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stansg1fresh
02-08-2013, 05:45 PM
I have a snow customer that is a pain, she wants me to bill mothly for her snow services but the last time she questioned if I did her snow the day I billed for.

Well it amazes me because shes old and always home and the shades were up, it's noon and the snow blowers roaring! So how can she not know I'm there?
I send her a invoice and always include a self addressed stamped return envolope making it very simple.
This is they same person that whats me to cut her lawn twice a month.
I only charge $ 35.00 for snow removal and $35.00 per cut but shes always questioning things like does the lawn need to be cut!

I know shes on her third company for services now because some bigger companys mow or blow just to bill but thats not me.
I work with my customers and shes the only one unhappy.
Maybe she should pre pay for services.
I don't do contracts and only have residential accounts and it's eaiser for me to come home do the invices and mail them out because Elderly people will try to tie you up for hours talking.

So how do you bill for services?

krzys666
02-08-2013, 10:03 PM
my residential customers get billed after each time.
commercial properties are on a contract

Steve
02-11-2013, 12:18 PM
I have a snow customer that is a pain, she wants me to bill mothly for her snow services but the last time she questioned if I did her snow the day I billed for.

How would you ideally like to handle it?

stansg1fresh
02-12-2013, 08:55 AM
I think she may have to go to pre pay services.
This might be the only way she "gets It".

patrick6411
02-13-2013, 07:23 AM
If you have a phone with a camera snap a before and after image. Make sure to snap them at different areas, each time. Then include these images on your invoices that you mail out. I do this and have found that nobody questions if I have been to their property. This also builds a case if you ever have to take civil action against a property owner. This also allows you to photo areas that may need extra care. I have used these images to show customers before and after lawn care to keep them happy. The way you keep up with whose photos these are is keep a folder on your desk top and name them with the address. I keep a folders within the main folder titled with the address on my clients.

Steve
02-13-2013, 02:04 PM
What if you knocked on her door when you are done and have her sign a receipt that you were there?

grass guru
02-19-2013, 07:19 AM
My advice... Fire her. If she is the only one causing a headache, why deal with it? You know its not you, or the service. A lot of old people like to gripe. I had one that wanted mulch, fertilizer, and lawn service, but needed it to be a certain budget. We finally agreed on services, and a monthly budget. (I installed a $500 mulch job for her in spring, and divided it out over 6 monthly payments, along w/weekly lawn service, and 1 fert/lime app). I tell every customer every spring, "I do not know the exact date or time of your service. Days and times may change the first month, as I add other customers, and my routes need to be modified. After 1 month, things should be settled down, and your service will be on the same day every week, or the day before, or day after depending on the weather. " Every customer understands this, and is fine with it. This specific customer had her lawn mowed on Thursdays for the first 2 weeks, then my route had to change, and she was then serviced on Mondays. First, she demanded that I set her sprinklers to only run 1x/week for 10 to 15mins, even though I told her that is not enough water for her lawn. She then demanded I cut her lawn at 1", which is the height her neighbor cuts his. I told her this was unhealthy for lawn since she is watering it so little, and cutting it that low will damage/dull my blades, and I will not cut it that short. She told me thats what her last lawn service said. Next, she demanded that I cut her lawn on Friday. Told her I was not in area, and it wasnt possible., so she said she will have to find someone who will cut it on Fridays (turned out best) She found a new service, and paid him his money, but still owes me over $250, and counting. Late fees add up quick. She sends me $50 every once in a while,but my point is, she wants, wants, wants, wants, and when its time to pay, she doesnt, doesnt, doesnt, doesnt, or cant. If a customer starts to become demanding, I will cut them off. Its not worth the hassle.

Also, its not worth it to knock on the door before you start service. They will talk forever, and ask for additional services "as a favor", or complain about your last visit.
As far as pics for each property, each time you service it? Are you a lawn service company, or a photography company? I might take a photo of problem areas in lawns for a before and after, or to verify a fungus, disease, or nutrition problem w/local extension office, but if a customer cant tell i mowed their lawn by the different direction of stripes, or the smell of fresh cut lawn, and they question it, its time to say goodbye. I dont have time, or energy to deal with it, or try to prove I was there. I tell customers i dont have time to play games. I will be there on my scheduled day to mow, and if the lawn needs mowed, I mow it, and invoice it. If it doesnt need mowed, I dont mow it. If you think it doesnt need mowed, and you can either text or email me, I would appreciate it. Otherwise, if I continuoisly drive to hour property, and it doesnt need to be mowed, I will have to charge a minor maintenance fee to recoupe some of my expenses. I have yet to have a customer complain about that. If I end up charging the maintenance fee, its usually only $5 or so just to pay for gas etc.

LawnBoy0311
02-19-2013, 08:56 AM
I think prepay is a good idea. But the best idea is to get rid of her. Not worth the headache or complaints. Fill her slot with someone who is willing to pay for services and who doesn't complain. I don't know how much time you spend dealing with her "problems", but you may even be able to fill her slot with 2 new customers!

I Cut Grass LLC
02-19-2013, 10:54 AM
Unfortunately this is going to be the case for a lot of home owners- it's not limited to senior citizens. Customers will ask about billing/services even after they already asked you. Best thing you can do is to keep detailed notes on the visits for those customers who are high maintenance like that. Also, you may want to create a ticket system, something basic that you can put in his/her mailbox each time you come by. If necessary, you can take a photo too and email it to them when you are done- this is easy if you have a smart phone. Some customers might not be keen to email though. Monthly invoicing is common and the more serious you are and the more your business grows you'll find it's better. Unfortunatley you dont get your money as quickly this way but it also opens your time so you dont have to deal with recording money transactions as frequently. For those customers who are high maintenance it's best to have a written work agreement between you both. This is especially true for older clients- what would you do if he/she died and had a balance they owed? These are just some ideas but I am very familiar with what you are going through as I always have a handful of these clients each year. One more thing to think of /consider. As you probably know, when you are serivicing a specific property you are also advertising for your business b/c neighbors and passersby will see your quality of work and how you and your staff carry yourselves. Where the other/previous service providers failed you can succeed. Hope this perspective helps.