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Just started out.. how are some of you taking payments?

jetson

LawnSite Senior Member
if you send invoices is there paperwork involved?
Many opportunities online. Venmo, PayPal, cash ap. Or regular old snail mail. All my commercial clients take invoices by email. Then mail a check what seems like 6 years later. An invoice should be available for free. PayPal’s generic one works. But it’s not a lot of paper work. Print. Mail.
 

Freaky Fido

LawnSite Member
Location
Northeast USA
I send all maintenance customers a monthly invoice and return envelope for a check. Some customers I email an invoice but include a hard copy as well. Those who missed the last payment get a statement in addition to the invoice for new services performed.

I'll accept cash as well but I prefer checks. I've never accepted any other form of payment but have considered it. I tell my customers that they can usually use their bank's bill pay which will cut me a paper check.

One-time jobs for customers that I don't have a current relationship get invoiced with a handwritten field invoice. Payment is expected at the time of service. I don't do this type of work anymore now that I have a good customer base that keeps me busy.
 

BigJlittleC

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Chicago
Make sure when using 3rd party apps your following the TOS. Some won't allow business to collect payment with their app.

For example Venmo is strict in how business can use their app.

 

rclawn

LawnSite Silver Member
Location
Kansas City
I’m more of a check type of guy. I can accept cc payment but I pass the cost on to the client. Seeing as we only do landscape type work, the fee is somewhat significant to what it would be on a $40 mow. So most just pay by check. Every now and then someone gives me a hard time about the fee for paying by card and as long as it’s a good job i’ll usually eat it. But for the other 9/10 people they either just pay the fee or pay by check. Explain both options to them upfront and most people seem to understand. After all the fee is on the entire payment- not just the profit.
 

Jon@FuelCred

Sponsor
Location
New York
Cash is king, but the likelihood of seeing the property owner during each one of your visits is low.

The easiest and the most convenient way for you and your clients is some sort of e-invoice system that allows you to send the invoice via email. Yardbook (free), Jobber, QuickBooks, Square, Paypal are all options. You can create custom invoices and some of them let you have a recurring payment option. They all have a processing fee (1% - 3%), but you could pass that fee to the client.

Maybe start with Yardbook as it seems to be a popular free e-invoice system.
 

Youngandfree

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
VA
I use Zoho Invoice and take credit card payments using Stripe through the emailed invoice. A couple close friends write checks, and one or two pay with PayPal.

Life is much easier depending electronic invoice and taking credit card payments.
 

grass man 11

LawnSite Senior Member
Here’s the deal. Cash flow is huge. It’s as important as profitability. Many companies go under having ok profit margins but poor cash flow. So the method you choose will not only effect you now, but into the future. Once you choose a method, it can be hard in the future to change it. So picking a method that allows you to operate today, and many years from now is important. If your wanting growth then you really need to look ahead.

For this reason, I personally would get a really good CRM that allows you to keep an clients credit card on file and auto charge that card at the completion of any service. Don’t even wait 2 days. If you mowed that house today, get your money today. The only thing better is to get paid before the job is done.

Now, why did I bring up the future. Some guys will say just bill them at the end of the month and then check the mail box for a check, enter the check into your Invoice software and then deposit it at the bank. Well when you have 1000 plus clients, that’s not as fast or easy as it sounds. That takes time. So for us, we gladly traded 2.3% of the revenue so that we can auto charge, reduce office work load and have money in our account the next day. This positive cash flow allows us to take advantage of deals that others couldn’t and those deals often outweigh the 2.3%. The saved labor On going to the mail box, entering the data and going to the bank is also cheaper than 2.3%.
 

One-Man Lawn

LawnSite Member
Location
Midwest
I haven't been doing it as long as most, but I use Yardbook.

I send an invoice at the end of the day (sometimes the next day) to all clients that I serviced. Next season I'll switch it to just sending everyone's invoice for the week on Sundays. Some people do monthly, which is good for contracts and keeping your computer-time down, but I like the consistent flow of revenue.

I don't accept cash at all, and I don't accept payment until after the service is completed. This opens the risk of being burned, but it put's a client's mind at ease knowing that they aren't going to be screwed out of money. I haven't been burned yet, but I have had to hound a few people. Usually if I tell them that there will be late fees applied after another day or so, they suddenly either pay the invoice or start responding to communication.

As far as the cash, I intent to grow to a point where I can be in the office or strictly handling landscaping jobs for select clients someday. This is going to prevent cash from changing hands with other employees and "getting lost". I'd rather not take cash now and get the clientele that are good with the way I run business, than have to try to change systems later on.
 
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