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  #1  
Old 10-13-2015, 04:29 PM
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Invoice...math that customer doesn't understand


2013


Lawn service price .......37

Lawn service for empty lot (always every other week).......15
==============================================================


2015

Lawn service price......37

Lawn service price for empty lot (every other week).....20


Out of the goodness of my heart, I would cut the empty lot 4 times during the month, and charge $10 each* *(because I could cut through it real fast)


Customer is fine with the invoice looking like this:

6-3.......Lawn service w/lot......47
6-10......Lawn service w/ lot.....47
6-17......Lawn service w/ lot.....47
6-24......Lawn service w/ lot.....47
-------------------------------------------------

Total....$188

==========================================================

BUT

What should this total come to???


9-3........Lawn service ......
9-10......Lawn service......
9-17......Lawn service .....
9-24......Lawn service......
9-3........Lawn service (lot)......
9-17........Lawn service (lot)......
-----------------------------------------------------

Total........




The response from customer after seeing the invoice.

SPOILER:
However, I do not understand you charging me $20 for the lot on 9/3 and again on 9/17 when you charge me $47 for cutting the lot and yard together. Please explain..







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Last edited by LiveFree; 10-13-2015 at 04:32 PM.
  #2  
Old 10-13-2015, 04:43 PM
Gary T is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LiveFree View Post
What should this total come to???


9-3........Lawn service ......
9-10......Lawn service......
9-17......Lawn service .....
9-24......Lawn service......
9-3........Lawn service (lot)......
9-17........Lawn service (lot)......
-----------------------------------------------------

Total........
Why are you showing this without prices?


Quote:
The response from customer after seeing the invoice.

SPOILER:
However, I do not understand you charging me $20 for the lot on 9/3 and again on 9/17 when you charge me $47 for cutting the lot and yard together. Please explain..
And how the heck can we evaluate his response without knowing what he was billed?






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  #3  
Old 10-13-2015, 04:59 PM
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I'm showing it without prices because I want to see what you all think the total should come to. I gave the pricing information above.
  #4  
Old 10-13-2015, 05:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LiveFree View Post
2015

Lawn service price......37

Lawn service price for empty lot (every other week).....20



BUT

What should this total come to???


9-3........Lawn service ......
9-10......Lawn service......
9-17......Lawn service .....
9-24......Lawn service......
9-3........Lawn service (lot)......
9-17........Lawn service (lot)......
-----------------------------------------------------

Total........
37 * 4 = 148
20 * 2 = 40
Total = $188
  #5  
Old 10-13-2015, 05:41 PM
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Thank you. Baffles the hell out of me that she thinks the total should be $168
  #6  
Old 10-13-2015, 05:43 PM
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Were you not cutting the lot every week in September? If you were, why not continue to bill both as one weekly line item. If not, I understand the customer's confusion. You were charging him $10 to cut the lot a few months ago and now you are charging $20.
  #7  
Old 10-13-2015, 05:50 PM
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Customer is right.

Previously you charged $10 each time you cut the lot. Now its changed.

Why?
  #8  
Old 10-13-2015, 05:51 PM
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I did NOT cut the lot weekly in Sept.


"Lawn service price for empty lot (every other week).....$20"
  #9  
Old 10-13-2015, 05:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bengangmo View Post
Customer is right.

Previously you charged $10 each time you cut the lot. Now its changed.

Why?

I still charged her $40 for the month. The price for the lot has NEVER been $10 per cut on an every other week schedule

$10 for weekly (because I was being nice)
$20 for every other week.

Last edited by LiveFree; 10-13-2015 at 05:56 PM.
  #10  
Old 10-13-2015, 06:04 PM
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Both you and the customer are right.

You: the agreement was for $20/cut for the lot, every other week.
The customer: but in June you cut it 4 times and only billed him $20.

Do you have the quote you sent him for 2015? That might help him understand where you are coming from, especially if you have an agreement he signed.

On the whole, though, I think you caused the confusion by trying to be nice and cut the lot more often than agreed to, and made it worse by being inconsistent in the way you invoice from month to month. If you had invoiced for two lot cuts at $20 for June, even if you had cut it four times, I doubt you would be in this position.

If you were asking for advice I would suggest you apologize for the confusion and eat the $20 for this month, and clearly explain the agreed upon amount for next month.

ETA: I just picked up that the proper pronoun is "her". Please excuse the gender assumption in my posts.

Last edited by nesta; 10-13-2015 at 06:06 PM.
  #11  
Old 10-13-2015, 06:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nesta View Post
Both you and the customer are right.

