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britelights
12-15-2009, 07:47 PM
We are in our 6th season...and I know we've been blessed with great customers and only 1 or 2 bad apples along the way. But this one takes the cake. Here's what happened:

Dealt with housekeeper on design, bid, and payment. Homeowner signed bid. On day of install, ran into electrical issues...her outside outlets also had stuff inside on the same circuit. So we left mini-lights unplugged (BTW -- the mini-lights we tried to get her NOT to do from the beginning). She had electrician come out and add a circuit. She implied this was our fault and we somehow should have known that stuff inside the house was on that same circuit...and for the money she was paying we should have been able to add another circuit. Hmm....didn't know we were now supposed to be electricians. Got very bad feeling after install. Install was on a Friday. Electrician added circuit on Monday. We came out -- hooked mini-lights back up -- all was good.

Didn't receive final payment...had collected 50% deposit at time of acceptance and normally other 50% is paid upon install. When I asked on Monday about payment, the housekeeper told me that the homeowner wanted to make sure the lights were working before she paid. Red flag. My husband and I specifically drove by her house (she lives about 5 minutes from us) every night last week...even took a picture one night...all was beautiful, on, and working. Still no payment. On Friday I called the housekeeper -- she didn't have check --- I asked for homeowner's office # --- left vm -- no return call. Saturday --- called home -- no answer -- no return call.

Monday morning I'm upset. To make a long story short of Monday morning back and forth with housekeeper...she calls me at 3pm and tells me that the check is ready and I can pick it up before 4pm. Our weather has been bad, foggy and nasty, intermittent rain. Rains Monday afternoon and wouldn't you know it -- GFCI trips. She calls that evening. My husband goes out --- discusses with her about the mini-lights --- unplugs them so they can dry out --- and tells her we can take off the mini-lights, refund that price, and she shouldn't have any more GFCI problems. I was supposed to send over the price to her today of what we would deduct for the mini-lights. I didn't get to that today...I don't like this lady at all by now. She calls this evening...ranting and raving. "Her lights haven't worked right since day one" blah blah blah. Tells me how she runs a $50 million company...which she had also told my husband last night. Definitely a lady on a power trip. I try to stay nice. She tells me how our lights suck and she demands that we come out and take them down first thing tomorrow morning....and refund most of her money. She then tells me if we won't come take them down she will have someone take them down for us. I tell her -- that's fine -- go ahead -- you own the product. She doesn't like that answer...demands we come out tomorrow morning and take them down...or we will see her "fury" and she hangs up.

Okay seasoned pros out there...help me out. How do I handle this? BTW -- I drove by her house a few minutes ago -- everything is on and beautiful except for the mini-lights my husband unplugged last night to let dry out.

turf hokie
12-15-2009, 08:29 PM
This is obviously a first year customer...

And I have been doing this for 5 years, so you have one on me, so take the following for what is it worth, my opinion.

You have a few options but it seems that none will be satisfactory to the customer.

I dont sell our lights but rent so my take may be a bit different.

Option 1: remove mini's and refund that portion of the contract. (of which is not paid for yet) Finish the year out hope it does not get worse and write it off as a PITA customer

Option 2: remove YOUR lights as they are not hers until they are paid for in full, refund her deposit in full and run like hell for the hills. Heck, she told you to come take them down and you do have a 50% deposit.

You dont say what portion of the contract is made up of the mini lights so if it is 50% take the minis and call it a day.

If the minis make up less than 50% of the contract then it sounds like you are going to end up eating something unless you choose option 2

This is where light renting comes in handy, they are ALWAYS my lights, therefore, I always have the option of taking them back and walking away, and only being out labor.

Hope this helps, I am sure some others have run into this before....but I like my option 2 b/c I'd like to see her "fury" after you take her lights down as requested before giving her deposit back!!!!!

britelights
12-15-2009, 09:06 PM
Yes -- first year customer. She did actually pay for the whole thing. She paid the 50% deposit at time of acceptance. And then after much run-around, finally paid the other 50% yesterday. And yesterday evening we started having water troubles. So...she has paid for the entire contract. Which is why I told her she owns the lights and is more than welcome to have someone else take them down if she likes -- lol.

