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  #41  
Old 04-07-2013, 08:18 AM
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warbuff warbuff is offline
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Originally Posted by SNethercutt View Post
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!
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Last edited by warbuff; 04-07-2013 at 08:22 AM.
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  #42  
Old 04-07-2013, 09:48 AM
SNethercutt SNethercutt is offline
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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.
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  #43  
Old 04-07-2013, 09:48 AM
kslawn kslawn is offline
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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  
Old 04-08-2013, 06:14 PM
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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?
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  #45  
Old 04-08-2013, 06:41 PM
SNethercutt SNethercutt is offline
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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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  #46  
Old 04-08-2013, 06:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SNethercutt View Post
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.
Thanks for the information, if I decide to go with a contract I "MIGHT" (have to put that in there before "someone" freaks out) consider that, and I am well aware that a contract wouldn't be for just mowing and would include other services, but this still doesn't answer how you are going to explain monthly billing to a customer so they understand your billing method. I get doing your services and billing every month and all that wonderful stuff, but I'm looking deeper into this by figuring out how you explain this......
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  #47  
Old 04-08-2013, 08:38 PM
SNethercutt SNethercutt is offline
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ok I get it.

First you have to figure out if the customer would even concider a contract. do they get alot of services from you... fertilizing, mowing, mulching, weeds and so on. if so continue reading.

when they mention to you, doing something extra, this is a good time to bring up....

this is my pitch line....

Would you concider a yearly contract. What it is, is I basically add up all of the services you would request for the next 12 months, and instead of you paying for mulching at one time and coming a few hundred out of pocket, I am basically financing it out over 12 months so that I still recieve an income during months that are normally down time for me.

We can build a custome package to include things that are custome fit for you, and you are not paying for services you do not want or need.

The benefits of the contract are that your property is always professionaly maintained by us. It keeps you from having to spend your time off in the yard, and gives you more time with your family.

Also, instead of paying our normal hourly rate, you get a discount of $10 per estimated hour for any services performed outside of the contract. You also get a discount on all services being performed in the contract, such as instead of paying $85per yard of mulch installed you will only be paying $75, and the cost is drawn out over 12 months.

all in all you have to make sure your target customer is in the position to need this. If you go to a customer who doesnt need this, there going to sound intrigued until they hear the price then run you off thinking your trying to get over on them. My biggest luck with these contract is business owners. They love these contracts. They dont have time for yard crap, and whats $350 a month to someone who makes damn good money?
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  #48  
Old 04-08-2013, 09:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SNethercutt View Post
ok I get it.

First you have to figure out if the customer would even concider a contract. do they get alot of services from you... fertilizing, mowing, mulching, weeds and so on. if so continue reading.

when they mention to you, doing something extra, this is a good time to bring up....

this is my pitch line....

Would you concider a yearly contract. What it is, is I basically add up all of the services you would request for the next 12 months, and instead of you paying for mulching at one time and coming a few hundred out of pocket, I am basically financing it out over 12 months so that I still recieve an income during months that are normally down time for me.

We can build a custome package to include things that are custome fit for you, and you are not paying for services you do not want or need.

The benefits of the contract are that your property is always professionaly maintained by us. It keeps you from having to spend your time off in the yard, and gives you more time with your family.

Also, instead of paying our normal hourly rate, you get a discount of $10 per estimated hour for any services performed outside of the contract. You also get a discount on all services being performed in the contract, such as instead of paying $85per yard of mulch installed you will only be paying $75, and the cost is drawn out over 12 months.

all in all you have to make sure your target customer is in the position to need this. If you go to a customer who doesnt need this, there going to sound intrigued until they hear the price then run you off thinking your trying to get over on them. My biggest luck with these contract is business owners. They love these contracts. They dont have time for yard crap, and whats $350 a month to someone who makes damn good money?
Ok, forget the contract stuff, I'm not asking about the contract stuff. Let's go about it this way shall we? Maybe you'll see what I'm asking.....


Customer: "Can you mow my grass?"

Business Owner: "Of course I can."

Customer: " How much would you charge me?"

Business Owner: "Well for this size yard it'd be $40.00."

Customer: "And can you explain how you bill?"


Do you see what I'm looking for now?
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  #49  
Old 04-08-2013, 10:31 PM
SNethercutt SNethercutt is offline
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Well how are you planning to bill them?

If its pay in advance, if your a big compaany its easy to say I require payment upfront.... what big business is going to run off with $100.

Small guy, chances are someone isnt giving you $200 up front in good faith your not on drugs and running away with their money.

ut you just tell people how you bill. I tell them "payment for first service is due at time of service after that, we will out on the 1st due by the 15th or bill on the 15th due on the 30th."

bill me on the 15th <**- customer reply.

ok your payment will be due by the 30th of each month.

Then with their first invoice or customer packet you have a nice letter stating the following.

Payments not made on time will incur a late fee of $30 and add another $15 for each week payment is late. If you cat afford your bill at the time its due for whatever reason, let me know a minimum of 7 days before its due, and we will re-evaluate your status as a customer of our company.

Its easy. They have agreed to be your customer. but most people probably wont be handing you money upfront to start out. later down the road existing customers might, but not new customers. its hard to pull of unless your well established.
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  #50  
Old 04-08-2013, 10:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SNethercutt View Post
Well how are you planning to bill them?

If its pay in advance, if your a big compaany its easy to say I require payment upfront.... what big business is going to run off with $100.

Small guy, chances are someone isnt giving you $200 up front in good faith your not on drugs and running away with their money.

ut you just tell people how you bill. I tell them "payment for first service is due at time of service after that, we will out on the 1st due by the 15th or bill on the 15th due on the 30th."

bill me on the 15th <**- customer reply.

ok your payment will be due by the 30th of each month.

Then with their first invoice or customer packet you have a nice letter stating the following.

Payments not made on time will incur a late fee of $30 and add another $15 for each week payment is late. If you cat afford your bill at the time its due for whatever reason, let me know a minimum of 7 days before its due, and we will re-evaluate your status as a customer of our company.

Its easy. They have agreed to be your customer. but most people probably wont be handing you money upfront to start out. later down the road existing customers might, but not new customers. its hard to pull of unless your well established.
Finally we are getting somewhere, that takes care of input from SNethercutt LOL.......LawnBoy where are you, how do you go about doing this?
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