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Slow payers

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by FLC2000, Jun 3, 2014.

  1. Service.com

    Service.com Sponsor
    Messages: 804

    Agree with Agro. We use to do 30 day, then it was 15 day, now its due on receipt. Like you, I get more frustrated year after year with the ones that drag their feet. When they drag their means I have to drag mine and I hate that. Locqus will have a current balance feature in the next month or so to help with this. The live balance will be fed to the managers and you will be able to not cut the slow payers to get their but in action and take their payment on site. Will help my side of things a bit I think. But as for now, I call and call and call to get them to pay.
  2. Service.com

    Service.com Sponsor
    Messages: 804

    ^^ ooo I like that. Definitely something I am trying with a few of mine.
  3. kemco

    kemco LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,116

    AGree 100% In any given week we collect around 60% of payments at time of service with the majority of those we never see the customer or have to wait for them to get a check as they put payment in a predetermined place for us to collect. Most of the other 40% we receive in the mail in a few days to a few weeks (even though our invoice reads that payment is due on receipt). But we used to have a number of customers who would come out after we were done just to tell us that they would be right back with the check... I never understood why they wouldn't just bring the check out the first time rather than have us wait even longer for them to go inside, find their checkbook, write the check and then walk back outside to give it to us.

    At the beginning of this season we nicely explained to those customers (you know the ones) that it cost us about a dollar per minute to run our company whether we are cutting the lawn or waiting in the truck for the customer to go get a payment to bring back out to us... and that we were doing all we can to keep costs down so we would not have to raise our prices anymore than is necessary. And that worked for the most part. We still have 2 customers in particular that still do the "So are you finished? The lawn looks great, let me go inside and find my checkbook..." I think they just want someone to talk to sometimes, and that's fine but the wasted time was adding up.

    Over last winter I had calculated that waiting on payments from customers (those that have to bring payment back out) cost us right around $2000 last year. So now I am happy to put up with a week or two wait for the payments to come in the mail and it just seems that the day runs much smoother. Maybe it's just me but it seems like everything can be going great, knocking out yards quickly for half the day and then one customer takes about 10 minutes of your crew's time having to come out, then go back in to get payment, then come back out again and we loose our "mojo" or groove for some reason for the second half of the day.
  4. AMW Landscaping

    AMW Landscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 630

    They still have to put a stamp on it right? Or is it pre payed?
  5. 32vld

    32vld LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,983

    I have a customer that started out with her son hiring me to do her snow. He lives 45 minutes away and it had become to hard to get to her all the time. I deal with the mom.

    The following May she hired me to mow her 1/4 acre horse corral, no more horses, and that is the only place on her property that has grass. The few times I would do snow she paid well but never would be able to pay me at the time of service. No problem though because I would pass by her house enough that I would not have to go out of my way.

    Though once mowing started it became a pain. So the start of this year I told her so in a nice way that I am too busy to keep running back and that I would bill her monthly.

    It works great.

    Though you have to realize that there are some customers that want that personal connection. I have a nice 80+ lady. She was home most of the time and would always write me a check when service was done. When I put all my customers on monthly billing she was too.

    This connection is why I find the time to chat with her once a month even though there is no longer the need for me to.

    She and another old lady still offer to pay me when I knock on the door now. Though I decline and like that they are being trusted by me. That short visit allows me to say next week I will be putting down fert or point out that that shrub needs trimming. While allows them to have my attention for a bit with some conversation.

    It is always best to not act like you are there just for the money. It makes you more believable when you recommend a service.
  6. grassmonkey0311

    grassmonkey0311 LawnSite Gold Member
    from MD/NC
    Messages: 3,011

    Here is how I handle them:

    June 1st- Invoices go out for JULY service
    June 20th- Invoices are due for JULY service
    June 21st- Reminder is sent its past due
    June 22nd- Service suspended
    June 23rd- Service canceled

    Everything is prepay, and done online. If someone wants to start service back up after its been canceled, there is a $25 reprocessing fee. I won't mow until I've been paid.

    I got tired of dealing with people. Its my rules or find someone else. If they can't afford to pay $50 in 20 days, then I'll be happy to see them go to a competitor who bills "end of month".
  7. TMN Guy

    TMN Guy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 26

    Hello everyone.

    I just started last April and I tried to get customers to pay one cut in advance. I had 2 customers pay that way for the first cut. When I went back for the next cut, they were not home. I cut anyways since I had already been paid. Both customers cancelled after the second cut. I changed the way I handle payments.

    Now, I text customers the day before I cut. If they don't answer, I knock on the door when I first get to their house to make sure someone is home to pay. If no one answers, I check the doormat and then the back screen door. If I do not find the payment, I text them letting them know that I am there to cut. If they answer, they can tell me where to find the payment or reschedule for later. If they don't answer (which hasn't happened yet), I leave a note on the front door and leave. I do not cut without payment and I do not take checks. I do take credit cards, but people do not seem to like me keeping their credit card numbers for automatic billing.

    Btw, I like the way grassmonkey0311 does it. If I could afford a website, I think online billing would be very convenient.
  8. whiffyspark

    whiffyspark LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,497

    You give your customers way too much slack. If they don't answer don't drive to their house

    And damn sure stop trying to collect at their house. Send them a bill once a month. Cash check or credit. If they don't pay cut off until they do
    Posted via Mobile Device
  9. TMN Guy

    TMN Guy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 26

    You're probably right, since you've been at it longer than I have. Maybe if I get burned a few times I'll rethink it. So far, it's worked for me.

    This happened yesterday. I texted a weekly customer and didn't get an answer. So, this morning I drove there first thing and knocked on the door. She answered and I cut the yard. If I hadn't, she may have been upset. I don't want to lose her business. Her yard is small with no obstacles like trees. It's a quick job. If I were culling customers, she would be a keeper.

    As far as checks, I will not take checks, ever. I have owned 2 businesses and I don't have time to call banks chasing down bad checks. I still have bad checks from 20 years ago.
  10. knox gsl

    knox gsl LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,164

    I've been at this for 6 years now and have yet to get a bad check. A few slow pays yes, we're moving into credit card billing and like it so far.
    Posted via Mobile Device

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