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TOPIC: Can you hold the check till?

RE:Can you hold the check till? 07 Apr 2006 13:31 #16

Cordell posted:My response in burgandy:

I think you blow it out of proportion. It's not that bad accepting checks. Are your clients really that trashy? Aren't most of them repeat customers with whom you have a healthy working relationship?

Well, the clients I have now are much better since I have adopted and enforced my cash preference policy! But yes, I think there is a higher incidence of worthless checks issued in Florida because of the influx of transplants, transients and tourists - not to mention "snowbirds" or people that travel the show circuits. Chalk it up to "fantasyland Florida"? So bad in fact that Florida has recently passed a law allowing check acceptors to verify the funds in a writer's account. The trouble with that is that when you call the bank to verify the funds, by the time the check processes the funds could have gone elsewhere!

Just charge a bad check fee if one ever bounces.

Cordell, If a person writes a bad check in the first place ( ie, fraudulent) or fails to isssue any check at all, then what makes you think I will be able to collect a "bad check fee"?

Besides that, it costs time and money ( often more than the check amount ) to process a small claims. So many of these folks know this and use it to their advantage! I am a farrier - not a debt collector! I barely have time to make confirmation calls and scheduling appointments and client consultations - nevermind paymentreminders!

Cash or check - it all gets deposited in the same account. I chose a bank with a convenient location so I don't put have to go out of my way to make a deposit. Even if it were cash, I would still need to deposit it.

If I have cash in hand, even if when I deposit it, I KNOW with 100% absolute certainty that the cash is IN my account at the time of deposit! I am not depositing the POSSIBILITY that the money will arrive - cash is there NOW!
Where my bank branches are happen to be in town - my clients live in rural areas - not urban areas. So the proximity of the bank DOES factor into whether the check is an inconvenience or not! I don't have to deposit cash immediately to know that I have been paid! I can ac***ulate it and make ONE trip to the bank. With gas here at 2.89 per gallon now, I am logging my miles judiciously! If I've already factored in a trip fee to the clients and home, then have to make another 40 mile round trip to the bank and home - who pays for that? If I collect the checks and wait on depositing them, then I still haven't been paid until the checks clear! Nope, checks are absolutely NO convenience for the recipient!


I don't allow our sales agents to accept cash from customers. I hate having to count it, there is not a clear paper trail showing the source of the cash, and there is a greater risk of theft/loss.

I LIKE counting cash! I like the smell of it and the feel of it!And the sight of it!A check (ie a scrawled promise) is just an idea that the money will be forthcoming after I jump through a couple more hoops before it arrives and wait and wait and wait for it. I don't see why, if the client knows their horse's hooves need servicing, that if we can arrrive for the scheduled service call, that they then produce a piece of paper to say that the cash MIGHT be arriving soon; the clients that ask you to hold the check for even longer are just being rude! Maybe they watched too much T.V. as youngsters and actually beleived a person could go through life like "wimpy" on Popeye? "I'll take all those hamburgers now, for which I will gladly pay you Tuesday."?

As to overdrawing my account because a customer's check bounces, I try to maintain adequate reserves so I am not depending on the next check for survival.

I don't know about you, but when I do a job, I like getting paid, period. I don't lke promises, I certainly don't like having to constantly remind them to pay me and I am NOT a bank! And I really don't like hearing, "Thanks for doing my horse's hooves, now I can ride! But can you hold this check until friday when my deposit hits?"

They certainly wouldn't work very long for their employer if they had to do their job, then the employer didn't pay them! it is THEIR responsibility to budget their money! Not mine! Why should I tie up MY funds to create a "cushion" for the possibility of receiving a bad check or no check or a postponed payment?

The reserves I maintain in my accounts are for MY possibilities of emergencies! Not the clients!

Regards,
Kim

Regards,
Kim

Those who only consider cost, do NOT consider the cost to the horse!

