Best way to invoice your lawn care customers.

You might think that invoicing and billing customers would be a priority for most every lawn care business owner. However as we will see from this discussion in the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, this is yet another issue that tends to take time to get figured out by the new entrepreneur. There are many methods you could utilize to invoice your customers but which ones work best?

One lawn care business owner wrote “I just recently started and have a handful of residential mowing accounts. One of them leaves a check in the door and another is my neighbor who lives out of state. How do I bill him? Send the bill email, get some billing invoices at a print shop? Should I send invoices after every job?

I need an efficient way of billing my customers that is convenient for both them and myself. So far it seems each of my customers comes up with their own method to handle paying me. Leaving a check or cash under the doormat, in the grill on the back porch, under flower pot, etc. and this has lead me to be left without payment on many occasions. This pisses me off, frustrates me, makes me wanna quit the business. On top of that I call and remind them I’m coming a day or two beforehand.

Then once I talk to them and let the customer know they forgot to leave payment, which they already know, they want me to come back by to pick it up the next day or whenever. I don’t have the gas or the time to be doing this on a regular basis!

What is the best, fastest, most efficient, and most convenient (for both parties) method for getting payment?”

A second lawn care business owner said “for the customer or customers who’s property you service is 2nd home or vacation home and you will not see them often, you can try to e-mail them once you have serviced their property. Take a picture, date it, and e-mail this too. To me, this would help with good customer relations. Along with this you may want to bring up any issues you may have noticed and ask him if he has any questions or concerns.

I would then send an invoice every month to the customer’s primary address. If you are not super structured with software to do your invoicing , you could make an invoice in excel and that should be sufficient enough. Just attempt to make it look like a professional one.

In my opinion if you do these things it will make the customer feel very important along with reassuring them you are doing a great job with their property.

Pre-billing minimizes your need to chase after late paying customers.

For the other customers you could consider pre-billing them for the upcoming month. Each invoice would include X number of services you have previously agreed to perform per month. IE: you intend to mow, trim, blow 4 times the next month. so you send them an invoice pre billing them for 4 sessions. That way you are already paid for the month before it hits.

I do this and it works great. No more chasing after late payers. If I do not service the property every week for what ever reason, I will note it to their account and adjust the invoice I send them for the next month.

So for example, I will pre-bill my customer for 4 sessions. If I only service them 2 times that month and they have an existing balance of 2 sessions, I would bill them for only 2 sessions the next month. I had a lot of people last year who didn’t pay me on time and I was tired of wasting my time dealing with this. This year things have run smoother.”

Consider dividing and billing your customers in two different groups to improve cash flow.

A third business owner said “you should send your customers regular invoices the same time every month and get them used to receiving the invoice and then paying it.

You also might want to break your customers into two groups. Send one group their invoices in the middle of the month and the other group their invoices at the beginning or the end of the month.

That way you have a steady flow of payments coming in all month long and you don’t have to wait until for another month to get paid.”

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