My husband thinks we should remove the minis and refund that portion of the contract...basically your Option #1. But since she's paid in full, I think we should leave everything like it is -- take down as normal after the season -- refund her the storage part (since we definitely WON'T be doing business with her next year) and call it a day.

Now...what about her "demanding" we come take them down tomorrow morning and refund most of her money??? Ain't gonna happen!

Toy2
12-15-2009, 09:33 PM
Yes -- first year customer. She did actually pay for the whole thing. She paid the 50% deposit at time of acceptance. And then after much run-around, finally paid the other 50% yesterday. And yesterday evening we started having water troubles. So...she has paid for the entire contract. Which is why I told her she owns the lights and is more than welcome to have someone else take them down if she likes -- lol.

My husband thinks we should remove the minis and refund that portion of the contract...basically your Option #1. But since she's paid in full, I think we should leave everything like it is -- take down as normal after the season -- refund her the storage part (since we definitely WON'T be doing business with her next year) and call it a day.

Now...what about her "demanding" we come take them down tomorrow morning and refund most of her money??? Ain't gonna happen!I would not refund a thing, you have pictures and you can claim that others have seen her house and will have your company install lights for them. If you furnished all the lights for the install then yes I would feel bad, my issues are homeowners who use Wally world lights, you get what you pay for.......I wouldn't lose any sleep over it.......and yes the weather around here is hot/cold, light rain/heavy rain, GFCI's have a mind of their own....:laugh:

britelights
12-15-2009, 09:53 PM
We did furnish the lights -- she purchased them from us. HBL light links on house, an HBL display in yard, minis on 2 trees and one row of small shrubs. Net lights --- at her insistence --- we normally don't use net lights --- on larger shrubs by the house. The only thing tripping the GFCI are some of the minis or net lights -- which is why those are unplugged. The very aggaravating thing is we tried to convince her not to do minis and we told her we don't use net lights unless the customer specifically asks for them. And those are the things giving us problems with the GFCI. Of course there's also a housekeeper in the middle of this -- and this power-tripping lady doesn't want to hear anything we have to say.

It's now dry and I'm sure if we went over there and plugged those minis and net lights back in they would work fine. Do we dare go back over there and risk another confrontation? Do we do as my husband suggested and remove the minis and nets and refund her that portion? Personally, I don't think we should remove anything. I think we should plug the minis and nets back in tomorrow -- after all she insisted she wanted them -- and do normal takedown after the season.

As far as removing and refunding....she signed a Contract...we delivered, installed, and have been maintaining lights...so she doesn't have a leg to stand on correct??

addictedtolandscaping
12-15-2009, 10:15 PM
Sounds like a similar issue I ran into. Had a customer really hot on starburst, put them up, guys wired them up and truthfully not so good a job. We ended up using a couple Shepard hooks as the y stakes were short. Calls me up, and to say rips into me is an understatement. Out I go, and yes wiring issue at hand, to many minis for example running through each other, popped a fuse etc, just does not look good. I tell him I will be back first thing in the am, and get him situated, he insists he wants Shepard hooks instead of the y stakes, so I figure OK, with the inconvenience I will get them. I spend 6 hours running all over God's creation here to get them, only carried by Tractor Supply and only 2 per store, but all in all I find him 8. Out I go for the install and repair, after all the run around and then the added expense of the Shepard hooks, he refuses the starbursts. Dumb me ordered them in without a contract as my schedule did not permit me to meet with him prior so my bad.

He insists on just mini's in the bushes, so I do the job and naturally he isn't there when I finish. Still not payed yet. I was so disgusted I actually called Mike and talked to him about it, I was ready to take everything down and walk. Mike convinced me other wise. I figure I will tough it out and drop like a hot potato afterward. It is amazing how just one customer can rip the wind right from your sails. I agree with you Stacy, contract there, totally fulfilled, pics to verify it, let her find someone else to deal with for removal and such. I would send her the storage portion and wipe my hands.

turf hokie
12-16-2009, 07:23 AM
Since she is paid in full, leave everything, check on it today to make sure all is 100%, refund her storage and on Dec 26th she is on her own.

PS Never do net lights again. No matter how much they insist. Stick to what you do.