The more we know, the more we know we need to know more! Ya know?
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RE:Can you hold the check till? 07 Apr 2006 14:41 #17

Kim,

I guess we live in 2 different worlds. My bank is about 1/2 mile from my house and I drive by it every day. I have never experienced a bounced check that caused any great discomfort. Maybe I would see things differently if I were in your shoes.
Cordell Rogers
CPA, MAcc, not yet CF
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RE:Can you hold the check till? 08 Apr 2006 02:20 #18

  • brian robertson
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The last bad check I got was in 1999 and it was for $56 and I was paid a fee of $35 for my trouble; my bank charged me $20. $15 for a 2min phone call, not bad wages.

Accepting checks is normal. Cash only is an abnormal way of conducting business today. I wouldn't dream of demanding $125 to $1100 in cash from my clients. It's a security issue for them and me plus a bookkeeping nightmare.

"Cash only", smells like fraud or shoeing for peanuts to me.
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RE:Can you hold the check till? 08 Apr 2006 05:24 #19

brian robertson wrote:
Accepting checks is normal. Cash only is an abnormal way of conducting business today. I wouldn't dream of demanding $125 to $1100 in cash from my clients. It's a security issue for them and me plus a bookkeeping nightmare.

"Cash only", smells like fraud or shoeing for peanuts to me.
Brian,
You are right on about security & bookkeeping, but I wouldn't use the f-word (fraud) so lightly.

I think it shows a pessimistic and distrusting view of others, but I don't see any fraud to it. I like to treat people with respect and most people reciprocrate. If you treat people like criminals and low-lifes, you will find that you deal with those kind of people.
Cordell Rogers
CPA, MAcc, not yet CF
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RE:Can you hold the check till? 08 Apr 2006 10:41 #20

  • tbloomer
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Andrew Grimm wrote:
Hello,
I have frequent clients that are consistantly asking me to hold thier check for a week sometimes longer sometime shorter.
How do you feel about this?
I luckily have been able to save enough to do this but from a business state of mind I'm thinking it's not right. It's a conveinance for the owner that us farriers even except checks much less having to wait 1-2 weeks later to finally deposit the check.
How do you handle this type of situation?

1. I tell my clients that post dating a check is illegal - ask your bank. The next time somebody tells you to hold the check, tell them that your bank just told you that this is illegal . . . you don't want to be a criminal do you?
2. I tell my clients that I deposit all checks through the ATM at the end of the day.
3. I tell my clients that if they want me to "hold their check," I might remember to hold it, but I can't guarantee that I won't forget and just deposit it along with all the others. Since they cannot legally post date the check, and I have already completed the work, they now have to beat me to their bank before I get to mine.

Usually I say these things while I am stuffing the check into my wallet along with all the other checks. I make sure that they see me sticking thier check into the middle of the pile. The whole time I am doing this I act like I could care less whether or not their check bounces and they have to pay their $30 bad check fee to their bank plus the additional bad check fee to my bank. After all, if they don't have any concern for my bottom line, why should I have a concern for theirs?

My customer service policy and price list has a $30 bad check fee listed in bold print. If somebody writes me a bad check, my bank runs it through their bank twice before refusing it. Their bank charges them $30 each time it bounces. So now they owe me the original amount, plus they owe their bank an additianal $60, plus they owe me another $30. They have to pay me the full amount due 10 days following notification or face automatic prosecution by the Delaware AG.

Anybody who has a checking account KNOWS that bouncing a check is going to cost a minimum of $100 by the time they make good on it. I've thought of adding a $10 per day check holding fee to my price list - giving my customers an option to have me hold their checks for up to 10 days before depositing them. However, I like it better when I accept the check and then let them know that I probably won't "remeber" to hang on to it. The look on their face is priceless.

Another thing that I make clear to my customers is that I know a lot of other farriers in my area. People talk. I look out for my fellow farriers. So my customers can deduce that slow pay or no pay is going to make it difficult for them to find a different farrier. I also let them know that I can put them in touch with a cheap farrier if they can't afford my prices. I keep a list of cheap fariers just so I can fill their books with cheap customers. I'ts my way of helping the community. :)
Tom Bloomer
http://blackburnforge.com
302-222-6404


Here's the deal. I'm trying to keep it simple.
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RE:Can you hold the check till? 08 Apr 2006 11:17 #21

  • tbloomer
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Having lived in Florida for 6 years I can attest to Kim's situation.

