day of the month for the services we did that month. Payment is due by the 20th. If it's not in the mail on the 20th we call and remind them they have not paid. If we don't receive payment by the end of the month we stop service.
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  #8  
Old 05-14-2015, 04:20 PM
PerkinsLawn PerkinsLawn is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Central Florida
Posts: 58
We bill for the month in advance. The only other option is to have a card on file and pay after each visit. I've been burned too many times to continue extending credit to people I don't know.
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  #9  
Old 05-15-2015, 07:34 AM
rspeaker rspeaker is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: MD
Posts: 47
I currently send out invoices electronically (using Square) on the last day of service for the month, and payment is due within seven days. I considered fourteen days, like a lot of folks do, but if somebody doesn't pay, I lose the cost of 4 - 7 mows (depending on the month). That could be anywhere from $50 up to $250 for me! If somebody is not going to pay, I want to know as soon as possible.

Per my service agreement, if the invoice is not paid within seven days, service will be suspended, and upon restarting services I may ask for prepayment. (Along with the potential to up the service fee, and add additional fees if the grass has become overgrown while suspended).

The reality is, I have six regular lawns across three customers (one lady has her personal residence and three rentals), and they know me personally, have met my girlfriend, etc. I probably don't need the service agreement, but I worked with a legal consultant to have it in place in the event I pick up more business. And it makes very clear what my current customers can expect from me.
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  #10  
Old 05-15-2015, 07:38 AM
rspeaker rspeaker is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: MD
Posts: 47
Question for grassmonkey and others who bill in advance:

What do you do if the lawn is full of dog poop, large branches, or other items you have to clean up before mowing? I charge an extra fee for this, but I couldn't know in advance if I would have to do any clean up. Suppose it could be added to the NEXT month's bill...
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