We had a potential customer wanted mini lights on the roof line, told her no, we would do links, c-9 or c-7 that was it. She gave me the whole economy speech that I should be willing to do whatever she wanted. Told her I was not sacrificing my business standard for her and was ready to walk away, she stopped me, agreed to hear me out, sold her c-7 and ended up with a 2k job. She is one of my happiest customers because she saw what her house looked like and what a neighbor looked like with minis.

Good luck.
Bryan

hotrod1965
12-16-2009, 09:25 AM
All you can do is stick to your contract. Then you point out to your customer that you signed a deal and you are holding up your end of the bargin.

Now..some advice... Being in Michigan.. I am used to bad weather.. So we have it in our contract saying something like "we can't control mother nature... do our best...."
We will get regualr rain, freezing rain and snow all before Christmas, so we have to be prepared.

Also, you have to really make sure the power is there. Then you need that in your contract too. "customer is responsible to have ample power supply....."

britelights
12-16-2009, 12:05 PM
We are sending one of our guys out this afternoon to remove the mini-lights since Carlos had already discussed that with her. He said he had already discussed that with her so he wants to do it -- plus that should mean we shouldn't hear from her at all for the rest of the season.

Our contract does have a little blurb about the weather and the elements, but we do plan on expanding on our contracts for next year. And I think from now on we will refuse to do net lights...unless we can buy some good commercial ones from litesource or something.

And I always ask about the power and outlets...but 99% of the people have no clue if there's other stuff on the same circuit.

And I think for next year we're either going to insist on LED minis or something. Does anybody use HBL's landscaper grade minis or always lit minis? Do they hold up better in the rain?

addictedtolandscaping
12-16-2009, 08:02 PM
I have a couple cases of the HBL always lit up, no issues so far, we have had several rain storms and one quirky snow storm that developed into several different accumulations. I also have a couple mixed noble wreaths up, they have the landscapers series on them and I thin the Sierra do also. Haven't had any issues there.

David Gretzmier
12-17-2009, 01:26 AM
I think a good rule of thumb on installs is insist/bid in a new outlet/circuit installed on any c-9 job over $1500 and any other job over $2000, and then a double outlet on jobs over $3500. c-9's pull 7 watts, 250 of them is 1700 watts plus, and is around 1600 bucks for me. Those kind of watts need a dedicated circuit. we pay a local electrician 150-170 bucks for a double outlet double 20 amp load on an A/C line. If I think this customer is a landscape light potential, and they have 2 A/C units, I do 2 double outlets for around $250. when you have GFCI issues, many times you can move around plugs to a different GFCI and it won't pop.

links pull about .2-.3 amps each, so 36 on a house is over 10 amp load. I sell them for 60, so when you hit $2000 you are getting close to the max load on an unknown circuit.

mini's can add up amps quick. I have used 5000 to tightwrap ONE TREE. that is about 12-15 amps. That maxes a circuit, and I only charge about 1250 for that many. once you hit 2000 mini's, and anything up top, you need an outlet.

britelights
12-17-2009, 09:03 PM
This evening I check the mail and find what I had been afraid of...notice from my bank that the check this customer gave me will be returned unpaid. This was the check she gave us for the 2nd half of her package on Mon. 12/14.

I need some advice - where do I go from here? Her total contract was $5,900. She paid 1/2, $2,900, at the time of acceptance -- that check has cleared -- that was back around Nov. 20th. She gave us the final payment, another check of $2,900 on Monday. We received notice today that check will be returned to us. Not sure what the stamp will be -- but I can pretty much guarantee the reason is 'Stop Payment Issued.' Now...in TX -- a stop payment is almost like an NSF check unless merchandise was provided. Merchandise AND services were provided -- so not sure if I can still get it treated as an NSF or not. With an NSF, you can send a certified letter and if they don't pay within 10 days a warrant will be issued for her arrest. If it gets treated like payment for merchandise -- she has the option of returning the merchandise OR payment.

Now...she signed a Contract. At this point --- do we :

1) Go take down everything and keep it as ours? And she paid $3,000 for our headaches and product rental? OR

2) Send her the letter that treats it as an NSF check OR

3) Send her the letter that treats it as payment for merchandise .... OR lastly...

4) Wash our hands -- let her worry about getting the product off the house.

