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Firing a Client - long

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  • Firing a Client - long

    I have this client that I have had since 2005. She has a Bichon and a mix breed. I give her two dogs a bath every 2 weeks and then I cut the hair on the Bichon every 6 weeks. When I started out with her she paid me every time I came. Then her assistant asked if I could give them an invoice once a month for her to pay me. I started doing that then the invoice kept growing and growing as she would wait until she had a bill over $300 to pay. Then I would get “I can't find my check book”, or “I lost my check book and don't want my husband to find out” excuses. This last one was “my check book is at the office”. This customer is getting worse and worse about paying me on time. I sent her a letter 6 months ago telling her I expect payment once a month (that never happened). She eventually does pay me but I have to get frustrated about it and upset. I can never deal with her directly as she doesn't answer her phone; her voice mail is turned off. I have to go through her assistant all the time. When I am at her house, I can't talk to her as she is always in her "room" and can't be disturbed. She now owes me over $400. I am going to her house today to demand my money. I have threatened to not do her dogs before until she pays me, then she pays. Then next month comes along and the same old thing again. This time I have had it and plan on firing her. By the way, her family is a prominent builder in my community and they own a Holiday Inn, so they have the money to pay me. I know she is going to beg me not to quit her (or her assistant will do the begging), but I know she won’t change; I have so had it with her! Would you fire her??

  • #2
    If it were me, I'd really like to keep the client because this is easy money! Now, about getting your you take credit cards? If so, just run the number at each grooming. You could also have her pay through pay pal or pay in advance. You should not groom her dogs until she is paid in full and has made better arrangements to pay you.

    My hubby has dealt with a lot of clients like this in his business and it seems like the more money people have, the less they care about paying on time. She really doesn't care that $300 is a lot of money to you. It's all about her.


    • #3
      Money is money

      Dear Fivecats,

      She has the money and eventually pays you. She is money in the bank but it irks you that you are not in control. Do not cut your nose off to spite your face. Keep this rebooking client and take the money when it comes. You are not talking about all your clients’ just one. In a perfect world everyone would tow your line. This is not a perfect world.

      Don't throw out the baby with the bath water. Bill her, invoice her once a month and send her a statement once a month. This will remind her she has to pay you with the rest of her bills and is not hard to do. Remember you allowed her to do this and get to this point.

      Work it and keep the revenue stream. Not all revenue comes in the same way but it is still revenue. Another tip would be to ask for a debit or credit card to be on file so you may charge her when services are rendered. We do a lot of that. It makes it easy on both of you.

      Good Luck and Godspeed,



      • #4
        Dear St. FiveCats,

        I would have fired her WAY back. [KANK!] STRAIGHT to the curb!
        "We are all ignorant--we merely have different areas of specialization."~Anonymous
        People, PLEASE..It's ONLY a website!~Me


        • #5
          Originally posted by Smart-n-Pretty View Post
          Dear St. FiveCats,

          I would have fired her WAY back. [KANK!] STRAIGHT to the curb!
          I agree. You are spending to much time dealing with this client. I would tell her you would keep doing her dog with a valid credit card on file, and run it every time you groom. If you don't have money to get the dog groomed no groom.


          • #6
            charge cards

            I have not got involved with accepting charge cards as I do not know anything about it. Seems like maybe I should?? Can someone give me information on how to go about starting up this? Do I have to have a machine that dials direct or can I just use a manual machine where I do an imprint of the card? Is there a charge to me to accept charge cards?


            • #7
              bill her a month in advance


              • #8
                I would tell her payment is expected at tiem of services. Or get her credit card number and a signed agreement that the card will be charged if payment is not made within 10 days of the billing. That way you have the option of not coming if you have not been paid! Or get your monay and cash the check at her bank and then fire her. You have the options. I would sit down with her and explain that because you are a smal business you do nto have th eoption of waiting months for payment. The funny thign is I know of a few people who are contractors and their biggest complaint is......get..this..... people not paying when they are billed!!!!!!! Frankly I would combine all the options-get the money now, tell her you will bill her once a month then charge her card, and if the card is declined she is fired!


                • #9
                  Suggest prepayment....

