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View Full Version : Dealing with payments?!?!?!


Fresh Cut
10-02-2009, 02:47 AM
How do you guys deal with payments? I seem to have some customers that never leave it when they are scheduled to get yard done. This poses some problems for me.

1. I have to follow up w/ phone calls which = time.

2. I usually have to come back out to get my money at a later date.

I usually always call ahead of time and leave a message if no answer. A couple people didn't get messages until after I have cut lawn and I can understand that, it happens.

What do y'all do? Call at beginning of week? Have them mail checks? What if they don't write checks and pay in cash?

What's the best way to streamline this for my business? I need the money to continue to run my business. I can't wait a week or 2 to be paid, I need the gas money.


I had to drop one lady because I called a day before and left a message saying I would be doing her yard the next day, she didn't get it, I did her yard, no money was there. This wasn't the first time this had happen with her. She left me a message later that day while I was cutting grass that "she told me not to come unless I talk to her. I should hear her voice before coming" etc. and I didn't get paid for that cut until 7 days later. I was pissed. I never called her back and just stopped doing her yard.

I know dropping her without communicating is unprofessional on my part but I don't want customers like her.


Also, I have a few customers that travel a lot and hired me to do their yard because they don't wanna be fined by their HOA. How do I deal with this?
My sister suggested a business PayPal account and just email them a link to pay. I read up on it earlier this morning. What y'all think?

I'm a one man operation most times and I still don't have a business account because I'm really not sure which bank to open it with.

Someone was telling me about Chase offering a credit card machine that's mobile and plugs into cigarette lighter.


TIA

justin_time
10-02-2009, 08:47 AM
I usually go to the same gas station all the time and I make them make me a "tab" so I don't pay until at the end of the month.

I also usually collect my money every 15 days for residential, 30 for commercial accounts. I charge 5% for a late fee if people are late after 15 days of the invoice.

mark123
10-02-2009, 10:49 AM
I bill all of my customers on the last day of the month. Only two of them demand to pay me as I finish each cut the rest all mail me a check. It seems to be the best way to get paid, at least for this area.

Steve
10-02-2009, 04:14 PM
Could you bill the customers in advance? Have them pay at the beginning of the month?

Another idea is could you split up your customer list and bill have of them mid-month and the other half at the end of the month? That could help improve your cash flow.

What's your thoughts on that?

majoe7
10-02-2009, 08:57 PM
I have some clients that pay at the 1 st of the month. I do that as a probational period till I am sure that I can trust the client. I tell them this up front and they understand. All the others pay at the end of the month through an invoice system that mails out on the 1 st. Just like Justin they have a 15 day grace period till they are charged with a 20% late fee. In the years of doing this only 1 client had to pay the late fee.

If a client didn't pay for the service and it was going past the 15 days I would inform the client that service has stopped till payment is received.

John

Steve
10-02-2009, 10:10 PM
I have some clients that pay at the 1 st of the month. I do that as a probational period till I am sure that I can trust the client. I tell them this up front and they understand.

Does this apply to all new customers? If not, how do you determine who will be on the probationary period?

fieroboi
10-03-2009, 12:23 PM
I bill at the beginning of each month for that months service. I give 14 days for them to pay the bill. All but one or two of my clients all pay by check and most of them mail them, but the odd one catches me when I stop.

One thing that has been very helpful for me and my customers has been that about 15% of them have given me post dated checks for about 6 months in advance. This has worked really well for me as I don't have to chase them down or worry about getting paid. I have mentioned this to any client who has commented about it being a pain to mail or catch me when I am there.

For info purposes, 95% of my clients are seniors and they usually don't have trouble catching me when I stop ... course I usually see them everytime I am at their yard and have a short visit, some even spoil me with cookies to bring home. Got to love those ones!

Steve
10-03-2009, 05:19 PM
One thing that has been very helpful for me and my customers has been that about 15% of them have given me post dated checks for about 6 months in advance. This has worked really well for me as I don't have to chase them down or worry about getting paid. I have mentioned this to any client who has commented about it being a pain to mail or catch me when I am there.

That is very interesting. Do you ever offer a discount to those who are willing to give you the post dated checks?

We don't often talk about this payment option, how did you come up with this idea?

