So, should I bust some kneecaps?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by NonStop, Feb 16, 2007.

  1. NonStop

    NonStop LawnSite Member
    Messages: 73

    Ok, I've got my first customer that doesn't seem to want to pay up. It's a fast food restaurant that I re-mulched and hedge trimmed. I did it in NOVEMBER :dizzy: and they still haven't paid up. I re-landscaped the whole place and am definitly their go-to guy when it comes to landscaping. So, I don't want to be too much of a jerk. But I wouldn't mind getting a collections group to get my money.

    On the other hand, the planting is done, so what business am I really going to get from them now? A couple hundred dollars worth of mulching and trimming per year? And thats if they actually PAY me.

    On the other other hand, keeping them as a customer could lead to getting the whole chain in my area or other restuarant chains as well.

    Hmmmmmm.... Advice?
  2. Splicer

    Splicer LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 992

    You are a business...Go collect your money...You know the restaurant wants their money after they serve you food...
  3. Duekster

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

    Typically, I ask about the level of service they received and if they are happy with the job. If they don't have any real issues, then ask for you money politely but firmly.

    If this is a chain of franchises then the check is being cut else where. Maybe the check got coded in wrong. Maybe because it was off contract there is some sort of procedure they have to follow that you did not do.

    These companies get bogus invoices all the time so they often have a procedure which the store manager may not care about.

    I know, it happens to me. I have to learn the procedures. Then after a year or so the person at corporate changes, so I have to do things just a little different for them.

    Use this a reason to meed and greet at corporate and learn their system.
  4. NonStop

    NonStop LawnSite Member
    Messages: 73

    Good advice.

    I've done the 'go in and politely ask for payment' thing about twice per month. I've even given them another copy of the bill so the manager could "fax it up". The manager isn't into giving me the number for corporate for fear that he might get in trouble because he should be handling these things.

    So, I guess hitting them with the full late fee (10% per month) and sending it to ARMs is a bad idea?

    I know some others have gone through this before, let me hear about it...
  5. LawnSharks

    LawnSharks LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 300

    Sending them another invoice reflecting a 10% late fee is okay. They will understand and hopefully pay you. If nothing else it gets their attention and hopefully elevates it to the correct Accounts Payable contact. Happens all the time. They'll understand completely that services rendered in November need to be paid.
    Good luck and never be ashamed of asking your clients for payments.
  6. Tadams

    Tadams LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 787

    Most of the commercial places that I deal with have a net 30 pay system but a few of them have a net 45. This means that they have a 30 or 45 day time period from the time you give them the invoice to the time they pay you. I have heard of some places that have a net 60. Companies want to keep their money as long as they can. If it is a huge company, they are making a lot of money in interest alone -the longer they can keep it in the bank. But, if it was in November when you did the work, I would call your contact person and politely inform them that it has been nearly X amount of time and you were just wondering what their payment schedule is or if there was a mix up with you bill.
  7. gqnine44

    gqnine44 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 502

    What restaurant is it? Is it corporate owned or franchised?
  8. Kate Butler

    Kate Butler LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 640

    Damnstraight he'll be in trouble. This is the age of the internet - if it's any sort of franchise at all their corporate offices can be located online. If you can't find 'em online, your Secretary of State office will have this information - it's all public records.

    Acquire this information, go in person to the manager and tell him you have corporate's information and WILL use it if you are not paid in 72 hours or less. Then FOLLOW THROUGH!!!!
  9. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,497

    What is the restaurant, and maybe someone right here can help you out? I bet I can find out where their corp. office is at...even for your area.
  10. Ford Guy

    Ford Guy LawnSite Member
    Messages: 36

    i've never had to send a collection agency after any customers, but i have threatened it in writing, and they're always paid up within days. i just came from Burger King, and i had to pay for my food before i even got it, so i don't think they should have any issue about paying you for work that was done 3 months ago

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