Contracts....let's talk about collecting late fees and returned check charges........

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by Green Pastures, Apr 11, 2005.

  1. Green Pastures

    Green Pastures LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,457

    I have a seperate sheet of paper that I make customers read and sign that lays out my companies fees for returned checks and late payments.

    I showed it to my new accountant and he completely ripped it apart totally changed the entire thing. He kept telling me it had to be shorter because "nobody would read all that" well, duh, that's the point with the fine print on contracts isn't it? I mean I don't care if they read it or not, all I care about is them signing it.

    I don't care about being brief when it comes to covering my butt. I care about being thorough.



    How do you inform clients of your fees for bad checks and late payments?

    Who wrote it for you?

    Would you mind posting a copy of it here or PMing it to me?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. jajwrigh

    jajwrigh LawnSite Bronze Member
    Male, from Martinsville, IN
    Posts: 1,405

    I write all of my own contracts and keep them to one page...you will learn by trial and error I suppose...keep things brief and to the point.
     
  3. PMLAWN

    PMLAWN LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,535

    "because "nobody would read all that" well, duh, that's the point with the fine print on contracts isn't it? "

    No the point is to CYA,, BUT, we are "lawnboys" (the uneducated guys that could not get a real job) so to baffle them with paperwork will just raise concern. KISS
    I do not mention bad check fees as I just pass along the fee and as for late fees- 1 line stating a 5% per month add on.

    You work way to hard and pay to much money to produce customers.
    Yes cover you butt but don't start off your new relationship with sour grapes by pushing to much 1 sided paperwork their way.
    If you work to cultivate the relationship and build trust and respect both ways as well as produce quality work, you should not have to worry about these problems much.
     
  4. Green Pastures

    Green Pastures LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,457

    Thanks for the input guy's........

    anybody else have anything to add?
     
  5. HOOLIE

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,981

    I've only ever had 2 customers bounce checks. I think it's getter rarer and rarer, a lot of people have overdraft accounts linked to their checking.

    I called both of them and told them I had a $25 bounced check fee (just made it up on the spot), BUT, since it was, I hope, an unfortunate error on their part, I was only going to charge them the $6 my bank charged me. A second occurence would bring about the full $25. Neither one of them ever bounced one again. And I think they both appreciated that I didn't nail 'em.
     
  6. Green Pastures

    Green Pastures LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,457

    Guy's I get it.

    I've been doing this full time now for 6 years. Not a know it all, but not a newbie either.

    I understand that I probably won't hit my customers with a fee the first time they make a mistake......

    However, since I have had a few customers bounce checks several times, I NEED to have this on file, signed by the customer if I ever may decide to charge a fee. You cannot just change thje rules in mid stream or make them up as you play.......

    So, instead of telling me all the obvious reasons why I may not want to charge fees, which I'm completely aware of, how bout showing me how you make your customers aware of your fee schedule.

    Thanks.

    payup
     

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