How many of you request a deposit before you start mowing?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by HighGrass, Feb 20, 2006.

  1. HighGrass

    HighGrass LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Z5 MA
    Messages: 1,237

    How many of you request a deposit before you start mowing?

    I have a guy who lives out of state and last summer, he paid twice. It was the full amount but it was one of those deals where you send a bill one month and then another the following month and he finally go around to paying it. So this year I was thinking about asking for money up fron. Sort of a pay-as-you-go.
  2. PGA

    PGA LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 710

    I dont and in 6 years of being in business Ive been jilted 3 times. I think thats a pretty good record.
  3. nobagger

    nobagger LawnSite Gold Member
    from Pa
    Messages: 3,065

    There are more and more companies doing the per pay thing. I was stiffed only by one customer, three times and she stills owe's me 43.00. She started out ok then she went on a vac. and from the middle of June on it was like pulling teeth. I talked to a friend of mine who owns a very big lawn care service and he says they will only take pre paying customer's. I was going to try this this year but I think I weeded out the PITA's and with this new company we just bought out he swears he has never run into any late paying customer's and they have been with him for several years so I din't think its going to be a problem and I din't want to make a ton of changes with our new customer's.
  4. daveintoledo

    daveintoledo LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,587

    i would think you have cashflow problems, and would look some place else,,,

    but it depends on yur area, lots of people do it here and it works great for them... im my area it wouldnt fly, at all...
  5. MMLawn

    MMLawn LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,569

    I think if you start requesting deposits just for simple mows that you will fastly (is that a word) lose clients. They will think, "what kinda of rinky-dinky outfit is this?" and just call the next lawn monkey whose flyer they have stacked up on the table.
  6. HighGrass

    HighGrass LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Z5 MA
    Messages: 1,237

    I was going to do it to those who were less that speedy in terms of payment.

    Not a lot of lawn monkeys around here...and that goes with the fliers as well.:hammerhead:
  7. palawnman

    palawnman LawnSite Member
    from PA
    Messages: 159

    As much as I would love to do this, I just dont think it would go over well around my area. I think the only ones that will go for it are the ones that already pay on time. I think the ones that pay late, just dont care, and dont want to have to put themselves out there and front you money, knowing that they can just make another call and the next company would be willing to just bill them.

  8. Az Gardener

    Az Gardener LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,899

    Name a single service you can get without putting down a deposit? Any service that is professionally operated electric, phone, gas, you name it they get a deposit. Besides not getting stiffed its a cash flow issue, if you want to offer interest free credit for 45 days I'll take some. As you grow and get more employees it becomes increasingly more expensive to fund such an operation. I have only taken pre pay clients for years. Only lost one account because of it. My avg account is 700.00 per month. Before I even give a bid I let them know through company literature that we operate on a pre pay system. The more professional you operate the easier it is.
  9. Willmow4dough

    Willmow4dough LawnSite Member
    Messages: 56

    This is not a deposit question, This is a business management question. If you are allowing your customers to go an extended period of time without paying for your service then that is exactly what they will do.

    We bill on a monthly cycle for all services that are net 15(due in 15 days). If there ballance falls past 30 days we add a $10.00 late fee and 10% finance fee. Now we dont want the late fee or the finance fee but we have found that you have a better likely hood of getting a phone call explaining why the payment is late. We use this time to tell them that we will wave the late fees as long as they bring there bill current within 7 days and will try not to let this happen again.

    This process works for us maybe someone has a better one but the core of your problem is this deliquent debt.

    Some options to think about is auto draft from his bank ( you should be able to set this up at your bank) or you can have him set you up as an recurring bill at his bank and the problem is solved.

    Good Luck
  10. PGA

    PGA LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 710

    I think some of you are getting mixed up. There is a huge difference between prepaying and a deposit.

    I offer prepay for all my customers. I also give them 5% off if they pay for the entire year and all the work. That includes apps, mowing, fall cleanups, gutters, the whole nine yards. That way they can send me a check in Feb when cash flow is slow and they dont have to worry about anything.

    A deposit is just what it is. A small amount of money to be given as security for an item or service acquired. When that service is completed or the item returned then the deposit is GIVEN BACK or credited towards the balance.

    Prepaying for some customers is convienent while others would rather pay every month.

    But asking someone to put down a deposit for having their grass cut is lame. The only time someone should use a deposit is for landscaping. Then the deposit will go towards equipment and / or supplys.

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