How long do you wait for your money?

Billing lawn mowing clients and being paid in a timely matter can be a monthly battle if you don’t set up a system that makes sense and is relatively standard across the industry. Too many new landscapers will go out and buy expensive equipment, take their time to perform the work, and then wait and wait and wait some more until they get paid, if they ever get paid at all. In this discussion from the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, we hear from veterans of the industry on how they handle these situations to make sure they get paid for the work they perform.

One lawn care business owner wrote “my focus in last year has changed from a primarily lawncare/landscape service w/secondary services to primarily window washing with landscape/lawn maintenance as secondary. This is due to purchase of an existing company with a large customer base.

Anyway, I am curious in reference to commercial monthly clients, how long you should wait for payment when you operate as ‘due on receipt?’ Next question then is at what point do you send a reminder without appearing desperate or pushy and do you perform the next months service w/out receipt of prior months payment?”

A second lawn care business owner responded “I bill ahead so I never wait for money.

The plumber, the electrician, the doctor, the food store and any store in the mall don’t give me squat until I pay, so why should the landscaper be any different?

In this day and age, if you work all month and then bill after the work is done and sit there like a nice little boy waiting to get paid, then you deserve to wait to get paid.”

A third said “all of my commercial mowing  contracts state ‘Net 30 Days, 2% ad daily there after.’ Residential customers are required to pay up front or at the time of mowing.”

A fourth said “I don’t have a contract for mowing clients to sign yet, so I can’t really ask for X% more for paying late.

My options are pre-pay, or pay at time of service. I generally won’t mow again unless payment is current. I have, on occasion, but only for those who I know are good for it - everyone forgets once in a while.

When you are set up to collect at time of service, you have to accept that sometimes people do forget to leave your money out for you and you’ll have to deal with it the best you can. I’ve found that most of my clients will actually leave me MORE than is due when I come by the next week as an apology for not having my pay out the prior week.

The problem with letting people slide is that after three or four missed payments, they have to reach in the wallet for a sizable lump of cash, and depending on the client’s financial situation, it could prompt them to rethink things…. Hmmm… maybe every OTHER week would be better?

This applies to residential customers as I have no commercial mowing clients.’

One last landscaper said ‘it is common for a commercial account to pay within 30 days of getting the invoice, so in actuality, you can expect to wait 60 days from the first cut. You service them one month, send a bill for that service you just performed, then it should be paid by the end of the next month. Ex. you serviced them the month of May, send an invoice on May 30, that invoice should be paid for by June 30, for the month of May’s services.’

Read more about Lawn Care Business Bidding Tips, Upsells, And Disasters To Avoid. Learn how to improve your bidding process with this lawn care business book and be prepared before hand by knowing what you should be looking out for before a problem occurs.”

If you need help estimating lawn care or snow plowing jobs, get these lawn care and snow plowing estimation calculators.

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