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View Full Version : Customer that owns a small store went out of business and still owes me money.......


soloscaperman
03-04-2011, 10:30 PM
I am not surprised. He is a well known old man that is very nice and gave me a lot of work and two customers. He owns a mom and pap hardware store and I mow his store and house. Well I got word from a family member of mine that he was selling everything in his store including a classic coke machine. I did a late fall cleanup at his store since he wanted me to wait till December. I gave him a bill and he never paid it. I am surprised he didn't tell me he was going out of business. He did kind of hinted it when I asked him if I would be doing the store next year plus he said times are getting tough and started to ramble oddly late December.

It's not a lot of money I mow a small island and he just wanted me to blow the leaves to the island and wanted me to mow short and bag it. Took about 30 min and charged him $40 which is what the cut is worth. I mean should I walk up to him and ask where is my money or ask why he went out of business or just act stupid? I got far behind and trusted him plus the record snow fall keep my mind away.

delphied
03-04-2011, 10:34 PM
Ask him. Why not? You prolly wont get it. Ever.

torotorotoro
03-04-2011, 10:40 PM
find out where he lives. go there ,act stupid.problem solved.

ed2hess
03-04-2011, 10:42 PM
It's not a lot of money I mow a small island and he just wanted me to blow the leaves to the island and wanted me to mow short and bag it. Took about 30 min and charged him $40 which is what the cut is worth..

Now really think about this....he was good customer and now he goes out of business and you want him to pay up. And $40 for 30 minutes of work, have some compassion.

torotorotoro
03-04-2011, 10:45 PM
Now really think about this....he was good customer and now he goes out of business and you want him to pay up. And $40 for 30 minutes of work, have some compassion.

find out where he lives.go there. act stupid.

1MajorTom
03-04-2011, 10:47 PM
You said he owns or owned a hardware store. If he saw a customer of his walk out of his store with a $40 item that they didn't pay for, do you think he would follow them out of the store and demand payment? Or would he just let them steal the item? OF COURSE contact him and demand payment. You did the work, you need to be compensated for it.

BINKY1902
03-04-2011, 11:03 PM
Work out a deal and get a few free tools.

Turf Dawg
03-04-2011, 11:24 PM
Now really think about this....he was good customer and now he goes out of business and you want him to pay up. And $40 for 30 minutes of work, have some compassion.

I have to agree with Ed on this one. If this would have been a one time deal then go ahead and dun him, but someone that had used you for awhile and then fell on hard times would be hard for me to kick.

It would have been nice if he would have informed you about this first though.

mowerbrad
03-04-2011, 11:56 PM
You have to make a decision on whether or not you want to be "nice" about this or be a "businessman".

If you've had this customer for years and this is the only bill he has ever faulted on, you may just let it go...its only $40. The economy isn't great and he lost his business over it. I can imagine that this isn't the only bill he has outstanding and its probably not the most important bill that he has/had to pay.

Now if you want to be a true business owner and not tie any sort of emotion(s) to this situation, you can go after him for the money. You could go to his house, send him letters, etc. You did the work so you should get paid for it, $40 can buy you some gas for your truck.

Personally, I'm a pretty nice guy and try to understand the situation that people are in. If its a tough situation (like this one) I will try and work with the customer to figure out a solution. I'd either lower the bill or just forget about it. This guy has been a good customer to you (it sounds like), so I'd cut him a break.

soloscaperman
03-04-2011, 11:56 PM
What do you mean compassion? $40 in 30 min I mow his house which is a $45 lawn that I do for $35. It sucks mowing a store because you gotta pick up beer bottles that people throw from there vehicles when they drive by. It's a nice area but you will always get crap thrown on the ground that is located on a main road. Up here in CT you gotta at least make a dollar per hour or you won't make it in the winter. He is always hard to get and from the snow I lost track. My fault but I learned my lesson. I never had a customer that never paid me and this is new to me. He is very well known and if I do something word would spread. I mean the man is depress he loved that store. That store was there for many many years and who knows he might snap at me with how people are stressed out these days. I guess I will stop by his house this weekend to say hi and go from there.