I'm torn -- there's a part of me that wants to go and take everything down and I'll easily be able to resell it. There's another part of me that wants to leave it all up there --- send her the letter that treats it as an NSF and fight.

I don't want to act hastily -- so I'm posting it out here for advice. Also --- another point on this --- yesterday we had removed the net lights and minis (as she had previously discussed with Carlos) -- and I had e-mailed her a letter stating we would refund her for the minis, net lights, and storage. The letter said she would get a refund of $993.08 on 12/29 --- giving her check 10 business days to clear. I obviously know now why she didn't respond to that letter. So...another way of looking at this is --- I'm only leaving $1,900 on the table if I don't pursue payment of the check. And if I "repo" the lights I can resell them next year and probably come out ahead on this whole disaster.

FLAhaulboy
12-17-2009, 10:51 PM
"With an NSF, you can send a certified letter and if they don't pay within 10 days a warrant will be issued for her arrest."


Go for it! I had a rich woman once fire me by way of the "maid-Mrs X doesn't need your services anymore" comment. That was 22 years ago and it still pisses me off when I think about it!

If your not at fault here, then go after her because she has probably done it to others & if she really runs a $50 million company, sue in small claims court on "her time" which I doubt she has time for!

David Gretzmier
12-18-2009, 12:42 AM
some tough legal ground here. I think a lawyer would tell you not to go on her property and take the lights down without her permission. She can legally get the cops after you for tresspassing and theft. yeah, I know, she did not pay 100% for the stuff, but remember, possession is 9/10 of the law...

and she can argue in court any number of things that are not true. your word against hers, etc. you may not win this in court, contract or no contract, if she can convince the judge you failed in performance. so, knowing you have nothing to lose...

she currently has the upper hand, as she has the product on her property and she has now not paid you in full. she won't answer her phone or voice mail and you are trying to work through her maid.

After meeting you today, I think you might enjoy this next suggestion.

she runs a "$50 million" corporation ? I'm pretty sure that means she has an office, and within shouting distance of her door are folks that work for her. maybe you could get lucky and she has clients in her waiting room or in her office. I think you should pay her a 2000 buck visit. This is where you barge into her office without an appointment and you are angry, loud, and demanding she pay you cash for a bounced check. show photo's as evidence you did a good job. ask out loud does she bounce checks on a regular basis, like payroll checks. does she rip off her clients like you got ripped off. I would bring it to screaming levels and I would bring carlos with you. if she threatens security, offer to call the police and show them your contract and tell them you are here because of a bounced check. mention the word felony, maybe even something technical like "arrest warrant" "class d felony"

I don't know if this will work, but it would be fun. but I know what does not- laying down, hiring lawyers, phone calls, being nice and letting her win. you did a good job and you deserve to be paid. mean wealthy people should not get to push people around. I do know that I have gone to clients business several times when I have not gotten paid by visting thier home and leaving message after message. one visit to office, gotten paid.

but be aware, some wealthy folks just never pay and look for a reason not too.

good luck.

hotrod1965
12-18-2009, 11:46 AM
That sounds like a lot of fun!


some tough legal ground here. I think a lawyer would tell you not to go on her property and take the lights down without her permission. She can legally get the cops after you for tresspassing and theft. yeah, I know, she did not pay 100% for the stuff, but remember, possession is 9/10 of the law...

and she can argue in court any number of things that are not true. your word against hers, etc. you may not win this in court, contract or no contract, if she can convince the judge you failed in performance. so, knowing you have nothing to lose...

she currently has the upper hand, as she has the product on her property and she has now not paid you in full. she won't answer her phone or voice mail and you are trying to work through her maid.

After meeting you today, I think you might enjoy this next suggestion.

she runs a "$50 million" corporation ? I'm pretty sure that means she has an office, and within shouting distance of her door are folks that work for her. maybe you could get lucky and she has clients in her waiting room or in her office. I think you should pay her a 2000 buck visit. This is where you barge into her office without an appointment and you are angry, loud, and demanding she pay you cash for a bounced check. show photo's as evidence you did a good job. ask out loud does she bounce checks on a regular basis, like payroll checks. does she rip off her clients like you got ripped off. I would bring it to screaming levels and I would bring carlos with you. if she threatens security, offer to call the police and show them your contract and tell them you are here because of a bounced check. mention the word felony, maybe even something technical like "arrest warrant" "class d felony"

