How do you prefer collecting your payments?

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

  1. Big C

    Big C LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,641

    I have used both methods, monthly billing after services have been performed and pre pay. Pre pay assures you are paid before services are performed thus saving you from having to chase down your money from deadbeat clients, the biggest drawback to pre pay is keeping track of who paid, when, and for what services before you make your mowing route and what accounts recieved a credit due to rain, and so forth...this can be a pain in the ass. Billing after the sevice is complete is straight foreward and requires less record keeping, but will put you in a position to not get paid by the deadbeat clients. I tried pre pay last season and I didn't like it so I will be going back to billing after services are complete.
  2. Ben Bowen

    Ben Bowen LawnSite Bronze Member
    from PNW
    Posts: 1,067

    There are companies, mostly larger established ones, that require prepay on lawn services. This seems to vary by area though. If landscape maintenance is very seasonal (maybe only 25 mows a year) then it probably won't work. In my area we visit our clients 42 times a year not counting pruning or other extras. Because the service is so regular some companies are able to go prepay.

    Prepay is not unprecedented. We all prepay for insurance, cable, phone, Netflix, etc...
  3. jrs.landscaping

    jrs.landscaping LawnSite Silver Member
    from Maine
    Posts: 2,717

    I pay monthly or quarterly for the above mentioned. I bill monthly and get paid whatever the contract terms dictate. I couldn't imagine mowing a yard and standing there waiting for payment, or not mowing because they didn't leave a check. I do like the automatic payments some guys use, mow the lawn, and it is automatically paid for using the customers card.
  4. ringahding

    ringahding LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 612

    Prefer you ask?

    I use Quick books and they offer an Bank to Bank payment option for .50 per transaction. Is that a big hit? I think not in comparison to each transaction with a credit card.

    This is the first season we attempted this..Roughly 40% of our customers jumped on email is essential for us....probably for any business. We did have a few people who could not follow the 3 step set up, but Intuit helped them get it set up.

    Literally have customers that are anal about paying & others who act like they do not check their email. But to ask for a month in advance for anything would be completely out of the question.

    Although this past spring I offered current customers the same weekly lawn mowing rate as last season, for early payment. I made it affordable for them to basically send a down payment on the first month of lawn mowing or service we would provide them and it worked like a charm. Plus it gave us the cash on hand for spring start up costs....fuel, belts, oil, etc.

    Hope this helps...good luck
  5. RSK Property Maintenance

    RSK Property Maintenance LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,486

    i usually collect after the service is completed for most, some prepay at the beginning of the month, some are 3 months late, I had one lady who lived in fl and i could never get a hold of her, and she would make me wait until december to get my last payment. one year she pre paid for the whole seaon all at once, it was 1100...I was pretty happy about that. Next year I am thinking about putting whatever customers I can to auto pay, so the money just transfers from bank to bank, less trips to the bank for me. more time spent making money. I just need to talk to the bank and get all the details figured out. I would only do auto payment, for mowing since it is so regular.
  6. TX Easymoney

    TX Easymoney LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,082

    Contacts only...monthly installments to pay for all the years all bills and get part credit card payment and checks....will be changing to intuit bank to bank
    Posted via Mobile Device
  7. BLS 2002

    BLS 2002 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 39

    I offer a variety of payment methods but try to stick to automatic credit and debit card transactions with annual agreements. Monthly billing tends to take up quite a bit of office time. Try to get customers to pay at the beginning of the month to help with cash flow. Offer discounts for prepay! Cash flow is king! I say it's all in how you present your company. If your demeanor is professional and you have a company policy for standard billing procedures you shouldn't have any problems with billing at the beginning of the month. When I sell to a new customer over the phone they pay that day via credit card. I'm currently in the lengthy process of switching over to real green so will be integrating new payment strategies as I transition.
  8. newguy123

    newguy123 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,094

    The only problem with having to go back and credit them is when you have 10-20 accounts, no problem. But when you have 50-60, or even 100, that's going to take a lot more time to go back and correct/credit their account. Plus you'll probably credit the wrong one at least once, then you'll have the customer that should have been credited mad because they didn't have a credit.

    The simplest approach to starting out is to bill at the end of each month through email. Ask for them to mail checks and you check them off on an excel sheet as they come in. This is the method I'm still doing and it works well. Not extremely streamlined but it works.

    Now another route you could take is to bill their credit card. This is good because you're practically guaranteed to be paid, however I wouldn't do this unless you had at least 100 weekly accounts. Credit card fees can get pricy when added up. Or check your bank, I know Wells Fargo allows you to do something similar to a credit card charge.

    Good luck, and don't listen to the naysayers...
  9. Perfection Lawncare

    Perfection Lawncare LawnSite Member
    Posts: 1

    We must think a little differently on this side of the world because we do cash/Chq on completion or if no one is home an invoice is left to be paid within 3 working days via internet banking.

    (All) next day scheduled jobs are contacted by either txt or phone to confirm the next day service & where the client will leave the money.

    If a client is due but doesn't respond to a txt or phone call, they are deferred a day until contact is made & the job confirmed.

    We have found this method drastically reduces cashflow issues.

    Yes a little time is involved, maybe 1 minute admin per client but the alternative is chasing overdue accounts & bad payers.

    Hope this helps, it works for us :)
  10. Darryl G

    Darryl G LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,063

    I bill at the end of the month for services rendered on maintenance accounts. Quickbooks invoice with self-addressed payment envelope directed to my PO box. I bill net 15 but anything under 30 days is fine with me.

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