JB1
03-05-2011, 12:01 AM
I would use what we call a phone, and give him a friendly phone call and cut the drama.

MOturkey
03-05-2011, 12:02 AM
I'd probably let it go. You might be surprised and get a check after the sale, at which time you would have the option of cashing it or not.

kilgoja
03-05-2011, 12:06 AM
are you still gonna be cutting his house?...if so just mention it when you go to cut the yard at his house

soloscaperman
03-05-2011, 12:09 AM
Yeah call him............

ME: Hi Mr smith, how are you

Customer: Real good I went out of business, you?


If I don't see someone after a period of time I like to see them face to face and shake there hand. I like personal contact and that's why my customer's like me. If there is a question I'm there. I'm not some tech support from India that does thing over the phone. There is no strong connection through a phone.

JB1
03-05-2011, 12:13 AM
Yeah call him............

ME: Hi Mr smith, how are you

Customer: Real good I went out of business, you?


If I don't see someone after a period of time I like to see them face to face and shake there hand. I like personal contact and that's why my customer's like me. If there is a question I'm there. I'm not some tech support from India that does thing over the phone. There is no strong connection through a phone.



well if you don't like the phone, THEN go see him, your making a mountain out of a mole hill.

T.M. LAWNS
03-05-2011, 12:18 AM
Send Tony out to visit him. If he dosn't pay, have Tony break his legs.:laugh:

soloscaperman
03-05-2011, 12:21 AM
Thanks for the advice guys. I heard he started to close out since yesterday. I will wait a few days till things cool down. Just Got an email from a customer that knows him and told me what happen. She said the store has a large picture of a sad face on the front of the store and he wrote something sad but stated thanks for the many years of service. She got to talk to him for a few min and she said he doesn't look good. Sorry guys I have a heart and I just can't ask him the money right now.

I gotta thank governor Malloy for taxing everybody, charging money for plastic bags, laying off cops, charging tax for clothes under $30, raising taxes, charging a luxury tax for any vehicle over $50K, if an item is $50 and is on sale for $20 you have are charge the tax as it was $50, etc... Our new governor is anti business. You should read the things he is doing for businesses.

Mountain Peak
03-05-2011, 12:22 AM
Man, I wouldn't pressure him for the cash, I'd go to him and ask if he's interested in trading anything from his store to pay off his final invoice from you. I'll bet he would bite and if it's a hardware store I'm sure you can find $40.00 worth of stuff to trade for.
It could save face for the guy who is probably a little embarassed that his business is done.

soloscaperman
03-05-2011, 12:33 AM
I know I have a feeling that he is embarrassed because everybody knows him and that he "failed". He was close to being Mayor of my town back in the day. I will give him some good words like I give you credit for running a small town hardware store near Homedepot, Lowes, Sears hardware, and Walmart. These stores are within a 5 miles radius from his store. I think his dad even ran it since like the 50's. The daughter runs it when he isn't there and she gave me a huge fall cleanup near there house. He's one of those guys that if he knows you or likes you it means it's a good thing and the PR from him helped me out from the "advertising" as well.

fobaum
03-05-2011, 12:34 AM
You ask him for the money you get 40 bucks, you just let it go you might get two new $40 accounts, there's a time to be a business man and a time to be understanding (real) man.

kilgoja
03-05-2011, 12:51 AM
$40 is nothing...let it go

Bob_n_weave
03-05-2011, 02:17 AM
I would go tell him don't worry about final bill. Thank him for being a good customer and maybe even cut his grass for free until the bank took his business.

I'd like to think my neighbors would help (a little) if things fell apart for me.
Wouldn't you ?

ncknaklawns
03-05-2011, 02:45 AM
I did two gutter jobs-cleaned out- fall of 2009 and never got around to billing them. One was a friend the other I was probably making out pretty well on cutting the lawn occasionally when they called. I decided to let them go since I didn't bill soon enough-my fault-looks bad to send a bill out 4 months late. Both are still customers- no big deal.

soloscaperman
03-05-2011, 04:46 AM
You ask him for the money you get 40 bucks, you just let it go you might get two new $40 accounts, there's a time to be a business man and a time to be understanding (real) man.