I don't know if this will work, but it would be fun. but I know what does not- laying down, hiring lawyers, phone calls, being nice and letting her win. you did a good job and you deserve to be paid. mean wealthy people should not get to push people around. I do know that I have gone to clients business several times when I have not gotten paid by visting thier home and leaving message after message. one visit to office, gotten paid.

but be aware, some wealthy folks just never pay and look for a reason not too.

good luck.

seolatlanta
12-18-2009, 04:37 PM
You need to do nothing here except contact your lawyer if you want to pursue this. Now you need to make sure you have EVERYTHING in order as far as your company. I am talking about insurance , workers comp, business license everything because if you pursue it you are going to invite scrutiny if she fights it.

Also decide whether the lawyer bills are going to cost more than what is owed and if emotionally and spiritually you want to drag this out. You definitely cannot go on her property and take anything.

The main thing you have in your corner is the stopped payment. The lawyer will want to know why she wrote the last check if she was so unhappy. The law attached to that could force her to pay and for her to jump through hoops to get her money back!

britelights
12-22-2009, 12:27 PM
As much fun as David's suggestion sounded --- we didn't go to her office in person. She owns a company that is the largest subcontractor for NASA -- and I've never been to her office -- but I'm pretty sure there's security.

At any rate -- she sent me an e-mail last night asking that I take down her lights and refund the deposit she paid. Hmmm...3 weeks of beautiful lights she signed a Contract for...and she wants me to just come take them down and refund all her money. She went on to say they haven't worked correctly since day one, blah blah blah. I'm glad we didn't go take them down last week like I wanted. We haven't stepped foot on her property. She chose to e-mail last night because apparently the garland on one side of the stairway and the display aren't working. Those two things are both run together -- and my hunch is the lawn guys cut the cord or somebody unplugged something.


I replied and nicely laid out everything that's happened since the date of her install. And corrected her statement about the lights not working correctly. I also informed her that she has not adhered to the terms of our Agreement. And I'm sorry that those two items aren't working (I did tell her it was probably a cut cord or something unplugged) -- but unfortunately we can't service the lights until she pays her remaining balance of $xxxx. I didn't even address her request to take them all down and refund her deposit.

As of this morning -- no response. We'll see where this goes. I think we have alot in our favor...signed Proposal (I'm SO glad I have that --- make sure you ALWAYS get that), pictures of the display, our detailed account with dates of what's happened, and the fact she did indeed give me a check for the balance.

addictedtolandscaping
12-22-2009, 06:01 PM
You should be in good shape. Years ago I had a woman take me to court to regain her deposit, I had a signed contract, pictures of supplies brought in, list of dates that we could not complete the work due to her not rendering the area accessible as agreed. The judge immediately found in our favor.

THis is where I dropped the ball this year, I was dealing with handshakes and verbals, boy did I screw up. Fortunately it has only been the one customer but I have taken almost 1000 beating on it. Next step, I take it all down as he offered in an email (I keep all communication) and walk away kicking myself continuously for a while.

David Gretzmier
12-23-2009, 01:35 AM
It sounds as though you will end up settling this out of court. If she is as busy as you say, she will probably talk to a lawyer and he will advise her to pay you . she may not want to, but she will probably not want to take off work and go to court.

In court, you will not be paid for some of what is owed you if you do not do the takedown and store it. and yes, in court, even though you have pictures and a signed contract, performance of work plays a big part of the verdict. while the GFCI thing is totally not your fault, you've got to prove that in court or it will play into what the judge thinks is fair. if he puts himself in the homeowners shoes and thinks he is paying 3-4 grand for an "effect" of lighting, then you need to be able to prove you delivered that effect to the best of your ability.

try to think of it this way- you will say the lights worked fine, she will say they did not. you may need to get her neighbors help in saying the lights were on at least 15 out of 20 days, of something. surely someone around her saw the lights and will at least give you a statement. If you can get 2 neighbors to say they saw the lights and liked them- write their names down and her lawyer will advise her to settle before trial. If you plan on doing this, it is actually better for you to go and check her lights and maybe do a quick fix and knock on a neighbors door while you are there and ask them what they think of the display. If you wait until february to try to find neighbor folks to help you, that ain't gonna happen.

britelights
12-23-2009, 10:12 AM
I'm willing to walk away from the balance due...originally $2,900 --- revised to about $1,900 once we deducted the minis, net lights, and storage. Plus --- if I don't takedown the lights -- that's another $700 originally billed to her. So I'm really walking away from $1,200. I do not want to do business with this lady next year at all --- if she paid me today and apologized, etc. I wouldn't renew her next year. She was trying to get away without paying from the day of install.

