Speaking of deadbeats

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by mtdman, Oct 27, 2004.

  1. mtdman

    mtdman LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,143

    Rant on...

    In August I had a big crackdown on my customers because so many of them were late in paying. Slapped on a bunch of late fees, reminded them of the payment policy, etc. I had gotten lax in keeping up with the late payers and I allowed people to get away with paying late. The crackdown worked fine in correcting most of the problem, except 1 customer.

    These people are continually 1 month late in paying. Started in July and continued past the reminders I sent out. In Sept I sent 2 letters warning them their account was past due, and they needed to pay the whole balance on time. Didn't happen. So I stopped servicing them. Now that it's been about a month since I last mowed, and the grass at their house is 6 inches long, guess who calls today finally?

    "Just wondering where you've been, haven't seen you out here in a while. Grass is getting long."

    At this point, they only owe me $35 for 1 cut and late fees. So I called him, got his voicemail, and explained that I don't work for free, and I don't work for people who can't pay me on time. And I'm certainly not a credit agency. I told him he needed to pay his balance, and pay for any additional cuts he wants for the remainder of the year ahead of time.

    At this point, though, even if he pays up, even ahead for more cuts, I am out the 1 month of work on his yard I could have had if he had been paying on time. I feel like I'm only getting screwed in this situation no matter what. He gets to keep my money for extra time, and then I get gypped outta the work I missed for that month because he couldn't answer the letters and phone calls I made about him being late. People like this aggrivate me, and I'm not even interested in working for the bum any more.

    I knew this guy would call back once the yard got long enough, which makes me more aggrivated. He can't take the time to pay me on time, until the yard gets outta hand. That's not the kind of customer I want anyway.

    ... Rant off.
  2. Precision

    Precision LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,995


    Rant away.

    But also make the late penalties worth it. Or charge him a clean up fee that is the same as if you had mowed all the way through.

    If it doesn't cost extra to be an idiot client, we will all have more idiots.
  3. mtdman

    mtdman LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,143

    My problem is, I can't make up the $125 I missed out on in regular working fees in late fees, etc. This is what always makes me mad about these tools that play these stupid games. They can't pay on time, I cut them off, then they come back and apologize, can you come back to work? In the meantime, their yard is outta control, and I'm out the money I should have made after I cancelled them. In the end, they win out. And that sucks. All they had to do is pay on time, or even respond to the late notices.

    My policy has always been, screw me once shame on you. Screw me twice, shame on me. I'm not big on letting people get the chance at screwing me twice.

  4. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Messages: 10,178

    i said it a million times, we are NOT LOAN COMPANIES!!! small businesses need cash flow. people who pay late, cost us money. i know what you're saying, you stopped service to stick to your guns, now you're expected to cut the high grass, at the same price of a cut, BECAUSE THE CUSTOMER didn't do what he was supposed to! that's bullsheet! tell him you want to be paid for each week that was missed. that's what i do. i have a zero tolerance policy. you break down every hour, every minute you're working (paperwork, phonecalls, everything), during normal working conditions. you'll see you are probably making less than minimum wage. now, add the extra time, money, and stress of habitual late payers, how much u makin now? 50 cents an hour? AND JUST TO MAKE IT PERFECTLY CLEAR, i blame the veterans in this business for this exsisting problem. THEY paved the way. THEY set a standard.
  5. Mo Green

    Mo Green LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,487

    I totally agree with Bobby. Make them pay for the cuts that you missed, all late fees, and now charge them double for this cut because it will take you twice as long to get the yard back the way you had it.

    In these types of customer/service provider relationships, one of the parties has to be the one in control. Always make sure that party is you.
  6. mtdman

    mtdman LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,143

    There won't be a relationship any more. He called today and said he left a check in the front door for the amount due. He will pay me for any more cuts after I do them. Went and picked up the check, deposited it, and washed my hands clear of the situation.
  7. tinman

    tinman LawnSite Bronze Member
    from ga
    Messages: 1,346

    Best thing you could have done. I'm gonna post a paper with "Things I will not do under any circumstances" at my computer desk and in the truck so I won't be tempted to let idiots get over. #1 is the problem you had with this genius.
  8. tiedeman

    tiedeman LawnSite Fanatic
    from earth
    Messages: 8,745

    I can't believe he said that after all the cr@p you went through
  9. ICE

    ICE LawnSite Member
    Messages: 148

    Myself, I think that I would have called him up and politely said pretty much what bobby had said. Then I would tell him that I would be over to service his lawn, but he would be charged for a double, possibly triple, cut. Add addtional monies to his bill every month to cover his 'tardy' payments and make him pay ahead of time.
    If he does not like the sound of that, then it would be mutual between both of you to walk away. However, if he bites on the idea, then you end up making more money on the same lawn. Maybe some of that money could buy you some ASPRINS! :cool2:
    At any rate, I would be shopping around for a new client, because this one sounds like your typical deadbeat. Good luck!

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