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  • #31
    Get out of "business owner" mode. Don't think of money, don't think of how people will screw you over, don't think of anything related to costs or your business.

    After that is all said and done, put yourself in the customers shoes. Afterall, they are the ones who pay your salary. What would you look for in a company? How would you like to be billed? Would you sign a contract with a guy you don't know? Think of what you'd expect from a lawncare company.

    When you have your idea, do that! Tweak it a bit here and there. Last year I billed out at the end of the month. I changed it this year to advance billing from suggestions of guys on here. Your first year won't be perfect, but try out different things and stick with what works the best.

    You can't do what everyone on here suggests. Just like quotes,estimates, etc...we all live in different area's. Everyone here is different.

    You also made no mention of "thinking of using a contract". Your original post was about using a contract for billing a flat rate.

    I understand your trying to learn. We all were at one point. Heck I still am! You and I are actually the same age. But if I told you to jump off a bridge, would you do it?? Think CUSTOMERS FIRST.
    Ok I understand this. This is probably a stupid question, but how do you go about billing in advance?

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    • #32
      Just talk to your customer about the perks of paying ahead of time or paying a lump sum at one time and give them a deal when they do

      Comment


      • #33
        Look at the bigger picture people!!!

        Comment


        • #34
          Get out of "business owner" mode. Don't think of money, don't think of how people will screw you over, don't think of anything related to costs or your business.

          After that is all said and done, put yourself in the customers shoes. Afterall, they are the ones who pay your salary. What would you look for in a company? How would you like to be billed? Would you sign a contract with a guy you don't know? Think of what you'd expect from a lawncare company.

          When you have your idea, do that! Tweak it a bit here and there. Last year I billed out at the end of the month. I changed it this year to advance billing from suggestions of guys on here. Your first year won't be perfect, but try out different things and stick with what works the best.

          You can't do what everyone on here suggests. Just like quotes,estimates, etc...we all live in different area's. Everyone here is different.

          You also made no mention of "thinking of using a contract". Your original post was about using a contract for billing a flat rate.

          I understand your trying to learn. We all were at one point. Heck I still am! You and I are actually the same age. But if I told you to jump off a bridge, would you do it?? Think CUSTOMERS FIRST.
          I think is a great suggestion and I would like to add just one simple thing to this, have a plan your comfortable with. How am I going to run my business, ad new customers, bill etc. Boyscout motto be prepared...

          Clean, Quality Maintenance Services that Exceed Your Expectations.
          Find Us On Facebook: ML Landscaping Poughkeepsie NY
          Chance Favors the Prepared Mind...

          Comment


          • #35
            I think is a great suggestion and I would like to add just one simple thing to this, have a plan your comfortable with. How am I going to run my business, ad new customers, bill etc. Boyscout motto be prepared...
            Having a plan is good enough for me, I'll post a few more questions I'll have on here, and then once I get my equipment and trailer I'll post those pictures, but after that probably won't post that much at all unless its an update here and there or to answer someone's question if I can....

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            • #36
              Contracts aren't really for mowing. I use them in the following manner.

              Customer Josh is paying $200 a month to have his lawn mowed. So he budgets $200 monthly to pay his lawn guy. Totaling about $1600 a year, for cuttings.

              I approach josh and say for $300 a month we can mulch once a year, weed beds monthly, keep hedges trimmed, fertilize, control ants, and mow.

              Josh says I can get that for only $100 more a month? You say "yes" on a 12 month contract. And you use the contracts to protect both you and him.

              Josh knows he can afford $200 a month. Now he has to figure if he can afford $300.

              If customer agrees, you just turned your $1600 a year customer to $3600 a year!

              Contract worth it.. I say hell yes. What about that isn't worth it. I got this exact contract. Same numbers. I spent $250 on mulch and 4 hours on initial clean up and mulch job. Now its just maintaining..... when the weeds get controlled you don't have a problem anymore.

              How anyone says its isn't worth it. Beyond me.

              As far as court goes, apparently people don't fully understand the legal system.

              I take josh to court because he failed to pay. He has breached the contract. He owes me for months we have performed services, plus the breach of contract penalty, which in my case is 50% of remaining contract value.

              If josh doesn't pay this amount. I start keeping track of my time I have spent trying to collect this debt, typing letter, making phone calls. Also keep up with any expenses you have trying to collect, such as sending certified mail, fuel cost and so on.

              I also accumulate late fees on past dues accounts at 19.99% MONTHLY.

              After 30 days of non payment, I send a certified letter stating if not played within 15 days criminal charges will be filed, and a civil suite as well.

              Any cost you have during a civil suite process, can be added into the lawsuit. Even attorneys fees.

              So say josh owes me $300 plus 19.99% interest plus a late fee and the 50% of remaining contract. So he now owes me $2,000.

              Plus my time and cost. My time at my normal rate in course of busjness per hour. So I have 2 hours in it plus the cost of mail and fuel. So that's another $200.

              He owes me $2,200.

              Now there is court fees and all that up front.

              Now I am suing for $2,500.

