collection dilema...

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by C4chris70, Jan 23, 2009.

  1. C4chris70

    C4chris70 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 499

    How would you handle this customer. I have been servicing this property for 15 years with no problems. Recently they fell behind in their payments because a family member was very sick. I continued to mow without payment longer than I normally would. To make a long story short, I have not been paid since August 2008. I spoke to the lady 2 months ago, and she acknowledged that she owed me money and assured me she would get me paid. Her husband just passed away in late December, and they just had the funeral a couple of weeks ago. I am trying to be compassionate, but I can't continue cutting without payment. How would you handle this? I have been sending bills, but they get no response. By the way, I also service yards for two other family members in the area, so if I tick her off, I could lose 3 accounts.
  2. PLM-1

    PLM-1 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,640

    She'll pay you. Just add on a small late fee for your troubles. Have a heart (if her story is really true). Remember what goes around comes around. In your case at least two times.
  3. shane mapes

    shane mapes LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 537

    my brother in law just past a way a few months ago and my wife got behind on a few little bills. not because she could not afford them , but it was that everything else is on her plate. take it easy and she'll come around..
  4. richallseasons

    richallseasons LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 479

    I had an account a few years back that was a similar situation, half way through the seasons they told me that they could not afford my services and would have to figure out how to make due as the wife was just diagnosed with cancer and needed to start treatment, after careful consideration I wrote her a long letter stating that I felt that me dropping them as a customer did not feel like the right thing to do and that I would remain on till I full filled my end of the contract and waived all remaining service fees,one week later she called me crying to explain how she felt about my actions and thanked me, and I finished the season with no expectation of payment. Well 6 months later I received a check for all my services and a kind letter telling me that she was doing good and the cancer went into remission, I also kept them as customers until they sold the house. In the process of giving back I truly felt blessed to have been able to have this experience and when it came down to it, the money was unimportant.

    ADVANCEDOHIO LawnSite Member
    Posts: 92

    15 years is a very good relationship to end or consider ending considering the situation. I would stick it out but I would also be careful when spring starts and no payment starts. I recently had a customer doing the same thing and sent a nice "notice" about the overdue payment that was "maybe overlooked" and I shortly received a check. Your situation is probablya bit diff but people talk and compassion, understanding, and good service will go a long way.

    DLAWNS LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,778

    I agree with everyone else...try to ride it out, I know it sucks, but when you have that much family tragedy some things seem so minor. Especially if they have been a good customer for that long. I had a customer that recently passed and I knew the family would get around to paying me and sure enough, just today I got a check with a letter apologizing for it being late.

    Shane Mapes--I'm very sorry to hear about your loss.
  7. C4chris70

    C4chris70 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 499

    Thanks for the input. Shane, sorry to hear about your loss. My gut tells me to keep cutting, and I'm sure I will. It just seems a little hard to swallow when the light bill, water bill etc all seem to be getting paid.
  8. capnsac

    capnsac LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 702

    Do you need the money?
  9. Fleur De Lawn

    Fleur De Lawn LawnSite Member
    Posts: 197

    How big is the yard, does it take long to service it. Can you service it half ass and be happy for doing a noce thing.
  10. prizeprop

    prizeprop LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 820

    I dont know, 7 months without payment? Does she live in the dark, if not she has time to pay the electric co. How do funeral homes stay in business if they never get paid? I'd be careful with this. His medical bills might have left her dry$.

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