I am curious about one thing though. In Delaware, the AG has setup a system for prosecuting bad check writers and collecting the money on behalf of the creditors. There is no civil action required. All I have to do is send a certified letter to the check bouncer. Ten days after the certified letter, I send the bad check to the AG. The AG prosecutes, tracks down the criminal, collects the money.

Do other states have similar services?

I make sure that I have plenty of identification information from a customer before I accept a check from them. Usually I know where they live because I am at their barn. For customers who board their horses, the boarding stables pays me and bills the customer. Since the boarding stables has the horse, they have more leverage than I do to collect the money.
Tom Bloomer
http://blackburnforge.com
302-222-6404


Here's the deal. I'm trying to keep it simple.
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RE:Can you hold the check till? 08 Apr 2006 13:11 #22

  • THamilton
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Tbloomer,

Wshinton State does not have the AG, but we do have a state laws that make it allowable to prosecute for fradulant checks. The County I live in also goes a step further aand makes it a felony. I believe that you havae to do similar steps as you do but with the County Prosecutor. They have one just for this purpose alone.

Question:

For those of you that have been "bitten" so many times, ( I have a few also) have you considered other methods of payment?

I have a friend who often sells blanket hangers he has patented. He sells them at a few traae shows and at barns. He has purchased a machine much like you have seen in stores that runs credit and debit cards. I also believe that it also does check verification on the spot in as long ass time as it takes at a store. Usuasly about 30 seconds to a minute. I know that ha had to buy the machine but he has it though his company. He says that the minimal fees he pays sure outweighs the dollars spent holding the check after it is ISF. It is powered by battery that you charge evry night. It could also be run off with an AC adaptor.

I was reluctant when I saw it... But you know what? I was amazed at how many people (whom we suspected from past bad experiences) actually liked the option of the credit card. You are getting your $$ as it is directly deposited into your account with tracable records and they pay for their shoeing. Debit cards work the same way.

Just another thought after reading your posts Kim. It is sometihg to look into. Initial costs and continual fees are deductable as a cost of doing business. Am I correct Cordell?

Thanks,
Tony
"Nothing astonishes men so much as common sense and plain dealing" Ralph Waldo Emerson
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RE:Can you hold the check till? 08 Apr 2006 13:48 #23

  • Tom Stovall CJF
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tbloomer in gray, deletia

I am curious about one thing though. In Delaware, the AG has setup a system for prosecuting bad check writers and collecting the money on behalf of the creditors. There is no civil action required. All I have to do is send a certified letter to the check bouncer. Ten days after the certified letter, I send the bad check to the AG. The AG prosecutes, tracks down the criminal, collects the money.

Do other states have similar services?


In Texas, writing a hot check to a farrier can be considered to be "theft of services."

Anybody can make an error in addition or push the envelope a bit too far, resulting in a check that won't spend, but it's generally just an expensive embarrassment for all concerned. On the other side of the coin is the fellow who gives you a check knowing it's no good, who is flat out trying to beat you out of a shoeing. Nobody beats me out of a shoeing!

A few years back, a fellow called me from a cutting out at the George Ranch and asked me to come shoe a horse for him. He'd lost a handmade half round and somebody'd told him I carried a fire and could duplicate the shoe.

Which, I did.

His check wouldn't spend. I sent him a certified letter; it came back marked, "Moved, no forwarding address." I called the NCHA - they'd never heard of him. I called the Chatter (cutting horse publication) office - they gave me his new address.

I went to the Ft. Bend County court house, told my story to an assistant district attorney, and gave her the fellow's new address. Evidently a letter from the Ft. Bend DA's office promising prosecution for theft of services was a "come to Jesus experience" for the miscreant, because I had my money in a couple of weeks.

