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  #1  
Old 06-06-2010, 02:15 PM
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Default Pay Me

Alright, so I have 12 customers who have missed the payment due date.

I will discuss problem customers below;

1. Owns two properties & has only paid for one.

2. One has been always late, but owes me quite a large amount of money for more than lawn maintenance. (I will discuss him after)

3. I hate asking for my money from these folks, as they like to nag about having me do free work every single time they see me. They are a friend of my stepfathers, who enjoys saying, "Scott will take care of this/that for you!" WHEN I WONT -$$$$$... My stepfather needs to shut his damn mouth & is the cause of this problem, he's best friends with the client.

4. One of them is a dying old lady... Another customer who is related to her told me she will be the one paying for her, though she only paid for her own lawn. I feel as if this is going to be a big problem, if this client remembers paying for both lawns when she in fact only paid for her own, I have to call her up & tell her.

5. The %$#& of a lady who had the nerve to nag me, remember my previous post? The one who was arguing why I didn't show up when she hadn't even hired me yet.... Well, she's avoiding phone calls again... Go figure... I'm not taking her back now.

6. One of several clients who's other family members are paying for the service I offer... I can get a hold of them, but what they say never happens. "I will send you payment tonight!" ... The night was over days ago.

7. A new snobby customer, the one who asked me about how many clients I have etc... Hasn't paid yet... Bla bla...


Anyway, now into detail;

Customer #2

This client has been late for every single payment from 2009. He doesn't have to pay much, so it adds on to my frustration. Eventually he does pay, 3-4 weeks late, where I end up bugging him for the new months payment.

The problem with him is, before the season began - we had a discussion about customers not paying (he owns a business as well).. He told me how stressful it can be, though he's just as lousy as the customers he's explained.

I did a big job for him which his new total is triple his monthly lawn maintenance price, & he's avoiding payment & brushing me off.

I have billed him 3 times already & got the response, "YES YES!!!!!" In a text message... basically he meant, "F-OFF I heard you the first time" but I'm still missing payment you prick!

I have planted a few evergreens on his property, & I have been wondering how long I should wait before I go & rip them out? The problem is, I have no one to sell them to after.



Last year, I would have flipped out about all these non paying customers. I am happy enough that this year it's is only a fraction.
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  #2  
Old 06-06-2010, 09:18 PM
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Lawn care business tipsLawn Care Business Book
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  #3  
Old 06-07-2010, 03:16 AM
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Scott was is the plan with that letter? Is it going out in the mail to late paying customers?

Do you feel you will send this out every time they are late?

How is this experience effecting your customer payment policy?
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  #4  
Old 06-07-2010, 06:13 AM
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I read this post yesterday and was shocked at the number, I have no idea how many clients you have but to have 12 in default something is very wrong.

On Lawn Care:

We educate all customers on payment, I simply ask is this going to be a problem paying us when the job is done? If they say well I would rather wait to see it, I would like to pay once a month (OK then payment is due in advance) or they show any signs it may be an issue, then I tell them we are probably not the company for you, we are small, we pay our staff well, invested a large sum of capital in high quality equipment and do excellent work, references are available, I tell them straight up having been a banker the one think that puts any small business under is receivables, it's a road we are not going down and honestly do not have to as we have all the work we need.

The evening before a clean up, mowing, spraying an invoice is emailed, they have the option to call with a credit card, be on site to pay us or leave the payment in a generic spot, it's a spot every customer has.

When the staff arrive if payment hasn't been received, it's off to the next job site, I have made a couple of exceptions when they call me but I stick to my guns.

Tree Cutting and chipping:

most jobs are $65.00 an hour for the machine and operator, $35.00 for an employee and chainsaw and $25.00 for each additional staff, payment is due at the end of the day. We do many jobs where we will be there for days or weeks, payment is due every second day, no exceptions.

Excavation and Landscaping:

50% deposit, every night after a days work an email is sent to the customer outlining the cost of the work for the day, the deposit is to offset material costs so the invoice shows material costs and equipment costs, their deposit for the materials is noted leaving only machine cost, payment is due every two days, no exceptions.

Pressure Washing is the same policy as tree cutting and chipping.

We have never had a receivable, I have put a substantial investment into this company, I am not in the free or financing business, if they don't like the terms, no problem as we haven't advertised in months yet receive anywhere from 2 to 8 inquiries a day, it allows me to get the terms I want and need.

I have walked from very few clients, maybe 3 since April of last year and two f them I recall called me back but I said the spot was already full that I could have placed them in, perhaps harsh but this is a business.
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  #5  
Old 06-07-2010, 10:00 PM
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Well I didn't send the letter out yet, kinda needs improvement.

Though I did stop by customer #7 and left yet ANOTHER card demanding payment.

"$XX.00 due for the month of May, $XX due for the month of June - Payment due NOW, please call bla bla bla"

I got her call while I was on the bottle, it went like this;


Customer: I just found your card on my kitchen table. I didn't know I had to pay you for May! You said May was free to try you out to see if we liked you or not.

