1. Missed the live Ask the Expert event?
    Not to worry. Check out the archived thread of the Q&A with Ken Hutcheson, President of U.S. Lawns, and the LawnSite community on the Franchising Forum.

    Dismiss Notice

Late Paying Clients!!

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Jason, Jan 6, 2000.

  1. Jason

    Jason LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 256

    What do you do with people not paying or paying late?? I have 2 clients that haven't payed for cuttings done last summer. Should I add late fees on it or just keep billing them?? I don't think I will be mowing them this summer or money upfront.<br>Any suggestions on this?? <br>Thank you,<br>Jason
     
  2. Lazer

    Lazer LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,446

    Call them. Ask them what they're planning on doing. I don't service late paying customers again - there is too many good paying customers out there.<p>Add service charges? You can, but they're generally not going to pay those. And you just want your fees to get paid, anyway.<p>Your phone call? Polite, friendly, cordial, make it out to be no big deal --but call and be persistant - the wheel that squeakes most gets oiled. <p>If you still want the customer, just make it nice squeak.
     
  3. klite

    klite LawnSite Member
    Posts: 72

    Send them another bill and add on late charges, and don't cut them next year, not even if they beg you to. If you don't get your money mark it up to experience.DON'T let anyone get that far behind in billing. One other discussion a while back said do a poor job on their lawn and when they call and complain tell them their just getting their money's worth. Well it went something like that. I cut them off if they get a month behind,(unless they tell me their on vacation)see I colect each time I cut.<br>It's just my 2 cents worth to coin a phrase.Good luck and I hope that this doesn't happen to you again.<br>Ken <br>
     
  4. thelawnguy

    thelawnguy LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,412

    I instituted a new policy in the fall, all accounts 30 days past due are assessed a $5 per service &quot;rebilling fee&quot; and accounts 45 days or more subject to suspension of services. The four who balked are habitual late-payers anyhow, and three of them agreed to pay in advance this coming year. Havent heard from the fourth but wont matter much not a high volume/gravy job.<p>All services are due when done, about half are sent &quot;courtesy billing&quot; at the end of the month since its not always practical to be paid when you mow. If I dont see a check by the 15th I call them, you should too. Dont be shy, if your late with a car payment, or the check is lost in the mail the bank will call you they dont want it to get too far behind. <p>Bill
     
  5. SLSNursery

    SLSNursery LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 442

    It is important to establish and maintain a credit and collections policy for customers of all types - residential, commercial, friends, relatives, etc. We state (and they sign upon acceptance) that invoices are due upon receipt, billing period is 30 days, 1 1/2% interest charged on balances over 30 days from date of invoice, etc. This is sometimes difficult to do, but it pays off in the long run. The policy should be presented to customers when they sign a contract for services or when they purchase something, like at the bottom of a point of sale receipt. And, you should invoice regularly - that is if you bill every thirty days, then stay on schedule.<p>I explained in an earlier post that courts don't accept or collect on arbitrary finance charges or fees. So even though you don't expect to or may not want to collect the finance charge, you may not legally be entitled to it, and that could cause problems down the road with a customer who decides not to pay or to break it off on you. <p><p>----------<br>Phil Grande - Soundview Landscape Supply - http://members.aol.com/slsnursery<br>Ivy League Landscaping - http://members.aol.com/scagrider
     
  6. Jason

    Jason LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 256

    Thanks for the advice. It all sounds good.<br>I'm going to keep sending invoices out. I think I'm going to put late fees on them. <br>Thanks Again,<br>Jason
     
  7. cantoo

    cantoo LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,910

    Jason, I would cut this guy's next door neighbour for free and not cut his, when he asks why tell him you have a better chance of getting paid by the neighbour than by him.
     
  8. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,830

    This is a challenge for a lot of us. I still deal with it every month. And if you don't get it under control early, it just turns into bigger problems when your company gets bigger. <p>Most of the solutions presented here are good. But they don't do much for actually getting your money to you on time for sure. <p>For that reason, I am implimenting a new policy this spring that I really think will solve the problem. From now on when I give a bid I give 2 prices. One if they sign up for our automatic checking account debiting program and another price ($10 - $15 higher per month) if they just prefer to be invoiced through the mail. <p>I found a cool company in my area that will set people up on automatic check debiting. If you can't find one in your area (I found this one in the yellow pages under billing) then feel free to email me and I will give you the number to the one I work with. I am sure the service would work regardless of where you are located. <p>The second thing I do now is I cut off all habitual late payers. I will give them an option to sign up for the automatic check debiting system if they want to continue being serviced by us. But if they don't I drop them (Very politely). <p>Tip - don't drop them until you get your $$. Bug them until they pay THEN drop them. Otherwise they may never pay. Keep them thinking your still going to service them until you get your money. <p>These two practices combined I think will work well. It sucks because you hate to loose a customer or shrink the amount of your total accounts. There's a ego blow we fill when we go from say 80 customers to 65. But you have to ask yourself this question; would you rather work for 65 customers and know that you're always going to be paid on time (have a regular, dependable income every month) or would you rather work for 80, and have to harrass 15 of them every month for payment, get your hopes up and then be let down when the money you are expecting doesn't come in, etc.... ? For my time, I'd rather work for those who pay on time, period. <p>I like one guys thougts I read somewhere lately. He said he leaves the late payers to the &quot;bottom feeders&quot; in the business. Which do you want to be? A bottom feeder? Or a professional business? <p>----------<br>Jim Lewis - Lewis Landscape Services<br>http://www.lewislandscape.com
     
  9. southside

    southside LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 790

    I agree with jimlewis in that you should leave the bad payers and crap jobs to the<br>&quot;bottom feeders&quot; in the industry. 90% of<br>my work is done on a 7 day invoice and most of my clients are pretty good.However after 45 days I send a gentle reminder letter.At 60<br>days I send a nasty letter threatening to<br>refer the matter onto our debt collection <br>agency.A few days later I call the debt collectors in.Its nice to be able to say you<br>have 280-300 clients but if 20-30 are bad payers then it becomes a pain in the butt.
     
  10. geogunn

    geogunn LawnSite Gold Member
    from TN
    Posts: 3,010

    interesting concept...bottom feeder.<p>would that be the person that starts in the buisness with no lawns to cut and makes a buisness happen by the sweat of his brow and by never turning down a job no matter what kind of crap job it is because his family is squawking that they are hungry?<p>GEO
     

Share This Page