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View Full Version : I just at wits end with 2 customers


WLS
10-07-2010, 08:17 AM
I have to people that are always a few days late with there payment and now I haven't been paid at all. They are almost 30 days late I have stopped their service but, not sure what to do now I have made phone call after phone call even stopped at their home to try and get paid. Any advice would be great.

Steve
10-08-2010, 04:02 AM
How do you currently have your billing set up? How do you get the invoices to the customer and when do they get them in comparison to when the work is done?

picframer
10-08-2010, 05:07 AM
I have to people that are always a few days late with there payment and now I haven't been paid at all. They are almost 30 days late I have stopped their service but, not sure what to do now I have made phone call after phone call even stopped at their home to try and get paid. Any advice would be great.

Hindsight is always 20-20 and sometimes we have to take a kick in the butt to learn from it and move on.

I have no idea how much money is involved here, you could consider small claims or a collection agency, I also have no idea what your relationship is with these clients.

I would encourage you in mowing to look at what we did (sold most of our mowing accounts for a host of reasons but we still offer a host of yard care services) we email an invoice the night before, there is either a cheque waiting for the crew or we have a credit card on file, in mowing there were no exceptions, if a crew arrived and a cheque was not left where we asked or the owner was not there with payment, service was not performed.

Receivables will kill any company.

mark123
10-08-2010, 07:32 AM
Hindsight is always 20-20 and sometimes we have to take a kick in the butt to learn from it and move on.

I have no idea how much money is involved here, you could consider small claims or a collection agency, I also have no idea what your relationship is with these clients.

I would encourage you in mowing to look at what we did (sold most of our mowing accounts for a host of reasons but we still offer a host of yard care services) we email an invoice the night before, there is either a cheque waiting for the crew or we have a credit card on file, in mowing there were no exceptions, if a crew arrived and a cheque was not left where we asked or the owner was not there with payment, service was not performed.

Receivables will kill any company.
This is something I don't understand. How is it better to surely make $0 than to have someone owe you money? By not performing the work that is a sure-fire, 100% way to make nothing and even losing a bit on driving there.

picframer
10-08-2010, 07:23 PM
This is something I don't understand. How is it better to surely make $0 than to have someone owe you money? By not performing the work that is a sure-fire, 100% way to make nothing and even losing a bit on driving there.

If you want to chase people that are slow payers, keep going back, waste time trying to collect...more power to you, receivables kill companies big and small, basic accounting and business management.

MountainViewGreenskeeper
10-08-2010, 11:23 PM
If you want to chase people that are slow payers, keep going back, waste time trying to collect...more power to you, receivables kill companies big and small, basic accounting and business management.

I agree. We are set up that if its not in our hands for the second mowing we dont do it. Im prepared to lose 1 mow and thats as far as i'll go with our monthly customers.

WLS
10-09-2010, 05:36 AM
the down side to our area is that almost all lawn care company's bill on a monthly basis. In or to be competitive so do I I bill on the first of the month due on the 15th after the 15th a 1.5% interest is charge per 15 days you are late.

mark123
10-09-2010, 10:33 AM
If you want to chase people that are slow payers, keep going back, waste time trying to collect...more power to you, receivables kill companies big and small, basic accounting and business management.
I don't chase slow payers, I just send them a bill with a balance forward. There is no wasted time collecting. How do you deal with out of town customers? I've never even met some of my customers.

I suppose waiting for money is not an issue for me.

picframer
10-09-2010, 05:47 PM
I don't chase slow payers, I just send them a bill with a balance forward. There is no wasted time collecting. How do you deal with out of town customers? I've never even met some of my customers.

I suppose waiting for money is not an issue for me.

Just a couple of thoughts so take them for what they are worth.

IMHO every business owner should meet every customer, there are a host of reasons, bottom line is tapping their network and when there is an issue you can put a face to the name.

If you send a bill with a balance forward, there is an issue, as a business owner you need to jump on that.

I do not have out of service area customers.

mark123
10-09-2010, 07:46 PM
... IMHO every business owner should meet every customer, there are a host of reasons, bottom line is tapping their network and when there is an issue you can put a face to the name. ...
Generally, I agree, but it's just not feasible in some cases. For example, I maintain an estate property where the parent passed away and the customer lives 600 miles away. Sometimes, I think he appreciates me more than the people that see me every week. I just received a check today for $350, $250 of which was a balance forward.

I'd really like to meet him, he treats me very well and always returns calls.

Of course in another case I got burned by an out of towner but I charged him enough on the initial cut to cover the loss of not getting paid for the next. I dropped him as a customer and haven't heard from him since.

