Getting customers to pay,HELP NEEDED!!!

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by Jollygreenguy, May 12, 2008.

  1. Jollygreenguy

    Jollygreenguy LawnSite Member
    Posts: 1

    Have been in business 11 years now, and over the past, getting very hard to collect from customers, cash flow is in the red for weekly lawn mowing accounts, any ideas on getting people to pay better?
     
  2. zz4guy

    zz4guy LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 901

    Yes.

    1) Don't take on scumbucket cheapskates that probably won't pay.
    2) The day after they're late call them, leave message, etc that they are late and will stop mowing if they don't pay.
    3) Stop mowing until you get paid.

    IMO the worste thing you can do is keep mowing after the money is due. You're just putting yourself deeper in the hole if they decide to never pay you.

    I've eliminated my cheap accounts from last year and don't have any late payers this year. Life is good :cool2:
     
  3. AABHRLC

    AABHRLC LawnSite Member
    Posts: 14

    I had similar problems last year. Between non-payers and the drought I was really struggling last year. I had many existing customers go on annual contracts. That helps when weather is bad or in winter time, u still get $. as far as getting paid I agree with zz4. However, when u stop cutting their yard it is only going to get higher & thicker. So make up the $ u lost by skipping them due to non-payment and charge them more than normal or a double cut on top of a late fee. My former boss never called or discontinued work. He just kept piling on the late fees and performing services until they canceled or had to take them to court. That way the property never got out of control and he collected more when he finally went to court. I have had to sue as well and thought it best to send out 2 letters first. one telling them to pay within 30 days or legal action will be taken and another saying they had 14 days to pay. If I still hadn't received $ or a call to work things out then I was forced to file a claim. Which you will almost always win unless you are totally unprepared for court! It is your call on how to handle each situation cause everyone is different. Sometimes others struggle to pay for a month or two due to their own personal circumstances and just need more time! Those are customers I try to work with. Unlike my former boss I could not wait for 2-3 months if not longer to finally get paid. I do make "friendly reminder" calls from time to time and that generally works. After 2 calls and no response I would generally say u have a problem customer/payer and to let them go and start the legal ball rolling!
     
  4. mowzum

    mowzum LawnSite Member
    Posts: 51

    welcome to being the lowest member of the food chain. Get them to sign a contract stating payment is due by the 10th of the month for the previous monhts work if it's late there will be a 20% charge. over the years I weeded out all the deadbeats I've had. Good Luck
     
  5. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    I just let it work itself out.
    Sometimes I help that out a little, but I try not to.
     
  6. PROCUT1

    PROCUT1 LawnSite Platinum Member
    from TN
    Posts: 4,909

    3 days past due...phone call requesting credit card over phone

    10 days past due service stops

    15 days past due starts constant phone calls.

    30 days past due..dinnertime and sunday home visits.

    60 days past due, mechanics lien on the house and forget about it until they pay...they will eventually
     
  7. rachael24

    rachael24 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 35

    Pretty good set up there Procut...I may have to use that outline!
     
  8. JohnnyRoyale

    JohnnyRoyale LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 616

    We only service commercial accounts, billed monthly with 30 day terms. A few years ago, I decided to start billing at the beginning of the month, with 30 day terms, and guess what happened? We got paid by the end of the month, and in some cases, they pay in 7 or 14 days, which meant we were prepaid for the rest of the month.

    When we did residential cutting, I asked for 7 post dated cheques for the cutting portion only, and gave them a 5% discount. It was nice to open the drawer monthly and head straight to the bank. Everything else was due on reciept.

    You have to train your clients to your systems. These two have worked well for us over the years. Good luck.
     

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