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Payment problems

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by Expert Lawns, Jun 30, 2003.

  1. Expert Lawns

    Expert Lawns LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,660

    I know we've all had problems with non-paying customers, but this is my first, so..
    I have a customer that says i didn't mow her lawn, that i only edged it once. I sent her a bill for $25.00. She didn't send payment. So i sent her a polite letter telling her to pay within 10 days of the postmark or ther would be a $10 fee per week. She wrote me a letter back saying that i never showed up etc. I know there is no way to prove that i was there except for my invoice, but we all know that those can be made up at anytime. I know its only $25, but the principle point is that a service was preformed and payment is expected. what would you guys do? just eat it? or would you try something else
  2. Moguy

    Moguy LawnSite Member
    Posts: 238

    Is she a "regular" customer or one that was picked up recently? Will having her as a client bring you more business?
  3. Expert Lawns

    Expert Lawns LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,660

    Funny story here.......she must have gotten me confused with another LCO because she said she called me to see if her mowing day could be changed to thursday. i told her i received no such message. she said she left a message and Keith called her back. well, no keith works here, and besides i'm the only one that returns calls. so then she went and hired another lco thinking that i didn't mow or call, when in reality i did mow, she must not have been home nor did she notice her grass was shorter. anyways, i pulled up the next week to mow and she told me this story about leaving the message etc. so i told her i would cancel her as a customer. i think she is confused and thinks i am trying to charge her for showing up and not mowing when she came out and stopped me, but i mowed the week before and didn't get paid. hope that wasn't confusing.....
  4. mtdman

    mtdman LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,137

    Eat the $25 and dump her as a customer.
  5. Expert Lawns

    Expert Lawns LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,660

    exactly what i had in mind. forget the $25.00. my phone bill will be more than that if i keep calling to nag her
  6. Meier

    Meier LawnSite Senior Member
    from DFW
    Posts: 269

    I haven't had a single billing dispute yet. I only take customers who agree to weekly service with no skipping. They have to initial my skip policy on the contract, which states that if they skip a scheduled mowing, they still pay for service that day. (And, initially, when I first started requiring this, I was actually amazed at how understanding people are about this. I get ZERO objections to this term in the contract. I just explain that if I reserve a spot for them on my schedule it represents revenue to me and I just can't afford to have people calling a day ahead and saying "Let's skip it this week".)

    I actually picked up a customer who wanted bi-weekly service. I explained that I would only do weekly. That wouldn't fit her budget. I just kept talking and explained that I bill once a month and that I've NEVER had a disputed charge. Not one. That got her. She signed up. The crew that had been providing the bi-weekly service, according to her, kept charging her for cuts that they didn't do. She said she marked it down on the calandar every time they came out to mow. Every so often the guy would stop by to pick up a check. She thought the guy was over charging her all the time.

    Weekly ONLY service pretty much eliminates the potential for disputed charges, in my opinion.

    DFW, TX
  7. Paradise Landscapes

    Paradise Landscapes LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 960

    I would say to dump the customer. Since she lied to you about someone named kieth answering the phone, What would make you think that she's a good customer to keep? A Totally Dishonest one. They have been known to turn around and get you again if your not carefull.

    Just my 2 cents for you.
  8. Rustic Goat

    Rustic Goat LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,194

    Is this an older person?
    If you want to give her the benefit of doubt and continue to service the lawn, draw up a weekly contract, carefully spelling out the service agreement. If she'll sign it, make sure you leave her a card, offer to mark her calendar for the next few months ahead.
    Talk to her for a few minutes, repeating your first name as often as possible.
    Maybe call before you head that way, or the night before.

    On the other hand, if she either won't sign, or she's not older, and you sense no mental incapacity, drive away and don't look back.
  9. jeff_0

    jeff_0 LawnSite Senior Member
    from md
    Posts: 401

    spray the yard with round up
  10. mtdman

    mtdman LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,137


    :D :D :D

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