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standing orders/late payers

I have a few residential clients i wish to put on standing orders, Do you think this will be achievable>? and how to approach this. a Month behind etc?

I also want to raise their prices and change to a fixed rate visit rather than x amount of hours... In winter im finding a visit im done in 2 hours etc and only billing say 40 pound for a visit. Far too low in my opinion and doesnt cover any expenses or travel or machinery.

Would i draft a letter and email (maybe based on last year figures ) with a increase?  how i would approach this is for a handfull of residential clients one a late payer who I have always chase money which i hope would solve this problem.


many thks

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  • PRO

    Hi Ian.

    From my personal experience you may struggle getting the client who's a late payer tied down to a standing order, especially if you are going to up the prices.

    How long have you had them at the current prices? If it's the one year then, again, from my experience a price rise might be hard to swallow along with being tied to a standing order. (I may be the exception to the rule though). I normally plan for 3 years before price rises, pricing new jobs accordingly. 

    How often do you bump into the clients you want to put on SO's? If it's regularly an alternative may be a card reader? I got mine to help deal with the late payers, but also helps with any that are not tied to SO's. Maybe it's partly psychological that some of my clients seem happy enough to pay by card that would otherwise frown at dipping into their wallets/purses.

  • I may just up the rate then not increased in 3 plus years.

    • Got one regular late payer myself, they will be charged by lump sums in advance for maintenance this year. If they even end up paying what they already owe me. Have given up chasing as it's not a massive amount in the grand scheme of things and I couldn't care less if I never have to go back there, so have written it off. My betting is they will be in touch once the garden looks a mess and payment for work carried out from last October to December will be miraculously forth coming lol. All my other clients are good payers.

  • PRO

    I'm just about to convert the last one to either a fixed price per visit or standing order.

    Which is what I say, you're the last one to change, everyone else has been on this regime for 6 years.

    I got a card machine iZettle after reading someone's post a few years back.  I found this works well, in our rural area, with many bank closures.  No need for the people to suss out where to get cash from, how to set up a standing order with no banks, and no cheques for me to process.

    I'd say, have the confidence to say, 'this is what is happening, your new rate is this, it is fixed per visit'

    People, I found generally appreciate, certainty of price, understand inflation, ease of payment, value you.

    Not everyone of course!

    Quote " if you charge £80, whats to stop you only doing 5 minutes?" My ans 'that would only work once'

  • PRO

    Yeah £40/visit in Winter definitely won't cut it. Most charge a minimum of 3 hours work, and that's a yearly average not just Winter where daylight is precious. Personally I can't be done with this type of work - would rather have nothing and do lots of work in spurts than little bits here and there spread out. I'll do major tidy ups, bed prep etc in the Winter if there's the opportunity, but don't go out of my way to get Winter work.

    Considering you'd only get 2 jobs done a day in the less than 6 hours daylight, £80 / day really isn't worth gettting out of bed for lol
    Unfortunately many customers, i.e. the wrong ones, will have taken it for granted that they had you over the Winter at only £40/visit. Last year I'd come to the conclusion I couldn't be a charity any longer - one customer in particular I had been proper spoiling with no price increases since beginning (including many free extras, large amounts of waste taken away, all the expensive equipment which speeded up job etc) thought it was "outrageous" when I put her hourly rate from £15 / hour to £22 / hour.  That's still at the lower rate considering my fixed price jobs.  Many people are delusional and still going by money's value from back in their day.

    No tears from me in losing these types, who ultimately would contribute to a hard worker going insane with nothing to show for it! This elderly woman even went as far as ranting about the price increase and bad mouthing me to other people (including a relative of mine). So yeah, that's all the gratitude you get from helping the type of customer who lives on another planet.


    Moral of the story, it's not you it's them.  Get the right customer in the first place :)

  • PRO

    Be confident mate and just tell them that is how you are working from 1st march 1st April or whatever.  It puts you so much more in control.  I've got to do the same with a few stragglers this year too.  Having done it with the majority over the last couple of years it makes you realise that some of your long term (and probably lower rate) customers aren't as important as you thought they were.  And they are only your friend when everything is in their favour.  This time next month the phone will be ringing off the hook and you will soon fill any gaps that may appear.

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