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To ask for the money?!?

(44 Posts)
hasanyoneseenbarb Fri 15-Nov-19 15:11:08

I run a small cleaning company and have the same late payers week upon week...

It's a small business and I like to pay employees weekly which is proving difficult with certain customers constantly paying whenever they fancy as apposed to on the day.

AIBU to think if you are having to be reminded on a weekly basis you should either start paying cash or having a standing order?

I absolutely hate asking for money but as this is about the 7th week in a row it's starting to feel deliberate blushconfused

Thehop Fri 15-Nov-19 15:13:00

Advertise their slot and fill it with someone else

CalmFizz Fri 15-Nov-19 15:14:40

What does your contract say about when payment is due?

Late fee charges?

MTBMummy Fri 15-Nov-19 15:17:42

Can you change your terms to payment must be made a week in advance, failure to do so will result in their booking being cancelled

Maybe prefix the change with something along the lines of Due to continued late payment...

JollyAndBright Fri 15-Nov-19 15:18:59

I would send out an ‘updated company policy’ which stayed from X date next payment for services must be made within X days for services, in the first instance of late payment a warning will be issued, if any further payment are late, late fees may be added and if it becomes a regular occurrence payment will be required before the services are provided or they will not be provided.

Add this policy to all future client contracts.

FabbyChix Fri 15-Nov-19 15:19:12

You shouldn’t have to wait to be paid to be able to pay your staff. You should have adequate cash flow to be able to run your business without the worry of people paying

WagtailRobin Fri 15-Nov-19 15:24:31

You're effectively providing a service for free by not paying paid and/or chasing up the late payments; Do you think any other business, small or large would operate like that?

Ask for your money, they have had a service, they need to pay for it and stop supplying said service until all monies have been paid in full.

WagtailRobin Fri 15-Nov-19 15:25:32

That should have said "By not being paid..", not "By not paying paid..."

hasanyoneseenbarb Fri 15-Nov-19 15:25:51

Terms and conditions might be the best way to go I think....

Fabbychix I think most people starting a business without start up loans don't have a massive amount of cashflow, that's what why they are called "small businesses"

hasanyoneseenbarb Fri 15-Nov-19 15:26:51


peachgreen Fri 15-Nov-19 15:28:23

I pay my cleaner in advance by standing order and if I didn't pay she wouldn't turn up!

Interestedwoman Fri 15-Nov-19 15:30:57

YANBU. It's disrespectful of them and not holding their side of the agreement. It'd be hard to manage this situation even on your own, let alone when you have employees to pay.

I would give them an ultimatum- say you need them to pay on the agreed day by either cash or standing order, otherwise you can't keep them on.

TeachesOfPeaches Fri 15-Nov-19 15:33:34

You shouldn't feel bad about being paid for a service provided. You're a business, not a charity.

Travis1 Fri 15-Nov-19 15:46:29

I work in a service industry and we ask for payment up front for first visit and then put people on a 30 day account. We put late payers back onto payment upfront. It's the only sensible thing to do.

michaelbaubles Fri 15-Nov-19 15:53:53

The out of school club my DC go to deals with this in the first instance by just having a pile of letters about non/late payment and handing one to everyone when they pick up whether it applies to them or not. The owner might say "I know you always pay on time but I'm giving one to everyone" - that way it avoids people feeling singled out and saves her feeling confrontational.

Purpledragon40 Fri 15-Nov-19 15:55:35

I wouldn't go into a supermarket and say I will pay later.

Puzzledandpissedoff Fri 15-Nov-19 15:56:34

this is about the 7th week in a row it's starting to feel deliberate

It probably is, OP, so the only sensible thing is to ask them once more for immediate payment and then replace them

You're running a business not a credit service, and trust me that nothing else - not T&Cs, repeated requests or anything else - will work

And actually it's even worse than that, since so much work like this is gained through word of mouth. How do you fancy being known as the one who's "most understanding" about getting paid? hmm

adaline Fri 15-Nov-19 15:59:01

Change your terms and conditions.

Ask for payment 48 hours in advance of their appointment. If they don't pay, give their "slot" to someone else. They're taking the piss - and you're letting them.

