“I’m so tired of my lawn care clients being late on their payments… or even worse, missing it entirely. I want to fix this problem, but I don’t know where to even begin.”
First off, you’re not alone.
This is an extremely common problem among business owners… especially lawn care business owners.
This article will show you:
- How to get your clients to pay you on time - every time
- What actions you can take to prevent future late or missed payments
- Practices that make your expectations clear to the clients - from day 1
These are some tips that’ll help you stop losing money, and nip this problem in the bud ASAP…
Terminate Lawn Care Services Immediately
You haven’t been paid. The client hasn’t communicated as to why they haven’t paid… and they’re not returning your calls, texts or emails.
So what do you do?
Terminate all lawn care services immediately.
Chances are that they forgot to pay, but they’re busy. Your client isn’t exactly going to jump at the chance to pay for an “optional” bill that most likely won’t result in involving a debt collector.
Why Clients Sometimes Don’t Pay
It’s not that they don’t enjoy your services. It’s not that they can’t or refuse to pay (at least most of the time)... but the hard truth is that you’re a lawn care business. You deserve to be paid for services rendered WHEN services are rendered.
If they’re busy, and they’re not contacting you back, then you have every right to terminate their services… immediately.
What to Do
Send them a notice that once their outstanding charges are paid in full, services will resume. Unless your contract states otherwise, and you can drop the client, this decision is up to you. If you think they’ll do it again, DROP THEM.
There are plenty of good, paying clients. You don’t need someone that’s going to continue to waste you AND your team’s time.
Clients Who Communicate Their Circumstances
Now, if your client expressly communicates a situation with you - PRIOR TO THE DUE DATE - this is up to your discretion. Only you can make this judgment call because only you truly understand this situation.
You know the client. You know your finances. And only you can decide if it’s a financially-sound decision to allow your client to pay late.
Please keep in mind, you need to be fully prepared to lose that money, in case the client can’t pay.
Why This Topic Is so Important
I can’t tell you how many lawn care owners allow invoices to build up to hundreds… even thousands of unpaid invoicing.
In the hopes the client will eventually pay, THEY STILL KEEP SERVICING THE PROPERTY. This is NOT a valuable use of your resources. Just stop while you’re still ahead.
It’s important to not let unpaid invoices get out of hand because it can happen to anyone - faster than you think.
Create an Electronically-Signed Contract
It’s important to email your client a contract where they sign the estimate and the service agreement.
While this isn’t necessarily a legally-binding contract, it sets the tone between you and your client. Once it’s completed, just email the estimate with a signed form at the bottom.
Also, I’d recommend setting up a template for this document and making it automated.
If you automate your follow up process, your estimate will be emailed to the client instantly! This means WAY less work for you, because you won’t have to remember to do it later.
- Ensures you don’t forget to send it
- It shortens the sign-up time
- It gets you money WAY faster
- You have a signed contract - so no one can argue the terms
- It communicates your expectations to the client
- Gives the client the opportunity to communicate their expectations
- Opens a line of communication between you and your lawn care client
It’s important to send estimates ASAP, because the more time you wait… the more likely they are to find another lawn care company.
There are several benefits to using Service Autopilot for this. You can:
- Create and customize your own forms and automations
- Add an electronically signed form at the bottom of your estimate
- Obtain the IP address, time and location the document was signed
- Check the email open rates
- Monitor the email bounce rates
- Begin automated email campaigns - create them and let them run on their own, even while you sleep!
It’s important to start your relationship with your new lawn care clients the RIGHT way. You should make your expectations, prices and anything else clear from day one. This makes your client more likely to pay on time.
Following up is a HUGE aspect of maintaining good client communications. Additionally, it helps you get paid.
When you maintain follow-ups with your lawn care clients, you:
- Create a level of trust and intimacy
- Create an open form of communications
- Know how your team is doing
- Know how you can improve your services
- Lessen the likelihood of disgruntled clients
- Increase your client retention rate
- Your employees are happier - they know how they’re doing
- Your clients are happier - they’re being heard
- Open huge marketing opportunities - ask for reviews from your happiest clients!
The benefits on this list could go on… and on… and on. I can’t stress to you how important it is to follow up with your clients.
You should follow up after:
- An estimate is sent
- An estimate is accepted
- A service has been completed
- A client has complained or sent a bad review
- A client has submitted an awesome review
It’s so important to create a “friendship” of sorts with your lawn care clients. Following up is a huge part of that!
Have a Chat
After you’ve exhausted every means of communication trying to reach your client - and they still haven’t paid… you might just have to go talk to them in-person.
Depending on the outstanding debt and value of the client, this action may or may not be beneficial to you. This is up for you to decide.
If the outstanding debt is worth your time or they’re a high-value client, you should try to go talk to them in person. The keyword in here being… talk.
This option has its risks, but it’s something worth considering if you need the revenue.
When you go to the client’s home or commercial property, be sure you:
- Bring copies of the invoices
- Bring the contract they electronically signed
- Remain calm and collected
- Leave if the client becomes belligerent
For most of you, the outstanding debt isn’t worth seeking legal action. So this is your opportunity to not only keep your client - but actually get paid.
Grow Your Lawn Care Business... Faster (and with Less Stress)
In order for your lawn care clients to pay you on time (every time), you need to always have an open stream of communication.
This article will show you:
- How to get paid on time, every time
- What to do when a client misses a payment
- Preventative actions you can take to avoid missed or late payments
- Resources that’ll help you cultivate good relationships with your clients
Client relationships are literally everything. When they love you, they don’t want to leave. If you’re clients, they’re way more likely to communicate with you.
These tips will show you how to create and cultivate this relationship with your lawn care clients.