Late Payers

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by FreedomYardServices, May 29, 2013.

  1. JFGLN

    JFGLN LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 941

    I have been thinking about charging a late fee for payments received after the 20th of the month. Probably would have to send everybody a written policy explaining this. I'm owed about $4000 from late payers right now.
     
  2. kgs1

    kgs1 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 146

    I have went to offering discounts for customers to pay by a certain date... some pay ahead for the season & others want to pay monthly..others that want billed at end of the month seem to be the ones who pay late so I've started offering discounts for them if they pay by a certain date.... of course I also have a late fee stated on every invoice for them to see in bold print...I have not had to many be late or very late since I've applied these payment methods...& it seems to be catching on...you have to be a little flexable...I have a few elderly customers or ones who are on a fixed income so this works perfectly with them....
     
  3. 123hotdog

    123hotdog LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 481

    I sent out 3 x 5 index cards (cheaper postage) about six years ago stating that 78% of my invoices came in late the previous month. I bill on the 15th, its due on the 30th, late on the 5th. I informed my customers effective immediately that I would be charging a late fee of $5 or 5% of the balance whichever is greater. I told my customers that I just could not operate on 22% of my gross. All understood and some were even apologetic. Some religiously pay late and have for years and pay the late fees every month. I went to service agreements year before last and won't mow without one. However, I didn't dare ask my existing customers to sign an agreement after we had already done business without one. They just grandfathered in. A customer that doesn't want to sign a service agreement or won't pay a late fee doesn't give a sh*t about you or your business and you don't need them.
     
  4. knox gsl

    knox gsl LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,738

    I bill monthly and anyone who doesn't pay by the 15th (in my mailbox) gets a $7 fee. If they refuse to pay the fee but still pay up or always late I will limp them along till the end of the year and dump them. I would rather do this than to drop mid season and be left with 6 weeks of unpaid work.
     
  5. Blades Lawn Maintenance

    Blades Lawn Maintenance LawnSite Bronze Member
    Male, from Baton Rouge, La
    Posts: 1,233

    Have you thought about billing mid month?
     
  6. Chineau

    Chineau LawnSite Member
    Posts: 34

    it sounds like 123hotdog has a strategy to manage customers, how does the service agrement work is this how you set out services and terms?
     
  7. FreedomYardServices

    FreedomYardServices LawnSite Member
    Posts: 8

    Billing mid month might be an option... Especially since most of my bills are due on the 1st. As far as charging a fee.. I like the 5% or 5$ idea. I have also been billing per visit, which I am looking at just converting it over to a flat monthly fee by taking the price per visit x 52 / 12. Therefore the customer knows and can budget for the mowing bill.
     
  8. FreedomYardServices

    FreedomYardServices LawnSite Member
    Posts: 8

    I make everyone sign a service agreement prior to any work being done. It sets the standards as far as price and what to expect, but I think I will add a late fee section. Although, Sadly... most people do not even read it and just sign it...
     
  9. FreedomYardServices

    FreedomYardServices LawnSite Member
    Posts: 8

    So my customer who was over 90 days late i cut off... I happened to be in their neighborhood as they drive by and the guy sees me and flips around and parks aggressively, jumps out of his jeep and loudly yells " I thought we had a agreement".... I calmly then told him yes, and he never paid so I stopped showing up. Meanwhile the neighbors we outside and the situation looked really bad from far away.

    A few days later.... The customers house I was servicing when all this went down calls and cancels service.. She was referred by another customer who called right after to cancel service.

    All together... I lost two accounts worth a few thousand dollars because these people didn't pay their bill...
     
  10. GOATMAN GEORGE

    GOATMAN GEORGE LawnSite Member
    Posts: 88

    1. I give 15 days to pay bill on each statement ( very generous IMO).
    2. If it is not received on that 15th day I am sending out a polite letter which is just a reminder they missed their due date and to please contact us if they are having issues.
    3. If no contact in 15 more days, I am sending a certified letter announcing I will be proceeding with the county small claims court.

    If the customer contacts me saying they have having personal or financial problems I will gladly extend their due dates, but when there is no communication they are just trying to be sneaky. By the time their bill racks up to the hundreds and four months overdue, it is way easier for the client to dispute his invoice.

    I don't care if the person owes only $50, they are getting took to claims and I have always won in small claims. I have not always got 100% of what I ask for, but it is definatly worth it , the defendant will be required to reimburse your court fees you have to pay in the beginning.
     

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