Advance billing in Quickbooks

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by Meier, May 19, 2003.

  1. Meier

    Meier LawnSite Senior Member
    from DFW
    Messages: 269

    I bill my customers each month via Quickbooks for work I've already done.

    Every month, when the bills are approaching the due date, I start getting really nervous. Last month, I got stiffed on one bill and the guy still hasn't paid.

    So I'm trying to figure out a solution to the problem. You see, I can't keep telling myself I'm better off doing this than I would be working for someone else because I'm making XX per hour. As soon as you factor in a dead beat or two, that XX/hr starts shrinking fast.

    I've called the bank and investigated credit cards, but in order for me to accept credit cards, it'll cost me 2.87% of my gross revenues, as well as 2.87% on the 7.5% sales tax I'm required to collect for the friggin' government. If you figure in the collection of sales tax, it works out to be about 3% of revenues. At 3%, that's equal to $30 on a $1,000 worth of invoices. Basically, you could re-phrase that to mean that one in every 30 cuts or so is free. That sucks if you think of it like that.

    So now I'm thinking of adding a $5.00 "monthly statement fee" if a customer elects to pay via credit card. This would more or less, on average, cover my costs for the credit card processing.

    If a customer balks over the statement charge, I could then explain that there is no statement charge for advance pay customers. If the customer is willing to pay an estimated monthly amount in advance every month, he/she can save $5 per month.

    So now I'm wondering about billing a month in advance. I use statements in Quickbooks. Anyone ever done this? How do you do it? Can it be done?

    DFW, TX
  2. Premo Services

    Premo Services LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,516

    I use quickbooks and qxpress. I made contracts and the customer agreed to the contract. The contract starts in march and goes till december. I am getting paid a month ahead on all contracted customers it works well for me. I don't know how it would be done without a contract, but someone might though. Good luck!!!!
  3. AztlanLC

    AztlanLC LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,051

    Same here, only work in sesonal contracts, set price for the entire year, have'em sign a contract even for a one time job, stating that you'll charge a xx$$ amount of late fee if not paid in full.

    good luck
  4. Turf Technologies

    Turf Technologies LawnSite Senior Member
    from Florida
    Messages: 587

    It seems like I just sent bills out and now theres a few days left and will have to start again. I see green!
  5. reneekrause

    reneekrause LawnSite Member
    Messages: 27

    Well, in our experience with other companies, small sole pro set-ups, they collect after the fact and get burned a lot!

    We have been in business for 11 years, starting our 12th and only within the last couple of years have we started accepting payments for services rendered. Our policy is we collect in advance for the month. We issue a copy of this policy with every account whether residential or commercial. We also price our accounts based on a per mow charge for a number of mows per year divided into a convenient monthly amount. We do not have contracts, only use them on commercial accounts. The services agreed upon are indicated in the top portion of our business policies and acts as an informal contract.

    When my husband sells the account usually the question comes up about payment and he states they will receive statement in the mail or they can give him a check for the agreed price now or on the day he is scheduled to service the account.

    We have only had a couple of customers balk at paying prior to receiving service, (usually they are on a fixed income) we always give the customer the benefit of the doubt when paying after the fact. you are taking a big risk. We have been burned only 4 times in 11 years and not exceeding $xx.

    I have looked into cc also but I would rather invest that money in something else to benefit the business or a more time saving piece of equipment.

    I suggest strongly on incorporating collection prior to servicing the account they hesitate offer current clients they can call (of course always get that clients permission to use as a reference.)

    Just remember that you do have to be diligent in billing your customers in a timely manner and make a decision on how long you are willing to let that customer slide with no payment. Also make sure any charges for non payments, bounced checks etc are invoiced for too and do not be afraid to go knocking on doors when the client has passed the grace period.

    We did that and it was always profitable!!!


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