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El Sombrero

Am I being reasonable on late payments?



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El Sombrero

I give my customers two options with regards to payment: cash at the point of clean only and GoCardless. Being relatively new I wanted to cut the faff from the start, but allowing customers to pay cash was an oversight in this context, especially now at this time of year.

 

I text all customers the evening before and remind those paying by cash to leave it in the usual/safe place. However, the past couple of weeks a LOT of my cash customers are suddenly forgetting to pay, but strangely gates are usually left unbolted (Coincidence? Me thinks not)! For example, I had six customers this morning, 3 on GC, 3 on cash who failed to leave money out despite my text yesterday evening.

 

Now, I have a one strike policy with most cash customers, if they forget/fail to pay then the only way they can continue with my service is by signing up to GC, as far as I'm concerned I can't trust them to pay cash. I do make customers aware of this when they sign up.

 

Also, customers that haven't stumped up by 21 days get a £3 late payment fee slapped on to their bill, plus £3 for any subsequent weeks thereafter. I haven't implemented this policy yet, but it's an option to get what I'm owed.

 

The question is am I being too harsh or not harsh enough? I don't want to lose customers especially at this stage of development where every £ counts and you've got kids to feed, but on the flip side I want to cut the **** out early on.

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Incheck

Drop the cash idea dude, as soon as someone clocks on to what day you come youll have a guy going round underneath the doormats taking your money. Theres always someone after something for nothing!


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Sean Keenan

You have to be strong with clients. I dont charge late payment fees but if they miss paying and dont catch up the following month. I suspend cleaning and they get an email and text advising that service cannot continue until account is corrected. If they fail to respond I remove them from the round completely and hand deliver a termination of service letter and ask for the payment.

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Tuffers

Can’t see people paying £3 fine and keeping you on tbf. If like you say you’re in the early stages of your business and every penny counts I think you might find you’ll be losing customers faster than you get them. Yes, you can suspend cleaning if they haven’t paid but fining them would be a no no in my book.

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Elliot

It’s all about knowing your custys . I would never stop cleaning just coz they didn’t pay for the previous clean . I also can’t remember the last time I dropped someone for not paying . have loads that pay online when it reaches the £50 mark . But I have had a lot of these over 20 years . It seems to be a problem when using canvassers . You can end up with a lot of dross . . 

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Elliot

In fact just had one today owed me for 6 cleans . Sent me a text saying she has paid up with a £10 tip for a drink . 

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CM Cleaning Services

2 cleans unpaid gets put on hold with me and I won't clean again until its paid up

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Gerry Scrimshaw

Yea 2 cleans with me then a polite letter popped in letterbox to remind that we don’t clean beyond 2 outstanding payments. Don’t think a small concern like window cleaning could get away with charging a fine, that’s for the big guys like Lekki and Gas.


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Incheck

You have to be lenient to some extent. People can have unforeseen circumstances happening, e.g. a long term hospital visit, happens to more people than you think. Some people shoot off on holiday for months on end. A lot of people will contact you months down the line youll be surprised. The main thing is if youre not getting paid you stop cleaning. Dont let it build up & up. There’s always someone else who will pay to fill the spot. I had a guy pay me 6 months late the other day. Hes got two kids including a young baby so i think hes a bit strapped tbh. Fair play to the bloke for paying eventually, but i cant be working on the basis of being paid 6 months late! So i won’t be doing again you know.
Some people are notoriously bad payers though & do just string it out. if youre constantly sending the SAME people reminders to pay, you need to drop them really. Nothing more annoying than having to go through the books in the evenings figuring out who paid what and when. Makes life a misery.
Late payment fees wont make you popular but at the end of the day how you operate is your decision. You have got to pay your own bills after all.


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Dave B

With me it is simple

Don't pay me for clean don't get another clean

People soon learn or get dropped 

May seem harsh but you don't get the plumber/electrician round and say do the job and i may pay you some time in the future

It means i have built up slower than others but all my customers pay up on time

Pay up or don't get cleaned with me..simples

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Gav

Agreed pay or service stops. Yes there are those customers you know well and trust and know it was a genuine mistake but still you don't want to end up 3 or more cleans down the road and still no payment. At least if you stop after first payment is overdue you will only be loosing one month.

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Big sul

1st missed payment no big problem.
2nd Vist letter through door reminder.
3rd No cleaning & suspended from round until contact is made.
Can't be much fairer than that I'm running a business not a voluntary organization!! [emoji3]


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adamangler

Generally I would say if they haven't paid for the last clean then they won't get another.

 

That is because between me cleaning their windows and the next clean I will have text them at least 3-4 times with payment reminders so if they haven't paid after that or replied then they are ignorant and should be dumped.

 

I have a few exceptions with cash only custys that I don't always catch them in so I'm happy to catch them next clean or when I'm passing next ( I never collected in an evening ever). But even then it's a maximum of 2 cleans and only with customers I've grown too trust.

 

 

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Minty

Most people don't set out not to pay us, it's a time thing. 

Monthly and bimonthly calls, the windows are generally clean. 