That is the smartest thing I ever read on lawnsite. This is something that you don't learn from your local competitors, this is something that you learn from your heart and from experience.

Roger
03-05-2011, 08:10 AM
I think I scanned all the posts here. I believe all that is said "he is going out of business." No post says anything about him going bankrupt, or closing because of financial troubles. But, most posts are presuming that because he is closing his hardware store, he must be bankrupt, or out of cash. Neither may be the case. People close successful businesses, or sell them, because of reasons other than financial.

Did I miss the statement about his financial woes?

AI Inc
03-05-2011, 08:19 AM
So were you also one of his customers, or did you shop at home cheapo and help put him out of buss?

Golfpro21
03-05-2011, 09:39 AM
ask for the old coke machine and your even:)

NorthTXlawnguy
03-05-2011, 10:01 AM
I would go tell him don't worry about final bill. Thank him for being a good customer and maybe even cut his grass for free until the bank took his business.

I'd like to think my neighbors would help (a little) if things fell apart for me.
Wouldn't you ?

I agree with this idea too. I came from a small farm community and people helped each other out and it always came back to you if you needed help. I'm not saying people handed out money, but lent tools and a hand when they could. We had a huge tractor driven generator we would use to run our milking parlor when a storm had the power out and when we were done we unhooked it from our pole and took it to our neighbors so they could milk. When a hay wagon would go down or a tractor, who would show up with one...the same neighbor.

HARRIS Property Management
03-05-2011, 10:58 AM
Now really think about this....he was good customer and now he goes out of business and you want him to pay up. And $40 for 30 minutes of work, have some compassion.

I have to agree

shepoutside
03-05-2011, 11:09 AM
I have to agree

Same here, let it go! What goes around, comes around!

2ndNature
03-05-2011, 11:16 AM
I believe in Karma so here is what I would do.

I would take the time to personally write him a note saying you very much appreciated his business over the years. Say something about how you know first hand how tough it is to make it in these financial times and how you have respected the fight he fought against the big stores and blah blah blah....

Might be good to have a respected guy in the communitee on your side for the future

BINKY1902
03-05-2011, 11:18 AM
In situations like this it is better to just write it off as bad debt and claim it as an expense at tax time.

Lugnut
03-05-2011, 11:51 AM
$40 bucks...let it go, its not worth the aggrevation of trying to collect, especially if he has been a good customer in the past.

Landrus2
03-05-2011, 12:03 PM
[QUOTE=soloscaperman;3923122]I am not surprised. He is a well known old man that is very nice and gave me a lot of work and two customers. He owns a mom and pap hardware store and I mow his store and house.


Donít loose any sleep over this the man will pay you if he was a stiffer he would stiff you for a lot more. :weightlifter::weightlifter::weightlifter::weightlifter:

whosedog
03-05-2011, 12:08 PM
It's really sad to watch these small Hardware stores try to stay in business ,but eventually fail when the big box stores move in.Customer loyalty doesn't count for much when you can't compete on prices.I saw 3 small hardware stores fold within a few miles from me after HD,lowes moved in.They also knocked out bigger outfits like Rickles,Kays who couldn't compete.
That's why small businessmen in NYC are trying to keep Walmart out,but appear to have lost the battle.I saw the same thing happen 30+ years ago when Shoprite and Pathmark forced small grocers out of business nearby.
It's all about survival of the fittest,whoever comes up with a better business model wins the game.If HD,and Lowes etc don't stay on their game another competitor will move in on them.
In conclusion,he's hurting,let it go.What comes around goes around;you will reap what you sow.

kilgoja
03-05-2011, 02:36 PM
i kindof like the coke machine idea though...would be cool to have one of those lol

torotorotoro
03-05-2011, 04:11 PM
In situations like this it is better to just write it off as bad debt and claim it as an expense at tax time.

you cant write it off on your taxes.

soloscaperman
03-05-2011, 06:46 PM
How can there be some negative comments? LOL? I did buy stuff at his store from rakes, organic fertilizer, tools, etc. He was the one that gave me a raise what is the big deal $30 to $40 usually takes 30 min to mow sometimes more at his store. He was the one that said I don't want you over bidding because that how people go out of business and charge whatever you want. It was something to that aspect.

