If you’re considering starting a lawn care business or landscape business, or have one already established, you’ll need to have an effective method for collecting payments. Today, most top modern lawn care business owners focus not only on the quality of service they offer but also on the importance of streamlining the company’s business side. One significant component of any business is payment collection. Knowing how to effectively and accurately collect payment from lawn care customers is a must if you want to succeed.
Establish a Good Professional Relationship
One of the critical methods for establishing and keeping accounts or customers is to create a professional connection. This applies to collecting your payment too. Have an idea about what to say to each customer when you approach them for payment. If you need to make other arrangements, make sure you have clear communication between you and the customer to gain them as repeat business.
For example, if you plan to collect payments monthly rather than each time you visit, make sure you and the customer agree and have documentation. Be polite and friendly, but keep it professional at all times to minimize confusion and reduce the chance of issues.
The best way to ensure everyone is clear about payment is to connect each time you provide services if possible and communicate any changes or problems that prevent you from delivering complete lawn care services or coming at a scheduled time. Likewise, make sure the customer knows to reach out if there is a problem with the schedule, payment, or hazards preventing services.
Create Electronic Contracts
Both you, the business owner, and the customer must understand what to expect from one another. That is why having a signed contract is so important for a lawn care business. The contract should be given or sent to the client electronically before you perform any services.
The contract itself should outline the range of lawn care services you offer to them, the prices you charge for those services, and your policy regarding payment and continuation or discontinuation of those services. Furthermore, the contract should include any legalities and expectations of the customers. Include any instances where service is refused or situations that may pose a hazard and warrant discontinuation of a service visit or the service agreement.
If you use the latest software for lawn care business needs, you’ll have the option to automate both contracts and estimates. This makes getting new clients much easier with less time required traveling from customer to customer to handle this portion of the business in person.
Using Paper Contracts
Not every customer wants to deal with signing an online form. Some people may not have proficiency working with electronics or navigating online forms. You want to make sure you have paper contracts on hand in these cases. These contracts should be the same as the ones you provide online. There may be cases where you need to amend the contract, so using an online software program can allow you to do this easily to customize it for that particular account.
When you get the contract signed and filled out, make sure you scan it into your system to keep in your software records and save the original for your paper files. Having the contract saved online helps you retrieve it quickly and keep the customer’s record of interaction and service updated.
Decide on a Method of Payment
Today’s lawn care software is exceptional for collecting multiple types of payments. However, it’s best to determine which type of payments your customer prefers when you provide them with initial services. Ask them how they choose to pay and let them know if that changes or their circumstances are changing.
For instance, you might want to provide them with the option to charge the credit card on file. This is a great way to keep things hassle-free and easy for both parties. They may also choose to toggle between paying online through the secure portal with a debit card sometimes instead of charging the credit card on file each time they have an invoice due. Lawn care software is a tool that allows the company to accept multiple types of payment fast and with an added layer of security, so customers feel comfortable using your company and paying online.
Accepting Cash and Checks
Although paying by cash and check are less common these days, it doesn’t mean you won’t have a few customers who still prefer this traditional form of payment. You’ll find that some customers who prefer using checks to pay for services will want to have the option to continue to pay in this manner.
Writing checks to the lawn care provider is a way for the customer to keep track of payments and provide a sense of security for tracking those payments without using a computer or electronic device to complete the transaction. Remember that not everyone will have proficiency with electronics and online payments. It’s important to be flexible and provide those traditional payment options to your customers so you can secure their loyal business for the long term.
If you collect checks from them, make sure you have a quick means to enter the payment details directly into the business software for accurate accounting and record keeping. Using a top software provider allows workers to enter those details from their phones or electronic devices, making keeping track simple.
If you collect payments via cash, always document the payments as soon as you receive them and mark them as cash. Dealing with cash can be tricky because it’s easy to lose track of payments and amounts without strict record keeping. When you collect from the account, make sure you do it in person and count the money in front of the customer to ensure the entire amount is there.
Sometimes the customers can make mistakes on dollar amounts because they counted incorrectly or thought there was enough to cover the service you provide. When collecting payment, state the total price and then count to ensure the entire amount is present and there are no issues. Don’t allow the customer to leave payments lying around in the yard somewhere. You never know when something or someone can take the money, and it disappears. Then you have an issue on your hands.
The customer may feel you’re being dishonest, and you’ll take a hit on a payment. This situation is not good for either party involved. The same goes for check payments. Please don’t allow the customer to leave checks hidden or laying out where the wind, animals, kids, or adults can tamper with them. Always collect payment in person unless they are using a form of electronic payment through a secure portal.
Invoicing Multiple Properties
You may have a few customers who have multiple properties you service through your lawn care company. When this is the case, you need some advanced software to help you keep track of the account and the different locations you service. This might be especially crucial for real estate accounts or investors with multiple rental properties you service year-round.
You’ll need a way to keep track of each lawn care service provided and have a way to invoice on a regular schedule for all the combined services. On these accounts, you’ll want to ensure you have a corporate credit card on file that’s charged on a certain day of the month for all services rendered on each property, with an accurate accounting of each address.
You may also need invoicing for multiple properties when you have an account that has more than one home, or they may pay for family members. For example, you might provide lawn care for one address, and they decide to add their parent’s home to their account. You must accurately keep track of both properties and how much they must pay each month or for each visit. Having top lawn care software is a must for accuracy and clarity.
