Late paying clients are every stable manager’s worst nightmare. Two stable owners with differing services share their advice.
“We’re a sales facility, where clients bring us horses on consignment, so we’re paying for everything up front,” said Samantha V. Buncher, founder of Sky High Equestrian Center in Lake Charles, Louisiana.
For the past nine years, a comprehensive invoice has been enough to collect timely payments. Her invoices include specific dates and a full description of the services performed.
On April 1, 2017 horse received UlcerGard purchased from Smith’s Feed and Tack Supply.
On April 16, 2017 horse received full steel shoes by Farrier Smith for $200.
“I currently have two clients that are about a month late,” she said.
In an effort to get paid, she has sent late invoices via certified mail and is considering legal action. She is also going to begin charging late fees. “I’m going to add late fees to my contract,” she said. “It’s like anywhere else, if you’re late, you are charged for being late.”
In Houston, Texas, Paige Flanders, owner of Flanders Polo and Riding Lessons, offers a pre-paid discount on lesson packages. Clients receive $10 off a lesson when 10 are purchased at once. “I have clients who take six to eight weeks to pay and then they pay with a credit card, which charges me transaction fees,” she said.
To encourage timely payments, she revised her release form to include an area for all new clients to include a credit card. “They have the option to indicate if this is their preferred method of payment or not,” Flanders said. “But there is also a disclaimer that if they don’t pay that their credit card will be charged.”
Flanders also includes a note that credit card payments are assessed a 3 percent processing fees to cover her costs.
Operating a stable is not an inexpensive endeavor. Late-paying clients impact cash flow critical to staying in business. Comprehensive contracts, detailed invoices and accepting credit cards are all tools that can help you get paid on time.