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Clients who don't pay? what to do?

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by ryan41, Oct 8, 2013.

  1. ryan41

    ryan41 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 326

    I do all my billing for lawn accounts at the end of the month & the invoices are due by the 10th. I have a client that has not paid for the month of August and we are coming up on the 10th for the month of September. I have sent numerous invoices through PayPal & the mail. They normally never pay on time but this is way to long to wait for a payment. I tried to contact them via phone and they never called me back. We stopped mowing last week at there property. My question how do i tell them i need a payment without saying it like that? Let me know what you guys would do.

  2. Reliable 1

    Reliable 1 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 187

    Plan and simple....if you are late on your mortgage, truck, or cell phone bill, what happens? If you allow others to "control" your cash flow, then you will constantly struggle to collect money that you may/will need to reinvest into your business. If you don't make it a point to go after your money, the customer will take advantage of you. One thing that I forgot to add is if that customer is routinely late, then you may want to start adding a late fee to your invoice....that may help. Decide whether you REALLY want to deal with this monthly...if not cut them loose.
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2013
  3. M&L

    M&L LawnSite Member
    Messages: 245

    Call him a ****y and punch him in the throat. Just kidding haha

    I always charge the first mow upfront. Let's you feel out the client. It has also weeded out some people whom you wouldn't want to deal with. If some one is habitually late paying, they have to square up on the billing and pre pay for future services to continue.
    The few times I've had invoices go unpaid, I left a copy of the last invoice that said "services to be suspended until payment is made".
    If that doesn't work, I knock on the door and ask them if they have any intention of paying for services they asked for. You can't say it without saying it. The few times it has happened, I got a check and dropped the client after I knew the funds cleared. I provide quality lawn care services, but unfortunately at this time I am unable to offer financing

    The time it takes to chase down money, is unneeded stress, gas and or postage, but most importantly it is time not spent on clients who pay and get you referrals....
    Posted via Mobile Device
  4. easy-lift guy

    easy-lift guy LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,372

    Your customer has decided to take advantage of you because you have allowed this to happen. Gather all your paperwork and take your customer to small claims court. Make sure you are able to secure a judgement against this person if they decide to not show up for court. Unless I had work on a one off basis all my accounts pay in advance. May be a lot harder to retrain your existing customer base to pay in advance worth a try when starting the new season.
    easy-lift guy
  5. cpllawncare

    cpllawncare LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,659

    Small claims court is useless waste of time, Just don't allow the customer to go that long, either have everybody pre pay or credit card on file and charge after each service, I think that's what we're going to try to do next season. it'll help with cash flow also.
  6. grassmonkey0311

    grassmonkey0311 LawnSite Gold Member
    from MD/NC
    Messages: 3,011

    This year was my first year that I required all services be prepaid. Let me tell you....the headaches of collecting are gone!!! Last year I ran into numerous problems when I billed out at the end of the month. Like the OP, I had customers who just didn't pay. I sent them letters via certified mail saying payment was requested by a specified date, and that I would be filing a police report for theft of services if the invoice wasn't paid, with the possibility of small claims court. My letters were enough to scare them, but it was still a pain in the balls.

    Try your best to collect the money you earned, but try something new for next year.
  7. MR-G

    MR-G LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 479

    pre pay is the only way to go !! we keep credit/debit card on file and run it just before any service is done...if its declined we dont do the service....well worth the cost...no more chasing your money from deadbeats !!! if a client doesnt want to pay that way they can pre pay a month in advance by check or cash....if they dont want to do that then we politely send them elsewhere.....the pre pay method is the way we work....NO EXCEPTIONS....even our commercial clients are required to put up a deposit to start contract....
  8. easy-lift guy

    easy-lift guy LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,372

    Sound advise. I have yet to figure out the reason or reasons why the rest of the country does not have this simple method of billing in order to receive services rendered?
    easy-lift guy
  9. grassmonkey0311

    grassmonkey0311 LawnSite Gold Member
    from MD/NC
    Messages: 3,011

    My biggest fear of changing was losing the clients I worked hard to get. But it got so frustrating I had to change my ways. So when I changed, I lost a few clients. Go figure the clients I lost were the ones who had problems paying me!!
    Posted via Mobile Device
  10. cpllawncare

    cpllawncare LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,659

    I feel ya that's what I had to work through in my mind also, but as the business grows so does the headaches of collecting money. I'm back up to 50 clients now and it seems to be where things just get "Different" for lack of a better word. For some reason 50 is some kind of turning point and it seems to be where you really have to hunker down and make sure you have your ducks in a row or stuff spins out of control really fast.

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