Have a System for Invoicing
When you operate a service-oriented business, invoicing is essential. Make sure you have a streamlined invoicing system in place that reduces confusion and provides customization for each account. One top practice of most established, professional lawn care companies is invoicing the customer after each visit or service performed. It’s a method for keeping track of the account history and ensuring both the customer and the client can establish an accurate, current record of services performed over time.
This practice eliminates any confusion and protects your business from complaints and liability concerns. Most top companies have an automated system in place that allows the company to enter each visit into a program that keeps track and provides data across all aspects of the business flow for accuracy and convenience.
It’s also worth mentioning that if you invoice each time you visit and expect payment immediately, you can ensure a steady flow of income into the business. There may be instances where you make exceptions, but this is a good standard practice. Examples of exceptions would be if you visit the customer more than once per month and want to avoid invoicing them more than once per month. You may also provide other services at different intervals. These accounts work best on a monthly invoicing cycle which is less work and more convenient for both parties.
Another topic that’s essential to touch on is the quality of the invoice. You can customize and invoice to look professional. Still, you also want to ensure it outlines the service, time and date, cost, and any other details related to that particular service call. Take the time to create a top-quality invoice and make sure you have it automatically delivered so you don’t have to worry about individually delivering it. This type of automation helps reduce more work and administrative tasks.
Invoicing in Advance
Some lawn care companies like to invoice for services in advance. For example, you might send out an invoice at the beginning of the month for services rendered during the month or at the middle of the month. Just make sure you state that directly in the invoice so there is no confusion and to protect the company’s interests.
You may want to check with the customer first to make sure that it’s convenient for them to receive invoices in this way. In some cases, you might need to invoice when services are rendered and not before or after. This situation may be due to budgeting or just a personal preference.
Leaving a Paper Invoice
You might choose not only to provide an electronic invoice but a paper invoice too. If you have issues with people checking their email or having your messages sent to a spam folder, using the paper method can be effective. Some companies leave a paper invoice or door hanger each time they provide the service to ensure the customer knows to pay and doesn’t have issues with seeing the invoice in their email.
Of course, as mentioned earlier — some customers are not proficient with computers, electronic devices, and email. They may not check their email regularly or know to check the spam folder. Having a paper backup can be a real help, and let them know that you consider their situation.
This approach makes the customer feel warmer toward your company for making concessions for their situation. This is another excellent way to build a good repair and secure the customers for the foreseeable future.
Integrate Secure Payments
Today, most transactions are done through secure payment systems or online. While lawn care payments can be cash or even check for specific customers, the majority want the ease and security of paying for their services online. That’s a big reason to integrate secure payment services into your business. Customers can pay with a few clicks, and it helps them feel confident doing business with your company.
The easier it is to work with a lawn care company, the more likely the customers become loyal. Any lawn care business aims to build a regular clientele to create stability and steady cash flow. One way to accomplish that goal is to make the customer feel comfortable and provide them with features and options that make dealing with your company easy and hassle-free.
If you don’t already have a secure payment system in place, there are top software options available that provide various methods for payment so the customer can pay at any time without having to worry about the safety and security of their information. The top software providers offer an all-in-one solution including secure payments that streamline the entire business flow and eliminate errors and paperwork.
Issues With Payments
Unfortunately, there are times when the business has problems with the customer’s payments. Knowing how to handle these issues and incorporating the proper tools to manage the accounting part of the problem is the best way to stay on top of things.
Perhaps the most common issue with mowing service runs into when dealing with a customer is nonpayment. This might be a simple oversight and require a heads-up or gentle reminder. If you have special lawn care software integrated into the fabric of your business, you can keep track of these instances accurately.
You’ll be able to see which accounts have paid and which still owe on an invoice. If you don’t want to make a trip to the client’s home or can’t reach them by phone, this software makes it possible to send them an email reminder. It’s one extra tool that can make receiving timely payments easier.
Sometimes you’ll have a customer who can’t pay for a service temporarily or has an issue with their bank account. If you have them contact you or send you a notification, scheduling will be easier and less confusing. You can make motivations in the software you use daily for keeping track of accounts. This helps you remember to skip that particular service and resume scheduled visits.
Every once in a while, you’ll encounter lawn care customers who simply refuse to pay and communicate with you. Whatever the reason for this attitude, you must discontinue services until you resolve the situation. That means either they pay or you drop them as a customer altogether. It’s important not to continue serving those customers because it’s wasting valuable labor and time.
Many of these accounts won’t pay for several visits and create a negative experience for your company. Concentrate on providing your services to lawn care clients who pay each time or effectively communicate when there is an issue or change in their services.
How Can You Get Started Collecting Payments Effectively?
The best way to begin to collect payments and track the cash flow of your lawn care business is to team up with an industry leader in software services just for lawn care companies. Real Green offers comprehensive software options that help you keep track of payments, invoices, and services in one easy-to-use system.
You can access details about each account with a few clicks and forward important documents and emails with ease. This software also allows you to automate your contracts, quotes, invoices, and service offers without manually doing each one.
If you want a better way to run the business that allows you to compete with the other lawn care services in the area and prevent cash flow and accounting problems, you should get Real Green software today. Reach out now for a free demo or to get more details.
What is the best way to collect payment for lawn care clients?
Hands down, the best method is through online automation. It provides security and easy access for both parties.
How often should you invoice the customer?
You can stick to the monthly rule unless there is an extenuating circumstance that requires invoicing and payment when services are rendered.
How do you bill for multiple properties?
If the same person or business is paying, try to lump the services together in one monthly payment.