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Was I right???

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by AGG Lawn Maintenance, Mar 27, 2002.

  1. AGG Lawn Maintenance

    AGG Lawn Maintenance LawnSite Senior Member
    from Elberon
    Messages: 422

    I have been in the business for 14 years now. Today a customer of mine called me to find out why we didn't do a clean up. I do her mothers house and several of their real estate properties.
    She thought that we had made a mistake and did one of the properties before hers. She will be having a party on thursday for Passover. The reason we haven't done the clean up is because she was about 3 months behiend. The problem is we send all her bills to her house in New Jersey and she also lives in New York. Aparently since September 11th she had not been receiving her bills they kept coming back to us. I haven't seen her but did ask her mom if I could leave the bill will her to give to her daugter. She said no, mail it to her under her married name. We were mailing it to her under her business last name. When I talked to her daughter she said keep it under her business last name. So to make a long story short she called to get the clean up done and said she would pay for it. I told her we can't do any work until she has paid the current amount owed. She thought it might be a mistake on our part. I than told her to show me all the checks she paid with. She told me that they were in New York and she had no way to get them. She than said I can't believe you would want to lose a customer over this bill. I asked her what she would do if someone owed her money. She said I would send them a bill. We did!!! She was a good paying customer at one time. I called her in New York and in New Jersey to find out what was going on. I also made sure I talked to her in person today and gave her all the bills and statements showing when she paid and didn't pay. I understand that after the Sept. 11th thing that she didn't really come to Jersey but put yourself in my shoes am I wrong???
  2. jaybird24

    jaybird24 LawnSite Senior Member
    from midwest
    Messages: 623

    No your not wrong. She is not the oly person whose circumstances are different since then. It does'nt excuse her from taking care of her business with you. Did'nt she think it was odd that she had not recieved a bill from you in 4 mos. Any good honest customer would have at least called wondering if you had sent it or to make sure the work was done since they had'nt seen a bill or been around to check the properties.
  3. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,872

    No, you are 100% right. Regardless of whether she was able to receive the bill or not it is her obligation to pay it. How would the electric company or credit card company react if they had been skipped for 3 months??? She'd have no electricity and her credit card would be cancelled - permanantly, I guarantee it. And they wouldn't think twice about "losing a customer" over it. Why should you be any different?

    Listen, after years of experience with this kind of crap I have learned you gotta be firm with people. Some people just don't understand they need to pay contractors on time. And they will abuse you if you let them.

    Yes, I'd be willing to lose a customer over this. I don't know about your area but in my area, there are plenty of good people to work for. I don't have to work for late payers or people who have an attitude like this. I ditched all of these such customers 3 years ago, implemented AutoPay for all new lawn care clients, and I maintain a firm policy for payment on one time jobs. We rarely have an accounts receivable problem any more.

    Her attitude should be, "I am very sorry you haven't been paid. How much do I owe you and where can I send it? ......I'll get it out in tomorrow's mail. Then can you come do the clean-up?" Any other response and I'd ditch her.

    But before you say anything rude or tell her you won't do the clean-up, I'd make sure you get payment for the 3 months. If you piss her off before you get payment, she'll never pay. I always keep people in the dark as to how upset I am about their payment history until they have paid me. :)
  4. AGG Lawn Maintenance

    AGG Lawn Maintenance LawnSite Senior Member
    from Elberon
    Messages: 422

    Thaks. I knew she was wrong I guess I needed to hear it from someone else in the business. Thats what makes this site so great. I only lose customers if they move or die. I pride myself on keeping customers year after year. It sucks that it has to be like that but hey I have to eat too.
  5. TJLC

    TJLC LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,308

    I think this goes back to another recent thread about being treated like a professional. Unfortunately, people will stiff the "lawnboy" long before they will lose their phone or electricity.
  6. proline32

    proline32 LawnSite Senior Member
    from 98383
    Messages: 278

    Jim is absolutley correct on this issue.... why should we be treated any different than any other business that grants credit for work performed, we have to pay our bills! This year.... I am informing all new customers that they will be billed twice a month for services or every two weeks, this will improve cash flow, and reduce the chance of a looser customer try to get a months worth of free services and then never pay you.... it's to hard to try and go to court on these issues. I had a customer last year stick me for 3 months worth of work and then just never pay me. really pissed me off because he lied and took me for plenty of money and I tried like hell to collect..... I just wanted to go over to that guys house one night and dump round up all over his yard.
  7. olderthandirt

    olderthandirt LawnSite Platinum Member
    from here
    Messages: 4,899


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