So the way I look at it --- if she takes me to court (which I seriously doubt) she will only be trying to recoup her deposit. I think any attorney out there would tell her there's no way that's going to happen. For argument's sake...if a judge sympathizes with her and decides we didn't perform and need to return her deposit -- what's the worst that can happen? We return her deposit and she has to return all of our product. I'd love to have the product back -- I'll resell it in a heartbeat. In the process....what did she have to do? Hire someone to come and take her lights down.

This is just the way I look at it. I walk away --- she's madder than a hornet because we didn't do exactly as she demanded --- AND she now has to deal with hiring someone to take them down, and she has to store them. If I fix the lights, do the takedown and store --- the ball is in my court to pursue the balance due. I will have to take her to court -- no option. If I walk away now -- the ball is in her court -- she will have to devote the time and energy to pursue in court.

David Gretzmier
12-23-2009, 01:11 PM
hmm. trying to work the numbers in my head. at this point you have 1/2 of your original bid for all the work. she has the install and the lights on her house. she wants a full refund and you to take the product, and you want her to either keep the product, pay someone else to take them down, and then you walk away or sue her for the remaining charge minus takedown fee and storage fee.


I am wondering if you can have some cake and eat it too. If carlos and a helper went to take the lights down on the monday after Christmas, it would cost you maybe 6 man hours of labor? and you would then have the lights. for the cost of that labor, you have product you can resell that is worth wholesale to you probably 10-20 times the cost of that Labor. and I think you could make an argument in court that her deposit does not cover what you would have charged to install, rent and takedown the product.

having her product and the deposit is a much better position than not having the product. And deep down, she really does not want the product anymore, it represents unhappiness to her. she may even give it to the guys she hires to take it down as payment.

just a thought.

britelights
12-24-2009, 11:58 AM
I like that idea. We were worried if we did takedown the product (even if it's after Christmas) -- that she would have more of an argument in Court to recoup the deposit. I will discuss with Carlos and post what we decide to do.

David Gretzmier
12-24-2009, 01:09 PM
I'd also make a call to a lawyer friend if you have one. in court, basically, you are really just trying to fulfill your written contract. sell product, install, takedown,store. she still owes you money. if she wants to modify it to rent, install, takedown, store, you are fine with that. she still owes you money over her deposit, but maybe 20-30% off full price. If she wants her product back, she still owes you money- she pays the amount in full, she picks up product at the storage place, and you and she fulfilled the contract. If you can prove in court with a neighbors help that her lights were on and working, I think you can be ok on this.

CANADIAN MIKE
12-31-2009, 10:09 AM
so what's happened?

britelights
01-02-2010, 07:15 PM
As of right now her product is still up (as far as we know). I'm going to drive by tomorrow just to see. We haven't heard anymore from her. Carlos really didn't want to get into the whole he said/she said thing in court. I really wanted to take David's suggestion, but I could see Carlos' side as well. This way at least, she doesn't even have an argument in court.

britelights
01-04-2010, 11:42 PM
Well...had to call our attorney today to discuss an issue with a commercial customer. While I had him on the phone, I explained the situation with this customer. He said we would be able to pursue payment of the check under TX law similar to treatment of a bounced check. He told us to go get our product. Carlos and the crew were close by, so I called him and told him to hightail it over there and take down the product.

Customer had already removed the display, timers, the light links on the lower porch section and the C-9s on the covered walkway. We were able to recover the 30 links that were on the high roofline (high 2-story), some of the cords and 1 timer. And...following suggestion from the attorney, I am preparing the 10-day letter to send her regarding the check she stopped payment on. We'll see what happens...

