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  • #31
    To answer a previous question, If they didn't send payment I stopped showing up. I would send collection letters and even call them.
    When you would call them, what kinds of responses were you hearing about them not paying? Were there any similar reasons from multiple customers?

    Did any of the phone calls help resolve the issues or not?
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    • #32
      I wish I could say that the letter or phone calls helped, but they didn't really.

      I don't think I got much back from those customer.

      I remember one customer I just went to the house and told them I need the money. They paid...eventually.

      Others, just ignored my calls and letters. I do remember one who called months after the fact, after I started sending nasty collection letters, and tried to say that I mowed over $30 in new flowers (starts) that they just installed. So to try and get some money, I agreed to take $30 off what they owed, and if I remember correctly, they only owed $60.

      It's really frustration trying to collect $30. But even more so when I'm trying to get around $300. $30 doesn't break me, but $300 can keep me afloat.

      It's just easier for me to collect at the beginning of the month now and to make sure I prorate the 2nd month, and not the 1st.

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      • #33
        Do you feel now looking back at this, this was more of a problem created from a billing policy or was this more that these customers were just not the kind of customers you wanted and would have tried this anyway, regardless of your billing policies?
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        • #34
          I think this year I have the eternal solution. New customers and my one tried and untrue customer who pays when they want I will take a credit card number from them. I will put in the contract that after they are late by 15 days the credit card will be hit plus a late/service charge fee of $15. Maybe it will motivate them to pay on time. Any suggestions. This is my first year with cards I signed up for the squareup account. Hopefully It will work and help me out. I always billed at the end of the month. I handed most customers the bill on the 1st and it was my time to connect how are you the family are you happy with us anything extra you want an estimate on that sort of thing....Mr. Niceguy has left. Replaced by Mr. Jobs done pay up!
          Liberty Landscaping LLC
          www.libertylndscpng.com
          Woodbridge, NJ

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          • #35
            @Steve: I think it was a combination of things. I think the billing on my part, being done at the end of the month, was a major factor, as they got behind (in my books) immediately.

            If someone looses their job they can tell me: "Hey, I lost my job, so I have to cancel service". Then I could cancel service only a couple weeks into the month, and they only own me, say, $60. I don't have contracts currently, so someone could cancel at any time.

            But that is another reason to bill ahead. If they cancel, it's all good, cause I have their money already.

            But I also feel that these kind of people cheated me because they could. I have had a customer call me because they think their check bounced (it did not, and I told them that), they decided to send me the payment again, and some extra. They said that it will cover the service, and if the first check never bounced, the extra can be a little bonus to me.

            Now that is an awesome customer right there. So going back, I think that the customers who cheated me was like a crime of opportunity. But they couldn't have if my billing was better. But they did it because they could.

            I do think that some planned to cheat me from the beginning though. As I started service, and waited for a payment that never came. I leave invoice after invoice, and left one message after another.

            Trials and Tribulations, 'eh?

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            • #36
              I recently added a new way for customers to pay us this year from requests from several existing clients. they asked if we use paypal. WE DO NOW. I like having my money now instead of waiting for a check to arrive in the mail or hunting them down for the cash. Just thought I'd share that insight with everyone.

              Paul

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              • #37
                A pertinent question to the topic is how many of you guys run your businesses hand to mouth?
                Last edited by mark123; 04-07-2011, 01:16 PM.
                Boughter's Lawn Care Services Mowing and Fertilizing in New Castle, PA

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                • #38
                  hand to mouth. i'm confused. rephase it please.

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                  • #39
                    Hand to mouth is a phrase which is used to denote living with the help of bare essentials. Living from hand to mouth means having absolutely meagre resources. What the phrase actually means is that, as soon as the resources are coming in, they are getting spent on basic necessities. To live from hand to mouth is to have a precarious existence. It literally means to intake or eat whatever one can lay their hands on. For example, "he was living hand to mouth after he was fired from his workplace.
                    I'm not exactly sure it means in the business sense, but I'm guessing I fall into that category. Unless you're financially secure before starting into the business, I suspect most are. Equipment isn't cheap, and the bills don't stop when there is no work.

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                    • #40
                      how many of you guys run your businesses hand to mouth
                      Are you meaning: "How many of you are taking any and all work you can get?"

                      I'll take work as I can get it. But I just turned down work today because the person asked "are you busy tomorrow (Friday)". My reply was "Yes, I have lawns tomorrow, but I'm in your area on Tuesdays". She said never mind, and said that her husband will just do it.

                      I think they just wanted the yard cleaned up really quick for a weekend think (party, BBQ, etc).

                      Thursday and Friday are, obviously, golden days for home-owners and their lawns, so everyone wants it cut then. I told one customer that I can do his lawn on Mondays, and when it gets busier I can move it to Thursday or Friday, he was understanding and OK with that.

                      Now, if you are asking how many of us are literally working just to eat, then no, I have/make money. I go out with friends, enjoy life, etc. And it's all because of this work. I'm also very thrifty/frugal/cheap...with my own needs, not with my business.

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                      • #41
                        I'm afraid of asking a new contract client to pay for a month in advance when they know nothing about me or my company. But I also don't want to have to try to collect (for the previous months service) from people who have a hard time paying.
                        One time services need to pay at the time the service is completed.
                        I appreciate all the info.
                        i got 2 rental properties 2 months ago and i asked the landlord to pay upfront 3 months and he did so with no fuss, i did the same to one of my new clients which seem a bit shady i asked him for 2 months in advance and he asked why i explained and he agreed both of this clients have no annual contract with me so they can leave when ever they want and i will return the months i do not work for them or they can ask me to work and the payment off.

                        so basically if you do not trust someone i would say charge them upfront 2-3 months and let them know you will bill them at the end of the current month...

                        this makes closer relationships even with the clients that you dont trust.

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                        • #42
                          I would send collection letters and even call them. I was going to take them to court, but the statute of limitation is 75 days, and I just waited too long.

                          .
                          a friend of mine told me i could put a lean on one of my costumers homes from the unpaid balance of a job we did last year i asked around but no one knew if it was true the balance of the job was $650 the client had already paid me 3/4 of the money but did not pay the rest, at first she said she forgot then she said she would mail me the check which never came. This was an extra job she did pay me for my Lawn care services, so anyways i service her neighbor and she knows a lot about laws so she scared her by saying i had already send a letter to the county office to place a lean and with in 5 days the check was in my mail box for the full amount she owed... don't really know if i can put a lean on anyones home but that seem to work

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                          • #43
                            a friend of mine told me i could put a lean on one of my costumers homes from the unpaid balance of a job ...
                            Some states allow this but not mine. Mowing, pruning, snow removal aren't permanent improvements so they don't allow for liens in these cases.

                            "Hand to mouth" means making barely enough to get by with no extra so that if one mishap occurs everything falls apart. It's sort of like saying "living paycheck to paycheck". Both are common English language idioms but I sometimes forget that English isn't everyone's native tongue.
                            Last edited by mark123; 04-08-2011, 06:29 AM.
                            Boughter's Lawn Care Services Mowing and Fertilizing in New Castle, PA

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                            • #44
                              I understand what "hand to mouth" means, but I wasn't sure if he was asking if some of us are just making enough to get by, or if our business is just doing anything it can to get by.

                              In my state you can file a labor lien (commonly called a mechanics lien) if the last day of work was within 75 days.

                              I just happened to wait too long. I was calling, emailing, texting, and sending letters. That's when I found out (from a customer who owned me over $300 and still never paid) that I can put liens on homes. That customer told me because he had sold the home already, nice guy 'eh?

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