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jcom
12-14-2006, 06:01 AM
For the first time, we are having trouble with two repair customers failing to pay their bills. $300.00 each.

We have sent past due notices. Repair work was done in October. At what point do we 1. Small claims court? 2. Lien? (What is the process for this?)
3. Other options or ideas?

Thanks for the help ,

John:cry:

koster_irrigation
12-14-2006, 06:45 AM
confront them, go to their house, go to their place of work.

get partial payments, its better than nothing.

for 300 bucks id just right that off, but i would def. talk **** about the dude to let other people know.

kozmo
12-14-2006, 08:50 AM
I have been using olddebits.com for my collections it has work with good results just make sure to add your service charges and interest to cover cost of service the letters usually get a good response.

Wet_Boots
12-14-2006, 09:05 AM
Start invoicing them for interest, on the next statements. Strictly for the money, you could file liens, and sometimes, the notice you have to send of your intention to file, might be enough to get paid.

speedbump
12-14-2006, 09:27 AM
I have found Small Claims Court to be a joke. First, the judge is always on their side (the customer). If you win the judgement, you have done just that. Now you have to figure out where the money is coming from. If your going for a garnishment, you will have to hire a detective to find out where the customer works, then go back to court to get the garnishment. All this is next to impossible without a lawyer. Three hundred bucks won't even temp the lawyer. Lien's here in Florida used to be easy and once obtained you could start foreclosure on a customers house immediately. Talk about getting someone's attention for a $300.00 dollar bill. Now it's all changed and it's harder and harder for a hard working contractor to collect his money.

Collection agencies, there is another joke. I've tried all the above. I have had success, but very little of it.

The best way to collect is to hire Radiator John. He will go out to the customers house in his 15 year old Cadillac with the leaky Radiator. He will take the cap off the Radiator, hold their face in the steam spewing from the 2" hole under the cap until the guy gets off some money. Works every time!

bob...

carcrz
12-14-2006, 09:28 AM
olddebts.com

Wet_Boots
12-14-2006, 09:55 AM
I always considered a lien, and more specifically, the notice of intent that precedes actual filing for a lien, as about the best leverage one could get, even if the leverage doesn't immediately turn to cash. A home with a lien on it doesn't get sold unless you get paid.

Whatever you do, do it from a distance. That way, no one can accuse you of acting in any threatening manner.

speedbump
12-14-2006, 10:12 AM
In Florida, as of a year or so ago, liens only last a year. They you have to renew them. By the tenth year, paying an Attorney to update them, you have over spent the debt.

bob...

jerryrwm
12-14-2006, 10:12 AM
If you are filing a lien, check the local statutes as you may have to file within a certain period following completion of the work.

Try calling them and see if something can be worked out.

Or hire our old friend bobbygedd and his shovel for collections. He might do it for a percentage.

Wet_Boots
12-14-2006, 10:34 AM
Interesting about the liens in Florida. I wonder if one can add the renewal fees to the total owed. I wonder what public interest was served by changing the lien law.

Mjtrole
12-14-2006, 07:14 PM
For the first time, we are having trouble with two repair customers failing to pay their bills. $300.00 each.

We have sent past due notices. Repair work was done in October. At what point do we 1. Small claims court? 2. Lien? (What is the process for this?)
3. Other options or ideas?

Thanks for the help ,

John:cry:

Maybe there was a problem with something they didn't like or agree with, usually customers won't stiff you on a repair bill unless there is a reason. Or maybe some financial problems they are going through, your best bet is to make contact with them and find out the problem, if there is one.

If they say screw you and don't want to pay then file a claim and take them to small claims court, if you are in your down season that's the best time to do it, and most importantly is to find out their place of employment and have them served at work, a little embarassing is what they need.

Another thing, GET SIGNATURES on all repair work over $100.00, we took it one step further and Now collect on site NO EXCEPTIONS, when the furnace guy, the pool man, the washer repair guy, plumber or electrician come out they ALL collect on the spot why should irrigation contractors be any different? it only takes 5 minutes to bill and collect on site.

Since I am babbling on, I'll add this, makes some contacts through your local chamber of commerce or other business groups and get in touch with some lawyers do some bartering of services so you always have an attorney on retainer, works well for us.

