Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by MOturkey, Dec 17, 2011.

  1. MOturkey

    MOturkey LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,778

    With all the problems associated with our currently lousy economy, I was just curious how those of you who have finished up for the year are doing regarding collections?

    I ended up with $335 on the books. The $35 I know I'll never get. Ninety dollars of the remainder, I think I will eventually collect, and the other $210, is unlikely. I don't like losing any money, but this is better than some years in the past.
  2. Dr.NewEarth

    Dr.NewEarth LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,476

    An average year we might have a problem with one client or manager and it would cost us around a grand in lost income. This year was nuts. My company was burned for $4500.00 from three clients. We've also had less business for the past three years.

    Some of the money owed is from contingency work and a contractually agreed to gas levy that kicked in when and if fuel prices reached $1.30 per liter (Quart) and they hit that the end of February 2011 and have stayed there until two weeks ago.

    Part of the money is late fees. For instance, if the property manager loses an invoice(and they do regularly)'s apparently the landscapers fault, don't you know?

    Most managers will not pay late fees even though it has been agreed to in a contract. I have had them deducted from the invoice and a lesser check is sent many times.
    They are always right and are never the problem.

    The managers always have to come out on top. They are a buffer between the HOA Council and the contractors. Managers will play up to the council so that information is twisted to favor the management company.

    When I am pre-screening estimates on the phone I always ask who their property manager and company is? There are many management companies around Vancouver, that my company and other landscapers will not operate through. YOU HEAR THAT YOU VULTURES! I have found that some companies always play the same games. It's part of their "Company Culture." They may get bonuses for keeping their clients expenses down too.

    It's been frustrating

    Property Managers are regulated by the real estate board. If you complain about bad management, nothing is done about it. It's a problem and our provincial government isn't helping the problem either.

    We can put a lien on the property involved, or go to small claims court, send a collection agency or just write it off as a business loss. It's a reality of doing business unfortunately.

    I dealt with one serious screw up of a manager for three years. The HOA Council wouldn't do any-thing to help out. Finally, I wrote a letter to her Management company.
    My company was fired for complaining.

    We didn't contract to residential for about ten years. You are always chasing them for a small payment. ($100 bucks?) It would cost me more to put a lien on the property than what they owe usually. They have call display or hide behind their curtains when you try to collect... Last year we started accepting major credit cards and the residential customers now have to give us a credit card number, even if they pay by check or cash.

    Signed: waiting on that Power Ball Ticket to pay off!
  3. Jimslawncareservice

    Jimslawncareservice LawnSite Platinum Member
    from mn
    Messages: 4,143

    I got a letter stating that an account has been sold and all asset went to secured crediter. And they are not filing chapter 7 because they wouldn't have enough to pay unsecured crediters after paying its secured crediter. It was along those lines. I could type it word for word when I'm back at home if someone wanted to know exactly what it said. It's 290 something they owe. I have one who owes 30 and another who owes 30 for returned check fee. Other than that I've weeded out the dead beats.
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  4. stickleylawncare

    stickleylawncare LawnSite Member
    Messages: 169

    We end up with just one more two clients each year that drop that try to cheap out on the last month, but its never much. This year a snow bird skipped half a payment. For such small amounts, I don't bother with collections or the headache. I have an expense item in Quickbooks called "deadbeats" to track the ones I doubt will pay up. If it was more than a few hundred bucks from one client, Id probably think more seriously about collections.
  5. GreenI.A.

    GreenI.A. LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,131

    Once I am sure someone will not be paying I continue to send them invoices. At 60 days I send them a letter of intent letting them know that a mechanics lien will be filed in 30 days unless full payment is recieved. I also make it aware that a $350 filing and attorney fee will be attached to the lein. That usually ges them to pay or atleast call to set up a payment plan right away. Yes I even do this to people who owe me $40 dollars, 9 times out of 10 they pay as soon as they get the letter of intent
  6. DA Quality Lawn & YS

    DA Quality Lawn & YS LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 9,192

    Only have one cust who wont likely pay. 5 months late now. 5 late fees. Worst thing is, it is a co-worker of my wife's.
  7. arninglawns

    arninglawns LawnSite Member
    Messages: 68

    We are pre-paid only. No deadbeats, no time spent trying to collect, no work done for free. Best thing I ever did.
  8. JContracting

    JContracting LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,878

    Happened to have one customer that owes $100, multiple invoices and threatened them with a lien and/or sending to collections and still nothing, even talked to.a collection agency, they.said to write it off as bad debt. Im not sure if I can put a lien on a property in MN for mowing, (maybe an MN guy could chime in) but either.way it didn't work. Bastards live in a house that they paid just under $900,00 for too.
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  9. GreenI.A.

    GreenI.A. LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,131

    When I send the letter telling my intentions to file a lien I then explain how a lien works because most people don't understand. I also tell them that a lien often takes 3-4 months to be removed once paid for, and that this could prevent them from selling/refinancing in the future. The lien gets removed right away, but the scare tactics work on most of them
  10. JContracting

    JContracting LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,878

    $900,000. I needed to correct that number for the first statement. But I tried scaring them into it, that was in Sept, still haven't need paid. A friends gf is this persons neighbor, she said they're complete dead beats, lots of alcohol problems with the husband, the kids were running up and down the street, and the woman's supposed sister was always watch the kids yet they (like 5 and 3 yrs old) were running in the street. I think ill be writing it off as bad debt.
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