Another PITA down the drain.

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Matts Mowing, Jul 19, 2005.

  1. Matts Mowing

    Matts Mowing LawnSite Member
    Posts: 53

    This customer used to hire me to aerate and power rake his lawn each year for many years. Last year he decided to have me perform full time maintenance on his property since he was too busy with his own concrete business. Last year I mowed, fertilized, etc... his lawn without any complaints. He was a late with his bill twice last year but I did not make a big issue since he was not a PITA. This year he asks me to mow same as normal but he does not want me using that "big ole mower" because it causes ruts. Now I am on this lawn every week and I know it does not cause ruts. I said OK but your weekly bill is going up a few bucks and he agreed. I started aeration, fert, mowing in April as planned. May comes and this fool is watering everyday for hours on end. I literally have to wear waders to mow and trim this guys lawn. The grass is growing like crazy and I politely leave him a not asking him to give the watering a rest for awhile.

    I usually leave a bill for every customer at the end of the month for services performed. I have been doing this for 4 years with no problems. Late May comes around and he has not paid his April bill and I figure no big deal I will just combine April and May and he will catch up. June 15th comes around and I still have not heard anything so I leave him a message to please let me know if there is any problems with finances because I have not been paid yet. No call back, NOTHING. I also mow the neighbors yard and she says this idiot is gone a lot and he wife is around once in awhile and I should approach her sometime. End of June comes around and I leave another bill with all 3 months invoices included. I also leave a note inside saying that no more servbices will be performed until I receive the full balance in full. It has been a few weeks since the last bill was sent and they still have not responded. The lawn is sitting there about 3 feet high and they are still watering everyday.

    Now I could kick myself for even mowing the 2nd part of June. I am going to send them a certified letter with invoices attached. Then I am going to send it off to collections. If nothing happens after that I will heading to court this off season. This one customer has me re-thinking how I do business. I am thinking of sending bills out on the first of the month for that month's mowing. Bills will be due by the 15th or no mowing will be performed after that date. I am also thinking about credit billing that I can charge after each mowing to try to alleviate some of these late payers. Just kind of wondering how you all bill out there.
  2. qualitylandscaping

    qualitylandscaping LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,581

    Bill monthly, one month in advance.. That way, if you don't have their check by the first of the month, the lawn won't get cut and you don't lose any money..

    I bill for 4 cuts.. If they only get 3, I bill them for 3 and credit 1 from the prev. month.. This is only for per trip customers..
  3. Precision

    Precision LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,995

    Paid in advance for the entire month when they sign the contract.
    Paid in advance for every month prior to mowing.
    Paid at least 40% on any extra's prior to starting.
    Paid the balance at completion.
    If not paid at completion. 5% late fee. YES that means 1 day.
    If still not paid at 30 days additional 10% late fee and intent to lein letter sent.
    If not paid within 7 business days of Mailing the lein letter, lein gets levied.

    This is how I do business. I see no other way where you aren't working for free.
  4. HighGrass

    HighGrass LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Z5 MA
    Posts: 1,237

    Just a thought but if you know he owns a concrete business, why don't you pay him a little visit. Or, since you know they are watering, how about a little face to face. Notes and messages you should know by now are not working.
  5. Pro-Scapes

    Pro-Scapes LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,181

    I would initiate the lien as soon as you can. They may be having marital probs or something and your the last thing on thier mind. If you know where his business is drop by and say "hi" with an invoice INCLUDING a good late fee in hand. Thats your best bet especially if his employees see he is a deadbeat payer then he will be embarrased and pay up.

    I bill all contracts AFTER service is performed but thinking about doing it the other way around when I get some monthlies. All my contracts now are a per service charged out then they got 14 days to pay. No problem yet.

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