Lawn Care Forum banner
1 - 13 of 13 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
66 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello. I purchased a lawn care business from an exisiting company in May. I left my full-time job to run this business full-time. We had a lot of up-front costs, equipment, legal entity registration etc. With the purchase, came 72 residential customers. However, the previous owners were college students and did not have contracts with there clients.

We are having a problem getting people to pay in a timely fashion. Some customers have not paid for May or June. We want to have them sign an agreement for receivng our services, but we are not sure how to go about it since we are in the middle of the season.

I would appreciate any suggestions.

Harold MD
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
21,630 Posts
Have you just been going out there, cutting their grass while assuming they still want it done by someone else? :rolleyes:

In my first year, I took over 18 of my best friend's customers and since birds of a feather flock, HIS customers were somewhat like him and since he is my friend, they were also somewhat like me. Still I lost 2 right off the bat: One plain did not want to go with me, the other we could not see eye-to-eye. Expect this in your case as well. Also my best friend and I drove to each customer's house and he introduced me to them individually and walked me through the whatever-you-want-to-call-it procedure one-on-one. This helped build trust.

So advice-wise, I can tell you how to get down and dirty with the collections affair, but I really think a softer approach would work best:
You want to STOP all service of those who have not paid at this time until you get this resolved BUT do not assume the service is over and do not have an attitude, this is only for you to control your debt management. Plan on not getting paid for some but again, no assumptions just chill.
A humble, be nice and be yourself, non-arrogant approach works best -

I think you can chill with the guys who have been paying but as for the rest, I would recommend calling ALL of them. I would ALSO call anyone whom you have NOT serviced (if any) and doing the same.
So then say Hi and tell them your name and Explains to them what is going on / what has happened. Do this for ALL of them and leave a message if they don't answer:
Hi, I am FIRSTNAME who has taken over the lawncare aspects of (name-of-business or the guys) <<optional: and Have been cutting your grass>> ... I am new at this and it crossed my mind some folk may or may not want me to service their yard, so I am calling to see if you would be interested in my continued services. So if you would be so kind as to please call me, my phone number is 888-555-1212 and let me know, I would greatly appreciate this. Thank you, and have a nice day.

That should get you something, do that and then get back here to let us know the results.
Good luck.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,585 Posts
topsites is that you, very nicely done sir..

only thing id ad is when you go , bring your new contract and have them sign..... i now some residetial wont sign a contract, but many might....
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
21,630 Posts
I forgot to include (actually, the cable cut me off):

Ok so then once you are going through these calls, as you reach these folk (who have not paid you) and if any of them say YES of course I want you to continue servicing my yard, then you might ask:
I have you on a x-day schedule, is this ok with you? (work with them, see how they're used to having it done). You need to pretty much follow along at this point, here in July most my yards are on 2-3 weeks, some at 4 weeks while a few remain at 10-12 and 14-18 day schedules - This is normal for summer in virginia (just to give you some idea).
Now if everything is all good and you got the schedule straight and they're all yes-yes and everything is ok-ok green light go, then ask them how they are used to paying for the service and this should get you that resolved, too.

BEST of Luck! :cool2:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
147 Posts
cclc1021 said:
Hello. I purchased a lawn care business from an exisiting company in May. I left my full-time job to run this business full-time. We had a lot of up-front costs, equipment, legal entity registration etc. With the purchase, came 72 residential customers. However, the previous owners were college students and did not have contracts with there clients.

We are having a problem getting people to pay in a timely fashion. Some customers have not paid for May or June. We want to have them sign an agreement for receivng our services, but we are not sure how to go about it since we are in the middle of the season.

I would appreciate any suggestions.

Harold MD
I have my residentials sign contracts, not to bind them to my services, but more to understand that we do have an agreement for me to mow their property for our agreed upon price. I also insert a clause where the customer or myself may cancel service at any time with a two week written notice. Payment due dates are also noted so there is no confusion on when their payment must reach me and what actions will be taken if payments are not received on time.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,893 Posts
I wouldent call at all.. When we take over residentials we just continue service.
Companies change ownership all the time.. It should not have an effect on the client service... If you're a one or two man show I could see however that it would make a difference
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
104 Posts
When I took over my neighbors, he gave me names and #'s of all his accounts and he called them personally and told them that his employee (me) that had been helping him the last 5 years is taking over his business. They all agreed. It is a small town and I know everyone that I will be mowing personally and they know my parents or grandparents so it was not really an issue.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,219 Posts
Wondering if you guys have ever put in a late charge in a contract

If the bill is not paid by X then there will be a 10.00 late fee


Something to that effect !
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
21,630 Posts
Gizmo_019 said:
When I took over my neighbors, he gave me names and #'s of all his accounts and he called them personally and told them that his employee (me) that had been helping him the last 5 years is taking over his business. They all agreed. It is a small town and I know everyone that I will be mowing personally and they know my parents or grandparents so it was not really an issue.
Yes, you did exactly what my friend and I did years ago and we live in a large metro, and everything goes smooth when the customers are informed because at least in the case of v.small business, this is important! In the case of large corporations there is no problem treating customers as numbers, they sell / buy companies all day and they do not care, but in the case of a small business, customers enjoy the personal touch and is one reason they stayed away from the large corporate mess.

So I think we agree: V.small businesses should do some kind of personal handling with the customers, per customer, to ensure a smooth transition.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
21,630 Posts
bohiaa said:
Wondering if you guys have ever put in a late charge in a contract

If the bill is not paid by X then there will be a 10.00 late fee

Something to that effect !
I do all verbal but from time to time I do send a late payment notice with a statement to the effect that if they don't pay soon then there will be a late fee, which sometimes gets them to pay. Still, I've never collected a single late fee because either they pay before the fee, or they never pay.
People think the reason I do nothing further is because I'm not legit, but that is not true. The real reason I do nothing further is because it's all just a big waste of time and I have to throw MORE good money after bad in the hopes of collecting one small grass-cutting fee which ultimately, they still never have to pay anything at all if they really don't want to.
The sad thing is, at least here in Virginia the bottom line is if the customer doesn't pay, there really isn't much you can do that guarantees they will pay, so to speak. Up to about a year ago, you could put a mechanic's / materialman's lien on their house but now even that expires after 180 days, if they don't pay. Sure you can take them to court and then you can file liens and claims and garnishments and seizures but each procedure filed costs you another 40 dollars (they prefer cash) and still they don't HAVE to pay. The only consolation is if you take them to court, it goes on their credit record but to me that's a really small consolation and not worth my time.

So back to the simple rule of No check - No cut: If the previous cut has not been paid for, there is no next cut. One day soon, I'll be able to start doing what another guy has been doing for years: Payment upfront, cash takes priority over check (meaning if someone pays cash, their yard not only gets cut first but with a check, there are no guarantees).

It's a nasty, cruel, sick world.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
274 Posts
bohiaa said:
Wondering if you guys have ever put in a late charge in a contract

If the bill is not paid by X then there will be a 10.00 late fee

Something to that effect !
We charge $5 per day of service if late on monthly billing.

IOW, if we cut 4 times on the monthly billing and it's late, it's $20 extra.
 
1 - 13 of 13 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top