                  I would work this situation so that it looks like it benefits her. Let her know what she owes you and that you expect to be paid because her account has gone too long unpaid at this point. Then, tell her that you understand how frustrating the check book thing is. If you can take credit cards that's a good route. If not suggest her paying you in advance for 6 months or even a year and then keep a record of account on it and debit your fees out monthly. In order to sell her on the prepayments you'll have to make her believe that it's a great idea. It will take the hassel out of having to remember to write the checks for grooming. Let her know that you can continue to send the invoices showing the money on account and the debit for the services rendered.

                  I worked in corporate collections for a large heavy equipment company for a number of years. I managed million dollar accounts and they are sometimes the worst about making payments. Sometimes you have to get creative and think outside the box. This lady sounds like easy money if you can just get it collected.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by fivecats View Post
                    I have not got involved with accepting charge cards as I do not know anything about it. Seems like maybe I should?? Can someone give me information on how to go about starting up this? Do I have to have a machine that dials direct or can I just use a manual machine where I do an imprint of the card? Is there a charge to me to accept charge cards?
                    Many people are using credit and debit cards instead of cash or checks. My husband, who does the business end of things, attended a Small Business Development Workshop a few months back. The instructor insisted that the worst thing you can do in this economy is to accept checks. Go cash, go credit and debit cards, and if possible, keep your accounts receivable clients (like your problem client that you invoice) on a really short leash. As Chuck said, invoice the customer right after you do the dogs. Set terms such as net 15 days. If the customer does not pay within 15 days, charge interest at the rate set by law in your state. DO NOT let that client go past 60 days, when she does, inform her that no further services can be provided until the arrears are paid up. You are running a business and she is running YOU. Be professional, but don't let this continue.

                    Yes, you will have to pay to accept credit cards. Using a manual machine is almost unheard of these days. Most of my customers use credit and debit cards. We have a laptop on board with merchant services software installed. We can swipe the cards through a reader to get instant approval and the lowest rate. About 2 to 2 1/2 percent of the charge will be deducted as the fee for the card. Adjust your prices accordingly.

                    There are now credit card solutions that allow you to process credit cards using an iPhone or Blackberry. Do some research to get the best rate.

                    As Chuck suggested, keep the client, but don't let her run all over you. No doubt she senses your reluctance to be firm on the subject of payment and is taking full advantage. YOU have to be firm, as she is holding your fees hostage until she feels like paying you. Don't stand for it.

                    Our policy re: invoices is we don't provide credit. Payment is expected at time of service by cash, Discover, Master Card, or VISA.

                    PM me if you have any other questions re: credit cards.

                    "With God's help, all things are possible!"
                    Laura Lee Ray
                    I am kats_melody on eGroomer. Follow my Twitter tweets - @ZOOMGROOM on


                    • #11
                      That is a

                      dilema. I'd be tempted to keep doing the dogs, but set an end date and state no grooms till paid, say 60 or 90 or such days. I agree with Chuck, it's money in a bank, just not yours. Still it's constant. Leave a bill/receipt every time. Then as Chuck said, send a monthly. I have trouble paying a bill unless it's in front of me. It might be good to request to change that amount of $300 stating that is no longer working for you, but that you would bill or keep it but figure out about how long that takes (shouldn't be long with mobile) and bill according to days.
                      Money will buy you a pretty good dog but it won't buy the wag of it's tail.


                      • #12
                        charge her a late fee, make it enough to make the hassle worth your while.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by sarahliz View Post
                          charge her a late fee, make it enough to make the hassle worth your while.

                          I was going to say the same thing. When you bill her monthly, make sure you have a due date then charge an amount that would be a late fee. On most of our invoices we recieve at work they have a space somewhere saying, "If amount is paid in full, XX amount will be charged after X amount of time."


                          • #14
                            I don't think I'd fire her, but I would start charging an invoice fee, and if it's legal in your state, interest. Definitely send an invoice once a month, and don't be afraid to stamp "PAST DUE" on it, either.


                            • #15
                              I probably wouldn't have let her pay once a month to begin with, lol. We don't extend credit, it's usually creates too many complications as you are unfortunately finding out all too well. In this economy I know it is hard to fire anyone, but I have to agree with you in firing her. Way too much of a hassle. I suppose if you decide to keep her it may be a good idea to enforce some type of late payment. Maybe then she will get the picture, and pay you on time...if not at least you are being compensated for the hassle.
                              Scratch a dog and you'll find a permanent job. ~Franklin P. Jones