Late checks

I was wondering what some of y’all s thoughts on this might be I have been doing business for this restaurant Copelands for years they have always paid late but this time is ridiculous we do them monthly and I’m still waiting on November of last years check I call the manger but he doesn’t write the check it goes up a line of bull shine to talk to anyone I feel like bringing my whole family in there ordering all kinds of food and when they bring me the bill say it will be here in 30 days then I go to jail any thoughts or suggestions whould be greatly appreciated

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We’ve had a couple over the years but I make it quite clear to commercial customers that if invoice is under $5,000.00 it’s 15 days net…period. Floating a few hundred here and there for 30 days makes no sense to me. And I would drop a customer or jack the price on them if they were continually late on payment. It’s total disrespect on their part, I don’t care who signs the check.

Does your contract state how long they have for the payment?

It doesnt matter how long a contract states how long they have to pay, companies take their time. It has become the norm for some companies to take up to 90 days. Just because a contract requests 30 days doesnt force them to follow that as a rule.

When companies do not pay within a reasonable amount of time, you then have to weigh your option. Charge more for the inconvenience, stop providing service or take legal action to collect. It depends on your circumstances what course of action you want to take to collect.

Late pays hurt smaller companies more because they need the cash flow to operate. Larger companies have enough cash on hand to absorb the impact and wait the 90 days to receive payment.

My friend owns a company and it is nothing for him to have $500,000 out there floating around waiting to receive their checks. Most of his customers pay around 90-120 days.

If you trust them enough to pay then I would keep doing work for them, that is if you have time to fit them in your schedule. Just don’t rely on that money for monthly operating expenses. Consider it gravy money that you know will show up sooner or later.

Thanks y’all the contract is 30 days some great advice I really appreciate it

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I wish I could have helped more but the harsh reality is that regardless of what the contract says customers that are granted credit, whether it be 30 days or 90 days will pay you when they pay their other bills. It doesnt help you any but it is just the cost of doing business with commercial accounts.

Hey Jeremy I feel your pain brother. I also have a few checks outstanding since November on some commercial work that are past there deadlines. We also do other jobs for these PM companies so besides a call every now and then to their accounts payable department we sit and wait. Like Hero PW says above, if you can swing it then when the money comes in it’s like gravy.

This is the “Nature of the Beast” when dealing with commercial work.

I would make them COD, if they don’t agree fire them.

Waiting 30, 60, 90, 120 days for a few hundred or a couple of thousand dollars? I’m sorry maybe I’m looking at this wrong or just have some really great commercial clients or just the way our policy is for payment but its not the nature of the beast…if you don’t want it to be. Most businesses can’t afford to “float” these sums of money for that amount of time, and why a lot of businesses fold when accepting those type of terms. Sure if your account is flush with cash you can afford to wait, most businesses can’t. I found this out years ago myself and why we have our payment polices in place and rarely ever waiver from them.

We bust our tails to provide a professional job & service to our customers, and for that we should expect payment in a timely and reasonable timeframe…I don’t believe “That’s Just The Way It Is”…I believe “Is That The Way You Want It”? Because you don’t have to accept it…if you don’t want to.

Just Saying…

GuyB, what your saying is very true, but you need to do what you did from the very beginning and make it clear to your customers and maintain consistancy and follow up as soon as 30 days hits. Once you slack off from your policy then it gets out of control.

Preaching To The Choir Brother, and the gist of my post…Lol.

I guess this is just a sensitive subject because I know how hard we (All) work for our customers. The respect, care and attention to detail we give their property or project…then to be rewarded only by the disrespect of late payment and/or the excuses that follow…Again if you allow it. Is a bit much.

I remember the struggle of having to accept what “They” were willing to pay & when “They” were willing to pay for it…And then coming to the realization that it doesn’t have to be that way.

Now that may seem at little “Out There” for some to understand, and might not work for most, but works for us…The idea was taught to me by a fellow Contractor many years ago and I never forgot it.

I like this thread. I’m in total agreement with Guy’s point. We’re treated how we allow ourselves to be treated. I personally have a policy similar to what Guy has. In addition to being very clear with them about our payment policy, we are also vey clear with our commercial clients that we offer a very small, scaled discount based on them paying earlier than agreed upon. We regretfully had to cut off our largest commercial client a few years ago for late payment issues. My employees weren’t happy about it. I explained to my guys that I was looking out for them because if we allowed this to go on, that it would open the door for more problems that could potentially affect their jobs in a much more negative way. That same account ended up calling several months later. They apologized for the inconvenience and offered to pay in advance for future jobs if we would come back. We’ve had others that we never heard from again. It’s a scary thing to do sometimes, but it’s the right thing to do.

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You have to decide if it’s worth it when it comes to commercial work. Yes we all want to be paid on time and nothing is better then residential which is why I’ll never stop with that side of my business. Some of my biggest commercial jobs have paid late and knowing that yes indeed this is the “Nature of the beast” because we’ve been doing commercial work since the 90’s you have to decide if it’s worth it if you can’t get them to speed up the payments.

We have dropped some bad commercial accounts over the years and we kept some others that notoriously pay late but those payments are worth it for me to keep them.

The bottom line is do what works best for your company. If you can float the payments then you have more options.

We wait 45 days all the time and sometimes 60 or more. Anything past 90 days gets a collection letter from our lawyers and then they get 2 weeks from the letter to pay before they get put in collections. Then we write off the entire cleaning as a loss…

Then they get put on the DNS list. DO NOT SERVICE. We have a long list! haha

Like What?

Common Guy give me a tougher question…lol… like what you ask? Like being able to take a late payment every now and then and not rushing to judgment and dropping a potentially lucrative commercial account. If the account flat out sucks…then dump it. If it pays well but sometimes they may pay late which is in my opinion the nature of doing commercial work then plan accordingly. The more commercial work you or anyone does you will see it’s nothing at all like residential work when it comes to payment. Almost all commercial work is based on quite a few days out for payment and at times late payments can and does happen.

This is interesting.

Now Ty I know you have a very successful business with many employees and not hurting at the bank, have you always had this policy, even when you first started? Do you find benefits in floating 45-60 days?

After the letters and collections then writing it off as a loss…do you have a % profit or loss.

I’m just asking because I think all views should be discussed. There’s no right or wrong, like John said Got to do whats best for your business.

No I was asking so guys can get the “Big Picture” John. While we do Residential work the bulk of our income comes from Apartment, Condo & town home communities, And/or the PM companies that manage them. We also work for a construction company that builds Sheets, walgreens, CVS and others doing new construction and remodel washing.

This should be looked at from both sides of the street.

Yup agree with that totally. 2 sides of the coin on this. Depends on the business one has. Some of my favorite commercial clients have paid late time to time but we still do business together.

Look forward to readings Ty’s response.


When I first started I obviously did not like late payments… but now I have the cash flow to cover for them. So as long as they pay within 60 days I keep them as a customer and try to get them to pay more quickly.

I will drop a Gem for everyone on this board. Get Legal Shield. It is only like $29 a month and you can write up to 10 collection letters a month. So when companies see a collection letter from a lawyer they pay fast! :wink: You also get free conference calls with lawyers to help you in other situations. It has come in VERY handy for our company. We call them a lot. Never paid more than $29.

As far as the writing off as a loss, I believe you are able to write off 100% of the expenses involved in the cleaning. And on all my jobs that I take a loss we used A LOT of chemical and fuel! haha

My accountant handles that though.