12 ways to get paid on time every time!
Think your lawn mowing business is all about mowers and sunshine and the green stuff? No, there's two things that are arguably even more important: How about getting paid? And (even better), how about getting paid on time?
So often, as the business owner, you go above and beyond to give your lawn mowing clients the service of their dreams. "All they have to do in return is pay!" It may not seem like you're asking for a lot, but it's a refrain that every operator of a lawn mowing franchise understands all too well. Many businesses are cash only, and credit is a last resort. Your customers are not entitled to have credit, unless they have been long standing and reliable customers. The first rule of having debtors is to avoid it before it starts!
You love your clients and you don't want to hassle them, but you've got bills to pay and mouths to feed and mowers to fuel. If only you could get your lawn care clients to pay on time every single time! That's the Holy Grail - and here's how you should start your quest today:
1. Ask about upfront payment
A wise man once said 'Those who don't ask, don't get'. So how about asking your clients to pay upfront?
Especially if it's a big lawn care project, you might even be justified to ask for a deposit.
2. Issue prompt invoices
If you're tired of the delay between doing a job and getting paid, make sure you're not contributing.
All too often, businesses will forget to issue an invoice straight away - and sometimes they forget all together! All Crewcut operators have access to a specialised invoicing and customer management system, which means that invoices aren't an issue and can be done almost instantly. You can check out the Crewcut app here.
3. Cut out misunderstandings
Often, a client will fail to pay on time not because they don't want to, but because they just didn't understand when it was due.
So make sure you briefly mention the invoice and what they should expect to find once they have it in their hands. And if that invoice is in any way unclear, make sure you explain it - and if possible re-design the invoice to make it clearer.
4. Be polite
You'll always stand a better chance of getting what you want and deserve if you're polite.
Does your invoice say 'Thank you for your payment"? It seems insignificant, but it's the little things that really count when it comes to awesome customer relationships. In fact, a study by FreshBooks, an accounting expert, showed that a simple "please" can boost your chances of being paid by 5%.
5. Offer a discount
Everyone loves a discount, and we don't even mind making a little effort to get one.
So how about offering 2% off if that invoice is settled before the due date? The client knows they have to pay anyway, so they'd might as well get a little bonus as well.
6. Issue a penalty
Especially if your invoice includes a reward for early payment, you might even like to consider including a penalty on that invoice for late payment.
Utility companies do it all the time, so your clients probably won't even mind if there is a late-to-pay penalty. It could be just enough incentive to leap for the reward rather than the penalty.
7. Send regular reminders
If you don't love the idea of discounts or penalties, make sure you're at least issuing regular, timely reminders.
Your lawn care customers know that you have done an awesome job for them, so they won't mind at all if they get a little reminder a few days before that invoice is due.
8. Be tough
Especially for a repeat offender, there comes a time when you have to drop the Nice Guy routine and just demand that payment finally be made.
If you're consistently TOO lenient on customers who don't pay, you'll eventually be taken advantage of.
Even if you do automate, make sure your invoices are nice and simple.
Often, a client will simply not understand something on an invoice, like 'Net 30' or even 'due upon receipt'. Use everyday language and get paid - every day!
10. Be flexible
Are your clients ever asking if they can pay by credit card and you say no? What about cheques, direct deposit and online payments?
If your answers are always no, then your payment options may simply not be flexible enough to meet the needs of your clients.
11. Boost your mood
One of the absolute cornerstones of a successful lawn mowing franchise is client rapport.
Never forget that you're not just mowing lawns, you're building relationships with lawn mowing clients. So is your mood bright? Do you communicate well? Do you listen and engage? Having a positive relationship with a client can fend off a problem before it ever arises.
12. Issue personalised rewards
As well as a friendly "please" in the invoice and a "thankyou" on the receipt, there's always room for a bit of personalised recognition.
If someone really does go above and beyond to be the perfect lawn mowing client, is there anything stopping you writing a hand-written note or text message? What about a quarterly gift to your very best customers? The more you reward loyalty, the more loyalty you will foster. Here at Crewcut, we always make sure to make our customers feel valued - we put seasonal door hangers on all the doors of our valued customers.
You may get a buzz out of manicuring your lawn mowing clients' lawns, but when they don't pay or they're slow to cough up, that's a big headache for you and for the health of your business. So get thinking, get proactive, and get paid. Happy mowing!