Returning last week from the summer meeting of the Independent Precision Ag Alliance, a diverse group of precision dealers whose perspectives I always value, one of the conversations centered best practices for billing and collection.
One of the members discussed the challenges and risk associated with invoicing customers who sporadically add precision upgrades to a base planter system with a single bill at the end of the job, vs. incremental invoicing.
His rationale was that the dealership is selling customers a “system” and not a piece-by-piece solution. (As he put it, when someone buys a car, they don’t buy the steering wheel, seats or engine individually).
But this approach has contributed to some confusion and payment delays. While there wasn’t a consensus among the group on a gold standard billing strategy, several dealers did recommend and adopt a more aggressive approach asking for either a down payment or percentage of the total bill within a certain time frame.
One dealer noted that if a bill exceeds $10,000, he’ll require 75% payment before the job is completed, along with a restocking fee in the event the customer backs out of the deal — which does happen on occasion.
Another point made by members was that waiting to invoice doesn’t tend to benefit the customer or the dealership. Being upfront and transparent with billing can often strengthen a business relationship.
While there are a variety of approaches and experiences when it comes to bill collection tactics, dealers agree they want to avoid having customers dispute an invoice.
What is your dealership’s policy for precision billing? Share your comments with me at email@example.com.