I have two customers who needed cleaning done and would not be available at the end of the job, so just bill it to them. What could go wrong?! One went out bulk mail…5-10 days at the post office!! The other says - oh yeah, I got your bill I will be mailing that out to you - 5 days AFTER the service!
I don’t have so many accounts that I can just say…“oh, when it gets it that will be fine.” I rely on my income! These are people with hugely deep pockets too.
Never again. Pay up at the end of the job, or don’t schedule until such time as you can.
Don’t know your customer base, but in over 3 years I’ve had to wait on a few checks, but being polite call them to let them know, maybe the forgot or had something else going on. There are people who are like that, maybe waiting for YOU to forget (like that’s gonna happen) be polite everytime, don’t loose it, stop by by their home if you know what time they’re usually there, tell them you were working couple blocks away and decided to stop by to pick up the check so they don’t have to get out of their way to drop it at the post office, we all know that’s not true, and they do too, but if you persist you’ll get it.
It shouldn’t be like that, but you know the people you do work for, so plan ahead. When I get the feeling that something can go wrong I make it clear before getting started that payment is expected at the end of the job and if they have to leave they can leave it to you or you can pick it up later.
Yeah unfortunately with almost any business you are going to get the slow, late, and even non payers. Just crank up the calls as the days go by, people will eventually be tired of you calling and send payment. I once had to threaten a “service reversal” on a gutter clean job that was not paid. Every day the lady told me the check was in the mail, check was in the mail…stopped by her house in person multiple times, left a businmess card taped to her garage door, called and emailed every day until a month and a half later she finally coughed it up.
Punta, I’m always nice to the customer even when they don’t deserve it. I’ll call every few days until it gets here; or if it gets to take too long there are laws for non payment of services rendered. But that’s last resort. From this instance forward - payment upon completion.
Today? I averaged $53.29 per hour at 7 hours AND got paid at completion. Mondays job would be $70 per hour, but since I have to wait this long to get paid do I average it out over the week?! LOL
Realistically, very few people have money sitting in their bank account, looking for a new home.
So I don’t place immediate demands on people (my clients).
Reasonable (of course, this is subjective) payment terms for sure, but not immediate demands.
Of course, I am not the best example of tight book-keeping and account receivables collection either, so bear that in mind.
For instance, a few WCR members owe me money right now for my marketing consulting services and products, and they have for a little while. They’ve taken delivery of the goods, and not yet paid me in full.
A few thousand bucks worth. Actually around $5k as of right now. Fellow WCR members.
I don’t harass them, I don’t embarrass them, and I don’t threaten them. I don’t assume that they’re being goofs or trying to rip me off, I just try and sympathize, and try to be reasonable, and wait as long as I can, and send gentle reminders.
There is a line, but for me it’s definitely not immediate “on delivery” or anything close to that.
Interesting topic, I’ve been stiffed once, twice if you count a ch. 11, in 3.5 years. I rarely collect upon completion. I actually like it that way, keeps me organized by doing the data input, notes, date of service NEXT date of service on their invoice. I’ve even got a few I enclose SASE for them. They like that service and information in front of them. The ones that do pay upon completion, get a paid invoice with the same info, most importantly that next service date.
one woman really has peed me off. its a small 1st floor apartment job that ive done 3 times now,texted me praising my work,texts ending with xxx kisses , but then wont answer the door or her phone to pay up. im now going thru the process of door knocking at various times,determined to get my money.
im considering going up the ladder to knock on her window !
Some people are just flakes, some forgetful, some (commercial clients) assume 30 days. it all comes down to expectation. If you state to your clients that payment is due on work completion and they fail to due so, start the reminder process immediately. Or else just wait it out a a week or two and then start putting in reminders.
I have around 6 clients at the moment that owe me (around 2K) but most I have dealt with before so I’m not worried. Last year I had a client go almost 3 months and I was sure they were trying to stiff me. Finally my wife got a hold of the guy and he explained that he and his wife had fallen on hard times, they were expecting some money from family that didn’t pan out, etc. He told me I could pickup some of the money and when I arrived he was having a huge garage sale and his house was almost empty. Really sad actually.
I’m guessing that I invoice close to 50% of our customers by email. Accounts receivable can be outrageous, especially in the busy season. I think it’s important to have a system to collect. We call the customer the next day or two after the appointment to follow up. We then ask for a credit card number so we can process over the phone. If we don’t get them on the phone we keep calling and emailing until we reach someone. Maybe once a year we have to send someone a letter from my lawyer demanding payment. Actually he just sent one yesterday. Hopefully that’s the only one this year.
It sucks when you can’t get payment upon completion sometimes, but that’s part of the gig.
I do things a bit different I suppose. I offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee or they don’t pay. If the customer is not going to be home when we are finished, I insist that they come home, make sure everything looks great and is where it supposed to be. Then they can pay at their convenience. This seems to put a lot of customers at ease and more comfortable with employees in their home if they can’t be there.
I try to make everything as convenient and hassle free as possible for my customers and make it all about them. Of course getting paid promptly is important to me, that’s why we call the next day to follow up and collect a credit card payment.
I have other incomealso so its not such a big deal, but for me it’s never taken more than one call. One time i forgot to fill out a w-9 and and ended up waiting 6 months because of it. But when a $1200 check comes in when i’m not expecting it, it feels like my birthday.
Ha! Well I figure they are going to come home eventually. And actually I do insist. I have plenty of customers that offer to leave a check if they aren’t going to be home when we are finished. I have yet to be burned.
Edit- wait, I misunderstood you, Merv. Actually I think you misunderstood me. I don’t insist they come home to pay us before we leave the job. I want my customers to come home at their convenience and see the wonderful job we did before they send us a check. we can lock up their house so they can go about their day without having to worry about waiting around for us to finish.
I had a customer who not only took months to pay but also cancelled the check to pay with a credit card 2 weeks after the cancelled check!?1?! Payment due upon completion now is a company policy. And, if no one is available to pay at the end of the service… Credit card info is requird before starting