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Is it worth it for me to mail bills?

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by TuffWork, Mar 8, 2012.

  1. TuffWork

    TuffWork LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 507

    Well I had planned on going to a billing system this year, but am now rethinking it. Before I had always been paid as services were rendered, and had to keep track of who owed what if they were not home, etc. It became quite the nightmare last year and I am now looking for a simpler way.

    The original plan was to bill by mail at the first of the month for all the mowings in that month and expect payment by the end of the month. However, seeing as I only mow about 60 lawns a week and I and a helper are always there, I think maybe just handing out monthly bills by hand at the first of the month might be less of a headache. I could just use my invoice sheets I used from last year and write them by hand on the fly if needed (or write them up the night before).

    What do you guys think? Worth it to mail? If so, why?
  2. weeble67

    weeble67 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 286

    Mail your invoices at the end of the month for the services you rendered that month.
  3. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,776

    Get QuickBooks. Best decision we ever made. After invoicing I can just email it to my clients. I think we only have three that we have to send the invoice to in the mail.
    Posted via Mobile Device

    THEGOLDPRO LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,223

    Yea i email all my invoices, It saves a ton of time.
  5. knox gsl

    knox gsl LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,066

    My first year I did the catch up with you to get payment plan, as I got more customers this became a hassle. It seemed no one was ever home when I was there and they wanted me to drive back over and pickup payment. It was also a chore it keep up with who paid what and to keep good records. I am now using excel spreadsheets to organize information and to use for billing. I just enter the date, service,d and amount and it will do the math and generate a monthly statement. I am wanting to change over to a routing and billing system geared toward lanscaping sometime this year, but trying to keep cost down till I see how this season is going to go. I do mail them on the 5th of the month for payment of the previous month to be paided by the 15th.
  6. JCLawn and more

    JCLawn and more LawnSite Fanatic
    from MI
    Posts: 5,206

    I email everything.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  7. stang2244

    stang2244 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 250

    I would highly recommend using either quickbooks or at least making something up on excel to be emailed or paper mailed all at one time during the month. The amount of time spent throughout each day going to the door, chatting with the customer, waiting for them to write the check. I can't imagine having to do this for each account. I simply bill the last business day of each month for services performed that month. The issue I see with sending them out at the beginning of the month, as weeble67 mentioned, is that if you perform any additional services other than mowing, you've already sent invoices so you have to wait until the following month to bill for it and things can get confusing for the customer. Just my thoughts, it may take a month or two to get used to your new billing method but you will wonder how you ever did it the old way.
  8. Roger

    Roger LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,923

    Why are you doing Excel? This means you have to enter your information into your financial management software later. It sounds like double work. As others suggested, why not make your invoice in your financial management software? Payments against the invoices flow into a deposit slip. You know who has paid, who hasn't paid. If you have the information in Excel, now you have to track payment separately, but still have to enter the info into your financial management software.

    Or, do you have some link between Excel and financial management?

    I am always confused why somebody wishes to use a procedure OUTSIDE the financial management software. This double approach seems like extra work, and leave too much risk for error.
  9. crazymike

    crazymike LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ontario
    Posts: 454

    See if your customers are interested in automatic payment play if you do monthly.

    They give you a void cheque and you set it up.

    As for mailing bills, say you go from the 15-15, mail your invoice on the 1st and have it payable on the 15
  10. TuffWork

    TuffWork LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 507

    I did the catch up with you thing the last few years. It wasn't a big deal because most people would leave it for me somewhere or drop it by my house later, but last year it became a gigantic headache. I even got burned by a few people because it was just so darn hard to catch them.

    My customers are mostly elderly. So the email thing is out. Otherwise I would already have done this. I would say only 50% of my customer base even uses a computer regularly.

    As far as billing at the end of the month I'm afraid I'll have trouble with that, too. My customers are going to be really confused as to why they are getting a bill in December or January. I understand the point of not being able to bill for extra work, but I figure that stuff can be payable upon services rendered as everything was before.

    Well, I think I have made my decision that I'm going to just drop off a bill in the door of each of my clients at the first mowing for that months mowing. Then, they can all mail me a check, and I can cross them off as I get them. "If no payment is made by the end of the month mowing will not resume the next month until payment is made."

    I'm trying to diversify myself away from mowing and focus on irrigation jobs, sod, fencing, tree removal, and stuff like that. I do however wonder if this mowing thing ever does hit a boom again (no thanks to this drought we are in here) if there is a way to economically send bills by mail. Will the postal service cut you a break at some point if you are billing so much at a time?

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