Precision
12-14-2006, 11:09 PM
In Florida, as of a year or so ago, liens only last a year. They you have to renew them. By the tenth year, paying an Attorney to update them, you have over spent the debt.

bob...
paying an attorney to update them???????
drive down to the courthouse, refile and pay another $10 which gets added to the lien amount. Not including drive time, 5 minutes to complete.
AND accrue 18% interest until the debt is paid.

and the law was changed because some dirtball contractors were taking out "incase" liens then never rescinding them.

speedbump
12-15-2006, 08:45 AM
paying an attorney to update them???????
drive down to the courthouse, refile and pay another $10 which gets added to the lien amount. Not including drive time, 5 minutes to complete.
AND accrue 18% interest until the debt is paid

I don't know where your courthouse is, but driving into Tampa from where my shop is located is an hour experience with traffic and parking. And I don't think you can get much of anything done for ten bucks at a courthouse these days.

Most States will let you file a lien. But if the person doesn't sell his house, you don't get paid. If they lose it through Foreclosure, your lien is wiped anyway. The only good thing about the old Florida law, was you could start Foreclosure on the persons house immediately after. You had send the Intent to lien papers within a certain time period and dot all the I's, but it was a good law. How it's all screwed up. Good laws like that get screwed up, because the Lawyers don't want you doing their job.

bob...

Precision
12-15-2006, 08:53 AM
I don't know where your courthouse is, but driving into Tampa from where my shop is located is an hour experience with traffic and parking. And I don't think you can get much of anything done for ten bucks at a courthouse these days.

Most States will let you file a lien. But if the person doesn't sell his house, you don't get paid. If they lose it through Foreclosure, your lien is wiped anyway. The only good thing about the old Florida law, was you could start Foreclosure on the persons house immediately after. You had send the Intent to lien papers within a certain time period and dot all the I's, but it was a good law. How it's all screwed up. Good laws like that get screwed up, because the Lawyers don't want you doing their job.

bob...
not trying to be a jerk, but then just file by mail and use return reciept mail to make sure it got done.

The paperwork couldn't be any easier. You are right about the foreclosure thing and the not getting paid until they sell. But I find that most times the intent to lien letter gets me all the results I need.

speedbump
12-15-2006, 09:02 AM
I agree, and if you get a Lawyer to write it, the offender usually pays more attention. Usually a Lawyer will write one for less than $100.00 and if the bill is big enough, it's well worth the expense.

I always liked the wording my old attorney used to end his letters.
"Govern yourself accordingly"

bob...

jerryrwm
12-15-2006, 12:56 PM
I agree, and if you get a Lawyer to write it, the offender usually pays more attention. Usually a Lawyer will write one for less than $100.00 and if the bill is big enough, it's well worth the expense.

I always liked the wording my old attorney used to end his letters.
"Govern yourself accordingly"

bob...
He was probably a Masonic member

Mjtrole
12-15-2006, 01:55 PM
I agree, and if you get a Lawyer to write it, the offender usually pays more attention. Usually a Lawyer will write one for less than $100.00 and if the bill is big enough, it's well worth the expense.

I always liked the wording my old attorney used to end his letters.
"Govern yourself accordingly"

bob...

That is a great line I use when sending out requests for bonding information on projects.

nc-native
12-15-2006, 02:39 PM
Here in NC small claims court work very well. Make sure to take all signed agreements to court. When/if the magistrate finds in your favor the client has to pay on the spot. You say you don't have a signed agreement? Good luck. Another lesson learned.

Wet_Boots
12-15-2006, 03:15 PM
What if the small claims loser doesn't pay in NC? Jail?

speedbump
12-16-2006, 10:16 AM
What if the defendant doesn't show up? That has been my experience. You file the claim, they send out a notice for the guy to show up in court and he is a no show. No pay on the spot with that scenario.

bob...

PurpHaze
12-16-2006, 11:36 AM
Hell... Get the guy to agree to go on one of those atrocious "Judge Judy, Jim, Joe, Sally, Clarise" shows on TV that my wife loves to watch. :laugh:

nc-native
12-17-2006, 06:37 PM
I'll admit I've never seen anyone who wasn't prepaired to pay at small claims. Most of what I have seen is the majority know they're quilty and out come the check books. If someone is summoned and fails to appear the magistrate will find in favor of the party that did appeared. You then have a judgment against this person. They have a period of time to pay the court which inturns pays you. Should that time to pay expires then the sherriff is employed to collect.

speedbump
12-18-2006, 09:57 AM
That's a great service. Here the police could care less. Once you have the judgement, it's up to you to get the money.

bob...

Wet_Boots
12-18-2006, 10:24 AM
A default judgement, where the other party fails to show up, might entail some extra work, since there could end up being another hearing.