customer situation...what would you do?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by topsites, Jun 28, 2006.

  1. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    Ok, customer came onboard 3 weeks ago and was looking half decent but really, maybe 8 cuts until end of season. The fact that it was 1/2 yard didn't turn me on to begin with but anyway... Go out there the first time, wife is there but gives me some story about husband being out of town and to just leave a bill... I didn't like that a whole lot but how to argue, so I left a bill ($35).

    Then we got into the drought and I checked their lawn last week and it did not need cutting, also I had still not gotten my check.
    While there, I knocked on the door / rang bell... nothing...

    So then yesterday I get a message from her on my home phone, talk about where am I and I need to come out asap and if I can get there sometime around mid-day, she'll gladly pay me cash for the previous service and it needs cutting again...

    That really threw me for a loop. I had given them the benefit of the doubt, but for her to call me on my home phone she had to look it up which means she had the information on where to send the check as well, and when I called her this morning, I mentioned as much.

    This and that and again she mentions how she'll pay me CASH (yes emphasis) for the last cut and I said to her: Ma'am, if I come out to cut the grass, you owe me for the last cut and this cut as well.

    This and that and blablabla and finally I said to her, my policy is real simple: No check, no cut. You've had enough time and now I'm supposed to come out and cut the grass again and I'm still out $35 no matter how you look at it.

    So she says she'll call her husband and call me right back (yeah right)...

    I guess this is another one that goes to collections but what bothers me is this:
    I don't think I was wrong about this slow payer / fall-behind more and more over time thing, but even if I was, chances are...
    Still, anytime I run into this crap, I realize I 'precipitate' the inevitable by saying what I said.
    Is there a way to handle this nonsense, without precipitating for one, and still get paid ?
    Please don't say go out there with the truck and get the money first...
    Ok, that might work, but only sometimes and then I got the cost of the rig sitting, too... Not to mention they hold the money hostage, that would not be good lol...
     
  2. Roger

    Roger LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,927

    Why did you have reason to believe she would not pay you when you went to the house? The tone of your comments seems to indicate you will ONLY accept a check. What's wrong with cash?

    From what you have said, and if I was the customer and got this story about "a policy," I would be left with one conclusion: This contractor is hard to work with, let's find somebody else.

    Most likely, she and her husband came to the same conclusion.

    There must be more to the story when your outcome is "going to collections."
     
  3. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    Well I cut the lawn 3 weeks ago and I haven't seen a check after I left the bill, thou she evidently did NOT misplace the bill because she HAD to have that much information in order to look up my home phone number. Then she calls not to talk so much about the fact that they're behind in payments, but more concerned about the next cut and the one after that... Lets not get into what I think of people who look up my home phone number to get a hold of me, it's not me who owes.

    And the fact she's talking about when I come out, she'll pay me for the last time...?

    Yes, there's more on top of this... ]
    They're leaving on vacation here real soon and so they wanted me to cut it once while they're gone... So:
    I will get paid for the first time IF I go out and cut it again...
    Then they leave and I get to cut it a third time, and still I ain't got paid but one time and I had to wait 3 weeks for it?

    Come on, how long is this man on a business trip...
    Maybe I'm stupid but I've also been had before... The tactic of 'I got your money when you come out the next time' is well known to me, I've had that one pulled over my ears a few times, it's just a way they use to get you to come out again but over time they fall further and further behind... I nip this crap in the bud, when I come out again, you pay me for last time AND this time.
    Besides, ALL my customers pay per cut, that's how it works.
    So what makes these new customers so special, just because they live in fancy town?
    Well, that's NOT fair to my trailer park customers!

    But what would be fair is pay in advance, I bet THAT would've fixed it, I wouldn't have gotten the job but then I also wouldn't be out 35. As for why it's going to collections, I don't know, just call it experienced feelings.
     
  4. dvmcmrhp52

    dvmcmrhp52 LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Pa.
    Posts: 4,205

    There's this thing called monthly billing.............

    The husband probably does the bills, hence the offer of cash from her........

    Do you deal with all customers on a weekly basis?
     
  5. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    Either way, what this post is about:

    When you THINK you see a ripoff coming after you've already done some work, whether it's true or not, do YOU cut the grass again?
    And how do you make sure you get paid, I was just reading some threads about guys falling 200-300 and 700+ behind before they finally caught on... If this is the answer, then I'll shoot myself in the foot some more lol.
     
  6. All_Clear

    All_Clear LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 443


    I do i get paid before i leave... No billing, No BS!

    Only once in the last 3 yrs have i left a bill and it was paid within 3 days.


    All Clear
     
  7. All_Clear

    All_Clear LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 443

    Nope even if i billed i wouldn't cut until i was paid... Then all future cuts are pre-pay only.... Take it or leave it....


    All Clear
     
  8. Freddy_Kruger

    Freddy_Kruger LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,064

    Some people just don't like to mail checks I think and I've considered putting stamps on their mail back envelopes, I have a few people that I just got their check last week and now I'm billing them again this week (this is for monthly bills).
    I've had enough of some slow payers and it would be a good Idea to have polocys like you may to not do business with these people once identified. I mean they really are a pain in the a$$. Spend more time phoning them then I usually end up making a trip out there just to pick it up while I can, just because I want the money and I don't trust them to remember to mail it again.

    There are good customers too, I just recieved a check for $192 for a lady who is going to the lake for a couple months they think of me not being inconvenienced. I could lose about a third of my customers and be happy.
     
  9. 6'7 330

    6'7 330 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,823

    An overwhelming percentage of our clients pay by cc, no balance forward, or per cut,or service bull, the monthly bill is in advance of services performed, and if extra services are performed, CC is charged at day of service.
     
  10. 1MajorTom

    1MajorTom Senior Moderator
    Posts: 6,074

    wow, amazing, how in the heck do you do it? we have close to 100 accounts, and even though we do our best to show up on the same day and same time each week, sometimes the rain will get us behind... so you're telling me that your clients are always home no matter what time you show up to cut the grass? or are they leaving the check somewhere like under the door mat for you? our first year we went to the door to collect, it didn't work out for us at all. not only did we chew up LOTS of time making small talk with the customers, a lot of the times the customer wasn't even home.
    billing monthly makes life easier for us.
     

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