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joemar494
03-05-2012, 10:11 AM
Have a question for a new customer do you guys charge a upfront
Fee for the service or do you charge at the end of the month
And what the norm for a billing cycle

Steve
03-05-2012, 03:03 PM
Whenever you can get paid in advance, it's good for you.

If you can do it, do it.

If not, can you get paid after the cut?

If not then, then at the end of the month send out an invoice?

CHEESE2009
03-05-2012, 03:33 PM
Always charge in advance.

There are two ways you can try to do this;

The client can write you 3 post-dated checks for the entire season.
e.g.;
May-June = $140, deposit on May 1st
Jul-Aug = 140, deposit on Jul 1st
Sep-Oct = $140, deposit on Sep 1st


You never have to chase the client for money
You never have to even see the client
The money is THERE


- or -

You can charge the client the 1st of every month. This means knocking on their doors hoping that they are home to pay you, it's too bad they aren't home and at work instead. You will now have to call each of them individually to organize a time/date in which you can pick up your money, wasting fuel and time.

Most of the clients will 'never' be home, or able to meet you to pay you. Some of them will even say, "I don't have the money now, come back next week" - this means you are now giving away free work. You will either have to tell them, "No, pay me or this is the end" or, "Sure". Either way, you are boned when it comes to the relationship between yourself and the client.

-SO-

Get your money in advance, the faster the better. Post-dated checks are a miracle, and the only reason someone wouldn't want to give you post-dated checks is if they are uncertain about whether or not they can afford you. Meaning, they want to be able to get away without paying you.

Never charge at the end of the month, NEVER! You will open Pandora's box. Meaning you will hear a lot of;

"You never even showed up, I'm not paying you"
"It's not what I expected"
"Do this one more thing, then I'll pay you"

^ FUDGE that CRAP!

mark123
03-05-2012, 04:31 PM
I send out invoices on the last day of the month for services performed in that month. Every once in a while someone skips a payment but it just gets tacked onto their next bill.

I send them a bill, they send me a check. I never see most of my customers face to face. Some don't even live in the same state.

joemar494
03-05-2012, 08:00 PM
Thank guys for your input

Hedgemaster
03-05-2012, 08:12 PM
Last season was my first. I gave people two options: Pre-pay, or pay at time of service. I chose not to do "billing" to keep things simplified until I have a better handle on things.

I have roughly 50 clients (about 50/50 weekly/biweekly) and 3 pre-pay for either 2 weeks or the full month, and the rest either hand me payment when I complete the job, or they tell me where they will leave it for me, and I get it "from under the doormat" every week.

If someone forgets to leave their payment, I contact them and arrange to stop back on a day I'm in their area again, or they just double up the next week.

Note that having them hand it to you is nice, but it can sap you of your valuable time if they happen to be "chatty". ;)

mark123
03-05-2012, 08:20 PM
Yeah, that's part of the reason I bill via mail. It takes too much time to collect at every stop. This year I'm even going to stop going to the bank to deposit every time a check comes in the mail. I've chosen Thursday as my deposit day and will hold all checks until that evening.

Every year I try to improve efficiency.

JP Landscaping
03-05-2012, 09:28 PM
I bill on the 15th of each month and payments are due on the 1st of the following month for my lawn mowing clients. so they get 15 days to pay. most of my clients send a check right away. the rest send it in by the end of the month so I get it by the 1st-3rd.

For my landscaping clients, I ask for a 50% down payment on anything over $1000 and rest due upon completion. On smaller jobs it's due upon completion, which is usually the same day or within 2 days since those jobs don't take but a couple of days to complete.