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Collecting Money Whats your approach?

Discussion in 'Pesticide & Herbicide Application' started by humble1, Jan 31, 2014.

  1. WeedManWeatherford

    WeedManWeatherford LawnSite Member
    Messages: 20

    Late fees are added from the day of service if the account becomes past due. I think it like $2.50 a month just to get their attention if possible. NSF charges are the standard $25.00 a pop. Like I said, A/Rs have not been a big deal for me as most are "trained" that I do indeed get paid for service. It's funny how the one or two customer out of 500 can just piss you off.

    Our software system typically handles all of the "tracking" so the administration is really not excessive. And with the integration of email capability into our system, most statements are sent automatically via email saving on time and postage. And, we are able to track whether or not the email was "opened." This helps when they say they have "not received anything."

    I use APR for collections. As far as I know legally, when an account is placed in collections, I cannot recover late charges so they are removed. I think there are 4 or 5 weekly letters that go out in sequence with each getting progressively more terse. At 90, they will typically go to Tier 2, which of course, is the time when a $53.00 delinquent lawn service bill causes them a few nightmares for credit worthiness. I have been with APR and have been pleased overall with their proactive approach to getting MY money.

    Finally, for those complaining about cc processing fees... Today's consumer needs to have the convenience to pay whichever way he chooses. CC fees are just a cost of doing business in today's world. My grandfather would be lost but it is not a cash society anymore. Although I will accept cash as a last resort, I typically do not want any. I PREFER a customer who pays with credit card. They are the customer who typically is engaged with my service and has set up an account on our online customer portal. The money is automatically in the bank so no bank runs which you know ends up taking more time than you want it to.

    So I rant... Just my 2 cents...
  2. bcg

    bcg LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Tx
    Messages: 1,865

    We do only credit card billing on our customers, billed the day after service. If the card is declined, they get an email, if they don't fix it they get a letter, when it hits 30 days we add a late fee and at 60 days we file a lien on their property, which includes attorney and filing fees. At that point, their $30 service becomes $300, accrues interest and it has to be paid before they can sell the house. We have some liens that are 7+ years old now but we've also had several that have been paid when the house sold and have delayed the closing of a couple of deals into the following month because I wasn't in town to deal with it. Those cases not only cost them the money to get the lien release but also an additional month of taxes, insurance and mortgage interest.

    It requires patience but liens always pay off in the end and often just the letter that it will be filed is enough to get the bill paid. I'm not worried about losing them because once a customer goes 30 days past due without speaking with us to make arrangements, we cancel them and put them on our no future service list anyway. Same thing for cards that are habitually declined, even if they always bring it current if I'm always having to deal with chasing the money I don't need them as a customer.
  3. jbturf

    jbturf LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,502

    Cc fees are about 3% for a typical $100 treatment , the real problem is that if you offer it iy should be to all, and i suspect at least 50% of custmers will elect to use cc, for me tgos would equate to about 4500 in fees for the year, im not willing to part with. I have eneacted a strong late fee policy the last couple years which has actually decreased my lates, and gives me about 300-400/ year in revenue to wash some postage and my billing expenses
    Posted via Mobile Device
  4. Efficiency

    Efficiency LawnSite Bronze Member
    from zone 6
    Messages: 1,755

    Real green makes cc payments 100% automated. Can also set defined credit hold thresholds when software automatically shuts off service for non payment.

    The end of all new sales, we always asks if they want to pay all upfront or with a visa Mastercard or discover after each app. We just gave them 4 options. Just so happens cash or check isn't one of them. If they say none, no worry, just grab another phone line and they will likely go with it.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  5. ted putnam

    ted putnam LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,671

    Wow! You alienate a lot of people by not taking cash or check( I had one customer that paid me over $1,000 cash last year) and it sounds like you do by how you handle the phone calls with these same people.

    It's too bad you aren't in my market. I could make a great living being in direct competition with you.
  6. ted putnam

    ted putnam LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,671

    I'm not trying to be a smartazz. I just love watching and listening to people who think its all about "numbers" and tend to forget about the other things that make a business successful and the customer ends up feeling alienated instead of served because of it.

    That's where I come in...
  7. Efficiency

    Efficiency LawnSite Bronze Member
    from zone 6
    Messages: 1,755

    80% close rate, most on first call. I think that's not bad.

    I see it as a function of knowing who your clients are.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  8. ted putnam

    ted putnam LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,671

    You couldn't be more right! It is a function of knowing who your clients are.
    You know yours and I know mine.

    I too have better than an 80% close rate. The difference is, my customers are soliciting me, not the other way around so that close rate is just a given...for the most part. We really don't have to try to achieve it.

    :drinkup: to you and your operation.
  9. georgialawn88

    georgialawn88 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,075

    he owes you 700 bucks? 25 grand 60 days past due? hows it possible if you have everyones CC on file?
  10. Efficiency

    Efficiency LawnSite Bronze Member
    from zone 6
    Messages: 1,755

    Maintenance is monthly invoices or prepay. We actually have more than 6 figures out now from snow but a lot is current. Apps are cc or prepay only since you're so inquisitive.
    Posted via Mobile Device

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