Most will only think about us when we text to say we're coming or as a payment reminder, that's why GoCardless is the best way to be paid.

I send payment reminder texts Sunday evenings.

I put prices up by £2 or £3 as a admin charge to those 'busier people' and have only been caught out once when they found next door were paying less. (They signed up to GC)

I still have slow/**** payers but there's a cull coming over the Christmas break. 

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Iron Giant

I would drop the cash option unless it's a retired couple for example who are always around when you call then cash isn't an issue .

Anyone wanting adding to my rounds is asked to sign up to GC no sign up no clean it's that simple.

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Derek Comer

Every one gets a letter when iv cleaned the Windows. Just says

Your Windows have been cleaned today, I will be collecting Thursday/Friday. On average I'm down each week about £50,, which is ****, but my wages stay the same because I get the extra £50 from the double payers. Iv been doing this job since 1980 and u just have to learn to live with it. Yeah it's pisses u off late payers, but as long as u get it in the end it's just money in the bank. I have a 5 clean rule, but to be honest can't remember the last time I stoped cleaning a house because of late payment. Everyone leads such busy lives so just work if into your wages. 

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Gerry Scrimshaw

I must be one lucky guy. Never gone out collecting, most of my custies I’ve never met, ( got them by fly posting) they’re out all day up in the smoke, pay by transfer, a little cash and about a dozen cheques a month. They all seem to love online banking. Maybe I’ve got the more affluent crowd!


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CHWS

The most annoying thing with me is people who are supposed to pay by bacs. Some take the **** that much with it I think id rather be knocking on the door to get it 

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steve garwood
55 minutes ago, Derek Comer said:

Every one gets a letter when iv cleaned the Windows. Just says

Your Windows have been cleaned today, I will be collecting Thursday/Friday. On average I'm down each week about £50,, which is ****, but my wages stay the same because I get the extra £50 from the double payers. Iv been doing this job since 1980 and u just have to learn to live with it. Yeah it's pisses u off late payers, but as long as u get it in the end it's just money in the bank. I have a 5 clean rule, but to be honest can't remember the last time I stoped cleaning a house because of late payment. Everyone leads such busy lives so just work if into your wages. 

Blimey, doing the job since 1980 and you still go out collecting? On a Friday night?

In this day and age, with go cardless and bax payments, I honestly see no reason in wasting time and fuel knocking on doors as people are eating their dinner.

Haven’t collected for years. Rather be in the pub on a Friday after work.

Each to their own I suppose 

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adamangler

I wouldn't do this job if the only option was cash collecting.

 

Thank god I never did it, can't imagine cleaning all day going home getting changed and having something to eat and then trapsing back out for an hour or so knocking on doors in the dark asking for money..how depressing.

 

I'd rather lose a few quid in non payers than go out chasing it every week.

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johnny bravo

2 cleans will be my limit,    unless they state just clean them,     if they are decent payers.  if not b ill just leave them get someone else. let them have a problem

 

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K in Kent
12 hours ago, Tuffers said:

Can’t see people paying £3 fine and keeping you on tbf. If like you say you’re in the early stages of your business and every penny counts I think you might find you’ll be losing customers faster than you get them. Yes, you can suspend cleaning if they haven’t paid but fining them would be a no no in my book.

I agree and it's totally unenforceable anyway, unless clearly stated in a written agreement / contract they have signed..

I don't know if you ever visit the other forum - it's like Jackanory meets La La Land at times with a fave philosophy r.e. bad payers of "drop 'em and replace with 2 new better customers". What nonsense. As I felt obliged to point out once to a regular user of this phrase, by definition he should have a round twice as big and more than twice as profitable on that basis.

The real world doesn't work like that.

Don't let people take liberties but show a bit of tolerance while you build a round and could be legitimate reasons why they haven't paid you or just forgot.

And no point making demands you can't enforce cos you'll just look a plonker and lose their custom.

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steve garwood

After a few years experience you get a nose for who is a messer and who is ok.

I have several customers who I haven’t seen for years as they work long hours in the city.

They sometimes get 3-4 payments behind, but then bax it over with a couple of credit payments, showing trust both ways.

As I said though, these are long standing customers of over 20 years. If I started saying ‘pay up after two cleans or I’ll charge you £3’, I won’t be ‘steve’ no more, just ‘the window cleaner’ that could easily be replaced. 

In over all these years, I’ve had only two people knock me for money, so this system works ok for me 🙂

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Green Pro Clean Ltd

What's this cash you talk of? 

 

But seriously.... If you bill £3 penalties they won't have you back.  

 

Just stand there with th GoCardless page open on your phone and put their info in right there and then for them.  Then it's done. No sodding about and everyone's happy. 

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J and S

Bit like Elliot here....I have customers who go 4 or 5 times but all eventually pay, they don't do online banking.

Never sacked off a customer for late payments and never had a problem getting money owed.

Still do a bit of collecting but 80% of my work is virtually on my doorstep and I like cash.

Having said that only ever have 2 or 3 at any one time who owe more than double.

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