View Full Version : Playing Repo Man

06-01-2000, 03:06 PM
I finished a project about a month and a half ago. Guy has not paid the final invoice, which is small ($800), but worth collecting. Has anyone ever gotten mad enough about a non-payer that you 'repossessed' the project? I've only heard of it a few times - I'm looking to find out what kind of trouble, if any, you got into when you did it (aside from the PR ramifications of doing it). I'm not interested in the small claims/litigation process for this small $$ amount.<p>We did a brick walk for this guy, and he's already paid for the materials, just not for our labor. 20 seconds with a skid loader and forks would return the project to the state it was in prior to our arrival.

06-01-2000, 05:09 PM
if u want ur money show up at the door and tell him what ur about to do. even take the loader off the trailer for good effect. I am sure he will pay u right then and there.<br>-Nick

06-01-2000, 07:30 PM
Only repo'd once. Customer put down 50% deposit. After completion of shrub installation and clean-up he tried to renogiate the price and refused to pay the balance. We informed him that we'd just un-install the appropriate amout of plant material if he didn't intend to pay. I chose the shrubs I liked best and installed them at my own home. Also tried to leave the job looking as decent as possible. Never heard another word from him. <p>----------<br>Lanelle<br>

06-02-2000, 11:14 AM
If you undo any or all of your work, do you also refund any deposit paid? Must be careful, lawyers can twist circumstances to your extreme disadvantage. In some states you can place a mechanic's lien on a property, if your work is not compensated. (Different process in other states, but same idea.) Property cannot be transferred until lien is satisfied, and serves as a negative credit record against nonpayor.<p>----------<br>Jim<br>North central Indiana

06-03-2000, 08:27 PM
I like to show up at six am or so on a Saturday or Sunday with invoice in hand and request payment. If they don't &quot;have a check&quot; I say &quot;Will you have one next weekend? How's six am sound?&quot; They always seem to find a check. The squeaky wheel gets paid first. Important not to be threatening but firm. Another good time to show up is if they have company. Makes it very uncomfortable for them. No one likes to look like a dead beat in front of friends. Much better feeling to make a dead beat squirm and get paid then do more work (repo). This approach is difficult but effective. i always psych myself up before doing a visit, I tell myself things like &quot; I'm not the bad guy here, I deserve to be paid for the work I've done. They've made it come to this.They've brought it upon themselves.&quot; Good luck with your dead beat.<p><br>&lt;font size=&quot;1&quot;&gt;Edited by: PRapoza451<br><p><font size="1">Edited by: PRapoza451

06-04-2000, 02:40 PM
Hello Groundkeepers - <p>Thanks for your response.<p>I don't think a black mark on this guy's credit will mean much. When we put some work in for him last fall (late paid as well), the cable guy came while we were there to shut it off for non-payment. I'm guessing this will simply be another on a long list. As for mechanic's liens, etc - the amount outstanding on this is $800 - not a ton, but enough to be mad about. Not enough for me to waste a work day doing paperwork. But enough to waste 1 hr collecting a portion of the project. As for attorneys - I don't think he'd get one involved for this little amount. Not to mention, he probably can't afford to pay for one!

Trim Creations
09-18-2003, 10:46 PM
Its pretty cheap and you can just put a lean on his house, call and tell them that and they will usally pay up. ( Did a commercail job and there contract said payment will be made in 15 days from finishe date, I laid 2500 yrds of sod so I was in and out and it took 94 days before I finally called lawyer. he made one call and three days later I was paid.

Randy Scott
09-18-2003, 11:09 PM
Have you met and/or discussed this with the guy first? Is he avoiding your calls or invoices? Give him a date as to when you need payment or you will remove what you have to at that time. Times are a bit tough right now for some. Although you kinda know his history so maybe you should've declined doing work for him.

09-18-2003, 11:39 PM
Yup, I repo'd a garden once. He begged me to leave the annuals for his wife. Paid me off in tools from his garage, cordless drill, chainsaw, etc.

