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Philosophy of Slow Paying customers

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by Natural Impressions, May 21, 2009.

  1. Natural Impressions

    Natural Impressions LawnSite Member
    Posts: 171

    I just finished my book for the day and wrote up my billing for tomorrows cuts. My wife looked over my shoulder and noticed my Money owed sheet and couldn't believe how many costomers owed me money at this time. I tried to explain to her some people pay weekly and monthly so it varies. And some just like to take there time paying.

    She felt that the customers that are late should not recieve any further sevice until it is paid current. Now this is something I would love to do but the fact that I only have 43 current costomers that keep me busy 3 days a week cutting there lawns and 3 days a week with other various services ( mulch, installations, removals and such) that this isn't something that I feel comfortable doing.

    I told her this a common problem many LCO's have and just have to put up with it. If I had 300 accounts this might be a different story.

    I have never really had a problem with getting current with payment by years. No more them $200 owed or not paid in the 5 years I have been involved in this service. And those are account I have since dropped if not paid.

    I guess I was just wondering if anyone is in the same boat as me.

    Good luck and hope everyone has a great season.
  2. eaglescout

    eaglescout LawnSite Member
    Posts: 65

    I used to sign my accounts up one month in advance. I got some customers whom questioned this, however after a while they got used to the idea. They were under contract and knew I would be there at Monday 8:00 or whatever time or day. When I got up to 38 accounts I had to put them on a waiting list.
  3. JDiepstra

    JDiepstra LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,511

    I bill monthly for lawncare. I've stopped service on two people who were two months behind.
  4. Natural Impressions

    Natural Impressions LawnSite Member
    Posts: 171

    I do something like that. People who want to pay monthly have to give a deposit of 2 weeks in advance. Then they pay monthly and the deposit goes towards the last 2 cuts of the year.
  5. S.I.

    S.I. LawnSite Senior Member
    from west
    Posts: 323

    I bill monthly and give 30 days to pay, if they get to 30 days I call and let them know if it is not brought up to date I will not be able to service the property until it is. Most of the time it is just an oversight on their part (or that is the excuse anyway) and they bring me the money or have it waiting when I show up to service.
  6. whoopassonthebluegrass

    whoopassonthebluegrass LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,214

    This is my experience. IF you wanna be a hard ass and get that $100 out of someone, the price you'll pay is the future thousands they might have generated for you had you not pissed them off.

    Just be sticky sweet to people and communicate with them. I've asked a couple late payers if the economy has hurt them, and that's embarrassed them into getting caught up.

    Good luck.
  7. bohiaa

    bohiaa LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,220

    It's real difficult for some one NOT in the business to give some one IN the business advice,

    I never did understand when my childless friends whould give me advice on raising my childern..:confused:

    THEGOLDPRO LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,223

    i still have checks trickleing in from plowing, its part of the business, basically it comes down to landscapers are always the last ones to be paid. they are always gonna pay the vehicle loans, and house payments before the grass guy.
  9. landscaper22

    landscaper22 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 829

    I have no problem with not servicing until I'm paid if they are late. Only problem is you are creating more work on yourself. You can tell them they will have to pay more for the greater work load caused by the missed service, but good luck with that. I would rather communicate with them (in a nice way) and explain the situation. If the problem continues I will start applying late fees. This, however, usually gets you fired and makes the customer angry too. And I don't want to make a customer angry if they owe me money.
    Best to just drop the ones that you feel are really trying to shaft you. Only other option is to tell the customer they must pay in advance or at time of service. If you do the monthly billing (which I like), then have them pay during the month you are servicing rather than wait until the end of the month and bill and then give them 20-30 days to pay. Because a customer that is trying to shaft you can owe y ou for two months of service before you realize there is a problem.
  10. Client Critic

    Client Critic LawnSite Member
    Posts: 44

    Debt collection has been a growing problem over the last few years and it will continue to grow until the economy stabilizes. We have noticed customers losing jobs and cancelling service, without paying. Our company accepts credit cards and keep them on file. If balances go out pass 60 days we charge card and send them a statement showing balance is cleared up. You might want to consider something like this or have them prepay for monthly services. The longer you let this problem drag out the less likely you'll be able to collect or it will get worse over the years as your business grows.
    You may want to screen potential clients on our website. It's free and as our membership grows, it will become a more valuable asset to your company.

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