Recieved 1/2 Payment today

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by HBLandscaping, Sep 13, 2007.

  1. HBLandscaping

    HBLandscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 268

    Last week I sent out a "Second notice" letter to a client that hadnt sent payment from a completed job done back in the last week of July. Today I recieved a check for $500 attached to the invoice (Bill was for $780). At the bottom of the invoice was a hand written note saying that the rest will be mailed out after 9/28. I have also noticed that over the past 3 weeks two guys have been at that house painting and putting in new windows in. Im at a loss as what to do, Ive never had a 1/2 payment customer.

    Should I wait and hope that after the 28th I receive the rest?

    Should I wait a week after the 28th and then call/Write or stop by to collect the outstanding amount?

    Should I say anything to the guys working there and give them a heads up or find out if they have been paid for work already done?

    Im just not sure how to go about this. I understand that to some $780 might be a lot of money to pay for service, But this bill is $78 less then the estimate that was shown and OKed by the homeowner, So the bill shoudn't of been a surprise to them.

    This is the second project in which we have done for this homeowner this summer. The first project was completed and before I got home that day the homeowner had already called and left a message seeing if I could swing back by to get the check (They werent home when we finished). I recieved payment the next day. So this is something new with this homeowner. If it wasnt for the fact that someone else is doing work over there I wouldnt be this stressed out over it. But to say you dont have the money and be late on payment and then have someone weeks later doing a large project like (Exterior painting - whole house and replacing every window) just is rubbing me wrong.

    Any idea or suggestions on how I should handle this????

    Thanks
     
  2. lawnMaster5000

    lawnMaster5000 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 589

    personally I wouldn't have even noticed the late payment yet, and certainly would not have sent out two letters asking for payment. Although, I do wish I was better about collecting in a timely fashion sometimes.

    I would deposit the check you have and wait for the rest. If you don't get it then you can worry about it.

    You will get your money at the end of the month, and if not www.olddebts.com will make sure you do the next month.

    I know there are others that are going to disagree with me about this and tell you to go over there and demand payment immediately. Just think about the client, and try to put yourself in their situation. Then remember they paid real fast last time, give them a little break this time.
     
  3. Mrs. H

    Mrs. H LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 708

    Sounds like they have a lot of things going on.

    If they were that good the 1st time and they said they would pay by the 28th. My first inclination would be to believe them and wait until the 30th. Then call or prepare one of those nice "Did you over look your bill?" letters to mail out. If by the 10th of next month you are not paid, up your collection methods, definatly call, charge a late fee for each month it was already past due, etc.
     
  4. HOOLIE

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,981

    You have 2 options...

    Option 1- Cash the check and wait for the 28th.

    Option 2- RETURN the check and tell them you wont accept any money until they can pay ALL the money. See, that make no sense. So you better go with Option 1.

    I'm not sure what you want at this point, they paid for the first job, and paid for most of this next job, and told you when they would send the remainder. I guess you could always go beat it out of them?? :laugh:
     
  5. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    You got more than 1/2, you got dang near 60% or better, half of 780 isn't quite 400...

    As for myself I get tired of it, hence why I changed all my letters to say payment in full, partial payments are accepted and the process continues. Now if they pay this much and maybe they call or send a letter asking for an extension I might can see it.

    Here is what I would do, seeing how you did get a good amount:
    - Agreed, CASH that check at the bank that issued it.

    - Change your late pay correspondence to state 'payment in full'
    > This mostly prevents some fool from sending you $5 every 90 days.
    >> But it also gives you leverage in case you are tired of waiting, in this case I'd say you got lucky, now I would:
    - Start their collection process fresh as if they owed the remaining balance as of today.

    At least you got dang near 2/3'rds of it.

    I would try and see if there is something you are doing that is giving your customers the impression that you're a lawn boy, no offense... Because I used to get that too, and I'd drive by like a fool... One day it did dawn on me that this was them imposing themselves upon me, that by me even agreeing to go over there made me their slave, basically it puts us below them on the hierarchical totem pole and that is wrong. I'm really not trying to dote on you, but a customer and a business owner are equals, neither they nor you are above or below or better than the other, both customer and owner share equal rank.

    Now I haven't had a request like that in some time, thou for the most part it's due to pre-screening (aka cherry picking), I'm really not sure it was me and so it may not be you, me thinks some customers just assume we are to be their slaves, I don't know.

    Peace out
     
  6. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    But whether they think we are their slaves or not doesn't stop me from chasing after them for money owed, matter of fact those are some of my favorite, more so when the nonsense doesn't start until later.
     
  7. Vikings

    Vikings LawnSite Bronze Member
    from canada
    Posts: 1,657

    Can you do that with a business cheque?
     
  8. HBLandscaping

    HBLandscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 268

    Sorry if I didnt come across clearly. I have been in this line of work for 14 yrs, 5 on my own and this is the first time I have incountered this. What Im looking for is

    (1) Im sure this may come up again sometime during my life, So what is a good way of limiting the amount of times this happends? What do you guys out there do to protect yourselves from this?

    (2) How long should you wait after you send out an invoice and not recieve payment before you send out a second notice or make a call or whatever to solve this problem?
     
  9. HOOLIE

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,981

    I honestly wouldn't worry too much about this particular customer, they did send you a good chunk of the amount owed, and indicated they would pay the remainder soon. If they had sent like only $100 then I'd start wondering how long this would drag itself out.

    I require 50% down for most non-mowing work, and specify the balance is due upon completion, which seems to work most of the time. Also, accepting credit cards makes it so much easier to collect on these slow payers.
     
  10. mverick

    mverick LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 307

    Wait till the 28th.

    You could call them and ask if there was a problem. They would tell you more then the people here on the forum will.

    Try doing contracts for business. 30days till payment and some are 90days..
     

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