Customer owes me $250! Won't pay.

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by scag2015, Jul 17, 2014.

  1. OakNut

    OakNut LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,104

    I just took a call from a client apologizing for having forgotten to leave payment for this week's cut. (done yesterday)
    She offered to bring it to me today - she was very concerned.

    LOL! I think I can manage being short $30 until next week - I'll get it then.

    In 5 years I've been shafted exactly two times for a total of $80. ($40 each job and they were both "one-time" jobs)

    I've been transitioning to pre-pay for the month's service over this season and will be collecting that way for the majority next season with some leeway to pay weekly for those who have a hard time paying "one-lump" AND who have been good about paying on time in the past. The few that typically "forget" more than a few times are going on the pre-pay plan.
  2. burnthefurniture

    burnthefurniture LawnSite Member
    Messages: 94

    Unfortunately, some people are professional liars/manipulators. They know what the laws are and it doesn't matter if you have a signed contract or not. If someone intends to screw you, they will.

    We install 50-60 landscape master plans a year that can be as small as a bed of color to as big as pool, outdoor kitchen, hardscape, drainage, etc. Usually we have about 1 or 2 bad apples a year who decide they want to avoid paying their final draw on a project. Bottom line is once they have what they want, they can screw you if you want. You can worry about it, but its best to live and learn. Going to court or other things will more than likely be a bigger headache than whatever the unpaid debt was worth, and they know it. Price of dealing with the public.

    I do not intend to downplay the payment you haven't received, just to say its better to focus on the clients you have, don't lose sleep, and learn from it for the future. Every minute you spend on the person who cheated you is a minute you aren't spending on getting the new potential great client that will make your year.
  3. Greg78

    Greg78 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,010

    Single greatest thing we done as a company was go to prepay. I haven't chased a payment in over 5 years!
  4. tysoid3317

    tysoid3317 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 2

    Really Guys? I read this thread and wonder how you all get away with this. Getting paid while doing the service? Prepaying? You are very lucky in your areas I guess. Never could we get that here, nor could we ever expect payment within a week. Don't get me wrong, we have a few people like that, but basically everything is 30days out.
  5. scag2015

    scag2015 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,179

    Oh yeah! I have no intentions until he pays:)
    Posted via Mobile Device
  6. PicturePerfectLawns

    PicturePerfectLawns LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,845

    You sure people aren't just treating you as they wish because their paying the "lawn guy"? I mean when they go to walmart they pre-pay, right? When they get their hair cut they don't get 30-days to pay, right? :laugh:
  7. 32vld

    32vld LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,983

    This is why I stress with all new customers that they must pay by 10 days of the date on the invoice.

    I do not sweat the ones that come in a week to 10 days late. Except for one customer I have from before I started this most invoices mailed out on the 31st are paid by the 10th and the rest by the 20th. A lot better then having done 2 months mows before you get paid for the first month.

    Those new customers that are late get a past due invoice sent out. Those that are a problem will be dropped quickly. I have not had to do so lately.

    Also good past history will let me sit to the end of the month before I will send out a past due notice. People get sick. I had a 82 old lady go into the hospital with mono this past year. Also people go away on vacations. So they can not respond to mail promptly.
  8. HaluchsLandscapes

    HaluchsLandscapes LawnSite Member
    Messages: 22

    We bill monthly mowing ... our customers are usually pretty good about paying within a week from the mowing bills being sent out.

    But being burned is something that happens. We have a customer that is a lawyer who drives a $90k car and lives in a mansion and won't bay his $4k bill. We did the services.. he's happy.. just doesn't want to pay. Talk about a smack in the face when you have that much money!
  9. TuffTurfLawnCare

    TuffTurfLawnCare LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 667

    I invoice at time of service, with 15 day terms. I have a lawn that gets cut every 3 days in spring. The guy pays with online bill pay via his bank, which sends me a check. It could take 8-10 days to get the check to me. During that time, i could have cut the lawn 3 more times. At $100/cut its a valuable account, but I have a certain level of trust with the guy.

    I don't prepay, or do contracts. I simply have never been screwed by a customer...yet.
  10. BIRCH'S

    BIRCH'S LawnSite Member
    Messages: 55

    I have one with pay terms kind of this way. It usually takes about 10 days for me to get the check. I text him at day 15 this week and no response I text him at day 16 he says " you already know that it takes the bank a few days to get the money to you, you will get your money" I tell him if I don't see the money by weeks end then his service is suspended until all invoices are paid to date. ( one invoice 16 days over and one invoice I dropped this week) I Invoice every other cut on my weeklies).

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