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Late Date???

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Mike's All Season Service, Oct 11, 2006.

  1. Mike's All Season Service

    Mike's All Season Service LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 415

    I think this might have been already gone over. Does anyone put a late date on there bills i.e. (Any payment received after the 10th of October will be LATE and will receive the $15 Late fee) i have done this for 2 years with all of my customers and there seemed to be no problems untill today. I have had 5 calls on "why there should not be a late fee" on my LAWNCARE BILL!!!
    I told them that it has been that way for 2 years and they said the im not as important as some of there other bills(Water,Heat,Electric,House Payment, BMW Payment Stuff like that. 1 of the customer that is now overdue started to argue with me and say that we didnt mow his lawn this year(which we have we have had him for 2 years. Hes just mad he has to pay the late fee now) He told me that im nothing more than a LAWNBOY and thats it.

    I hate these kind of people always looking down on us im tired of it.
    Some people said they really dont care what people think i guess i havent reached that yet. any comments please feel free
  2. MarkintheGarden

    MarkintheGarden LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,072

    Well if you do not pay your electric bill the city will not send you a citation but they will if you do not mow your lawn! By the way, if you are late paying anyone they will charge late fees and reinstatement fees.

    But realy it does not matter how important he thinks mowing is. The truth is people spend more money on what they want than what they need.

    He requested the service and did not pay on time, hence the late fee. If he has not paid for the service and wants to contest the late fee, I would tell him to pay for the services and until then I would not even discuss the late fee. Then I would wave the late fee only if he pays in advance for the next service billing.

    You might explain that the late fee covers the cost of the delayed payment, the extra costs of additional invoicing, collections, the time it takes to have these kind of conversations.

    If you feel like he is looking down on you replace him with a customer who has respect for you. I mow on time, I expect to get paid on time. If you want me to wait for the money I have already earned then make a payment in advance for the next billing cycle, and you can wait for the service that you have paid for. Fair is fair.
  3. MarkintheGarden

    MarkintheGarden LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,072

    By the way I do not care what people think of me, but how they deal with me is another matter altogether.
  4. brucec32

    brucec32 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,403

    Why do you want customers who pay late anyway?

    Anyone who consistently pays late is either marginal financially or irresponsible and is likely to one day stiff you altogether. Does adding $15 to the $200 they owe you make a difference if they never pay you? You will very rarely get stiffed by someone who pays you on time for years. But you will run into deadbeats from time to time and they will test you to see what you will put up with. They may even pay your late fee a few times, but that's only because they know they'll be giving themselves a 100% discount in October when their lawn stops growing and they don't need you anymore. They'll more than make it up to themselves.

    Which would you rather have, customers who pay or time or customers who pay late and pay you $15 extra when they do pay? If you DROP customers who repeatedly pay late, you will wind up with a customer base who pay on time. Isn't that the goal? Late fees are quite reasonable, they compensate you for the hassle of having to collect and rebill people. But many people are NOT reasonable, especially the types who don't pay bills on time. They will simply RESENT you for charging them the late fee. How happy are you with your credit card company if you goof and pay late and a nice $25 fee appears on the next months' bill? It's just human nature.

    Set payment terms, stick to them, print a form for each customer to read, on a seperate piece of paper, making the terms clear, go over it with them when quoting the job, make it clear that you prefer they choose someone else rather than hire you and not pay you on time, and that will go a long ways towards rooting out the deadbeats BEFORE they become a problem. People who take pride in paying bills promptly won't have a problem with your terms. And that's who you want to identify.

    I am a proponent of not billing a month in arrears. By the time the payment is "late", you will be about 6 visits in the hole. By that point it's harder to say "bye bye" to a deadbeat customer. Bill in advance and make the payment due the 15th or 30th of the month for that month's service. I prefer the former. By the time you realize you have a late payment problem you're only out a couple of visits and when you contact them (use email for ease and less embarrassment to the customer) you present a strong front where you are not going to hurt too bad if you cancel them.
  5. Uranus

    Uranus LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Mass
    Posts: 1,624

    Hey LAWN BOY! Dont you hate being called that. I think you might want to back your leaf truck up to his garage doors at 2am and show him why he needs to pay his bill. A nice 4 foot pile of snow in the middle of the driveway works too. DON'T F WITH THE LAWN BOY!
  6. Mike's All Season Service

    Mike's All Season Service LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 415

    Thats right the LAWN BOY with ATTITUDE!!!!:weightlifter: :weightlifter:
  7. Roger

    Roger LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,920

    Your initial post is confusing. You seem to be saying you have used a late fee statement on your monthly invoices for 2 years, but only this month five people have called to complain. What is different this month? If you have included the statement for the past two years, have people willingly paid the late fee when paying beyond the due date? If so, why are they now complaining?

    Other threads have talked about adding a late fee, but rarely does anybody speak about actually having collected the extra money. I have never added one because I was quite sure that nobody would pay it anyway. Rather, they would just send their base amount, and dare me to confront them for the added payment.

    GELAWNS LawnSite Member
    Posts: 66

    We charge the late fee ($10) and about half pay it. We will waive it for a customer with a history of paying on time. Talking with a customer that is late all the time is important. It is not always that they can't pay. A couple of our customers switched to paying quarterly (in advance of course) at our request. There's one commercial account we have to stop by and ask for the check. He asks for a total and we include the late fees.

    Services like lawn care will definitely be paid after the house, the lights, the car payments. Working with the customers during hard times gets you a lot of loyalty. A lot of us have been there and remember the people who worked it out with us.
  9. Mike's All Season Service

    Mike's All Season Service LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 415

    Everyone that has complained has been late before, paid the fee and nothing was said to me, it was something about this month that got to everybody. It was crazy no one complained about it till now.
  10. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    Well they're probably ticked off at Opec for cutting petrol production to keep the price of fuel high lol and since they can't complain to Opec, they take it out on us hehehe...

    What you might do is wait it out until next month, then slip in the late fee as 'unpaid balance due' from last month (for those who didn't pay it)... See what happens, I'm sitting here sweating because I've done at least a thousand (meaning it's likely more like 2-3k) dollars worth of work and I'm wondering where my money is but one thing I have learned is you HAVE to give them time, not too much, but certainly some.

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