Expressedways Fri 15-Nov-19 16:00:56

7th week in a row is definitely deliberate.
My cleaning company takes card details and if cash isn’t left for the cleaner, the card is charged instead. I actually find it quite convenient as I don’t have to think about payment and it’s taken automatically, nor do I have to remember to adjust a standing order if I’m not having cleaning that week for whatever reason. Maybe you could do something like that?

Collision Fri 15-Nov-19 16:07:58

Stop being a wet blanket and remember this......


You can pick up another client tomorrow. They won’t want to find another cleaner.

So put your big girl pants on and say you need the money now.

Then when you have been paid you send an email to everyone saying what your new terms and conditions are. One strike and they lose you.

Do it now.

MLMsuperfan Fri 15-Nov-19 16:09:37

Say you give a 10% discount applied to the NEXT bill, if they pay their current invoice within 7 days. Increase your prices accordingly, so it's really not a discount, but a fine if they don't.

NoSquirrels Fri 15-Nov-19 16:11:35

Payment in advance or on the day: £x per hour

Payment the following day or up to a week late: £x+1 per hour

Payment later than a week: £x+1 per hour and a £10 surcharge.

HeyNotInMyName Fri 15-Nov-19 16:13:20

Standing order or payment in advance..

MLMsuperfan Fri 15-Nov-19 16:14:06

Taking credit card payment is a pretty good idea actually. You can reserve the sum but only finalise the payment when work is done. It will cost you but you are shifting the credit risk to someone else.

Puzzledandpissedoff Fri 15-Nov-19 16:18:45

Taking credit card payment is a pretty good idea actually

In theory, yes - but I doubt it'll be much help with determined late- or non-payers. Almost certainly "their OH will have taken their card to work with them", they'll be "in the process of changing banks" or whatever

Anonanonanonanonanonanonanon Fri 15-Nov-19 16:18:51

You should never feel bad about asking for payment for a service you have provided. They owe you that money and it is your right to request it. I run a small business providing a service, and I ask people to pay in advance. It's the only way to guarantee you won't end up working free of charge. No pay, no play.

ReanimatedSGB Fri 15-Nov-19 16:25:34

Definitely inform all your clients that due to payment issues you have a new policy and outline it - either you take card details and charge their cards if cash isn't left out, or you add a surcharge for late payers, or you simply stop working for them if they don't pay when payment is due. Some people are shit with money, of course, but some seem to think that cleaners (or childminders) are servants who should be grateful to get paid at all.

lowlandLucky Fri 15-Nov-19 16:38:47

You cant un-clean a house so always insist on payment up front

SuzieBishop Fri 15-Nov-19 16:49:28

Stop cleaning their houses until the pay!!!

Justaboy Fri 15-Nov-19 16:51:34

Understand your problem only too well OP and its a right PITA payments late ones etc.

Its a bit of an admin chore but you could try Direct Debits we used to use and agency called Eazipay there based near Ely in Cambs. You need to send that a excel spreadsheet fill in in the required ammounts on send it toi them via e-mail which once you get it set up works fine. There is a user fee but set that off against all the other hassle and it might work for you.

Pepole have to pay for such as Phones on a DD so why not the cleaning you can of course vary the ammount each time you take a payment.

Very easy company to deal with too!

BettySwollocksandaCrustyRack Fri 15-Nov-19 16:55:19

Why are you letting it go on for 7 weeks? If a client misses a payment then you dont send someone in to clean their house until there account is up to date. Also, your cleaners work for you, not your clients therefore you need to pay them for the job they have done regardless of whether your client has paid you or not.

pelirocco123 Fri 15-Nov-19 16:57:35

FabbyChix Fri 15-Nov-19 15:19:12
You shouldn’t have to wait to be paid to be able to pay your staff. You should have adequate cash flow to be able to run your business without the worry of people paying

Cash flow is literally the amount of money coming in (ie customers payment ) v amount of money going on on bills
If customers don't pay , you cant pay bills , its not complicated

pelirocco123 Fri 15-Nov-19 16:58:58

Op , terms and conditions are a must and a signed contract from your customer . Dont be afraid to bin a customer that is a poor payer

