Question about Billing & Collecting

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by zechstoker, Aug 28, 2012.

  1. zechstoker

    zechstoker LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 975

    To start off- here's the scenario I'm currently dealing with:
    I went into the office this morning, and was bringing my boss up to speed with a new start-up (recurring maintenance account) we did on Friday this past week as well as a cleanup we also did that day. His first question was "did you get the checks from the customers?"

    I told him we received payment for the cleanup job since it was a one-time service, but the new start didn't give a payment since he wasn't being billed at that time. Like every other recurring maintenance account we've started, they don't receive a bill from us until after the 1st of the month. It's been like that since day one, so I'm not sure what his deal is.

    Now for my question: For those of you who bill regular customers once a month, do you collect a payment from them when providing the initial service, or is that initial service just part of their first [monthly] bill?
  2. herler

    herler LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,139


    I'm having some trouble swallowing the bit about you bringing your boss "up to speed," he's your boss, if that man wants to do things his way it isn't up to you to figure out how else you can defy his rules, you certainly do not come here to find out how to do besides what your boss just told you to do exist, what you do is what you are told, it doesn't matter why the man wants to do what he wants done, he is the boss so when that man says jump you start jumping, that is your job.
  3. zechstoker

    zechstoker LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 975

    I understand all that. I'm just trying to find out what the "standard" is among other LCO's so that I can see where we stand. As I've discussed with another person here, the company I work for consists of 4 people; the head boss (works in the office and runs a pest route, his son (runs a pest route), my brother (runs a pest route and manages the lawn department), and myself (running lawn route). Our boss has worked nothing but pest control for the past 30 years, and bases the vast majority of his decisions off what he saw Clark do while he was working for them in the past. Since he's not in tune with the lawn care industry, it's up to my brother and I to collect any necessary information prior to a meeting, and present it to our boss during meetings so that he can make the actual decisions. It'd be nice if the man did some research himself, but for whatever reason, he doesn't seem to bother with that. He just leaves that up to us, which obviously creates more problems than it's worth.

    Basically, this is what I'm dealing with: I have a boss who is "green" to the green industry, a brother who has only worked the green industry as a solo operator, and a bunch of scattered references I've come across on here. The whole thing hurts my head while trying to deal with this. I know businesses aren't suppose to operate like this, but the situation is what it is.
  4. zechstoker

    zechstoker LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 975

    To give an example of how "green" my boss is to the green industry, I'll say this:

    When we were first talking about how we needed a 2nd mower, his initial response was "I've got that Craftsman in the backyard you could use. It's a real nice one. It has a bag and everything!"

    When we told him we needed a new backpack blower, he didn't like the prices that the dealers gave us, so he told us "you could check the pawn shops, and see if they have any good blowers".

    I kid you not. That's the man's mindset.
  5. lawnkingforever

    lawnkingforever LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,280

    Payment required for initial service, no exceptions. If I am comfortable with the new client, they then will be billed monthly. If I am not comfortable with the new customer, I will require payment at the time of service or every other time for a period of time determined by me. Although I have very few EOW customers and seldom except anymore to my route, they are required to pay at the time of service, no monthly billing for these types. Also newer customers must pay within my terms or the option of monthly billing ends for them. I have become much more stricter this year in terms of payment collection. I see many guys on here requiring cc #s and prepayments, which are solid policies to have. Mowing the world is top priority for many lcos, getting paid in a timely manner is just as important.
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  6. orangemower

    orangemower LawnSite Silver Member
    from pa
    Messages: 2,768

    All this sounds like, is a way to save money. Maybe you should use the Craftsman mower and check out the pawn shops. You can find good deals at pawn shops.
  7. MOturkey

    MOturkey LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,781

    I'm solo, so I don't have payroll, etc, to worry about, and I will generally mow and bill as usual on new accounts. That said, it generally bites me at least once a season. I have one account this year that owes me for 4 mowings which I doubt I will collect. Last year, a guy got to me for 7, and the year before, just 1 mowing.

    The problem is the lag time between mowing and collecting on new accounts. If they start near the first of the month, you can easily mow a half dozen times before their account is starting to get overdue or you start to get suspicious. I don't know how to totally avoid this, unless one requires payment at time of service for all new accounts, which is a bit impractical over an extended period of time. That said, after this last time of being taken by a "little old lady", I am going to ask for payment at time of service for new accounts in the future, and only put them on monthly billing if and when I feel comfortable with doing so.

    I certainly feel your boss is within his rights to require payment at time of service for all new accounts. It doesn't mean they can't stiff you later, but if a problem arises (customer tries to avoid you, check bounces, etc), you at least can see the red flags before you give them credit.
  8. zechstoker

    zechstoker LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 975

    Thanks for the replies, guys. And sorry for going off on a rant like I did. Just a bit frustrated with a lot of things these days, but I don't really want to get into all that.
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  9. Duekster

    Duekster LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 7,961

    You can not be a mind reader. However the boss wants to run things is his prerogative but if you are expected to execute his plan... then you need to know what it is.
  10. Exact Rototilling

    Exact Rototilling LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,378

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