In Texas, a hot check given for goods or services received at time the check is written can be prosecuted as "theft of services." On the other hand, in the eyes of the law, a hot check that was post dated may not be collectable because the recipient knew the check was no good at the time of its issuance.
Tom Stovall, CJF
"The only foolish question is the one left unasked."
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RE:Can you hold the check till? 08 Apr 2006 15:15 #24

THamilton wrote:
Initial costs and continual fees are deductable as a cost of doing business. Am I correct Cordell?
Tony-

Yes, it's deductible. Here's a simple gauge provided by the IRS:

To be deductible, a business expense must be both ordinary and necessary. An ordinary expense is one that is common and accepted in your industry. A necessary expense is one that is helpful and appropriate for your trade or business. An expense does not have to be indispensable to be considered necessary.

But just because something is deductible doesn't mean it's free. A lot of people end up spending dollars to save quarters because 'it's deductible'.
Cordell Rogers
CPA, MAcc, not yet CF
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RE:Can you hold the check till? 08 Apr 2006 15:36 #25

Post-dated checks are illegal in some states while other states consider them to be a form of a promissory note.
I adjust our company's check holding policy depending on the sales environment. If things are hot, I hold no checks. If things are slow, I will hold a check. But in my company, the checks are just earnest money deposits and so I am not out anything except opportunity costs if the check comes back NSF.
Cordell Rogers
CPA, MAcc, not yet CF
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RE:Can you hold the check till? 08 Apr 2006 16:09 #26

  • Andrew Grimm
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In regards to the credit card machines I accept credit/debit cards and love it. However, out of all of my clients(and I have a full clientel) I only have 2 people that use it. I do the processing over the phone and it takes less than 3 minutes.
The card readers are expensive and I thought I would buy one if people would use them.
I would like to have more of my clients use the credit card payment method but how do I market this option? Any ideas?
Andrew Grimm, CF, RJF
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RE:Can you hold the check till? 08 Apr 2006 19:36 #27

Andrew Grimm wrote:
I would like to have more of my clients use the credit card payment method but how do I market this option? Any ideas?
The company that sells you the machine should give you a big sticker/decal with the credit card logos on it (like you see in all the stores that accept cerdit cards. If you put that on your rig in plain view, people will start using plastic because it's easier. I write about 3 checks a month, use cash a half dozen times, and use my credit/debit cards for everything else.
Cordell Rogers
CPA, MAcc, not yet CF
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RE:Can you hold the check till? 08 Apr 2006 22:03 #28

Andrew,

Are you charged a % of the bill when accepiting credit cards, if so do you pass that along to your customers?
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RE:Can you hold the check till? 08 Apr 2006 22:38 #29

Tony,

I did try the CC machine a few years back. I sent out survey cards to mu clients inquiring if they thought accepting CC would be helpful for them. the overwhelming response I got was good! So I contracted with a mab=hine processor. the machine was "leased"" for 75.00 per month. Then they would charge .49 plu 1.5% of the total sales for a credit card process. I beleive it was .39 fee for processing as a debit. I leased the machine for a year. The only time it actually got used was at a 4-h functon! I sent it back! The stickers they gave me with the CC logos I plastered on my truck - are now covered over with duct tape!

Of course my clientele has changed dramatically since those early days too - and checks don't seem to be the aggravation they used to be - but I still encourage cash.
Regards,
Kim
Regards,
Kim

Those who only consider cost, do NOT consider the cost to the horse!

The more we know, the more we know we need to know more! Ya know?
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RE:Can you hold the check till? 09 Apr 2006 12:18 #30

  • Rick Burten
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Just Shoe It wrote:
Andrew,

Are you charged a % of the bill when accepiting credit cards, if so do you pass that along to your customers?
It is illegal to charge a credit card customer for this. What is legal however is to raise your prices across the board and then offer everyone a discount if they pay by cash or check. Go figure.
Rick Burten PF

In the immortal words of Ron White: "But let me tell you something, folks: You can't fix S-tupid. There's not a pill you can take; there's not a class you can go to. S-tupid is forever."
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