VPS Lawn Care
10-04-2009, 09:12 AM
Been awhile since i have had a chance to be on, but any way, I always get paid in advance if it is a cash customer or an annual agreement, one month in advance. then for the hard to get in touch with customer, this no matter what you talk with them when they hire you and find out what day are they home every month that you will be able to meet with them to arrange payment. they all are always home at a certain time of month for sure . Bill monthly getting one month in advance ( Using the gopher software makes it easy) then send out invoicesmonthly one month in advance. even cash customers collect a month in advance, if weekly cuts collect for the month of cuts if bi-weekly, then just collect for 2 cuts, you stay paid, if they dont pay for the next month because you cant get ahold of them dont cut and your not out anything, they will usally call saying my yard has not been cut, your reply, my bill has not been paid, lft several messages and did not hear back.
Well IMO anyway

Fresh Cut
10-04-2009, 12:19 PM
I usually go to the same gas station all the time and I make them make me a "tab" so I don't pay until at the end of the month.

I also usually collect my money every 15 days for residential, 30 for commercial accounts. I charge 5% for a late fee if people are late after 15 days of the invoice.

Collect money how? Go back by all your yards and ring the bell? Call ahead and have them leave payment under the mat or in the grill?

You bill them? Invoices?


Most of my people aren't on contracts. As I'm growing, I'm getting all my new people on contracts, do I need to start billing my customers an invoice? If so, how do I get them to pay on time without causing pressure and jeopardizing the business relationship?

I'm a one man show right now, my time is tight. How do I fit a billing schedule/system into my routine seamlessly? What's the most convenient route?

fieroboi
10-04-2009, 12:50 PM
That is very interesting. Do you ever offer a discount to those who are willing to give you the post dated checks?

We don't often talk about this payment option, how did you come up with this idea?

I have not given a discount for post dated checks. I can not take credit for this payment option as it was one of my clients that asked if she could give me post dates rather than getting bills every month. I thought great ... I like this idea. I find that sometimes the best ideas come from others, which is why I really enjoy this forum. I feel why re-invent the wheel, when it is already out there.

justin_time
10-04-2009, 03:04 PM
Collect money how? Go back by all your yards and ring the bell? Call ahead and have them leave payment under the mat or in the grill?

You bill them? Invoices?


Most of my people aren't on contracts. As I'm growing, I'm getting all my new people on contracts, do I need to start billing my customers an invoice? If so, how do I get them to pay on time without causing pressure and jeopardizing the business relationship?

I'm a one man show right now, my time is tight. How do I fit a billing schedule/system into my routine seamlessly? What's the most convenient route?

I use gopher and send them an invoice. If they don't pay within 15 days they get a late charge and I stop cutting.

majoe7
10-04-2009, 03:20 PM
Does this apply to all new customers? If not, how do you determine who will be on the probationary period?

All new clients are this way. I was burned once and I learned. No one has had an issue with this policy I have set up. I will allow clients to move to the end of the month payment after I have gained their trust. By that I mean they havenít missed a payment or sent in a payment late.

The only down fall is that I have to be on my toes to who pays at the beginning and who pays at the end of the month. My invoice system tracks this for me, so it only takes a second to separate them.

John

Steve
10-04-2009, 06:12 PM
All new clients are this way. I was burned once and I learned. No one has had an issue with this policy I have set up. I will allow clients to move to the end of the month payment after I have gained their trust. By that I mean they havenít missed a payment or sent in a payment late.

Over what kind of period of time do you feel it should take for the average customer to gain your trust if they always pay on time? One month? Two? Or maybe more?

Fresh Cut
10-04-2009, 06:16 PM
All new clients are this way. I was burned once and I learned. No one has had an issue with this policy I have set up. I will allow clients to move to the end of the month payment after I have gained their trust. By that I mean they havenít missed a payment or sent in a payment late.

The only down fall is that I have to be on my toes to who pays at the beginning and who pays at the end of the month. My invoice system tracks this for me, so it only takes a second to separate them.

John

What kind of invoice system do you have?

Fresh Cut
10-04-2009, 06:20 PM
I use gopher and send them an invoice. If they don't pay within 15 days they get a late charge and I stop cutting.

How does Gopher work? How easy is it? Seamless to implement?

Does it email invoices or Print them and you have to fold, envelope, & mail? Or do you just leave bill in person when you cut their yard?

justin_time
10-04-2009, 11:22 PM
How does Gopher work? How easy is it? Seamless to implement?

Does it email invoices or Print them and you have to fold, envelope, & mail? Or do you just leave bill in person when you cut their yard?

It all depends if the customer has an e-mail or not.

If the customer has an e-mail, i have to option to save it as a PDF than I fire up my Microsoft Outlook (where I access my e-mail account) and send the customer his invoice.

If the customer doesn't have e-mail, i just basically print the invoice on perforated paper that I got done 3 inches from the bottom so they can detach the bottom portion and return it to me. Then I fold then invoice in 3 and mail it with a double window envelope.

You can get a free demo of Gopher for 30 days on http://www.gophersoftware.com

If you have anymore questions with Gopher, just ask Steve or post it here, i will try to answer your question