Discussion in 'General Industry Discussions' started by jsslawncare, Aug 20, 2011.

  1. jsslawncare

    jsslawncare LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,673

    I say it every year but, next year when I interview a new customer (yes I feel like I'm interviewing them for them to be my customer) somehow in talking -do you own or are you renting? Why ask this? Because as LCO's we all know this happens from time to time. A great customer moves without telling you. No contact info but a disconnected phone number. So next year this is how renter's will pay.
    1. Cash at time of cut before any equitment is unloaded.
    2. No cash. You weren't there when I showed up for service. You will be cut the next time I'm in your area for 1 1/2 times the amount. I cut the same yard, same time every visit. Except for holidays or rain.
    3. Crappy yard and a renter, Sorry I'm all booked up for the season. Maybe if someone drop's me I can pick you up if you don't have anyone. (no one's going to drop me)
    If I cut and you don't pay, I lose.
    If I decided to not take you own as a customer, I lost out on income but, no out of pocket money. A chance I'm willing to take.:hammerhead:

    These are just my thought's and yes this happened this week. The lady wanted to pay at the end of the month when she got paid. I really didn't have a problem with it. Untill she moved.
  2. Dr.NewEarth

    Dr.NewEarth LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,476

    Some Options: Get post dated checks or start accepting credit cards.

    Then even if they don't want to pay by credit card, you still insist on having their number and contract on file for security.

    Nothing is foolproof though. Occasionally, some-one will find a way to rip us off
  3. I got to where I wouldn't mow for tennants at all. Only the property's owner. If the tennant wanted to pay the bill, that was fine by me.
    The power company don't get ripped off. The propane company don't get ripped off. That's the way they do it.
  4. grincon

    grincon LawnSite Member
    Messages: 246

    Yep. Pay in advance for tenants. Get billed monthly for property owners or managers.
  5. bkruk

    bkruk LawnSite Member
    Messages: 14

    I am still waiting on a payment since the first cut in April. Multiple invoices were sent. The renters moved and I have no way to contact them. But its my own fault for mowing it for months and waiting on them. I allowed the customer to rely on my weekly visits just as anyone else, but now I have about 20 cuts in. And at $45 a pop that's a big hit for me!
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  6. Wayne 55

    Wayne 55 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 108

    Well sounds like you need to send bill to old address anyways to see if it gets forwarded. You got the name of the dead beat customer now just use resources like the police, US mail, property owner, even a lawyer to find out where she moved to. These sort of things happen and sometimes its a pain in the arse to do this extra footwork but the rewards are well worth it if even for a laugh later. Don't just forget this and write it up as a loss go that extra mile and get the money you worked and sweat for.
  7. knox gsl

    knox gsl LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,255

    I've only been stiffed by one person since I started and it was a renter. The most hassle I've ever had is from a landlord so I do my best to screen them both now. I've found that my best customers are middle class home owners like me. They may not get alot of extras but they pay on time and don't expect perfection at a bargan price.
  8. jsslawncare

    jsslawncare LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,673

    Well put, Same for me.
  9. lawnman_scott

    lawnman_scott LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,547

    I charge everyone in advance. But we charge a flat monthly rate here so it is alot easier. I would certainly charge renters in advance.
  10. CutterCutter

    CutterCutter LawnSite Member
    from WV
    Messages: 76

    Payment is a pet peeve of mine whether it's a renter or owner. If you are in this business for several years you are going to get stiffed a few times. Not paying in a timely fashion is the quickest way to get me to drop a customer.

    The key is to wade through a bunch of customers until you develop a group that has proved they can be trusted to pay when billed. That's only possible if you're a small operation and not a LCO that's constantly looking to increase the number of accounts. If you're always adding new customers you're always going to have newer people that aren't proven payers.

    I have a couple accounts that have to get a phone call about what they owe from time to time. Everybody else pays like the Bank of England and has been doing so for a long time.

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