              I will win. I have a contract and clauses within it to protect me from deadbeats. I suggest any contract you write or get offline, you have an attorney make sure that your contract follows the bylaws of your state. If you have a goofy contract with some off the wall crap in it, the judge will look to you, as the writer of the contract to explain in detail and tell which laws support why that should be upheld.

              I leave no out for a contract customer. Its iron clad. Why? Because someone will let you mulch and do big jibs and then try to cancel. I don't play that round. You sign the line, your in it for the long haul. Like a car note its not beneficial to get out of that contract agreement.

              Comment


              • #37
                Contracts aren't really for mowing. I use them in the following manner.

                Customer Josh is paying $200 a month to have his lawn mowed. So he budgets $200 monthly to pay his lawn guy. Totaling about $1600 a year, for cuttings.

                I approach josh and say for $300 a month we can mulch once a year, weed beds monthly, keep hedges trimmed, fertilize, control ants, and mow.

                Josh says I can get that for only $100 more a month? You say "yes" on a 12 month contract. And you use the contracts to protect both you and him.

                Josh knows he can afford $200 a month. Now he has to figure if he can afford $300.

                If customer agrees, you just turned your $1600 a year customer to $3600 a year!

                Contract worth it.. I say hell yes. What about that isn't worth it. I got this exact contract. Same numbers. I spent $250 on mulch and 4 hours on initial clean up and mulch job. Now its just maintaining..... when the weeds get controlled you don't have a problem anymore.

                How anyone says its isn't worth it. Beyond me.

                As far as court goes, apparently people don't fully understand the legal system.

                I take josh to court because he failed to pay. He has breached the contract. He owes me for months we have performed services, plus the breach of contract penalty, which in my case is 50% of remaining contract value.

                If josh doesn't pay this amount. I start keeping track of my time I have spent trying to collect this debt, typing letter, making phone calls. Also keep up with any expenses you have trying to collect, such as sending certified mail, fuel cost and so on.

                I also accumulate late fees on past dues accounts at 19.99% MONTHLY.

                After 30 days of non payment, I send a certified letter stating if not played within 15 days criminal charges will be filed, and a civil suite as well.

                Any cost you have during a civil suite process, can be added into the lawsuit. Even attorneys fees.

                So say josh owes me $300 plus 19.99% interest plus a late fee and the 50% of remaining contract. So he now owes me $2,000.

                Plus my time and cost. My time at my normal rate in course of busjness per hour. So I have 2 hours in it plus the cost of mail and fuel. So that's another $200.

                He owes me $2,200.

                Now there is court fees and all that up front.

                Now I am suing for $2,500.

                I will win. I have a contract and clauses within it to protect me from deadbeats. I suggest any contract you write or get offline, you have an attorney make sure that your contract follows the bylaws of your state. If you have a goofy contract with some off the wall crap in it, the judge will look to you, as the writer of the contract to explain in detail and tell which laws support why that should be upheld.

                I leave no out for a contract customer. Its iron clad. Why? Because someone will let you mulch and do big jibs and then try to cancel. I don't play that round. You sign the line, your in it for the long haul. Like a car note its not beneficial to get out of that contract agreement.
                Contracts don't guarantee a win in court. I've seen plenty of cases where a contract was enforced and the business still lost out big time.

                Comment


                • #38
                  Ok I understand this. This is probably a stupid question, but how do you go about billing in advance?
                  Heres how I do it:

                  Feb 1 - invoices go out to be paid by feb. 20th, this covers march services
                  March 1 - invoices go out to be paid by march 20th. This covers April services.

                  If customers come in half way into the month, they pay for the rest of the month.

                  I ran into a few customers who were a little ticked I did it this way, but after I explained it, they were fine. I said cell phone carriers do this, and it gives me more time to spend with my customers instead of trying to collect.

                  When I changed policies I lost a few customers....but go figure the only customers I lost were the ones I had to chase for payments.

                  Comment


                  • #39
                    A contract can be enforced and either party could loose. You get a good contract AND uphold your end of the contract. There is no way you could loose your case in said occurance. And being in business is a gamble. There is no guarantee you will ever get paid with a contract, without a contract, or even with a judgement.

                    If your not willing to risk loosing $500 any given day, I would say running a business isn't for you. Your stuff is gonna get stolen, your equipment will get tore up. Its called the cost of doing business and we are all gonna have to live with that.

                    I have almost been stiffed twice for over $600 each time, different clients in my first year of business. I consulted legal advice and found out my options. I handled it and both customers paid me 100% what was owed. Didn't cost me anything but an hour of my time.

                    Comment


                    • #40
                      I'll take that into consideration LawnBoy.

                      Comment


                      • #41
                        Contracts aren't really for mowing. I use them in the following manner.

                        Customer Josh is paying $200 a month to have his lawn mowed. So he budgets $200 monthly to pay his lawn guy. Totaling about $1600 a year, for cuttings.

                        I approach josh and say for $300 a month we can mulch once a year, weed beds monthly, keep hedges trimmed, fertilize, control ants, and mow.

