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Problems with checks, sign of the times

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by DVS Hardscaper, Nov 25, 2013.

  1. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,601

    This year I have had more problems with my clients checks than before.

    Frankly, I seldom write checks. I do the payroll via check and I have about only 2 vendors whom I write checks to, other than that I pay everything with debit or online.

    I'm finding this to be the same case for my customers.

    I'm finding that people are making mistakes with writing checks to us, as they're not used to writing checks anymore.

    People are not filling out the dollar amounts correctly, I'm not catching it, and the banks are not honoring the amounts as they should be. I believe this year I have had 3 people give me checks not properly written out.

    And last week I had a client write me 2 checks totaling over $8k. They were returned. NSF. This customer, the man is a high profile DC attorney, very nice man, very down to earth, and friends with other high profile names that we hear in the national news. The wife is very nice, personable, and down to earth.

    I got notice from my bank that the checks were not honored. I was furious, but I also had a strong hunch that they made an honest mistake. They were both way to nice to me and went out of their way to chat with me when we were working there. Had they been up to no good - they would have avoided me.

    Sure enough, she said "oh my god I am so sorry and embarrassed, we do everything automatically electronically, I grabbed the wrong check books, we never write checks anymore".

    I'd guess that about 40-45% of our clients paid via credit / debit card this year. Higher number than ever before. It's seeming like accepting checks is becoming more and more of a pain in the arse.

    Anyone else experiencing problems with customers checks as a result from today's times?
  2. TheLugNutZ

    TheLugNutZ LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 410

    I was deciding of I should accept credit cards or not starting off. I think I will..
    Posted via Mobile Device
  3. easy-lift guy

    easy-lift guy LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,372

    Mistakes can and do happen when receiving checks for payment. If your customer sent you a check by mail or gives you one or several in person it is your responsibility to make sure they are at least filled out correctly before depositing them at your bank. The NSF situation can happen for any number of reasons and is still embarrassing. Do you collect after services are rendered or in advance?. If you presently collect after or at the end of the month consider prepay for all of your accounts starting 2014. At least you will have more time for the checks to be inspected before deposit,credited to your account.
    easy-lift guy
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2013
  4. alldayrj

    alldayrj LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,793

    Everyone wanted to use the credit card during hurricane sandy cleanup but i havent gotten one since, strange.
    My only issue with checks so far was $5k that bounced from a house flipper this summer. That got my heart pumping but he met me at 10pm that night with a new check plus $30 to cover the fee.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  5. zedosix

    zedosix LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,665

    Funny you should bring this up, I had a customer make me a cheque last night and when I picked it up this morning it was short by 900 dollars. "Mistake on my part" she said. That's twice this past month its happened.
  6. RSK Property Maintenance

    RSK Property Maintenance LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,504

    no problems here. all my customers that pay by check make no mistakes when writing out the check. i think its just your customers getting careless or in rush idk man, I've deposited 30k in checks in the last few months not a single issue.
  7. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,601

    Typically checks for maintenance work are far less than checks for construction / installation. And the people write checks for maintenance on a regular basis, usually being around the same dollar amount each month.

    The best way to be paid for mowing is to only do credit card payments. No postage needed. No mailing bills. No waiting on checks to come in. Mow the grass on Monday, and debit their card within 48 hrs of service, as per a written agreement with customer authorizing you to process their card. Cards do not bounce. they either go through or they don't, with no additional fees incurred.

  8. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,601

    Yep. People are not used to writing checks anymore. So they make mistakes. In the current year I have written 12 personal checks to this date. It's said that in the near future paper checks will be a thing of the past. Like phone books.
  9. shovelracer

    shovelracer LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,008

    Since we are on the subject, my findings are very similar. Those of you that do large CC charges on a regular basis, do you charge the 3% or pad the price to cover, or discount for other methods, etc. By default I have learned to avoid talking about CC but we do take it a few times a year. I will say it really burns me up when you get that once in a while customer that haggles price for cash, then 5K later whips out the Visa. I guess I should brush up on my CC processing charge rights this winter.
  10. RSK Property Maintenance

    RSK Property Maintenance LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,504

    you are correct, i did do a 2'x50' retaining wall and extend a driveway 3' back with brick pavers 50' and that job totaled 10k. i do a lot of other stuff for quite a few customers with different amounts on a regular basis sometime they write my company name wrong, they write rfk property maintenance, rks property management. i've gotten just plain rsk. i've gotten rsk pm all sorts of variations didn't effect a thing.

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