HELP - Should Residential Customers Sign Contract??

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by cclc1021, Jul 14, 2005.

  1. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    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.
  2. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    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.
  3. OMG

    OMG LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 275

    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.

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