Had a interesting conversation today.

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by barringtonbrothers, Jun 9, 2004.

  1. barringtonbrothers

    barringtonbrothers LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 579

    I give a bid on a lawn monday. Lady says her old lawn company wasnt showing up and was billing her any way, and their phone was disconected. Says she travels alot and needs it taken care of plus some landscaping. The grass is about 8inchs tall, so I give here a bid on the first cut on landscaping work and the cutting it weekly. She says fine. So I cut it tuesday morning, and come back today to trim bushes, clean out some ivy and pull weeds. After we pull up another lco pulls up and starts working on the house next door. After awile I go over and start chatting with him. He in time tells me good luck collecting from her, she didnt pay a bill last year till december and he billed her in july, and he dropped her. I dont know either person, so I dont know who is telling the truth. My gut tells me the lco, but I want to believe its the lady. Im putting the bill in her door for the first cut and yard work either thursday or friday, she wants it billed seperate from her monthly bill- its a big bill. She is right by two of my accounts and has a really easy lawn. If she pays on time it will work out very nice. I know I should have contracts, but I have always worked on a hand shake, and have never been stiffed, but once for $30 bucks. I am really thinking about going to contracts, but Im trying to figure out how to put new ones on, and keep old customers off as I know I will have no problems with them.
  2. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,494

    THIS might be a good time to draw up a "service agreement". I have given the professional courtesy of giving other lco's the heads up on non-paying customers, as well. I don't know how you do your billing, but this would be a good one for no more than 15 days net. If she travels alot, and is unable to get her bills often enough, you may need to let her know that other arrangements might have to be made. She may have to pay two weeks in advance, so that you are never behind. Just give it as a credit, much the way other prepay services are. Cable, satellite, insurance, and even some phone bills are done this way.
  3. General Grounds

    General Grounds LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 902

    :blob3: i will not step foot onto a property without a contract, and i always tell other lco's a bout deadbeats, its always nice when the new guys has a problem and tries to collect and says to the deadbeat " i heard you were like this", god i love that. tony
  4. lawnyogi

    lawnyogi LawnSite Member
    from Indiana
    Posts: 73

    I am cutting a lawn another ex-lco told me was a late payer. I bill once a month, and so far this season she has been the first to pay both times.

    Just a thought...
  5. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,372

    Never had a "contract" here either, in 16 years, except for the one that Wal-Mart makes me fill out every year and the one that the school district I mow makes me fill out.

    Me personally, I've never had a client fill out a contract from my end. I've always said if one side isn't happy working with the other side, there's going to be ways out of the contracts anyways.

    As for the gal, I'd give her a bill after 15 days, stop service after 30 total days if payment isn't received.

    Either that or I send out all my bills at the first of the month for that month's work. All bills are due on the 30th, or the first of next month I don't work. The only problem is you're doing extra work and I"ve got all mine included in a flat fee.
  6. Firstclasslawn

    Firstclasslawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 341

    Ok LISTEN CLOSE I tell all my customers ---LETS say I have ajob that is $45.00 a week ---I tell them, I am very flexible on how I get paid -----You can pay me every 1st of the month for the whole month or Leave acheck under the mat every wed or whatever day I happen to mow them for $45.00 dollars, I also tell them look I do not want to be a jerk however I have Labor to pay and If the check is not under the mat every week then I will not be able to cut your grass until I recieve it----I have had NO NO NO problems yet and most people pay for a whole month in advance TRY IT TRY IT TRY IT and you will be happy.
  7. barringtonbrothers

    barringtonbrothers LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 579

    Well she left me a check in the door today, before I even got my bill to her. I hope the rest of the year works out.
  8. brucec32

    brucec32 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,403

    Lawns that are overgrown are more likely to be the homes of non-payers or PITA's. But sometimes they're just people whose lawn guy didn't do a good job or show up on time.
  9. mikesturf

    mikesturf LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 795

    I always tell the customer that the service agreement gives me your written permission to do work on your property. My insurance company requires it, etc. Never had a problem going that route.
  10. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 2,116


    A few questions for you:

    1.) If you show up on the day of the service and they don't leave a check under the doormat, you skip. That might work fine now, but when we get on the other side of late September, this'll likely cost you a lot of money. Also, when you come back a week later after your customers "forgot" to put the check under the door mat, are you cutting two weeks worth of growth for no extra charge?

    2.) You tell them $45 per cut. Are you adding sales tax to that total? It's pretty easy for a customer to remember a nice round figure, like $45. A $45 cut would come to $47.81 to $48.71 (depending on the city/county) with sales tax. Just curious. I know most LCO's here in Texas simply evade the sales tax and the comptroller doesn't seem to care about out little "black market" industry.

    As for me, I got a call from my credit card processing company. I'm very optimistic that I'll be able to get everything processed under the 'qualified' rate (I've bee having problems so far). Once I see that I'm able to do that, it'll either be a valid credit card on file or a deposit equal to 2 to 2.5 months worth of service. I'm too tired of suspending service on new accounts for non-payment. Plus, the new accounts are the accounts where you do a lot of clean-ups and additional work at the same time that they're signing up for service. A month's worth of mowing up front doesn't cover that. I had one this spring who paid a four cut deposit and had us do another $450 worth of clean up. Well, my payments are due 23 days after the statement billing date. We suspend service when a customer gets 15 days past due. The guys owes me over $600 right now and we suspended service a week ago. Not any contact from the guy yet.

    DFW Area Landscaper

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