Roger
03-05-2011, 07:08 PM
solo ... still did not answer the question. Financial trouble at the hardware store, or not? What was the reason for going out of business?

tradeyouraccounts
03-05-2011, 07:34 PM
Sounds like the old guy has had better times and deserves a break, id say sorry to hear your situation and say not to worry about the payment and wish him well. Id feel good about it myself and he will maybe refer you to others in the future for being kind hearted to him. $40 is not worth the time $400 would be a different matter.

32vld
03-05-2011, 09:34 PM
Facts that we know:

Long term customer, got new customers through old mans referrals, do work for his sister.

Can assume:

he had to close to no longer being able to compete with the box stores.

Solo made thousands of this old man and his referrals.

Still going to mow the old mans lawn and more work for his sister.
Chance for more referrals from OM.

Yes Solo is right to demand his $40.

Is Solo so willing to fight for his rights that he is willing to prove that he is dead right?

In fighting for his rights Solo may prove himself to be dead wrong instead.

How?

Old man is broke.
Old man will pay the $40 but Solo will lose OM home account and risk losing sisters account. That can be 2 lawns at $40 each x 26 weeks for $2080.

No more referrals from OM or OM sister.

That's right fight for that $40 and lose the $2080 yearly business plus whatever any new referrals can bring in.

This old man was a long time customer that always paid his bills and Solo made good money off him.

I say be a man. Stop by and ask the OM about not getting paid yet. Hear out the OM. Find out if he's going to keep you doing his home.

If he's broke and even if he's not going to use you to do his home anymore because money is now tight and he has nothing else to do now that the store is closed.

Then this is the time to be the biggerman and tell the OM that you are sorry to hear about his problems and forget the last job. It's on the house being he was a good long term customer.

In the end in a year or two he age and health may find him needing someone to cut his lawn again because he can no longer do it and odds are he will come looking for you.

clean_cut
03-05-2011, 10:04 PM
This guy got you 2 customers and you said almost everybody knows him. Which would you rather have $40 dollars and a well known person talking bad about you? Or a well known person saying great things about you and missing $40.

He's obviously going through a hard time and probably really needs that $40, how about you? Are you really going to go bankrupt if you don't get that $40? For some reason I doubt it.

If I were you, I'd go over and talk with him, and say "You know, you still owe me some money, but you've gotten me some customers in the past and you've given me some great work. How about this, you continue to put in a good word for me and we call it even?"

A small act of kindness can go a LONG way :)

ecurbthims
03-05-2011, 11:06 PM
I wouldnt say anything about him "owing" me any money,just ask that he thinks of you if he or his friends need anything else done .Bringing up the money owed,will make him feel even worse than he already does ,and he has been kicked enough already .

soloscaperman
03-06-2011, 01:51 AM
I'm not going to ask him for the money because chances are he is tired of people asking for things and my luck he will have a heart attack when I ask him. I am going to stop by his store Monday and see what is left for sale. I will pretend I forgot about the money. If I was rich I would mow his house for Free but chances are his daughter or him will mow the lawn which I really can't imagine. I just think it's insulting to ask him for peanuts when he may even loose his house since the daughter ran the place as well. I think he lives with her and has a grand daughter at the house because he is always there.I will find out more and let you guys know what happens.

AI Inc
03-06-2011, 07:36 AM
How can there be some negative comments? LOL? I did buy stuff at his store from rakes, organic fertilizer, tools, etc. He was the one that gave me a raise what is the big deal $30 to $40 usually takes 30 min to mow sometimes more at his store. He was the one that said I don't want you over bidding because that how people go out of business and charge whatever you want. It was something to that aspect.

Good , support your local mom and pop hardware stores, or we all will have no choice but shopping at home cheapo.

soloscaperman
03-13-2011, 01:29 PM
UPDATE: The reason why there going out of business was because the landlord keeps raising the rent and doesn't want to fix the parking lot. They also said business is slow due to large stores like Walmart, Homedepot, etc.

They said I can still mow there house.