You: the agreement was for $20/cut for the lot, every other week.
The customer: but in June you cut it 4 times and only billed him $20.
Not 20, my info in the first post shows 40. 37 + 10 each.

6-3.......Lawn service w/lot......47
6-10......Lawn service w/ lot.....47
6-17......Lawn service w/ lot.....47
6-24......Lawn service w/ lot.....47



I agree that some of the confusion comes from me showing $10, when I cut it weekly (as a good will gesture).

But, math is math. Either way it's $188 total.
  #12  
Old 10-13-2015, 06:13 PM
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I find it very confusing. Why are you billing the empty lot in two two week chunks billed once a month when you're cutting it every week? $10 per cut would make a lot more sense to me, if you're going to itemize it separately from the lawn cut.

I would understand it after you explained it to me several times, but I'd still walk away feeling a little disgruntled and confused and wondering just exactly how you were screwing me over, even if I was pretty sure you weren't.

It would definitely make me think twice about recommending you to my friends and neighbors, because I wouldn't want them to feel as confused as I feel and blame me for recommending you.

Either bill for the cut (the actual cuts you make) or bill for the month. It's not a good will gesture to make your customers feel stupid.
  #13  
Old 10-13-2015, 06:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WhyNot View Post
I find it very confusing. Why are you billing the empty lot in two two week chunks billed once a month when you're cutting it every week? $10 per cut would make a lot more sense to me, if you're going to itemize it separately from the lawn cut.

I would understand it after you explained it to me several times, but I'd still walk away feeling a little disgruntled and confused and wondering just exactly how you were screwing me over, even if I was pretty sure you weren't.

It would definitely make me think twice about recommending you to my friends and neighbors, because I wouldn't want them to feel as confused as I feel and blame me for recommending you.

Either bill for the cut (the actual cuts you make) or bill for the month. It's not a good will gesture to make your customers feel stupid.


I did NOT cut it every week in September.........it was every other week.


Maybe it should look like this.

9-3........Lawn service (house) ......
9-10......Lawn service (house)......
9-17......Lawn service (house).....
9-24......Lawn service (house)......
9-3........Lawn service (lot)......
9-17........Lawn service (lot)......

Last edited by LiveFree; 10-13-2015 at 06:20 PM.
  #14  
Old 10-13-2015, 06:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LiveFree View Post
Not 20, my info in the first post shows 40. 37 + 10 each.

6-3.......Lawn service w/lot......47
6-10......Lawn service w/ lot.....47
6-17......Lawn service w/ lot.....47
6-24......Lawn service w/ lot.....47



I agree that some of the confusion comes from me showing $10, when I cut it weekly (as a good will gesture).

But, math is math. Either way it's $188 total.
Sorry, yes, my post should have said $40 for June. You billed her $40 for four lot cuts in June. You billed her $40 for two lot cuts in September.

You think you did the extra two cuts as goodwill, but the invoice reflects that you billed for each one. The customer has no way to know that your rates hadn't gone down since the original agreement, if she even remembers what she originally agreed to. She might just be comparing the current invoice to a recent one and noticing the price for cutting the lot has seemingly gone up without notice.
  #15  
Old 10-13-2015, 06:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LiveFree View Post
Maybe it should look like this.

9-3........Lawn service (house) ......
9-10......Lawn service (house)......
9-17......Lawn service (house).....
9-24......Lawn service (house)......
9-3........Lawn service (lot)......
9-17........Lawn service (lot)......
And if you go back to cutting it every week for some reason, it should look like:

9-3........Lawn service (house) ......
9-10......Lawn service (house)......
9-17......Lawn service (house).....
9-24......Lawn service (house)......
9-3........Lawn service (lot)...... $20
9-10........Lawn service (lot)...... $0 - I'm a nice person, but not obligated to be
9-17........Lawn service (lot)...... $20
9-24........Lawn service (lot)...... $0 - I'm a nice person, but not obligated to be
  #16  
Old 10-13-2015, 06:27 PM
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^^^^^^ I like that. :-)


True. The goodwill part was me spending a little more time, cutting more often, and still changing the same for the month.

From here on out, I think the invoice for the lot will just show 1 line with the total for the month.

Last edited by LiveFree; 10-13-2015 at 06:30 PM.
  #17  
Old 10-13-2015, 06:55 PM
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As long as the amount doesn't change month to month, and the customer is fine with it, not itemizing is probably the least hassle.

In my experience this is why it's very important to have a clear and acknowledged agreement that expires and renews on a defined schedule. In a service like lawn care this could be a signed quote or even just an archived email conversation where the customer agrees to the monthly price and services provided for the year.

