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PLM-1
05-13-2005, 06:11 PM
OK guys. I have this customer that won't pay. She called, I did an estimate she says OK. I then ask if she would like a fert program and she says she will get back to me on that. Well, 2 days before the mowing is to start i call all of my customers informing them that mowing will start on X date and if they had any questions to give me a call. I didn't hear from her.

I went and mowed the lawn, she was home. About a week later she calls and said that she didn't "confirm" that i was to mow. But she will pay the $45 this time.

Well guess what? It has been 30 days. I have already sent two letters and administrative charge invoices.

What can I do next? BTW, her account balance in now $75.

I have heard of "Theft of Services" and a lien. What would you do? I will NOT just write this off!

lawnman_scott
05-13-2005, 07:51 PM
It doesnt sound like you have a contract (i dont either for residential), and most theft of services laws are a joke. I would take the $45 and call it even.

proenterprises
05-13-2005, 07:56 PM
Go to her house and track her down. Not the most professional method, but you want to be paid, right?

out4now
05-13-2005, 08:34 PM
You could try small claims I guess if you had a contract. I would try a house call as a reminder. It may turn out that she will pay to be rid of you if you show up on the doorstep. If you only cut it once how did you end up at 75 bucks when it was supposed to be 45? Did I miss something?

PLM-1
05-13-2005, 08:53 PM
She had a contract to sign and i was to pick it up during the first mow. My invoice has my terms on it, so that's pretty clear.

PLM-1
05-13-2005, 08:55 PM
You could try small claims I guess if you had a contract. I would try a house call as a reminder. It may turn out that she will pay to be rid of you if you show up on the doorstep. If you only cut it once how did you end up at 75 bucks when it was supposed to be 45? Did I miss something?

Yup, you missed the late charges! :)

stumper1620
05-13-2005, 09:40 PM
Well, Bobby G. claims theft of services works for him, try calling the cops.
most they can do is say no, if they refuse to allow you to file then ask for the info to prove you tried so you have it for a lien.

mtdman
05-14-2005, 12:17 AM
If you had a contract, you should have had it signed and in your hand before you did the work. You said she was home for the first cut. This whole thing would have been avoided if you had confirmed with her before you did the work. Same principle as with magazine subscriptions. A magazine can't just send you a magazine and say you have to send it back if you don't want it, otherwise you have to pay. For all you know she might have changed her mind and hired someone else. If you ask me, you are sol since she never agreed or confirmed.

PLM-1
05-14-2005, 12:33 AM
yes she did agree, and she had a 2 days to return my call to cancel, and 30 minutes to come out and stop me instead of wave and then not answer the door when i was finished.

mtdman
05-14-2005, 12:40 AM
Did you knock and confirm before mowing? Obviously if she calls and says she didn't confirm, there is a conflict of opinion there. You should take this as a learning experience. I don't mow anyone unless I get the okay in person to my face. Calling someone and saying I'm going to mow unless you call to say no isn't a confirmation. What if she didn't get the message? I sent out 3 renewal notices to some people this spring whom I never heard back from, yet I still get calls from those people who didn't renew saying they never got the info or forgot to send it in, etc. I didn't renew anyone who didn't sign the renewal and return it.

If someone showed up and just started mowing my lawn without permission, I'd let them finish too then tell them to hit the road.

Bottom line is, your process is flawed, and in court you haven't a leg to stand. It's called cover your ass, and in the future I suggest you do so. As it is now, you might get paid if she decides to pay you, but you don't have any recourse if she doesn't as far as I can see.

out4now
05-14-2005, 01:00 AM
Ok see where this is going on the charges now and yes, you goofed. Like mtdman said no contract in hand, you got nothing to stand on. He said, she said. If you get your money out of it I'd be suprized.

PLM-1
05-14-2005, 01:12 AM
Did you knock and confirm before mowing? Obviously if she calls and says she didn't confirm, there is a conflict of opinion there. You should take this as a learning experience. I don't mow anyone unless I get the okay in person to my face. Calling someone and saying I'm going to mow unless you call to say no isn't a confirmation. What if she didn't get the message? I sent out 3 renewal notices to some people this spring whom I never heard back from, yet I still get calls from those people who didn't renew saying they never got the info or forgot to send it in, etc. I didn't renew anyone who didn't sign the renewal and return it.

If someone showed up and just started mowing my lawn without permission, I'd let them finish too then tell them to hit the road.

Bottom line is, your process is flawed, and in court you haven't a leg to stand. It's called cover your ass, and in the future I suggest you do so. As it is now, you might get paid if she decides to pay you, but you don't have any recourse if she doesn't as far as I can see.


She called me and said she would pay....but says she didn't confirm it. She confirmed it when she said OK on the phone and confirmed it when she didn't call me back, or stop me when i was there. then call days later and act like i'm some jackoff idiot and don't know what i heard.

This is the first time my process has "flawed" in 5 years.

mbricker
05-14-2005, 01:22 AM
What's your small-claims court where you live? Here an lco can file in small-claims and the debtor will be issued a summons,which they have to respond to or be cited for contempt. If a judgment is rendered against the debtor, the info will be picked up by the credit bureaus. This is generally much more costly than a measly mowing bill, so most people pay even before going to court.

In your situation, the weak point is whatever proof of your claim you can present to the court. Is there anything in writing? If you have copies of anything you sent, a copy of an estimate, even if not signed by the customer, that can help your case.

When I used small-claims, it always was to get money from a customer that I had a work history with, and I could present a record of work and payment prior to the work I did not get payment for. That was considered sufficient evidence that a verbal contract had existed.

I never had a written contract with a customer. That is quite rare in this area, except for large commercials, and landscaping installs.

You might just have to eat this one.

Lnd Svyr
05-14-2005, 06:17 AM
Hmmm. Not that I condone it, but I bet roundup would make pretty neat crop circles in a lawn. Happens to farmers all the time. Obviously, if she said she would pay and now is not going to pay, she's a user, using you. It's like that tiny little difference from the Bible about bearing false witness and lying. Most people confuse that. Nothing wrong with lying at times--but, bearing false witness, now that's breaking a commandment (if you believe in that stuff). Anyway, users are like those who bear false witness, meaning, they have no regard for their fellow human beings. She sounds like a user.

I have let users and deadbeats enrage me in the past and all it gets you is stressed out, that much closer to the Big One, Elizabeth. As some are saying, we no longer work without a contract and most times we get half up front (not talking about $45 jobs) or enough up front and payments to keep us in the black. We are not in the financing business.

Charles
05-14-2005, 06:38 AM
I would never put late charges on mowing customers. You just tic them off that way and you will never get paid. Credit card companies can get away with that because they can ruin your credit if you dont pay them

mtdman
05-14-2005, 07:48 AM
This is the first time my process has "flawed" in 5 years.

All that means is it's the first time the flaw has come up. If you don't have a confirmation in writing, or in person face to face, you don't have anything to stand on. All she has to do is say she never confirmed it with you, never got your phone call, and wasn't home when you cut. You've got nothing that says otherwise other than your word. If you have a contract with her signature confirming your work, you're good. Otherwise, it's he says she says.