Do customers ever NOT PAY the invoice and stiff you for payment?

Post image for Do customers ever NOT PAY the invoice and stiff you for payment?

by Tom Watson on April 30, 2017

When I was first starting out in the cleaning business I did my fair share worrying about this or that.

It’s kind of hard to avoid because you simply don’t know all that much when you first get started in the cleaning business, or any business for that matter.

For me, one of the things that topped my list of worries was would I ever run into people or companies for that matter that simply refused to pay their bill. The way the world is nowadays, you kind of have to worry about this type of stuff. It’s sad, but that’s how it is I guess.

Anyway… at least for me, I haven’t had all that much of an issue over the years collecting what’s due. That’s not to say there aren’t some low-life’s that stiff you from time to time, because they are out there, but luckily they are in the minority.

The first time I can ever remember having someone not pay was for a doctors office. It was about three years or so from the day I got started. I can’t remember exactly but it did take a long time. The way it came about was this office paid me monthly. But for some reason they skipped a month.

When I inquired they claimed they sent the check and that I had already cashed it. Now I knew this was not true, as I can easily look at my statements to see that I never cashed any check. When I raised this fact with the manager over the phone she flew into a fit.

I mean literally into a screaming and yelling tantrum. I didn’t like that of course, but I sucked it up so that I could do some more homework. To give you some more background, this particular office manager was not very nice and I never really liked her from day one.

With that said, the job ran about $660.00 per month, and it was a real cupcake of an account. So I had to be a little delicate and make sure I was absolutely right before bringing up the topic again. While I was getting my bank records together and everything else, about a month or so passed.

Everything was cool with the account, except for that one skipped payment. I mean they payed the one right after it without an issue. Anyway… just when I was ready to call, I found out that the office manger who was stiffing me for my money had been fired.

I heard she got canned because of something to do with the company finances. They were real tight lipped on the matter, so I took it as she was doing something wrong. I honestly think it was for stealing, and some of that money may have been mine.

She may have thought she could get away with it because I was the cleaner, who knows. I never heard anymore about it, and the new manager paid up just fine. I’ve had other issues over the years. One in particular was a furniture company that stiffed me for well over a thousand bucks.

They had the nerve to flat out tell me I wasn’t getting paid and there was nothing I could do about it. While I could have sued, the cost to recoup the money would have exceeded what was owned me, so I ate it. I didn’t like it, but that’s the way it played out.

The funny thing is that furniture store went out of business about a year later and every last one of those front office snobs lost their cushy jobs. I guess what goes around comes around! In hindsight, the company probably let us go and would not pay us for what we were do because they were experiencing money problems for a while before shutting the doors.

Some companies die a slow death before calling it quits. Over the years I’ve also had some apartment managers stiff me for various charges. Mostly smaller ticket items that weren’t all that much money. So to make a long story short, odds are you will get stiffed from time to time.

Just don’t get too worked up over the possibility. Generally most folks are good people who pay what they owe without any problems whatsoever. If you do have any issues collecting payment, a company like CMI Credit Mediators Inc may be of assistance.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sandhya April 30, 2017 at 12:56 pm

Tom, I have on my contracts “payment is due on the First of every month” for services to be rendered in that month. I set the expectation in the beginning. I made a request that I needed the money to run the business. And so far that has worked. And I intend to continue that.

You very much for your tips. I look forward to reading your blog. I am a new entrepreneur and your guidance is very helpful.

2 Tom Watson May 7, 2017 at 1:44 pm

THANKS so much for the kind words Sandhya!

3 Jana Basler July 12, 2017 at 5:13 pm

Can we charge a late fee for late payments? I have on our contracts the payment is due on the 1st of every month and no later than the 10th. This account has been paying late for the last 2 months, just curious if we could charge a $20 late payment charge?
Thanks in advance for your advice

4 Tom Watson July 23, 2017 at 12:21 pm

You can, but you RISK getting the accounts upset and losing them. I never did, because I kept the BIG PICTURE in mind.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: