There is nothing more frustrating for a landscape business owner than to provide a client with a season’s worth of outstanding, timely service only to have them make excuse after excuse about why they can’t pay you on time, or worse, simply stiff you outright.
Collecting money that’s rightfully owed you can be a challenging issue. The best solution is to not be in that position to begin with. Weed out the low and non-payers before the situation gets out of hand and establish relationships in which the client clearly understands that you need to get paid on time so that you, in turn, can honor your commitments.
Once a contract is signed, payment is non-negotiable. There has to be clearly established payment terms that include consequences for non-payment. Make sure to review this policy in person with the client, so they are aware of your policy.
If clients don’t pay their bills on time, then service is interrupted. Period. Don’t go back and do more work! I get it; I’ve been there. Sometimes, I feel like I have cared more for some clients’ gardens than they ever did. But you simply can’t go back when there are outstanding invoices. You’ll just be creating a bigger issue.
Instead, you must let the property go…let them feel what it is like when your valuable efforts are not there. But don’t be passive about it. Contact them and let them know in a kind and professional manner that services have been suspended until their account is up to date.
Of course, there are circumstances when clients have genuine trouble paying. Perhaps they’ve had an unexpected medical expense or work-related problem. It’s important for both the relationship and your business to be willing to work with them within reason.
Here are 15 do’s and don’ts that can help you establish an “environment of timely payment” to ensure your business can successfully operate and your clients continue to be satisfied:
You work too hard to put up with slow-pays and deadbeats. Achieving and remaining on sound financial footing means taking a long, hard look at your client list and paring away the clients who take up too much of your time with collections. And when you jettison the deadwood that means you now have room for more topnotch clients.