Steve
10-10-2010, 05:53 AM
I have to people that are always a few days late with there payment and now I haven't been paid at all. They are almost 30 days late I have stopped their service but, not sure what to do now I have made phone call after phone call even stopped at their home to try and get paid. Any advice would be great.

There are also a bunch of lawnchat.com blog articles here that deal with debt collection. I think they would be very helpful to you http://lawnchat.com/?cat=105

This is something I don't understand. How is it better to surely make $0 than to have someone owe you money? By not performing the work that is a sure-fire, 100% way to make nothing and even losing a bit on driving there.

This is a great topic. What I think tends to happen is this is a view held until a few too many customers start to burn the business owner by not paying them. At that point, the business owner would be out all that time and money it took to service those properties and try to collect on the debt.

So I think this fall into the category of, work completed isn't money in the bank. Only money in the bank is money in the bank.

Of course in another case I got burned by an out of towner but I charged him enough on the initial cut to cover the loss of not getting paid for the next. I dropped him as a customer and haven't heard from him since.

Has such an experience changed any of your business policies now when dealing with out of town customers or even customers in general?

mark123
10-10-2010, 07:56 AM
... Has such an experience changed any of your business policies now when dealing with out of town customers or even customers in general?No. Most people are good folk. There are very few that don't want to pay for services they order and when you talk to them you sort of get the feeling that they are that sort of person. For example, I returned a call from a potential customer and when I told him my name he said "Oh, are you from the collection agency?" That's a bit of a red flag. I did ask for a prepayment from him so he hired someone else. :D

I do think you should ask for money up front for a first service, just not for established good customers as I feel it treats them as bad customers.

Steve
10-11-2010, 06:19 AM
I do think you should ask for money up front for a first service,

Would this include a customer who contacts you for weekly mowing? Or would this apply to customers that want one time services?

mark123
10-11-2010, 07:32 AM
Would this include a customer who contacts you for weekly mowing? Or would this apply to customers that want one time services?
It would be both but I don't waste time with one time services.

cruzgardening
10-30-2010, 06:23 AM
The Company i use to work with is one of the biggest one in my area i learned that the company will charge interest in the balanced owed only to some costumers while others will get that interest waived. there where costumers that would pay up to 6 months late not because they wanted to but because they where not in the country for half the year and they had no one to pay the service provided to them when they where not here. The company i worked with would charge them 6 months in advance so they would have the money for half the year and the other half the costumer would owe them untill they came back...


now i would def take anyone to small claims if it was worth it if not i would learned what i did wrong and get new costumers good luck man

Steve
10-30-2010, 08:16 PM
The Company i use to work with is one of the biggest one in my area i learned that the company will charge interest in the balanced owed only to some costumers while others will get that interest waived.

How long would they continue to service a property if they hadn't received payment normally? Would they cut service off at a certain point?

Also how did they go about getting customers to pay that stopped paying?

cruzgardening
11-01-2010, 09:25 PM
How long would they continue to service a property if they hadn't received payment normally? Would they cut service off at a certain point?

Also how did they go about getting customers to pay that stopped paying?

if they called the costumer and they had no answer they would stop the service right away but if the costumer explained themselves the company would wait up to 3 months before they stoped the service.

if a costumer didnt pay 3 months and decided not to pay they had a collections agency and they would let the collection agency take care of it.

Steve
11-02-2010, 08:03 PM
What is your view on which is better. Using a collection agency vs going to small claims court and handling it yourself?

cruzgardening
11-03-2010, 06:57 PM
What is your view on which is better. Using a collection agency vs going to small claims court and handling it yourself?

only when it comes down to Contractual debt is when i would take someone to small court and the amount of money has to be more then $500 i figured i would lose more if took someone to small claims court if they owend me less tehn 500 cause i would be loosing days of work wich translates less money for my days and since i get around 150-250 a day so if they owe me double of my days worth of work then its worth it if not i would just let them go with the collections agency, but for my case im so small i would just let it go...

Steve
11-03-2010, 10:27 PM
But ultimately, even as a solo business owner/operator, wouldn't the collection agency still be helpful? Don't you get a percentage of what they collect?

cruzgardening
11-04-2010, 02:58 AM
But ultimately, even as a solo business owner/operator, wouldn't the collection agency still be helpful? Don't you get a percentage of what they collect?

i think you get a percentage of what they collect im not so sure but so far i haven't dealt with a costumer not wanting to pay since im so new to the business :P but from what the other company use to do i think its well worth having a collections agency :)