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Pro Painters
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I did something today I haven't done in 20 years of owning my painting company, I agreed to let a customer defer payment.

Am I nuts?

Let me elaborate...

I had done an estimate to repaint an entire home. The homeowner called me back to do the job but stated he would have to paint a few rooms himself because it didn't fit his budget.

Anyway...I finished painting his home yesterday and met up with him this morning to collect payment. He paid me promptly. He was very pleased with our work(as all our customers are) and went on to tell me he didn't want to paint the remaining rooms himself because he's afraid they'll look like $%(& but don't have the money to do the rest.

I really like the guy so I told him no problem he can make payments. He then agreed to do the rest of the work. I feel really comfortable about this and it got me to think about offering this to other customers. I'll offer 30% down and 6 monthly payments for the remaining balance but only during the slow time of the year, Nov-March.

I've only had about 3 people sign an actual contract in the last 10 years. The rest of my customers I've just trusted to pay and I've never been burned. We work for higher end customers which may be why.

Anybody else try this? Any thoughts?
 

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I pondered this at one point, but then I decided that's what credit cards and HELOCs are for. I get my money right away. I don't have to think about it again. I take no risk. Customer can pay off in whatever way works for him.
 

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The high end customers I have worked for are the worst at paying and trying to get a break.The ones that I always have good luck with and prefer to work for are the ones that really can't afford me but appreciate the quality and find way to finance it.
I never finance anyones project.They would not sign a note for me so why should I for them?
 

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Pro Painters
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the insight. Your right, I'll start accepting CC instead.

Might have people lining up at the door for free paint jobs.
 

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You can also consider accepting a post-dated check. There is no guarantee, but it's one more level of protection if you want to go out on a limb for somebody.
 

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Super Moderator
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You can also consider accepting a post-dated check. There is no guarantee, but it's one more level of protection if you want to go out on a limb for somebody.
A post dated check is not worth the paper it is printed on. Anyone who would give you one, to me is not worth working for. A stop payment can be called in the moment that you walk out the door, or they just might not care and just let you deposit it and deal with all the consequences.
 

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Hair Splitter
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You can also consider accepting a post-dated check. There is no guarantee, but it's one more level of protection if you want to go out on a limb for somebody.
A post dated check means nothing. The date is only used to determine how long the check will be accepted by the bank. Typically one year age issued.

Other than that a bank really didn't care what the date is in the check.
 

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A post dated check is not worth the paper it is printed on. Anyone who would give you one, to me is not worth working for. A stop payment can be called in the moment that you walk out the door, or they just might not care and just let you deposit it and deal with all the consequences.
In theory, you're right. Have you ever tried it? If somebody wants to rip me off, they could just have me do the work and not pay me at the end. The vast, overwhelming majority of people plan on paying their bill. The post-dated check formalizes and streamlines the process. It gives you direct access to take the money right out of their bank account. It simplifies the collections process. Is it possible the check will bounce? Is it possible that they could write you a check from an account they closed four years ago? Yeah. But that is true of any check. If you're concerned about that, cash it at their bank instead of depositing it at your bank.

Why do people sign their real name on credit card receipts? Next time you go to a restaurant, scribble illegible garbage on the bottom of the credit card receipt. Nobody at the restaurant knows what your signature is supposed to look like. When you get home, call the credit card company and say you were never there. When they compare the signatures, they obviously won't match. They'll have to reverse the charge. The reason people put their real signature on that receipt is because they honestly plan on paying it. Post-dated checks kind of work on the same principle.

All that being said, I don't recommend them. I just threw it out there as an option for a little more security if you do want to go out on a limb.
 

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I can appreciate the situation you were in and I probably would have come to some kind of arrangement to help the customer.

From a business point of view it is asking for trouble. My small business doesn't have funds to float jobs and wait on payments, I certainly don't have time to devote to collecting payments and all the tracking of payments etc. The best of people with honest intentions will still end up with car trouble 2 months down the road and be asking for an extension blah blah.

I think if I found myself in your situation more than a few times a year then I would look into taking credit cards as payment.

Good for you helping someone out but I think it is a bad business plan.
 

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Head Light Bulb Changer
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I have one client that I extend credit to, but it comes at a cost to her. Approx 8% per month on outstanding balances. Long story - it's a unique situation and the only one I do it for.

I just got a Square CC reader for dealing with situations like you're in. Haven't set it up yet, so no feedback yet.
 

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As far as post dated checks, this really depends on your State's Attorney. I have witnessed accounts where a post dated check was accepted, but didn't hold up in court. Actually it never got to court. The SA said they would not take the case because in accepting a post dated check it was clear the customer did not have the money to pay the bill. I was told a post dated check is worth noting. On the other hand, if you accept a check with a current date and agree to wait to deposit the check, then the check was legitimate.
I don't get the difference, but some lawyer somewhere understands that logic.

I haven't accepted payments, but I have some customers I would.

High end customers are usually the worst to collect money. For me. The ones who have to scrape it together are the ones who always pay fast.
I always heard that the best way to be rich is to not spend money.
I''m glad it has worked out for you.
 

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I have, worked out fine, I'd do it again.
 
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