Late fees


#1

As we grow, I’m getting really tired of all the late payers and non-payers. I posted a thread about collection agencies last week and we’re not showing any mercy going forward. We found a good collection agency to work with and we won’t be losing any sleep over sending the deadbeats their way.

Before it gets to that point, we’re going to start charging late fees to “encourage” customers to pay in a timely manner. Your credit card company, landlord/mortgage holder, cell phone carrier, and electric company all charge late fees if you’re even a day late. Why can’t we? We can, we’re just often afraid to anger the customer out of fear of losing them. If they don’t take paying their bills seriously, do you really want them as a customer anyway? I know I don’t.

Anyone out there charging late fees with great success? i.e. You’ve noticed your accounts receivables getting better, less office time spent “reminding” people to pay their bills, etc. I’m not looking at this as an additional revenue source, but more of a motivator to pay on time and avoid the late fees.


#2

Never had success per se. Sure I collected them but was probably better to drop them

Or tell them the price is going up next year but you’ll keep it the same if they prepay per quarter.


#3

Just put it in your contract. Landlords, credit cards and cell phone companies all tell you upfront what their policies are.
I doubt you will have any success just arbitrarily adding a fee that wasn’t agreed to before the work was done.


#4

What are the types of accounts that slack payment? Storefront, residential, or commercial? Why aren’t you able to receive payment at the time of service? Make it be known to new customers that you’re a COD type of company.


#5

This policy would be for future work with an invoice date of September 1st or later. In big bold print somewhere on the invoice will be the payment terms and explanation of late fees and how to avoid them (simply pay on time). I hope to never have to collect a single penny in late fees. This is just a deterrent for those customers who have the attitude of, “Eh it’s just the window cleaner. We’ll pay them when we pay them and they’ll like it”


#6

Residential always pays at the time of service. Commercial usually pays like clockwork although they often drag their feet a little. Storefront is where the problem is. Some pay at the time of service. Others need to be invoiced because they don’t have cash on hand or don’t want to drop what they’re doing in the middle of the business day to go find their checkbook or company credit card.

Some are just plain financially irresponsible. We have a small dental office who recently couldn’t meet their payroll obligations. If they’re such a mess that they can’t pay their employees, the $28 window cleaning bill isn’t going to be a priority for them either.


#7

Maybe it’s time to phase out storefront. Let’s face it, you’re wasting time chasing the money. Your energy could be utilized better if diverted somewhere else.


#8

This is where your problem lies. From the getgo, establish that payment is due upon completion. You will not regret it. I am a storefront guy, as you know. (Highway robber, lol) Rarely ever had a problem with this, unless it is corporate, then late fee terms are printed on invoice.


#9

I know you’re right. We have a lot of accounts that honestly don’t carry cash (doctors, insurance agents, car dealerships, etc) but maybe keeping a credit card on file will be the solution going forward.


#10

That’s a good idea. Might be worth the fee to spare yourself the headache.


#11

If you accept credit cards that would be the best way.
How many accounts are we talking that are problem payers ?
What is your action taken when payment is not received ?

If it’s a new customer the best thing to do is a have a date when you feel payment should be received, An if it’s not received put a phone call in.
A simple call saying who you are , An asking if they sent payment for july’s invoice
If not when do you plan on sending can can you please email us when payment is sent, So they say "we will sent it tommorow ". Now you have your date when they say it will be sent
No email tommorow call back … to bad on them let them get sick of hearing from you.
Once you establish your for reel , An there going to hearr from you if payment isn’t sent. They will get thrrr act together

^^^^^. An thsi is of therr serious about getting there windows cleaned. Let’s face it some people think it’s a joke , an thsi is how youbweed them out.

If after all this an no payment. Stop service An find Another account.
Yes keep after them for your money , but the last thing you want is this to be a recurring processs every month.

Some people it will be for a little bit once you straighten them out it will get sent they will get sick of hearing from you. Trust me been there done that

What I found is most people want to pay , An if you get lazy in the beginning An not put your phone calls in , then they will pay when they feel like it.

I send out over 100 invoices every month I know exactly when i should receive payment. If payment isn’t received depending on the customer 2 thjmgs happen

Certain customers will get a statement in there next invoice showing payment wasn’t received

The rest will get a phone call. Saying we didn’t receive payment
Hey payments get lost in the mail. It’s happened. So just checking.

This is the down falls of route work. Your dealing with so many accounts , An when your dealing with those kind of numbers you will always have a handful that are bad payers.


#12

I feel sense of satisfaction when I have a customer that continually pays late and I call them to say we will no longer service their account.

It’s just not good business


#13

I put there will be a 2.5% fee every month after 30 days up to 10%, on my store fronts for “encouragement”.

No problems yet but I am still small. I’m sure my time will come but at least it will be on the invoice.


#14

Lol
This guy always pays late. This time a little to late.
It’s a business that imo won’t go out if business , so I never worry about it. Every time I call , an say yo man what’s up. He gets a check out the next day.


#15

That’s a nice check. Do bad you have to remind them about it. But it pays in the end


#16

That’s insane. Would his landlord let him just not pay the rent for 8 months? In my opinion, it’s a sign of disrespect. You’re “just the window cleaner” in his mind, therefore you don’t deserve to get paid unless you come begging for it. We have a few customers with this mentality and pretty soon they can just deal with the collection agency who will be coming after them.


#17

I recently picked up a franchise…4 locations…I service them every other week. I have serviced each location 4 times so far and have yet to receive a payment. I invoice their accounts payable department. I have a question for those doing this longer than me.

I realized I made a mistake in not being VERY clear when I expect payment…and I would like to attempt to change this with the franchise. What is a tactful way you folks have brought up your payment expectations to a new client? Do I wait until the end of the month and send a statement of monies owed and explain our “new” policy? Or am I pretty much out of luck on this one? I’d like to create a policy of late fees after 15 days…But I think if I do this, I may just lose the accounts. Lesson learned!


#18

Ride it out for a couple more weeks and you’ll see how they pay. It may be they pay for the entire month in one check the following month or they pay 30 days for each invoice.

As to changing the culture, don’t hold your breath. Their terms of payment will likely trump your terms. They figure if you don’t like it, they’ll get someone else.

Unfortunately, this is just part of the business with commercial stuff. But if they pay and are consistent, just factor it into your budget.


#19

Thanks!..I figured it was gonna be that way…I’m hoping that as I progress with them, as I’m doing the services for one month, I will be receiving payment for the previous month. These accounts are gonna give me some solid income through the winter, so I’m not anxious to stir the pot too much!


#20

Defiantly keep an eye on the mail box. If slow down service until after the first payment of possible