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How to be payed?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by AndrewLawn, May 26, 2001.

  1. AndrewLawn

    AndrewLawn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 92

    Hey,this year I only have 6 lawns,so when I mow a lawn,I usually collect when I mow.....unless they're not home,in which case I come back thge following day around 6:00 and get my money then.I know each of my clients pretty well,they're all honest people and everything...but next year,when I really plan to see my business grow,not all of my accounts will be in my neighborhood,I may not have quite as much of a personal relationship with my clients,and all of them may not be quite as honest.So,my question is this?How do you collect your money from clients.I'm not sure if I should collect every time I mow,or monthly,and if I do it while they're not home,and do the return the next day at 6:00 thing,I don't wanna have to drive 5 miles to collect from 3 houses.So,do you guys have your clients just send it to you in the mail?and you don't have them pay cash do you.....I mean,what if it got lost in the mail,and also with cash,there's no record that they actually payed you...in other words,whats your policy on how you receive money from your clients?
  2. mowerman90

    mowerman90 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,491

    You need to get yourself an inexpensive, easily learned, accounting program. I've used Medlin Shareware Accounts Recievable since 1995 and have not found a better program. Go to www.medlin.com and downnload their accounts-receivable module and try it for free, then register it if you keep it. I mail out all my statements at the end of the month along with a self-addressed return envelope for my customers to send me their payment. I have 70 accounts and over the last 7 years have "NEVER" had any payment lost in the mail. Maybe I'm just lucky.
  3. Chopper Lover

    Chopper Lover LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 288

    I have some suggestions that my be helpful for your upcoming year. I invite anyone that reads them to add their own personal experiences to help all of us run a better administrative operation.

    Get signed contracts from new customers.
    I assume you are comfortable with your current customers when it comes to payment. Get contracts from them at your discretion. I use contracts primarily as a legal recourse to assure payment. My contracts define what work is to be done, payment arrangements, late penalties, grounds for cancellation, etc. Explain it protects the customer as well as you. If you would like a copy of what I use e-mail me and I will send it to you.

    Establish a Payment Schedule.
    Determine if you can wait until the end of the month for payment, or do you need to be paid each week. I bill my people at the end of the month with payment due on the 10th. I also include a 5 day grace period but charge 5% late fee if not received in my mail box by the 15th. (Of course I look at the post mark on the envelope in case it did get lost in the mail.) I am in the process of getting a "Bill of Sale" register and self addressed envelopes and leave them at the door each time I provide misc. mowing or other service for prompt payment. Companies like www.vikingop.com (item # YO4-146142) or www.nebs.com may be helpful.

    Keep an Up to Date Calendar. (Organizer)
    Everyday I come home and write down what I did that day. I used this to verify I did not miss anything in my files for work I performed and what is charged for each job. I also mark when there is contact with customers about "issues" and any payments that were made and in some cases by whom. (I have 2 yards next to each other where the one customer pays for both and gets reimbursed from his neighbor. Sometimes they take turns and get confused as to who owes who. I keep track so they stay sometimes call me for clarification.)

    That is all I can think of at the moment. I hope what I have posted is helpful to you. Again, I would invite anyone that reads them to add their own personal experiences to help all of us run a better administrative operation.

    Good Luck,
  4. Scott H

    Scott H LawnSite Member
    Messages: 58

    I offer my customers the choice of paying each time cut there lawn or recieving a bill monthly. Most choose monthly and I have never had a problem in two years with no one paying. I also charge a late fee if the bill is not recieved within a set time period. If you dont, people will wait for ever to pay you.
  5. LoneStarLawn

    LoneStarLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,415

    I wouldn't try that medlin stuff...Triesd their free shareware and went to uninstall (their uninstall) it after finding out I didn't like it...it asks

    "Uninstall Medlin Shareware"...{Clicked Yes}

    Then it asks
    "Delete all Medlin Data Files"...{Clicked Yes}

    Then it asks.
    "CANNOT BE UNDONE...Are you sure you want to delete..."{Clicked Yes}

    and guess what it was still there after all that...had to remove it manually...

    Sorry can't trust a program that operates that way.

    Well anyways we use Lawn Monkey and bill every month for the past month's services
  6. Lawn-Scapes

    Lawn-Scapes LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,810

    I use Quickbooks and find it has everything I need. I bill by mail on a bi-monthly (1st & 15th) basis. It keeps the cash flow coming in and keeps the customer from having to pay a larger bill at the end of the month. Bills are marked 'due upon receipt' and everyone usually pays before the next invoice goes out. I don't use contracts for residential customers. Side jobs are billed after completion and also marked 'due upon receipt'.

    Good luck.....
  7. lawnman_scott

    lawnman_scott LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,547

    I bill all of mine monthly. I try to get them to pay 1 month in advance when i start, most do, but some wont. I just use ms works for my billing, made it myself. I like it better than the ones you can buy, but thats probably because i have done it for a while and know what im doing with it. Just try to get 1 month in adv from most of them and you should be ok. My customers all pay by check, if your worried about getting too many checks, you can always go straight to their bank to cash them.
  8. evergreenlawn

    evergreenlawn LawnSite Member
    Messages: 25

    I use Quickbooks and bill monthly. Haven't had a problem in ten years. I have all of my weekly accounts under contract. The bi-weekly ones pay monthly as I mow. Remember 12 month contracts give you a steady year round cashflow.

  9. Avery

    Avery LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,389

    We use Quickbooks Pro for maintenance contracts (billed at end of month) and Land Quote for installs (billed 1/2 deposit, 1/2 upon completion). System works well for us.
  10. mowntrim

    mowntrim LawnSite Member
    Messages: 5

    Quickbooks works well enough for what you need.
    Since you are planning to build your business over the next year you might consider billing some of your clients (for the whole month)between the 1st and the 7th and some between the 15th and 21st. This helps to spread out your accounts receivable and may help even out your cash flow. We did this when we first started and still do. Payroll has never been late with this idea....employees want paid regardless of how much money you have in the bank.
    We bill those on a fixed income (pensions, SSI) between the 15th and 21st since it is easier for them to write all of their monthly checks at once. Funny how those on fixed incomes pay faster than some of our big income professionals do. Anyone else notice this?
    Self addressed envelopes? We've done those since we started and change stamps often. We've gotten many compliments.
    GOOD LUCK!!!!

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