Raspberrytruffle Fri 15-Nov-19 17:07:26

My mum used to have a small cleaning business if her and a few good mates, the late payers were always loaded

lanbro Fri 15-Nov-19 17:07:29

This really boils my piss and you definitely need to be very firm! I provide a service and I take full payment in advance only, no exceptions, if I'm not paid I don't do it. I know 2 cleaners and both complain of late payers so its obviously pretty common. Every time I've used cleaners I've paid immediately, either cash or bank transfer but I wouldn't make them wait for it as they've done the work. Get firm!

MinTheMinx Fri 15-Nov-19 17:14:57

I had this with my business until I added payment in advance plus a late payment fee to the contact. Not an issue now and clients respect your more if you run your business properly (and that does include toughening up a bit).

MinTheMinx Fri 15-Nov-19 17:17:33

As others have said, It was ALWAYS the well off clients that paid late because they just didn't understand the value of money. Clients who were struggling financially paid on time without fail.

willowmelangell Fri 15-Nov-19 17:18:15

You have had some excellent advice. I was a childminder for 7 years and the amount of times I heard, "I have not been to the bank." or "I will pay you Monday." It beggars belief. Contracts were signed by all parties. I lost over a £1000. Some people really take advantage. Don't be me.

hasanyoneseenbarb Fri 15-Nov-19 17:27:32

It's got continually worse over the time and the well off ones are definitely the worst.

I've had many people promising to set up a direct debit that have failed to materialise

TheresNeverEnoughCheese Fri 15-Nov-19 17:27:34

You have a right to the money and should ask for it. I understand that its uncomfortable but if you don't say anything they will keep taking advantage of you. May also be worth mentioning that when they don't pay you, you can't pay your staff so they understand the ramifications of late payments. Maybe if they see that its impacting payroll they might make more of an effort to pay on time.

Graphista Fri 15-Nov-19 17:30:02

Just to clarify have they paid late 7 weeks running or not paid and now into 7th week of getting the service even though they haven't paid?

Either way if you're running a business, particularly one where you have employees you HAVE to be assertive.

My friend has a commercial cleaning company, she expects payment upfront cleared by close of business the day before the service will be happening. No money = no service. If they haven't paid she contacts them around 4pm to check in, if they're umming and ahing or giving excuses they don't get the service that week, if the same happens again the following week even if they eventually paid she drops them as clients.

As she herself says she's busy enough that

A they need her more than she needs them, she has a waiting list of potential clients, is always getting interest and knows she can replace them easily

B she doesn't have time to be chasing stingy arses who think they are too "important" to have to pay on time

C she has to consider her employees and making sure she can pay them AND stay in business

If you don't deal with this appropriately and stringently you're not just risking not being able to pay employees this month you're risking the whole business collapsing and putting yourself and your employees livelihoods at risk.

Credit control is a key part of running a business, contact the late/non-payers, the ones have really taken the piss cut them off, the ditherers put them on notice, but as pps say it may well be good to write to all clients with new t&c's

"Unfortunately due to issues with some clients over payment we are having to introduce a policy of payment in advance, you can do this by (whatever way works for you the business).

If payment is not received by close of business the day before we provide your service then we cannot provide the service.

We value our customers greatly and enjoy working with you, but without timely payments we are unable to provide the service that we hope you value too."

Justaboy Fri 15-Nov-19 20:02:28

I've had many people promising to set up a direct debit that have failed to materialise


Do you know the differnce between a Direct Debit and a standing order?.

wineisnecessary Fri 15-Nov-19 20:10:17

I work in finance you need to put term & conditions . Do you have payment terms on invoice ie invoice to be paid in 7 days ?
If not they will go by theirs terms which could be anything . When you get a contract get the client to sign your terms and conditions that payment terms are and make sure you put this on each and every invoice .

RandomMess Fri 15-Nov-19 20:19:14

Another thing to consider is putting your prices up and then billing monthly in advance with a discount for prompt payment by x date wink

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