09-19-2003, 12:38 AM
it is totally illegal to go on someones property and remove any material even if they have not paid it is called TRESPASSING and you will get sued

09-19-2003, 01:13 AM
Um...it's not like I snuck over his fence at night.....I confronted him, man to man, and told him he either pays, gets sued, or I can take it back. He chose for me to take back everything but the annuals, and paid for them in trades.

09-19-2003, 02:45 AM
We are considering a contract fine print alternative to the tresspass theory.

In the future, we wish to include a phrase stating that if the balance is unpaid, we have the right to come on the property and remove material up to the value of the unpaid balance.

Best we know, if the page is signed, that's the way it is.

To date, we have never had a failure to pay - 15 years, about 2200 contracts.

I've always had this image in mind of what I'd like to do if someone didn't cough up - it would be more a matter of leaving something of value to me:

Each load of debris for our pruning work is worth about $80 for gas, labor and dump fee. Its a massive cube that slides out of a trailer. $800 in unpaid charges would be worth 10 visits at midnight.

(maybe we will put permission for that in our fine print too)

Another choice is a letter distributed to each house in the neighborhood stating facts - "Mr. Failure to pay, at SW 666 loser lane, contracted with us to do such and such. Our records indicate that we have recieved no final payment from Mr. Failure. We completed the work 40 days ago. Do you or any of your contract services have any information that can assist us? Thank-you"


Planet Landscaping
09-19-2003, 05:35 AM
Write the amount owed in roundup on the lawn. ( dont do it, but it be sweet revenge)

John Gamba
09-19-2003, 07:25 AM
Originally posted by pghlandscape
it is totally illegal to go on someones property and remove any material even if they have not paid it is called TRESPASSING and you will get sued

Very sad BUT true!

Leone LawnCare
09-19-2003, 03:19 PM
spraying round up as revenge is considered attempted poisoning

09-19-2003, 06:22 PM
LMAO Maybe criminal damage. Poisoning? LOL Not around here, anyways.

craigs lawncare
09-19-2003, 06:23 PM
Originally posted by Leone LawnCare
spraying round up as revenge is considered attempted poisoning

This is an interesting thread.
Hey Leone, does this advise come from experience, he he he... :D
This has got to be a worst nightmare for all of us. We all complain about the cheapskate property owners trying to dicker us down in price and we all complain about being low-balled but it's people like this that take the term low life to new levels.


09-19-2003, 07:55 PM
Actually i believe when you get paid for your materials it means that they have attempted to start paying for the project and if you remove everything its actually stealing whether he has paid for it all or not. I would check with local laws before i go in and start repo-ing. Try confronting them first and go from there. If that does no good i would go to small claims court so its all legal.

09-19-2003, 11:00 PM
A few years ago, one of my typically late customers was getting really late.....So I decided to cut the back lawn as I usually do, then I dropped the 21" mower down one notch and made a giant "$" sign in the back lawn.... Later that night I get a phone call.....Come get your check...I GOT the hint..... We both got a good laugh out of it!! :D

09-20-2003, 01:35 AM
Originally posted by Stonehenge
. I'm guessing this will simply be another on a long list. As for mechanic's liens, etc - the amount outstanding on this is $800 - not a ton, but enough to be mad about. Not enough for me to waste a work day doing paperwork. But enough to waste 1 hr collecting a portion of the project.

Contractor liens do work, but only if you're in a hot housing market. I, myself wouldn't fool around with this step unless it's over $1000.

I had a guy 2 years ago miss a project payment(did a rubber check) and immediately stooped all work. 10 months later the house went on the housing market, guy got what he was asking for sold in 4 days.. but sale didn't go thru. Why, well I took the time to file for a judgment, (small claims)got my judgment and same day put a lien on his property. On the title search, my lien showed up and stopped the sale right there on the spot. The buyer bought another house. Well the house did sell later, after the owner lost $40,000 in sell price, plus the cost of my court cost and the original$1700 he owed me. See, the lien will show up right away in a title search, but the the showing of the lien has been satisfied takes up to 3 weeks to post. It didn't help that I took my 2 weeks (10 business days)to notify the court that I got my money and was satisfied.

Sometime it's worth it, but you have to put a price on the value of your own time.