The aftermath of a lawn care season.

There are many problems you can run into through out your mowing season. One problem you want to keep a close eye on is your money. Are your lawn care customers paying you in a timely manner or are you so busy that you don’t have time to stop and review who owes you what. The last thing you want to happen is to find out at the end of the season that a large number of customers still owe you money. If you do find at the end of your season that a lot of your customers still owe you money, you need to think about your processes. You need to think about how much of this is your fault or how much of it is the customer’s? Is it possible the late paying customers are just problem customers and there are others out there that would work better with you? That is the topic brought up in this discussion on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum. Once you find out what the problem is, you need to reflect on what can be done differently to change the outcome for next year?

One lawn care business owner wrote “thank god this seasons almost over with.

…. what a disaster. Here is a look at what I am left to deal with by the numbers.

  • 62% of my clients have made their payments.
  • 56% of my clients have never paid on time.
  • 41% of my clients are worth taking again.
  • 12% of my clients have received warnings.
  • 4% of my clients have been let go.
  • 29% of my equipment broke down and needed repairs throughout the season / weekly.
  • 11% of my total income is what I have left to live on.

I think I might have to start using a mowing contract next year. I had been hesitant this year to use one because I wasn’t sure if anyone would sign it.

Handing out invoices is just frustrating. There is already so much to do, it’s hard to keep at it. All of my clients know when to pay, but they will never pay unless I give them a nudge. Next year I’m going to be more straightforward, more distant when it comes to the relationship of me and a client so I never have an awkward time telling them how unreliable they are.”

A second lawn care business owner said “I have one lawn care customer who has his payment sent each month from his bank automatically and almost every time it is late and I have to call him. Finally last month I told him his bank was very unreliable and he would have to pay using PayPal and the invoice was in his email account waiting for him to pay. I took away his ability to blame the bank this way, but did not make it seem like I was being an ass towards him.”

A third shared “getting paid is a serious matter. I have a habit of dropping clients that don’t pay on time. I had one get irate when I sent a letter of collection two months after payment was due. A commercial client paid 5 months late after I sent a final notice with threats of a lawsuit. Another guy paid over 2 months late and was expecting me to keep coming back when I was never paid the first time.

I know from experience how tough it is to be doing everything you need to do to take care of lawns all day long and then need to keep track of who owes you money. Your first year is a real wake up call. Many new business owners don’t make it through on account of simply not getting paid by enough customers.

No one likes chasing after payments. If your customers are simply driving you nuts with sending in late payments, start the next year off right by billing them in advance each month. If they don’t send you payment, they don’t get service. Simply end of story.

Where else can you get free service or products in advance and then be billed 30 days later? No where. So why do you offer it? You are not a bank lending money, stop trying to act like one.”

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

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