Anyone slap late fees on Property Managers?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by DA Quality Lawn & YS, Jun 25, 2008.

  1. DA Quality Lawn & YS

    DA Quality Lawn & YS LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,296

    I know anyone who mows commercial apartments, townhomes, etc (or puts up with them shall we say) has to deal with a big property manager to get paid.
    I only have one such account but have found out they are highly variable in when they get a check to me, are always late and blow off my due date, and can't even seem to make the 10 day grace period I afford everyone else.

    Why should these people be treated different from any other customer a guy has? Because they can I suppose - but doesn't mean we have to just take the 'we'll pay whenever we want' approach from them.

    My question: who late fees these Property Managers? I am thinking of slapping one on for June (late May payment) and shooting the bill off. Anyone have experience, good or bad, doing this?
  2. VineYard Landscaping

    VineYard Landscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 13

    I don't have any experience in this matter specifically but I would definitely do this if it is starting to affect your business. I know some people who will not cut again until they are paid after a certain point.

    I'm lucky to only have one property such as this where I have to deal with the property manager and they actually pay me each week after I'm finished becasue they don't want to make me wait until the end of the month to get paid. It's not anything I requested but it's nice to get the check each week once I'm inished.
  3. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    I don't get most commercial bids, one of the reasons is I don't play games.
    Pay on time, I treat everyone the same, be it the President of a 100-strong association or just a residential account from someone who works as a secretary makes no difference to me. And it may sound rude or arrogant, but it's fair.

    Some folks may not like that, I'm not sure what is the problem but I like to get paid lol
  4. chesterlawn

    chesterlawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 704

    I dealt with one for snow plowing a few years back. I plowed her properties a few times and kept billing her but no check. I called her office and she wasn't in so I told her secretary my situation, she told me she would relay the message and said " sorry but landscaper get paid last" What ended up happening, she said when I get paid you will get paid. Took her to small claims, about $4000.00 , and won and I did get my money.
  5. Scagguy

    Scagguy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,522

    I haven't but one of my friends did. When the contract came up for renewal, he didn't get it even though he held the last years pricing.
  6. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,586

    Nope can't slap on late fee unless you want to go off the A list. Almost every time you put a late fee on any commeriical bill the accounting office will hold it because they want to understand why it is more than what they understand the contract to call for. It ends up being a hassle and in the end you look bad. It is just part of doing business to have a line of credit and pay the interest to keep business going.
  7. DA Quality Lawn & YS

    DA Quality Lawn & YS LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,296

    ed - I can see why office-red-tape would hold up payment as you have stated (can't fight their way out of a wet paper sack).

    But, the due date is the due date people. I don't think anyone here offers unreasonable payment terms, and most probably offer a nice sized grace as well. What is so hard to understand if you get a late fee, that means you paid beyond the grace? So, BUMP UP the payment so its on time.

    Else I just need to start billing in advance, I wonder how many mgr's take to that....
  8. TimsLawnCareVA

    TimsLawnCareVA LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 361

    I did last summer. I did 9 complexes for one company and they were always late paying. I did some landscaping at one complex and after several calls to accounting dept and 2 months later I hit them with a $100 late fee. A week later I had my money. I did not bid on again this year, tired of the hassle. Plus the manager was a pain in my butt all year.
  9. DuraCutter

    DuraCutter LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 806

    You're describing at least half of our customers. It does take them a lot more time to process, and sometimes it's an excuse but it's the game you have to play if you do a lot of management work.

    We do almost exclusively management work. Nice thing is, the ones who pay fast support the business, the ones who pay slow, we don't slap a late fee, we build in that fee... let me say it again. We build it in the price, so they wind up paying upwards of 20 or 30% more than the fast payers.

    Mind you, we'll only do 5% of our work in the form of lawncare. Cutting lawns, there's hardly any profit to speak of, so yeah, it's hard to wait on a grand that is almost all labor and gas...

    On the other hand, use this experience to offer other types of work.

    We had a client last year, gave us a nice cedar repair and painting contract worth around 50k. Worked out nice with some good extras, but come snow time, they got cocky and deducted 3k off one months snow due to "concerns" and blah blah... well, the next summer when we started the last leg of the cedar project, I asked for 14k for extra cedar replacement. They paid, and it was all profit except for 2k. Lesson here, you get your money back eventually when they try to steal it plus a hefty fee!!! :laugh:

    Management work pays really well if it's not lawncutting...just remember that..

    take care.
  10. jaybird24

    jaybird24 LawnSite Senior Member
    from midwest
    Messages: 623

    We don't do much anymore and have weeded out the late payers. Sure they have to collect from many different people in order to pay the bill, but they can run a line of credit like anyone else, so why should we wait. We always stick to any late fees per our contract. If they blow it off it goes on the next statement and continues to compound. They don't want the hassle of court so eventually they pay. Sure you won't get the contract next year, but do you really want it? To me my business is not a game or a loan office, if someone wants to treat it that way, they can pay fees and interest just like a bank.

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