                        Josh says I can get that for only $100 more a month? You say "yes" on a 12 month contract. And you use the contracts to protect both you and him.

                        Josh knows he can afford $200 a month. Now he has to figure if he can afford $300.

                        If customer agrees, you just turned your $1600 a year customer to $3600 a year!

                        Contract worth it.. I say hell yes. What about that isn't worth it. I got this exact contract. Same numbers. I spent $250 on mulch and 4 hours on initial clean up and mulch job. Now its just maintaining..... when the weeds get controlled you don't have a problem anymore.

                        How anyone says its isn't worth it. Beyond me.

                        As far as court goes, apparently people don't fully understand the legal system.

                        I take josh to court because he failed to pay. He has breached the contract. He owes me for months we have performed services, plus the breach of contract penalty, which in my case is 50% of remaining contract value.

                        If josh doesn't pay this amount. I start keeping track of my time I have spent trying to collect this debt, typing letter, making phone calls. Also keep up with any expenses you have trying to collect, such as sending certified mail, fuel cost and so on.

                        I also accumulate late fees on past dues accounts at 19.99% MONTHLY.

                        After 30 days of non payment, I send a certified letter stating if not played within 15 days criminal charges will be filed, and a civil suite as well.

                        Any cost you have during a civil suite process, can be added into the lawsuit. Even attorneys fees.

                        So say josh owes me $300 plus 19.99% interest plus a late fee and the 50% of remaining contract. So he now owes me $2,000.

                        Plus my time and cost. My time at my normal rate in course of busjness per hour. So I have 2 hours in it plus the cost of mail and fuel. So that's another $200.

                        He owes me $2,200.

                        Now there is court fees and all that up front.

                        Now I am suing for $2,500.

                        I will win. I have a contract and clauses within it to protect me from deadbeats. I suggest any contract you write or get offline, you have an attorney make sure that your contract follows the bylaws of your state. If you have a goofy contract with some off the wall crap in it, the judge will look to you, as the writer of the contract to explain in detail and tell which laws support why that should be upheld.

                        I leave no out for a contract customer. Its iron clad. Why? Because someone will let you mulch and do big jibs and then try to cancel. I don't play that round. You sign the line, your in it for the long haul. Like a car note its not beneficial to get out of that contract agreement.

                        Just having little fun and possibly playing devils advocate...
                        What if your client dies in court of a heart attack after the crap storm you've unleashed on him (LOL) and his estate tanks 10 years to settle (Ouch), only to find there is no money left in the estate to pay the debt (Ugh) and what little was left of the client's assets are gone and there's nothing left worth fighting for (Bummer)?

                        I was pretty amused myself till I realized my kids are fighting already and its only 9:30 am on my only day off argh Karma has caught up with me!
                        Last edited by warbuff; 04-07-2013, 07:22 AM.

                        Clean, Quality Maintenance Services that Exceed Your Expectations.
                        Find Us On Facebook: ML Landscaping Poughkeepsie NY
                        Chance Favors the Prepared Mind...

                        Comment


                        • #42
                          Lawn boy,

                          Customers will get upset with you anytime you change anything. There are people out there that hate change.

                          But anytime someone gets upset about your change just explain that you have to make changes to your business to better handle the ways of the world that year, in order for your business to run as smoothly as possible to ensure you can be there next week to care for your customers.

                          Me on the other hand I invoice after services are performed. I keep up with all accounts and bill every customer either at the first or middle of then month. Whichever they choose. I have had nobody stiff me since I started this. The exception is for people who will owe more than $500 at the end of the month, they pay upfront or half the bill every two weeks. Just business practice that I don't carry accounts greater than $500 dollars.

                          Comment


                          • #43
                            I start out the season by sending a letter (feb) to confirm the customer wants the same service as last year..then we get contracts signed (mar)...& I have them all pay by the 5th of every month...I send out a 'reminder of payment due' on the 20th of each month & they are due by the 5th of the next month..LawnBoy & I are similar in that except I do have most sign contracts,but I dont make them,I give them a choice, & I've never had many problems with payment other than being late sometimes & I call & we resolve the issue if possable...very rarely have I had to disscontinue service, but by doing so , usually is good incentive for them to pay!I also have my commercials pay that way too!

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                            • #44
                              Ok this is really confusing the crap out of me. If you don't have a contract, and you'd prefer that a customer pays monthly, even if its during the mowing season and you don't get customers paying everything single month of the year, then how do you get a customer to understand that this is how you bill? I'm getting what people are saying about how they bill their customers and when they bill their customers, but what I'm failing at getting and having someone explain is how do you explain this to a customer and what do you say to the customer to get this type of an agreement in terms of monthly billing?

                              Comment


                              • #45
                                If your just mowing, bill ahead or invoice after whatever fits you. 12 month payments arent for just mowing. But if you have a customer who has beds they don't take care of their self and always bug you with doing something that's when you try to perk their interest in a contract to do all the things and draw payment out over 12 months. Otherwise aren't doing much good for yourself drawing mowing payment out like that.

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