CANADIAN MIKE
01-05-2010, 09:08 AM
nail them to a cross!!!:hammerhead:

britelights
01-05-2010, 10:42 AM
I hope so...if only we had listened to David's advice 2 weeks ago. :hammerhead: Growing pains are hard.

David Gretzmier
01-06-2010, 01:44 AM
hey, I learned the hard way too. ;) I was just trying to keep you from making the same mistakes I had. I will try to make new ones this week to make you feel better. :dizzy:

britelights
01-06-2010, 09:05 AM
Thanks David :). The reason I had to call the attorney in the first place was for a commercial client. Biggest job we've ever done...little over $15k. They paid initial deposit...balance was due on Dec. 1st. Still haven't received balance...been talking to them about it and they kept telling me as soon as their "monthly loan draw" came thru we would get paid. Got a call from their Marketing Director yesterday....bank didn't fund monthly loan draw. All employees were laid off and sent home. I feel comfortable we'll get our money...they have some pretty deep pockets funding the project (multi-million dollar home development on the water)...and the family with the biggest money just had a death in the family last week. So I feel certain it will get worked out...but man...that's a phone call you don't want to receive from a client.

Attorney said we're in good shape...even if we end up having to file a lien (which I don't think it will come to that)....but we will be making LOTS of changes to our fine print and contracts before next season.

addictedtolandscaping
01-06-2010, 09:09 AM
Media is a good avenue to consider if need be too. An over site of the service you offer, experiences and willingness to work with clients etc, then examples of past situation to prove how accommodating you try to be or something like that.

I am in the same boat also, money seems to come as it is convenient or so it seems. Good luck!!

helidriver
01-06-2010, 04:56 PM
I would suggest talking to that attorney also about doing business with him and have him lower his rate for you. You will be needing him from time to time. I ended up hiring on an attorney early on. You only pay for him when you need him when you are a smaller business like yourself. You can use the cost as a business expense in some cases. But you will need him again and again, so try to work a deal on his hourly rate to use him exclusively. Any decent attorney is willing to give you a lower rate as a small business.
As for the deadbeat woman with the freakin lights....This is the type of ******* we all deal with occassionally. They want, they want, they want....then they demand. I would have told her to hire an electrician to eliminate the problem. If it happens with mini lights....it happens with everything else. summer, winter, spring or fall the outlet is a problem. If she wrote that down or in a letter or email to you....keep it. Thats evidence. She admits to a problem not related to you or your work. Screw her and move on. NASA can keep that idiot.

ecoguy
10-11-2011, 04:56 PM
Man. I just read through this entire post and as a newbie just starting out, damn, I learned a lot. Written contracts are essential. Btw, any sample contracts anybody would care to share? I imagine they should be drawn up by a lawyer in order to be binding? Anyways, how did everything end? Also, when is the made for TV movie?

David Gretzmier
10-12-2011, 01:08 AM
This thread, like so many over the years, provides a lot of training for folks thinking of doing this for a living. I have often commented that the first thing anyone should do when considering this business is to spend a few dozen hours reading all threads and posts here going back 3-5 years. It is better than nearly any Christmas book or video series you can buy.

addictedtolandscaping
10-12-2011, 05:46 AM
I can;t agree enough Dave. By the time I moved forward with HBL, from reading this forum and speaking with people such as yourself, Bryan, Hot Rod, I had a fairly clear picture of how this business progresses!!

GreenI.A.
10-12-2011, 11:50 AM
glad I read this one, deffinetly a leason learnt here. One thing I don't hesitate to do is threaten a lien on the property. Here in MA you have to wait 3 months after contract payment date terms to file the lien but at 2 months you must notify the customer of your intentions and give them the final month to pay. That letter of intent to file the lien has gotten me paid immediately on all but one non payer who still has a lien on their propery

TimNNJ
10-12-2011, 08:48 PM
agreed...I have read a lot of good advice on here...

helidriver
10-12-2011, 08:51 PM
Wow, Its been awhile....I got this recent story. This guy had me tear down his shed. I have a compact jd which made it relatively easy. I had him sign a simple "shed removal-haul away as junk" form.
The next day he comes home and says the following..." The roof was still good! what the hell are you doing, I have a new shed going in next week and I was using that roofing material!" Folks...That was a twelve pack night for me. I still laugh at this jerk. They get funny sometimes.