Trouble collecting for last month

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by Mountain Peak, Oct 2, 2005.

  1. Mountain Peak

    Mountain Peak LawnSite Member
    Posts: 203

    for some reason I have over 50% of my clients that haven't paid for August, and here I am printing billing for September. I was just wondering if anyone else is having any problems getting paid this month.
    Normally these are mid to high end customers and they always pay on time. I'm thinking the extra gas bill is putting me on the low priority pay list.
    Anyone?
     
  2. grassworks

    grassworks LawnSite Member
    Posts: 134

    yeah - I've noticed a slow down. It's kind of crazy...... First you have to work hard to find these customers then you have to bust your tail doing the work as agreed and finally to top it off you have collect and actually chase down the money your owed...... all while keeping your prices well below the rate of inflation.
     
  3. sanfordandsonfan

    sanfordandsonfan LawnSite Member
    Posts: 103

    You will probably get a few posts about late fees and kicking doors down if they do not pay. Well the fact is, people will pay when they want to pay. I have been doing this long enough to know that even your best customer will slip up once in awhile and forget to pay. I meet a guy just last week who owns a lawn service and the first thing he wanted to talk about was the clients that do not pay. The economy sucks, gas prices are killing and americans in general are in debt up to their eyeballs. The utility companies have it made. They have the ability to shut of your service if you do not pay. You cant get another utility company because they are the only one. Lawn services, hell you could have ten companies cutting your lawn by mid afternoon and screw them over in a few months. Small claims court sucks, lawyers laugh at lawn contracts and the judge will be laughing with the lawyers when they meet up for golf on saturday. I'm done with my soapbox but this subject really ticks me off. Getting screwed by people just plain sucks, and people who think we can wait until they feel like paying us suck.
     
  4. QualityLawnCare4u

    QualityLawnCare4u LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,758

    I too have had an unusual last month with clients who usually pay on time not paying. I blame it on the gas cost and economy. Im affraid this next year is going to be rough.
     
  5. Jason Rose

    Jason Rose LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,858

    I had NONE of my customers pay in August!!!

    Oh wait.. that's because I kinda didn't get the invoices out till...... today.

    I procrastinated my way thru the entire month so I combined Augusts and Septembers and inserted a note explaining myslef and that if they wanted to pay august now and wat to pay sept. for a couple weeks that's fine. I did, however, enclose a slef addressed STAMPED envelope for everyone to use. Hopefully that will encourage everyone to write one 2 month check to take advantage of the "free postage"!
     
  6. 1MajorTom

    1MajorTom Senior Moderator
    Posts: 6,074

    I'm not coming down on you, cause I know things happen, and none of us are perferct. But you need pick something, anything else besides sending out the bills to procrastinate on. Believe me, I drag my heels on some things too, but not when it comes to billing. The message you may be inadvertently sending your customers is that you are not in a big hurry to recieve your money. Never leave that impression with them. Next thing you know, they'll have 3 bills on their dining room table, they'll whip out their checkbook and maybe not have enough money. they'll pay the other 2 bills, see your bill and say to themselves, "ah jason don't mind waiting."
    I hope that's not the case though and your customers treat you right.
    Good luck.
     
  7. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    As for me, I weed them out. I developed a 'feel' for those kind of folk and like one guy said, even the best slip up sometimes but I'm cool with those folk. What I'm not cool with is ones that like to do it on a regular basis. And to more than a few folk, we are disposable lawnguys. After all there's over 100 in the yellow book alone, the lawncare section is ALMOST as big as the next section (lawyers), so what's it to them if they just call one after the other and then just never pay? With 100 Lco's, you could get your grass cut for free for many years, especially with the turn-over rate.

    People who call an Lco with the intention of getting something for nothing are a dime a dozen, there's thousands of them out there. It is HARD to find the good ones, it's why I say 9 out of 10 people I never work for, half of them I never even return the call. You develop a keen sense for it over time, I can see the schitt coming for miles nowadays. Dime a dozen = 9 out of 10.

    Then they run into someone who won't take it... I don't know, but for me the digicam works wonders, other people like sending reminders (which works for me as well) and there is the occasional tail-whoopin' that sets'm straight but I dislike this as it can involve the law, and jail.

    I am glad, however, someone finally sees the light on taking people to court with contracts, and what exactly happens. Far as them laughing at me, no I wasn't worried about that, fact is even IF the judge finds in our favor, they still don't have to pay.

    So over the years I found some methods of collection that work for me. Several different ways of collecting exist, I tried one after the other until I found a few whereby I get paid MOST everytime. Some didn't work at all, guess it's another trial and error thing, what works for one of us may or may not work for another.
     
  8. walker-talker

    walker-talker LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Midwest
    Posts: 4,771

    I too have noticed the last couple months having more slow payers than normal. Beginning of the season was great, everyone paying on time, now is a different story.
     
  9. Drew Gemma

    Drew Gemma LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,510

    All season I have ran into two ppl that paid late and I had to literally go beat down the door and call them to get paid and I finally did. But for the first time all season I had 5 late payers for the month of August. Which makes sense cause they spent money on back to school crap and that extra buck a gallon at the tank. Well invoices went out to day for last month and I put late fees on those. We will see!
     
  10. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Posts: 10,178

    i would buy them a gift, maybe a fruit basket, or one of those baskets that have crackers, salami, and make believe cheese
     

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