How do you prefer collecting your payments?

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by yazzy, Nov 18, 2012.

  1. yazzy

    yazzy LawnSite Member
    Posts: 19

    I know there's been a few topics on this particular subject, but thought I'd ask again.

    For those that have small operations, how do you collect your payments?

    I'm still doing a bunch of research before I jump into the lawn industry so I have lots of questions. I've been debating on requiring pre-payments on all recurring services to ensure I have the money to pay my bills.

    I had intentions of making clients either pre-pay a month in advance, or at least leave payments in an envelope outside for my retrieval before I would even attempt to mow their yard to ensure I got paid, (assuming they'd be at work/errands and not at home). No money, no mow.

    Then I got to thinking. If they pre-paid a months worth and a service got delayed due to weather, obviously I would credit that service towards their next months payment. However, for those that opted to pay before each service...what would I do then? Here they've got a check waiting outside and it may be a couple of days before I can get over there to mow because of rain -- and then when I do get over there to mow, there may be no money since they didn't know when I was going to get over there.

    Do ya'll kind of operate in a similar fashion, or do you just send a monthly bill and hope they pay on time?
     
  2. nnusskern

    nnusskern LawnSite Member
    Posts: 214

    I just bill at end of month but i see where u are coming from. U could do prepay but at first some may be reluctant to trust you. Whatever you decide to do be clear and be consitent with billing.
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  3. turnerbend

    turnerbend LawnSite Member
    from Georgia
    Posts: 5

    Sound like you are not prepared to be in the lawn cutting business. I would not pay someone to do my lawn until the work is done to my satisfaction...
     
  4. grab all the green cash that you can.
     
  5. C Jovingo Landscaping

    C Jovingo Landscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 436

    I only offer monthly billing after a relationship is established & I feel they will pay the bill. I have a mix of payment situations. 10 pay per visit, 2 pay biweekly & 3 get monthly billing. Alot of my per visits & both biweekly were offered billing but they like not having bill for 4 mowings, sometimes 5 a month. I have offered prepay for the month but nobody seems to want to do that, as it would be the same as monthly bill, big payment in their eyes.

    My 3 monthly billings pay quick. I mow Sat & Sun & deliver bill on last mowing of month. 85yr old lady comes out gets bill & rights check while I'm mowing, then leaves it in door for me. The other 2 mail out ASAP & i have check before end of week, usually Wed.

    The bi weekly payees do this cuz of their paydays. They like to pay for 2 mowings each payday.

    You have to use your gut instincts on mowing or not if payment is not there. Communication is key. If you know they want mowed & they forgot to leave payment, mow it if you trust them.
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  6. elbow300

    elbow300 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 51

    I have had generally very good luck with monthly billing. I email bills wherever possible to save postage and time at the USPS. I do think that the customers who get a bill at the end of the month need to understand that you have extended them a line of credit. I ask monthly clients to sign a contract acknowledging that fact, and detailing the terms of service. they understand that payment is due in full by the 15th day of the following month, and if payment is not received by that day, service is suspended until the account is current, and a late fee is assessed. A little paperwork on the front end can save you a bunch of trouble on the back end.
     
  7. newguy123

    newguy123 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,094

    I electronically invoice about 95% of my customers at the end of every month. They mail me a check as that's the only method I currently accept. I have maybe a couple that pay me after every visit but that's not the norm.
     
  8. gcbailey

    gcbailey LawnSite Silver Member
    from WV
    Posts: 2,570

    if you don't have enough cash/credit to get you through at least a month, you probably need to save up some more before you jump into this. I have some bigger commercial accounts that are on net 60 terms.

    I personally wouldn't pay anyone for services that haven't been rendered up front.
     
  9. Spring Valley Lawn Service

    Spring Valley Lawn Service LawnSite Member
    Posts: 142

    How ever they want to pay. If they say every thee months then every three months. Some large place say every thirty days. I bill at time of mowing
     
  10. tonygreek

    tonygreek LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,412

    You'll find that
    a.) you don't get customers because of this policy.
    b.) you don't get customers because they're not giving a new company, in an industry that is known for guys vanishing, a monthly check ahead of service.

    I think you'll find that the vast majority of prepays are deposits for project work, not recurring services.
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2012

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