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Customer Help, Please?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Mr_Marc, Oct 15, 2002.

  1. Mr_Marc

    Mr_Marc LawnSite Member
    Posts: 218

    Hey all, I have a problem I have a customer for 2 years. He was one of my first big yards. Problem being he has always paid late. Not on contract but our policy is clearly stated that we charge a late fee. I am now in the position of growth. September was the last straw, we bill on the 21st of each month and our invoice states a due date of the 1st. Late fee after the 5th. Cancellation and collection after the 15th. Ok my wife doesn’t tell me she made a bank run on Saturday the 12th with this dead beats check and on Monday when I get home she asks if I serviced this guy's account my answer is no. I want to dump him but in a tactful way. Any ideas??????? I’m willing to forgo the payment he owes for one cut in October, This will free up more time for a contract that produces more income in one month than this guy will produce in late fees in a year. I did a search to no avail.

    Thanks everyone in advance…
  2. Mow&Snow

    Mow&Snow LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 335

    I see that you call this man a dead beat. Does he always pay you? How late is he normaly? Is it possible that he pays his bills on like the 15 of each month? This would make him late by your schedule every month.

    As far as I'm concerned, as long as they pay, and pay without my having to chase it, I really don't care how long it takes them. It doesn't make any diff to me if I get my check in 2 weeks or 4, as long as I get it.

    Are you strapped for cash every month so that you need his payment? Cash flow is important after all....
  3. Mr_Marc

    Mr_Marc LawnSite Member
    Posts: 218

    No I’m not cash strapped. Yes I have to call every month and go to his home in the evening. He will tell me a check is in the mail on a Monday. I look at the post mark and it’s the Friday after the Monday he said he mailed it. Just a real PITA! I’m really looking for a tactful way out as my time is money. Buy the way, when we interview a new customer we offer a billing schedule to suite their needs. Usually this works out for the majority of the customers. We are always working to put customer service first.
  4. Green Pastures

    Green Pastures LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,457

    I think you need to sit down with him and explain your billing procedures, again. Maybe he does pay all bills on the 15th. I had a few customers like this and after just simply talking with them and explaining things, it got cleared up. Communication is the key.

  5. scott's turf

    scott's turf LawnSite Senior Member
    from NH
    Posts: 949

    Good advise here. Tell him your policy again and then impose a late fee if it is not paid in time. 95% of the time they will pay thfee and not have a problem with it. I impose a 5% or $5.00 which ever is higher. This fee is a slight deterant and help pay for postage. Remember we are not in the business of lending money.
  6. Premo Services

    Premo Services LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,516

    Dump The deadbeet!!!!!!!!

    I had a customer for 6 years, and he always paid late, sometimes 2 months late. I know that is my falt, but it was a good moneymaker. He never paid late fees. This year I put him on a contract and for a few months he paid like within a week of when the invoices were sent out. Then he went into the same old routine, paying when he wanted to, and not abiding by the contract and paying late fees. He did not pay for 2 months and I wrote a letter stating that I was cancelling service until he paid all open invoices and late fees. That is when the stuff hit fan.
    He got pissed at me for doing that and started to question my cutting practices and my integretity.:angry: He waited for 2 weeks longer and left a message that the check was paid, sorry for the inconveniences, and would I come back to cut again?
    Yea right I am on the way as we speak. I dropped him like a sack of rotten potatoes. He was running my business, dictating when he would decide to pay me. I am soo happy that I don't have the POS anymore.
    On a side note, his lawn has not been cut for a month and a half now.:eek: Mabey he thinks I will be there to cut it. I did write a letter to him telling him that he voided the contract and would not be back anymore.
  7. Gravely_Man

    Gravely_Man LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,076

    I always give the customer the benefit of the doubt. What I mean is that I would talk with them and explain the current billing arrangement and ask if you need to readjust it or if they would like to pay one month in advance. Explain to them that you have financial obligations you need to meet and payment is due from them by a prearranged date. If the customer blows you off or doesn't change their ways tell them you will no longer be able to service their account. Hopefully the customer will appreciate your honesty and conform to a more timely payment method.

  8. awm

    awm LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,354

    personnaly i pay bills at the end of the month. if they cant work with that .
    we both just have to find someone else.
    of course i establish that from the beginning . some banks etc wont budge on due dates ,so i dont do buisiness withum.
  9. Fantasy Lawns

    Fantasy Lawns LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,913

    When you send invoices on the 21st due by the 1st ... is that fore the present month or for the next month ??

    For us .... our Oct invoices go out by the 1st n are due by the 20th ....for the month of Oct .....

    Any payments not recieved by the next invoices which go out (usuall the 1st of each month) recieve a "past due" invoice as well as the next new one ....

    Further a letter is given which request payment before the next normal service day (if not possible give a call and leave payment at doorway) that we may "suspend service" untill paid in full

    I do not post late fees ....I'm not a bank or creditor ....I provide a service .... if payment is late ....I suspend or cancel service .... usaully 1-2 suspended visits (does not reduce my monthly payment so I suposed one could look at this as a "late fee" .... they pay the full month even with a skiped day) ...fixes the situation or I just cancel the account .... send a lien notice for amount due to work which was completed
  10. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Posts: 10,178

    dont cut it, dont say anything, when its gone 2 or 3 weeks, call and say u r very sorry, but u have been ill, u will get to him as soon as u can. then, let the grass get 3 feet high, and call and say u quit! screw him, i bet hed go nuts if his boss didnt give him his check for 2 months. there is nothing like workin at someones house when u r not getting paid enough, or on time. screw him. u have to call to get paid? go to his house at night, during your free time? no way,

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