Another lesson you can learn from this is always be consistent with your invoicing. Either never include "free" services on the bill at all, or always include them with a price of $0 and document on the invoice why you didn't charge. That way the customer doesn't expect the free services to always be free.
  #18  
Old 10-13-2015, 06:59 PM
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Thanks Nesta. Appreciate the comments.
  #19  
Old 10-13-2015, 07:06 PM
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I definitely didn't understand your invoice because I came up to over $200. What the heck did you actually cut in September?
  #20  
Old 10-13-2015, 07:10 PM
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Originally Posted by elfkin477 View Post
I definitely didn't understand your invoice because I came up to over $200. What the heck did you actually cut in September?
The house lawn 4 times. The lot 2 times.
  #21  
Old 10-13-2015, 08:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LiveFree View Post
The house lawn 4 times. The lot 2 times.
So what it looks like, is the customer is paying the same but getting two less lot cuts?

I would also be questioning that.

Why did the lot get cut less in September than June?
Is it because it "didn't need it"? If so, did the lawn really need cutting?

Here would be my question - are the lot and the lawn adjacent to each other?
Previously you gave a discount because the lot added minimal increment to how much time you spent on site - so why did that suddenly change for September?

Is it simply that you needed the income to meet your budget for the month?

I would suggest that for future - if you want to give a good will discount for something, your add a line item as such.
I would also suggest that you stay consistent. (no, same number of cuts, different monthly billing is not consistent, and neither is same monthly billing - different number of cuts)
  #22  
Old 10-13-2015, 08:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nesta View Post
And if you go back to cutting it every week for some reason, it should look like:

9-3........Lawn service (house) ......
9-10......Lawn service (house)......
9-17......Lawn service (house).....
9-24......Lawn service (house)......
9-3........Lawn service (lot)...... $20
9-10........Lawn service (lot)...... $0 - I'm a nice person, but not obligated to be
9-17........Lawn service (lot)...... $20
9-24........Lawn service (lot)...... $0 - I'm a nice person, but not obligated to be
Better yet:

9-3........Lawn service (house) ......
9-10......Lawn service (house)......
9-17......Lawn service (house).....
9-24......Lawn service (house)......

9-3........Lawn service (lot)...... $20
9-10........Lawn service (lot)...... $20

9-10........Discount...... -$20 (I'm a nice person, and this is optional on my part.)
9-17........Lawn service (lot)...... $20
9-24........Lawn service (lot)...... $20

9-24........Discount...... -$20 (I'm a nice person, and this is optional on my part.)

What's happened is that your customer thinks that your real rate for mowing the lot is $10. After all, that's what your previous invoice says. Consequently, since you only cut the lot twice in September, the total for that should be $20 and not $40. With the way you've done things, it appears that you've randomly decided to double the price.

Last edited by RadicalPi; 10-13-2015 at 08:09 PM.
  #23  
Old 10-13-2015, 08:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LiveFree View Post
Thanks Nesta. Appreciate the comments.
No problem, I hope it helps.

FWIW I didn't find your OP confusing, but did quickly understand why the customer was confused.

I've never had to do accounts receivable (thank god), but I've had to justify more invoices for work preformed than I care to remember. Some customers will nitpick charges given any justification, but I find that most just forget what they agreed to in the first place. Anything you can do to preemptively avoid confusion is in your favor since you're the one who wants to get paid.

It just occurred to me that there's a possible problem with billing a lump sum monthly and not itemizing: some calendar months will have five weeks instead of four, so the billed amount will change from month to month. If I were in your position I would bill every four weeks instead of monthly.

I also hope my comments haven't been taken as complete criticism of informal service agreements. The only agreement I have with the guy who cuts my lawn is a half remembered phone conversation years ago, and I pay him by leaving $40 under the mat on the days he cuts. This works fine for both of us, but it would probably be in his best interest to get me to sign something so if one day I don't leave the money I can't just say, "well, I thought every fifth cut was free... I swear I didn't leave $40 five weeks ago and you didn't say anything. Why the change?"

Last edited by nesta; 10-13-2015 at 08:15 PM.
  #24  
Old 10-13-2015, 08:35 PM
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I wonder what will happen to the invoice when the weeks comes out to 5x/month instead of 4x/month.
  #25  
Old 10-16-2015, 06:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elfkin477 View Post
I definitely didn't understand your invoice because I came up to over $200. What the heck did you actually cut in September?
I take it that you totally skipped over my previous post? Because I laid out the math very clearly.
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