Collecting lawn care payments the 2nd year has become a lot more challenging.

Every year you are in business, you are going to learn new lessons. Variables and dynamics will change from year to year and with these changes must come responses. Some changes will be small and simple, while others may require you to rethink your standard operating procedures. Here is a great example from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum on how an entrepreneur needed to change his payment policy to deal with a larger customer base.

One lawn care business owner wrote “time is precious when dealing with customers. With each and every customer I gain, I have less time to spare.

In the second year of business, my company has tripled in size within two months of this new season. I have no interest in watching my company image burn by letting the quality of my service go down. My service must be better than the rest.

With growth comes many new lessons;

  • Payment Due Dates

Last year, my first year of business, I had my customers pay at the end of the month. With this policy, I had minimal problems in receiving payments and if something went wrong, it would not eat into my funds like it would this year.

This year, collecting payments has become a major issue. I have had to change my invoice due dates to the first Friday of every month. The customer is now able to see me maintain their lawn one time before they are required to make their payment on the first Friday of the month. This is as much trust as I am now willing to afford.

Allowing my customers to pay at the end of the month is something I can not risk this year. I’m just looking out for my business which has been abused by 33% of my client base. Since this year started, I have personally had to go out of my way for several deadbeat customers, meaning they didn’t pay for my services and / or expected me to allow them to pay when they felt like it.

It’s never just one customer who says, ‘my late payment isn’t going to sabotage your business’ or ‘you should have continued to maintain my lawn - I would have paid you the following week.’ I hear these excuses every month from not just one, but approx. 33% of my customers! I had to draw a line in the sand and postpone lawn maintenance service for those who haven’t paid on time. Because several of my customers share the same habit, these missed payments really add up and it’s not the ideal situation for me.

I’m no longer interested in chasing around people for their payments. If they decide to miss the payment due date, to me that means they have decided to cancel service. Reminding customers to pay always goes both ways. Many feel offended and hassled when I remind them, while others actually appreciate the reminder.

If a customer is paying with cash or check(s) and is not mailing the payment to me, they are expected to contact me before or on the first Friday of the new month so that I am able to arrange for the payment to be picked up. Once the payment has been received, their lawn care service will continue.

I will not let my business fail. All deadbeat customers will be dropped within the current month so more time can be focused on providing better service to paying customers.”

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