Remember, you can take checks through your phone now! :cool:
Remember, you can take checks through your phone now! :cool:
I run a small boarding stable, and the last thing I want or need is drama in any form. I will run what I call a "mini background check" on anyone that I'm considering as a boarder. Most states have on-line court records, and you can see if they've been sued, evicted, foreclosed, etc. If they don't pay their loan payments on time, they probably won't pay you either.Naturally, you want to take into consideration how long ago any issues occurred.
Also, google the person, and even search on facebook. There's a lot of information out there. It's all public information, and some may consider it an invasion of privacy. However, if you were renting a house or apartment, most landlords would complete a credit report, so I just use whatever is available.
I never commit to having an opening until the person passes my check. I'll generally say that another party asked me to hold the spot for 24 hours or something like that.
I have never (knock on wood) had a problem with a non-paying boarder, although I know bad things happen to good people. I did have one boarder that didn't think her board bill was all that important, and if something else came up, I got paid late. She would not ask me if it was ok or try to work out an alternative arrangment. I asked her to find another place.
Im a barn owner with a variety of boarders, senior horses, and show horses. I do not bother with any of the usual contract suspects like other barns. No first board deposit, no written notice and 30 days to exit, none of that. It's a pain to inforce and most folks find it intimidating. I keep very open communication with every single boarder. The most we do is an overdue fee for accounts past 30 days. When boarders start getting behind, I address it face to face. I call, I email, I text. And if the boarder does not respond to that in a timely manner, I do what most would find unusual.
I get in my car with husband in toe for witness and we show up unannounced at their front door when we think they would be home, like Saturday mornings or late in the evening. I get in the door. And we corner the boarder and give them the chance to give their reasons for late pay. It is always amazing how people will be reduced to tears, shame, and fess up to their mistakes when I calmly and rationally look them in the eye on their turf. They can't hide anymore.
We rationally give the boarder a set of terms to get caught up depending on the circumstances. And we hold to it. I have worked out payment agreements that go for months with clients who are hard up but sincere and serious about staying here. And I have given clients a set time to pack up and get out, with payment in full of course. Each story is different so I deal with it in person, face to face so the person gets that I am serious about the contract but giving them a chance to have dignity in handling it.
I won't go the route of credit cards or Paypal yet. My operation is small and I want to know that my clientele have cash in hand to cover their horse. I have had a client surrender horses after paying with credit card cash advances on her card. So she was running up a credit card balance on herself to pay for her horses and I got left with them anyway! and she ruined her credit trying to keep her horses!
winfieldfarm you've summed it up pretty well. Deal with it. Deal with it fast. Deal with it directly. You've got to be tough enough to face the problem when it arises. And, as with the CC debt client, you may do them a favor by pushing them to unload the horses (somehow) ASAP. It can be a tough situation. And you've got to be tough enough to deal with it.
I'm a little surprised that there are BOs that don't give out invoices. I feel pretty confident that not using invoices makes it more difficult to collect money owed. It just makes the transaction seem more casual. Plus, without an invoice you don't really have much of a paper trail to use to collect money owed to you down the road if there are issues. It might be harder to prove any extra charges.
I'm also surprised at the number of people on this thread who want to pay by credit card. When I was accepting credit cards I had to pass on the extra fees to clients (in the form of increased rates + a "discount" to those who paid with cash or check) and just about everyone chose to get the "discount" and pay by check. All those "points" and "rewards" your credit card gives you? They come straight from the business owners' CC transaction fees, not from the CC company. Anyway, NONE of my slow payers have ever wanted me to have their credit card info on file (I didn't require it).
Winfield, I admire your open communication style. I really do agree that clear and forthright communication can solve a lot of issues before they get out of hand. I also agree that detailed contracts can be intimidating to potential boarders...but as far as I'm concerned, too bad. I use a pretty stringent and detailed contract, and I feel like it helps weed out people who might be uncomfortable about committing to THEIR end of the bargain. I'm making a commitment when I take a horse on, and I likewise I expect a commitment from the owner that they are going to pay me in a timely fashion. If someone is uncomfortable committing to that, well, I don't really want that client anyway. Plus, I have a decent number of out of state clients, and also sometimes clients who live out of the country, who could easily avoid attempts at collection. I'd rather not take a client than put myself at risk to put out a lot of resources taking care of a horse and not get paid.
Regarding the mention of involving lawyers when there are collection issues, lawyers are hugely expensive. Most boarding barns can't afford a legal consultation every time there is a non-payment issue. It is much better to take steps up front to make sure you get paid rather than to pursue various methods of collection.
I was at one farm where BO would park equipment around trailers of those in arrears. Better than padlocking stalls. Although HO could have someone else come to get horse, I guess the trailer is better collateral anyway, as it doesn't need to be fed.
I sympathize with BOs...it must be a horrid situation to deal with.
The only boarding barn that Im familiar with wants a month and a half of board when you bring your horse. Board is due on the first for the upcoming month. If you dont pay by the 5th, you have to be out by the 15th, which has already been paid for by the 1/2 month board deposit.
And she dont play, she means what she says.
[Edit: Someone pointed out that the paragraph I had here was incorrect info about Amazon Payments, so I removed it. My bad!]
I wouldn't agree to have my credit card info on file either. It would be too easy for a BO or a barn employee to steal my credit card info. I suspect if you'd tried a system that hid the credit card info from you, like PayPal, you might get different results.Quote:
Anyway, NONE of my slow payers have ever wanted me to have their credit card info on file (I didn't require it).
That said, your post did make me think about something else: PayPal isn't a panacea because the buyer protections are very strong. I can imagine some unscrupulous brat of a boarder paying by credit card through PayPal, then filing a credit card dispute to get their money back. And that would suck for the BO. A lot.
In fact it's even less paperwork and accounting because you don't, you know, have to DO any paper work or accounting. (IE, handling a check or filling out deposit slips.)
Actually it is the fact that it does not have deposit slips etc that I don't like. That's how I keep track of which boarder's paid when, through my check register. Look, I never said I was at all technologically competent. I have a system and it works for me.
I don't know why more BO's don't use Quickbooks online for invoicing. You can have up to 20 clients in the free version, online, ACH payments cost $.50 and they go right into your checking account.
I'm down to one boarder, but it works like a charm.
As for making sure you get paid...check references. No references, one month's board deposit.