Question: A lesson student did not pay for the last 3 lessons. I still have to pay for the instructors. How can I recoup the money? Should I send a legal letter or collection agency after her? Do you think I will benefit by going after her?
Answer from April Reeves: I have a policy and I don’t move from it. People pay me the day they take the lesson, or they prepay for lessons. There are no exceptions.
The problem in the horse industry is that most people are afraid to lose business. Freebies or unpaid services are always going to end up a loss. If you are truly a professional, you get paid for the services you offer, and that attitude transforms into loyal customers.
In all my years I have never not been paid. It’s because I don’t work for free. Hold this attitude within, stand your ground firmly but caringly, and you will find customers begin to respect what you do and who you are.
The next time a mother drops off the daughter and they don’t have money, tell her she can watch the next lesson but to remember the cheque or money for next time if she wants to ride. You may be surprised. Mothers can find all sorts of cash when the daughter realizes her ride won’t happen.
I’m just keeping it real. It’s a business. Customers will come and go, from your place and to your place. It’s the nature of the horse industry. Keep your word to your policies and thrive, not just survive.
Oh, and write it off as a loss. Your reputation starts here.
A Little Thought About Money
We humans can be a funny lot when it comes to money. We can’t win either way – we’re damned if we have it and we’re damned if we don’t. So here’s my way of looking at money, and if you believe in the law of attraction, start saying this every day.
Money isn’t evil. People’s response to money is what gets them into trouble. Money is part of us: it helps feed, shelter and clothe us.
When someone pays you for your services, what they are saying is “I truly appreciate what you do.” Money is about another person respecting and appreciating what you do.
Don’t be afraid to ask for money either. When you ask, it’s your way of saying “I add value to people’s lives.”
Shrinking from it, being afraid to ask for it, not believing it should be a part of you is only an inner reflection of your belief about you. Not the money.
Look at money as appreciation, and you will find yourself starting to do things that you think people will appreciate. It’s a big circle, this money thing.
When people skip paying you, they will repeat the pattern time and time again. The minute you accept their behavior in doing this, you also set up the pattern.
It’s not your customer. It’s you. Change the way you think.
Go forth, my little horseperson, and collect what is yours.