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To be paid for a job done

(20 Posts)
MaggieMagpie1 Fri 03-Feb-17 23:33:22

My dh is a self employed handyman. He has worked very hard for the last five years to build up his business. I work full time as a PA, but help him out with his HR/Admin etc.

When he first started out he was very cautious about charging a decent price for the work he was doing, but over the time he's been working at this business, he's begun charging more what is reasonable for his work.

What's annoying me is that some of his customers are not paying him when the job is complete. His terms are full payment on completion of the job. This is stated on all quotes, which are supplied in writing before the job is started. Some of his customers pay by cheque, which while it involves delays and therefore possible cashflow problems, at least it's paid.

Most customers pay by bank transfer, or very occasionally in cash but I have noticed recently that they seem to suggest that they'll pay "within the next few days"

I should add that these comments even come when the customer has looked at the job and is happy with it.

AIBU to think that when the job is complete and the customer is happy then the job should be paid for? Not in the next day or so (which has on occasion taken up to a month) but right away?

Whenever I've had someone doing work in my house I've always had the money for them, maybe things have changed though, and I know I could be biased given the nature of dh's work.

Am genuinely curious

NoChocolateThanks Sat 04-Feb-17 18:18:55

It sounds terrible,surely someone who requires a service has an understanding of the cost and should be prepared to pay shock
But I heard from self employed friends that it getting worse nowadays,people don't want to part with their money or expect discount ,trying to find reason not to pay in full.It looks like it really hard to be self employed atm

Talith Sat 04-Feb-17 18:25:57

Yes he absolutely should be paid. Perhaps a change of arrangements is necessary whereby poor payers must pay up front in full in the future and 50% up front becomes standard basic terms for all. Make it clear cheques not accepted and bank transfer or cash only. Maybe if he invests in the apps that take payments online can offer card payment too. He shouldn't leave a job without the payment. Just needs a fresh approach. Regular or decent customers will work with those terms.

user892 Sat 04-Feb-17 18:31:29

I think they're assuming that a few days is ok. If invoices said payment due immediately / within 24 hours of completion of works maybe it would focus people's thinking.

HandbagCrazy Sat 04-Feb-17 18:34:37

My dad is a self employed tradesman and has been dealing with this crap for years. He too says it's getting worse.

He now charges between 25% and 50% of the price in advance (50%) for new customers and less if he knows them. He also advises them around a week before jobs are complete of when it will he completed - he does this from the approach of "job will be completed by next Sunday. So I can get paperwork ready for you, are you a cash / cheque / transfer payer?" It sort of tells people when he is expecting payment and makes it awkward if they don't pay but it's polite iyswim?

He does have the odd pay-dodger and employs his assistants to chase this up (me, mum or dsis). It's awful to say but these people tend to be women who want my dad to take pity on them or men who feel like my dad is their mate. For some reason, having us chase debts makes the women realise it's a business and men feel all awkward about being chased. Dad used to do it but he's so busy that we do it while we're waiting for the roast to cook on the one Sunday a month we're all together smile

WhisperingLoudly Sat 04-Feb-17 18:34:53

He needs to make it clear what his expectations are: the plumber I use (not a sole trader but v small company) never accept cash and send an invoice for payment with 30 days.

harderandharder2breathe Sat 04-Feb-17 18:34:58

Agree with changing the wording to make it clear that payment is required within 24 hours of completion

Of course people should pay, and he will still have chancers trying not to. But he shouldn't be making it easier for them by not stating a definite payment due by date.

rookiemere Sat 04-Feb-17 18:37:11

Well I've had a few things done in the house recently and have said is it ok if I pay in a few days and they've said fine. Reason being is that Friday is my non working day so I do all my admin then including paying bills.

If they'd said they needed it that day, then I would have made the time to pay it, or given a cheque, but seeing as you need to find a bank to bring a cheque to - not so easy these days as most branches appear to be closing around here - and it takes a few days to clear, I don't quite get why it's a big deal to do an immediate bank transfer on Friday to someone who did work on a Wednesday.

Noodlehair Sat 04-Feb-17 18:43:45

I take a 25% deposit up front for all jobs now, and it is clearly on the bottom of my quote that I expect payment within 7 days of completion. I add 3% to the bill everyday that passes without payment past the 7 days, again this is made really clear on the bottom of the quote and I ask them to sign to say they've read the full terms of the quote before we start the job. If they don't pay within 30 days I automatically write to inform theme I am starting recovery proceedings and most pay up, then failing that I use the government money claim form (costs about £30) and so far I've had a 100% success rate as soon as they get the official money claim letter they pay up with costs added. But it's murder on the cash flow waiting!!!
(I run a cleaning company)

Chippednailvarnishing Sat 04-Feb-17 18:49:16

rookiemere not every small business has the working capital to pay for the materials for a job and then wait until it's convenient for the customer to pay them. Writing a cheque takes minutes and a lot if banks have electronic paying in machine that can credit the account within hours.
I'd rather support small local businesses and pay on time.

