Billing for renters oposed to homeowners

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by C4chris70, Apr 1, 2002.

  1. C4chris70

    C4chris70 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 501

    I have been in the lawn maintenance business for 14 years and have recently begun having trouble getting paid from some renters. If a homeowner doesn't pay for service I can place a lien on their property, but that does not work in the case of renters. Some renters just move to the next company or even the next house when their bills get too high. I know small claims court is an option, but getting a judgement and getting paid are two different things. I have a friend who is also in this business who has begun asking that renters pay in advance for service. I'm not sure if I like this approach, but it has seemed to work for him so far. Does anyone have a better approach to this problem? Any input would be appreciated.
  2. Brickman

    Brickman LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,249

    I know what you mean. I think that the pay as you go is good. Ask for payment EVERY time you are there, and don't go back unless you get paid at the end of the mowing. If checks start bouncing, accept only cash or money orders.

    Like my uncle says, we aren't in this business for our health.

    It isn't to provide free lawn work.
    It is to make a living. I personally haven't had too much trouble getting paid. One season I had about $200 I didn't get. Since then all acounts go to collection at 60 days out. I don't have time to mess with them. Either pay, or face the music.
  3. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,497

    One option would be is see if you can find out who the owner is. In the future, find this out ahead of time as part of the agreement. (You can tell the tenant it's for insurance purposes - which it is.) Then, if they don't pay, maybe the landlord will hold it from their security deposit when they leave, or atleast a portion for you, as it WAS to care for his property. This along with the fact that the tenant is responsible for the care of the lawn (hence they hired you) Better yet, for the next tenant, just have him hire you, and he can add it on to rent, and sell it as the yard is alll taken care of! No, on second thought, that may not be such a good idea.:rolleyes:
  4. LoneStarLawn

    LoneStarLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,415

    Renters can be a problem.

    All of our Bad Debt is all from renters.

    What you can do other than pay in advance is maybe have a credit card on file for the account.

    They could still pay by check but by a certain "late" date the card gets charged.
  5. mowerman90

    mowerman90 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,491


    "Welcome to Florida" LOL. Up here in Spring Hill FL I require ALL of my customers to sign an aggreement. That aggreement states that their statement must be paid on receipt or no later than the 10th of each service month. I send statements out at the BEGINNING of the service month. I too have been doing this for 14 years and haven't had anyone complain yet. The reason I do this is because when I first started I got shafted by a builder that stuck me for almost $2000.
  6. plow kid

    plow kid Banned
    Messages: 516

    Hey Ed, I still have and use that contract that you sent me like 2 years ago. It saved my a$$ last fall when a lady decided to try to skip out on about $1k in work. ~NaTe
  7. landscaper3

    landscaper3 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,354

    Plow kid has the right answer it saved his tail!!!!! No contract no work! even more so on renters and I would acually go pay as you mow with them!!!
  8. proline32

    proline32 LawnSite Senior Member
    from 98383
    Messages: 278

    You deffinitely want to get a contract on renters, I have in my contracts that I reserve the right to sue, obtain a collection agency, and so forth...... this way you let them know up front that you can screw up thier credit rating if they try to screw you over. Other than that I generally get paid every two weeks and If I don't see a check, NO SERVICE.
  9. Another thing to aid in collection is having a work phone #. If I can't get this from a renter I decline the work, unless its a pay as you go by credit card.
    A friendly reminder call at work is very effective at getting the money comming.
    Or just stop by their job one day as a friendly visit to "pick up a check for the work I've done".
    Also knowing place of employment will make it easier to serve a summons if you do go to small claims court. I haven't tried it yet but I'll bet being served at work might make them decide its worth paying the $100-200 they owe to get rid of you. Also if you win in small claims in colorado you can garnishee a % of wages.

    Another idea I've considered with renter is is a deposit. Maybe 4 weeks of service to be applied to the last bill of the season?

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