customer pay issue

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by zackvbra, Jul 20, 2013.

  1. zackvbra

    zackvbra LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 553

    this guy owes me 190. last month, he owed me 185 for some of that month and some of the month before. he paid 100 on it. I let it slide that time. well, this month, he wants to do that again. pay 100 on 190.

    im really not wanting to service his property until he gets the balance paid off. because it is over due and I NEED MY MONEY. I got bills to pay just like anyone else. im thinking about telling him this after I get the 100. if it takes 4 or 5 weeks for me to get all of my money, ill do it, but im sure not going to be mowing his yard when he owes me 90 dollars from last month. hes probably going to get pissed and drop me, but I don't care. and Im probably going to start making him pre pay one month at a time. if I don't get no money, no mowing.

    I hate that it comes down to this with him but im in business to make money and if im only getting paid partial, I cant operate like I want to. its 190 dollars and im without it.
  2. hi_speedreed

    hi_speedreed LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 534

    Everyone can forget but some people are chronically late. They don't just pay the lawn guy late, they pay every bill late. Their credit is shot and their paycheck is spoken for before it even gets deposited.

    To these types I tell them failure to make an on time payment will result in suspension of service and for all future service to be prepay. I never get into somebody an amount I can't afford to lose. Sure you could sue in small claims and you would probably win but then what? You can't get blood from a turnip and you would have thrown good money after bad just in court costs.
  3. herler

    herler LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,139

    As a solo I like to take care of customers on a case by case basis and if at all possible, the instant a customer starts to fall behind on payments I also delay their mow schedule by several days between cuts, this sometimes allows some of them the necessary catching up space they need, doesn't work for all but it has saved me a few headaches while allowing me to keep a customer, in some of the cases.
  4. MOturkey

    MOturkey LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,782

    You can't paint all situations with the same brush, but, personally, I've had bad luck with those that tend to make partial payments. If they pay nothing, they may have just forgotten, or had something unexpected come up. Paying something on the balance tells me they are well aware of the situation, but think if they pay a little, they can keep stringing you along so their yard will still be mowed.

    There are exceptions, of course. One of my first mowing customers had some financial problems a couple of years ago, and actually still owed me some money from the previous year when I started mowing in the spring. I just went ahead and kept servicing the property and told them to pay me when they could. Eventually, they got caught up, and now never get behind.

    Either way, it is a judgment call on your part. One thing to remember is that although you are owed the full balance for services rendered, if you don't get all your money in the end, a partial payment will often cover all your expenses, and even allow for some profit. If you don't get paid for a $40 mow, you don't actually lose $40, because technically you can't lose something you never had. It might have actually cost you $10 or less to service the account, so even if you collect $20 on the balance, at least you cover your losses.
  5. pseudosun

    pseudosun LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,739

    Some customers think it's okay. There'a small chance he doesn't realize the importance, but i think it's a power play on his part. The ball is in your court. Get that 100, and lose interest. If he asks why his yard hasn't been cut, say that you were waiting for the balance. You don't have to drop him; make it seem like it's his decision. I'd probably get the 100, and stop showing up, and send a bill for the balance. Explanation isn't necessary; they don't care about your situation. You need to make him realize that he needs you, not the other way around. I don't fight with these types, but i also don't extend credit. If they fall behind, so do I. If the behavior continues, I replace them.
  6. herler

    herler LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,139

    I do agree there is little sense in trying to work with someone who is just going to keep falling further in the hole, it is very important to me their balance fall no further behind and they start getting caught up. In most all cases where poor credit or bad financial decisions are an issue there is little hope, poor people are not poor because they have no money, they are poor because they can't live within their means and seem to have an inability to make wise financial choices so they spend more than they bring in and inevitably once they run out of what they brought in, creditors start to lose out, that is why poor people are poor and giving them money doesn't fix the problem.

    These are the people who might be looking for ways to "make more money," however the focus is on the wrong side of the problem, to fix a financial problem of this nature we have to address the spending, not the earning side. That is why we can't fix the starving children in Africa issue for the same reason, millions of dollars are thrown at the problem every year and yet we make hardly a dent in the starvation numbers, and if millions of dollars can't fix it, neither can $30 because it is being spent in foolish ways.

    Some poor people think those of us who have money should give some to them, but what is wrong with the picture ...
    When poor people drink top of the line name brand blue chip soda such as Coke or Pepsi, I drink water...
    It angers me to think that while I make sacrifices, someone else gets to live it up on my dime.

    I don't mean to ramble but I want to make this much clear, don't fall for the trap of thinking we can help.
    They have to help themselves, and while some can do this, many more apparently can not.
    And those who can not help themselves, unfortunately it has been my experience they apparently can't be helped.

    So with me it's a one chance deal, once a customer falls behind it is time to start getting caught up and I want to see definite, visible progress.

    If that can't be accomplished, it is time to wish them well and best of luck, have a nice day, and head on down the road.
    But give them that one chance, I do.
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2013
  7. Tylerr83

    Tylerr83 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 107

    i get the impression from some customers/former customers that they think its okay to fall behind or be a slow payer because they assume all of our other customers paying us is more than enough to keep bills paid etc...a lot of them don't realize the overhead cost of running this type of business
  8. Caddyshack Lawn Care

    Caddyshack Lawn Care LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 748

    I'm a patient man when it comes to slow pay. I'm not sure I'd be as patient with a partial payment. A long-term customer who you know will pay but has hit hard times...absolutely. A new one...not a chance. That's a bad habit to let start because once you let it start they know they can pay everyone else first and leave you for last.
  9. BckYrdLmbrJk

    BckYrdLmbrJk LawnSite Member
    Messages: 240

  10. ralph02813

    ralph02813 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Male, from Charlestown, RI
    Messages: 1,041

    When you get the partial payment, send him a thank you note and a new Statement, the following week a new invoice and statement, repeat until he is caught up!

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