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cleancutlawncare5382
04-11-2010, 09:02 AM
I just started my lawn care business this season. I started mowing yesterday with another today. My question, is it best to send an invoice and bill by the month or try to get paid the day of services?? I donít have contracts with these people yet but trying to encourage routine visits.
Any advice , how are the other one man / local guy operators doing it??

Thanks
Jim

Steve
04-11-2010, 09:46 AM
The best is getting paid in advance. 2nd best, getting paid that day. 3rd best whenever you can after.

Ideally you want your money as fast as possible and you don't want to chase after people. It quickly can become a nightmare when you have to do that.

cleancutlawncare5382
04-11-2010, 02:12 PM
Okay, just finished the job and got a hauling fee also. She had some limbs that needed taken away so we came up with a price to cut the lawn and hauling too.
After the job I we talked about reacurring visits, tried to get her on a schedule and pay in advance with the 5th cut free. No doing - she does want the lawn mowed again by me but only every couple weeks. Is this a normal reaction? Do other companies have trouble getting thier customer to commit?

CHEESE2009
04-11-2010, 08:03 PM
Give your customers their invoice EARLY & say,

"payment is due in 11 days"

I'm sending out my invoices on the 16th of April, they are due the first Friday of May... if they don't pay, I don't go back.

So some customers might pay early, they have the time to do so & if they don't, service is canceled.

kdexpd
04-11-2010, 09:51 PM
I have all my customers that live here in town trained to pay as soon as I load the equipment back on the trailer. The customers that own property here, but live out of state, or the customers that have several rental properties have the option to pay by the end of the month. I have on exception to the rule and that's my church. I service on Saturday so the property looks good on Sunday and then they cut me a check each Tuesday, which is the only day they cut checks. Everyone else is due upon completion. I've only had one customer who moved away and wanted me to keep up the service. He said he'd have the neighbors cut me a check each time and then he'd send them money. Ya, that never happened. The neighbors were never home when I serviced and after two cuttings, I cut him off. I don't tolerate non-payments from customers, especially when I have other accounts that are not getting serviced because I'm wasting my time and fuel for someone who isn't paying. My best advice is to have the customer pay you when you finish. I carry a little invoice (one I picked up from here for free) and when I'm finished, I ring the door bell and hand it to them. Once they write me a check, I write the check number on it for them and mark it paid.

cleancutlawncare5382
04-12-2010, 05:45 AM
Great advice, Thanks guys.

I was going about it all wrong, thinking when you start up a business that mailed invoices were needed.
What about return visits, so far both my clients say they would like me to continue but they will call me. I was trying to get them to commit to a weekly mowing so I could just plan on them every week. Is this normal for the customer to notify me when needed?

Steve
04-12-2010, 09:20 AM
No doing - she does want the lawn mowed again by me but only every couple weeks. Is this a normal reaction? Do other companies have trouble getting thier customer to commit?

There are some customers that will want you to mow only when they want it. These are not your ideal customers, but when you are getting started, you may want them until they can be replaced with weekly customers.

Ideally you want weekly lawn care customers. Some lawn care business owners will charge more per cut if it is not weekly. Say for instance if the customer wants their lawn cut every two weeks, a lawn care business owner may charge them 1.5 X their normal price because it's more work and the grass is higher.

kdexpd
04-13-2010, 01:23 AM
Steve's right on the money here. I charge a fee for vegetation over 10 inches. If the lawn is a $25 account, I charge $10 more because of the added wear and tear on my equipment. If the account is $100, I charge $35. I don't have a set calculation, I just do it by eye...something you'll learn over time. If the customer doesn't agree with it, I explain that my mower cost me $10,000 (usually more than the idiot's car who's arguing with me) and that deck spindles, belts, bearings and bushings for a commercial grade mower are much, much more than a "Wally World Special". Most customers will immediately understand. Those who don't, are more than likely just looking for a cheap cut and aren't worth your time arguing with. Just say thank you for allowing me to bid your lawn and I hope you have a nice day, and move on. Don't ever risk the added wear on your equipment just to get a job like that. You'll be very sorry!

kdexpd
04-13-2010, 01:27 AM
I forgot to mention that a bi-weekly mowing isn't always a bad thing. I have several accounts that are bi-weekly, only because they are either a lawn thats full of junk grass, or one that's shaded too much and has hardly no grass. In this case I work on them to let me fertilize a little so it helps me out by getting the turf growing more, thus eventually squeezing in a weekly cut.