Scott: I have shared the same words with every single one of my customers, don't think I'd be dumb enough to say my service is free. What I had said was, "For the first cut you hire us for, you can see if you like us & stick with us, or choose someone else - I did not say that it was free"

Customer: I know what you said. I'll give my husband the responsibility of paying you & you can deal with him.

Scott: You know what, consider May's cut on the house & the cut I did for you today, I'm done with you. I deal with people like you every now & then & it's sickening that you'd go out of your way to take money out of our pockets.

Customer: WAIT WAIT! I'm going to pay! You just told me it was free.

Scott: IT'S NOT FREE, there must have been a misunderstanding. I don't offer free lawn maintenance. You have been late to pay me for this month, & you want me to believe that you aren't trying to take me for a ride? I have no time for this.

Customer: I still want your service & I will pay you tomorrow after 5.

Scott: Sorry for the misunderstanding between us, payments are due the first Friday of every month. I will see you tomorrow.

Customer: Alright!



I love expendable customers.

The problem which had happened was... Many of my clients I can trust, I was never strict at all with payments being paid for on the dot. You often have those customers who routinely pay you other ways that don't follow the schedule, fine with me.

Though when a handful of customers start dicking me around, I have to become more strict & demanding. Payments are officially due before the new month(s) begins.

A lot of decent customers who have paid me late but PAID ME, are upset because I have told them their payments are late... They have complained, "you know I'm good for it $$$, why are you nagging me now?"

Basically I'm just reminding them their payments are late, & I get no respect.

Which turns a new leaf. Now that I have grown tired of people pleasing, it's time to be more of a sh%t disturber & get what I came into this business for.

I used to think being a personable person with my customers was what made me succeed this far, but it's not. Maybe to an extent, but other than that a lot of people/customers out there aren't afraid to lay a trap down in order to catch you - I'm going to avoid these traps, no more Mr. nice guy to anyone.

I HATE hearing excuses for people who miss paying, "My son & my daughter are both getting married & I'm selling my house"

WHAT THE HELL DO I CARE? YOU HIRED ME, PAY ME you idiots... Your son is marrying your daughter? like wtf are you telling me this bogus crap for.

I'm getting rid of several headaches this week, & I'll be glad I did.

Every client has their own stupid little story thinking I'm going to just wipe the slate clean & say, "you are right, silly me... why am I charging you!"
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  #6  
Old 06-08-2010, 12:13 AM
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This is more like it, if you can read it... give it a shot! Can you tell I'm serious?


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Old 06-08-2010, 01:40 AM
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Default You have the upper hand

You can be threatening, or you could be like the garbage service we used to use. They had a fantastic way to put it. On their invoice they would put the following. "For payments not made by X date....we will return all your garbage to you promptly." (it was of course humorous, but it got the point across.) Don't be afraid to fire a bad customer. You obviously handled it well on the phone. You could let all your slow/no pays know that you will be putting all their clippings back onto their lawns as of X date if they don't pay. :-)

As far as the old dying lady. You could consider it a service rendered. Goodwill goes a long long way. If it's a quick cut. You may consider doing it for free. You will get 3x the customers, if you knock on the doors left and right and across the street and let them know you are taking care of "mary's lawn".

Good luck.
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Old 06-08-2010, 05:57 AM
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Quote:
For payments not made by X date....we will return all your garbage to you promptly.
I am really glad you brought this up. There was a situation that recently happened that involved a dog waste cleanup service.

Check this out:

"The owner of a pet waste removal service settled a feud with a deadbeat customer by simply returning all the dog poop she had removed from the customer’s property—with interest. Melinda Hofmann, owner of The Bomb Squad dog waste pick-up service tried to collect a long overdue $150 payment from Deborah Dillow last Monday night. When Dillow didn’t answer the door, Hofmann got an idea. “I started to go back and write another note,” Hoffman told reporters. “But I just decided to give her poop back.” Hofmann backed up her work vehicle and dumped the day’s haul—30 gallons of feces—onto Dillow’s front yard. Hofmann said it wasn’t the most adult of decisions, but admitted, “As I was flinging the poo all over her yard, it felt really good, and I just kept doing it.” In fact, Hofmann didn’t stop “flinging the poo” until police arrived. “Very messy,” police Sgt. Dan Ritchie said. “I would imagine it probably took the homeowners quite some time to clean that mess up.” Hofmann was taken away in handcuffs and charged with criminal trespassing, criminal mischief and offensive littering. Dillow said she always intended to pay Hofmann, but is battling cancer and recently had to spend $700 on medication. Despite the outcome, Hofmann seemed unrepentant about her chosen course of action, saying, “Do I have regrets for dumping poop back in her yard cause she’s a slacker client? Nope."

Do a search for that business and you will see more articles on it. We may all think about doing such things at times however, we gotta keep in mind that if we DO it, there are legal repercussions that came make it so not worth it in the end.
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