Noodlehair Sat 04-Feb-17 18:53:35

I meant to add that putting payment upon completion clearly in his terms and asking them to sign the quote to accept should make everyone really clear about when payment is due and same say payment is acceptable (though for jobs over a certain amount he may need to extend those terms by a day or few).

Willyoujustbequiet Sat 04-Feb-17 18:56:50

I can see both sides.....I dont think a few days is unreasonable at all. Most of the tradesmen I use seem to want cash (smaller jobs) and dont give a price until after they've started. I dont keep cash lying around so they have to wait a bit. If they dont like it they should accept transfers or state up front.

sonjadog Sat 04-Feb-17 18:57:45

I think it is a reasonable thing to ask for, but he needs to make it clear in advance. I almost never have a lot of cash on me if I haven´t known about needing it in advance, so I´ve been one of these payers who transfers within a day or two.

Softkitty2 Sat 04-Feb-17 19:04:43

He needs to be more proactive with relaying when he expects payment and basically say no to delayed payment because if it is the other way around the customers wouldn't be happy.

CatOnAWarmTinRoof Sat 04-Feb-17 19:09:46

willyoujustbequiet really? You let someone start a job before agreeing a price?

No, I don't keep cash lying around, but if someone's doing a job that will take a week, on Thursday I confirm what the balance is, and get the cash to pay them on friday

WhippinPiccadilly1 Sat 04-Feb-17 19:13:42

I've never paid at any other time other than on completion, before they leave my house. I've had loads of jobs done over the years, and it never ever occurred to me to pay at a later date.
The job is quoted, they came over to do the job, I made sure I got the cash out, and paid them as they were ready to leave.
Is this not the norm? When I go to buy something, you pay there and then.
The only time I'd assume differently would be building work, or expensive work that involved large amounts of money. Then that would be invoiced. Handymen/plumbers/electricians/decorators etc which jobs are typically a few hundred, should be paid before they leave your house surely?!

MilkTwoSugarsThanks Sat 04-Feb-17 19:13:49

When you say "the customer is happy", in what circumstances are they happy? Are they standing next to your DH as soon as the job is done while he waits for a response?

I, personally, would never tell a tradesman there and then if I was unhappy with something. I don't like confrontation like that. I also think it's not unreasonable to give a couple of days to "test" for want of a better word. I remember having a new floor put down and only discovering 3 days later that some of the edging hadn't been fixed down properly. I hadn't paid the full balance so I was able to withhold that until they came back and fixed it, iyswim.

Cookingongas Sat 04-Feb-17 19:15:31

Yanbu
But I run a small company and frankly it's getting worse and worse.

I now ask for 50% upfront. And still have to chase. I've been put in a position this week where my mortgage has bounced because one customer is doing all she can to avoid payment (£1000+).

If she'd asked for long term payment agreement when I started or been honest three weeks ago when I said payment would be due the 17th Jan- if she'd said "I can't afford to pay then, I need more time cooking " I would have juggled extra work to cover my bills alongside her job. But she didn't. And now she's "sent a cheque". Sigh

I hope to get to a point where I'm living less hand to mouth and when people can't be arsed to pay on time it won't fuck up my life quite so much.

museumum Sat 04-Feb-17 19:19:02

Cash is a massive pain in the arse. I really struggle to find a cash point where I can park around here and there are non in walking distance. It takes ages with toddler ds to get cash.

Anyway, I do pay by bank transfer whenever possible but I do it that day, if it's an amount I can transfer by app I'll do it while they're still here on my phone. Bigger amounts need me to fire up the computer and use my card and the wee device thingy and they usually don't want to sit around waiting for that.

Does he hand over a written invoice? My window cleaner has cards with his bank info which he writes the amount due in and they say "payment due now" on them.

Cookingongas Sat 04-Feb-17 19:20:40

Milktwosugars- I have customers sign a completion form on leaving all jobs. It confirms that they are happy, the full cost and balance remaining. It also confirms that I guarantee all my work for 12 months after carrying out. It's a sad reflection on trades that anyone is employing someone they wouldn't trust to return if something goes wrong sad even if you have already paid them.

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