late fees strictly enforced?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by bobbygedd, Feb 18, 2003.

  1. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Posts: 10,178

    i have late fees in our contracts. however, i have yet to actually charge a late fee. i think this year i may be forced to be very strict about enforcing the late fees. we have made a decision to put forth 100% effort this season and provide 100% reliable top quality service, and in turn the fees must be paid on a timely basis. has anyone lost customers over the charging of late fees?
     
  2. crazygator

    crazygator LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,048

    Bobby,

    I have wondered the same thing. I think it would be very hard to enforce a late fee. Must all depend on your states laws. Heck if they wont even pay the regular amount on time, you think they will pay when the price goes up? ;)

    So tells us, those of you that do have a late fee policy and enforce and collect it, how do you do it? How do you get them to pay it?
     
  3. Nick

    Nick Banned
    Posts: 180

    Contract states a service charge will be added 15 days past due. This is most often enough of an essentive to get them to pay on time or near. It is better then nothing and sometimes people just don't won't to pay you and then legal action has to be taken. It is the same price due at the first of the month and 15 days gives plenty of time to forget and then remember.
     
  4. cklands

    cklands LawnSite Senior Member
    from MA
    Posts: 360

    Only on the accounts that are always late. Other than that no although it is stated on my contracts. My problem is that I don't always do my billing exactly 30 days apart so I can't really charge the late fee to everyone.
     
  5. LAWNS AND MOWER

    LAWNS AND MOWER LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,129

    Only extra fee I'll charge is for a bounced check. I average 1 returned check every three years. As for late fees, I don't do it. I have no need to. Have only been stiffed for $150 in 17 years, and plus I don't use contracts.
     
  6. Lawn Dog2001

    Lawn Dog2001 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,027

    All my invoices say a late charge may be assessed after 15 days. This is just an idle threat though. I have never actually charged it. I just put it in there as an incentive not to be late. Also if I ever had to take someone to court I could tally up all the late fees then to help recoup court costs.

    Crazygator said it best, If you cant get them to pay the regular amount, how are you going to get them to pay additional fees.
     
  7. Premo Services

    Premo Services LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,516

    I did, but I didn't think I would get the scumbag to pay me mwat he owed me!!!!!!!
    I decided to start using contracts last year and put late fee clauses in my contracts for actually one habitiual late payer. He agreed and signed the contract. 2 of his 5 payments were late and by end of July I was sick of his BS. I suspended the services and wrote him a letter saying that he owed me payments plus 2 late fees, and I also sent copies of contract he signed. He calls me and says we have a drought in july and the lawn didn't need cutting, so he wasn't paying for july.eek: I wrote another letter reminding him that he signed the contract, and again with copies of his signed contract, and i would send it to collections if he did not pay. About a week later my check for the payments and all late fees owed to me was in my hands. I cashed the check that day, and sent a letter saying I could no longer do his lawn. He calls me and offers to have a check each time I cut the lawn. Man no way I will do that, all the trouble to go to the door to get the check, or try to deal with him. I just don't need the problems. I did write the letter and told him that I wouldn't be cutting for him any more, but he kept calling me and leaving messages that the check would be there when I came to do the lawn. I have never been back to his lawn, but do several in the same neighborhood. It is an upscale neighborhood with homes in the 1,000,000 and higher range. He has never had a leaf cleanup, and I believe it was only mowed twice since the end of last July. Do you think he is waiting for me? If he is he will wait till HE!! freezes over.;)
     
  8. PR0 TURF

    PR0 TURF LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,089

    The only thing that we enforce is a 2% interest fee. It's not much at all...but its enough for them to notice that we didn't forget that they were late.
    :blob1:
     
  9. grshppr

    grshppr LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 301

    I charge $1.00 late fee after 30 days. People usually pay on time, its just for the 2% that take a while to pay. Most pay the late fee because they know that they are notorious late payers.
     
  10. A late fee, even if it's in contract language is only good if you take a no nonsence, strict enforcement policy. However, you do have to take into account people losing their jobs, death in the family ect....

    I only charge interest charges on delinquent invoices. Usualy that's enough. On rare occasions, if I have to, I demand pre-payment for service.

    John
     

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