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PlantscapeSolutions
01-12-2012, 10:37 AM
Does anyone else find it interesting that there are places like the BBB who's sole role is to protect people from bad business but no similar organization to protect businesses from problem clients.

In a metropolitan area a home owner can calls dozens and dozens of landscape contractors and take advantage of them. The same goes for general contractors who sub out work to landscape contractors but do not live up to their financial obligations. There are some GC's and home owners out their who are hard to distinguish from a con man. They screw businesses over left and right and get away with it because there is no service that tracks this sort of thing.

If I had money burning a hole in my pocket I would start my own website called Redflagclient.com to track and tag dead beats. There would obviously have to be some "all info contained here is opinion " lingo to prevent lawsuits. All contractors could register by trade to use the site. You could post the name and address of clients you would recommend avoiding. The site could be organized by city and state. The contractors who register to use the site could be targeted for online advertising as a means to support the site. Contractors tend to spend a lot of money and are a sought out advertising targets.

Wouldn't you guys like to be able to run a check on new clients to see if there are any horror stories you should be aware of? I'm sure we have all had clients who screwed us out of amounts of money too small to justify even filing a lien. But at the same time you'd love to be able to tag that client as a person to avoid. Your tagging the bad client might prevent another contractor to falling victim. You may get a little payback in the future when the client can't figure out why nobody will work for him any more.

Trying to get a redflagclient.com site up and running properly could cost big bucks to do it right so I'm kind of SOL. What do you guys think of this idea? I'm sure we've all had a client who made us see red.

Dr.NewEarth
01-12-2012, 03:01 PM
I think that would be a good idea. I've wondered about why there isn't some-thing already set up. It must be a privacy issue or a constitutional reason why it hasn't been done already. You'd have to sit down with a Lawyer. I discussed this with the landscape association here, so our members would have a watch list . My suggestions were shot down because it was presumed there would be legal implications with such a list. (even if it's a private members only list)

The BBB frankly sucks. I allege they protect their members.

I have lodged written complaints against HOA's and Management companies that are registered tax paying businesses. The BBB wouldn't do any-thing saying they don't get involved in payment disputes. I wanted the above repeat offenders (hoa/management) to be registered as offenders. On the other hand, if I allegedly ripped off a client the BBB would certainly take the complaint and record it for all to see. Two sets of rules?

BaxtersEssentialLawnCare
01-12-2012, 05:41 PM
please do this. best idea ever.

GreenI.A.
01-13-2012, 01:12 PM
You really could get this up and going pretty easily to start with. Start with a simple website that lets you post a live excell form that users online can manipulate to search by state, city, etc. Have a contact page set up with boxes for the con tractors to add info that yo would receive in an email and review and add it in. That would atleast get a workable site going, start getting some traffic to it and the redflag list built up and I'm sure you could then find some sponsors for it once they see the idea and traffic flow. Get them onboard and then go to a more user friendly custom built site.

You beter get to work on this. Seems like a good enough idea that I could make it a hung over sunday project

Lefet
01-13-2012, 01:39 PM
I'm in, where do I sign?

nherweck
01-13-2012, 02:40 PM
Sign me up! This would be real nice in the near future...

Bunton Guy
01-13-2012, 07:10 PM
My wifes company she works for is working on something basically like what you guys are talking about. It will be for contractors to look up potential or current clients.

It will cost only a couple bucks a month which is cheap insurance compared to the thousands people could easily be screwed out of each year.

Landscape Poet
01-13-2012, 07:36 PM
I am pretty sure this has been brought up before on here or something like it... the thing that will prevent you from creating or running such a website is that at anytime the client can come along and see the information. IF the vendor does not have proof that services were rendered....you will be forced to take it down or face slander charges at min.

Moral of the story - get at least 1/2 up front - have a signed document/agreement./contract ....and limit your losses any other way you can such as another .25 do before completion .

ringahding
01-13-2012, 07:38 PM
That is probably one of the most back-words Ideas I have ever heard!
I Love It!

I would love to post their website & "Fan Page" here of the "Red Flag Client" , that still owes us $4,800 for snow plowing last year!

I think honestly this needs to happen as a localized solution of companies that don't get paid for services already rendered. YA know, like they do for "DWI" offenders or "Sex Offenders".

I think it would be so funny to see their face posted as a customer not to provide services for, so they would ultimately either pay or do their own shiiiii.

Good Thread!

Landscape Poet
01-13-2012, 07:51 PM
That is probably one of the most back-words Ideas I have ever heard!
I Love It!

I would love to post their website & "Fan Page" here of the "Red Flag Client" , that still owes us $4,800 for snow plowing last year!

I think honestly this needs to happen as a localized solution of companies that don't get paid for services already rendered. YA know, like they do for "DWI" offenders or "Sex Offenders".

I think it would be so funny to see their face posted as a customer not to provide services for, so they would ultimately either pay or do their own shiiiii.

Good Thread!

What you and others are fortetting is that DWI and sex offenders have been found guilty in a court of law. Posting to said website would require such action too as I previously stated to be not held liable for slander. IF the contractor has a contract to prove his services were agreed upon and can show he was not compensated for it - then he would have a case - which he would get compensated for by the law...if the person has money to get...if he does not have those things...again all it would take would be someone saying it was false and claim to sue for slander and there name would be down.

ringahding
01-13-2012, 08:35 PM
What you and others are fortetting is that DWI and sex offenders have been found guilty in a court of law. Posting to said website would require such action too as I previously stated to be not held liable for slander. IF the contractor has a contract to prove his services were agreed upon and can show he was not compensated for it - then he would have a case - which he would get compensated for by the law...if the person has money to get...if he does not have those things...again all it would take would be someone saying it was false and claim to sue for slander and there name would be down.

You ever have to take a client to court? Here in MN, you may actually win the "Small Claim", but that doesn't mean you will get paid....legally

Has a client ever taken you to court? They may win, but that doesn't mean you have to pay...legally

What will happen, is a judgement will be placed on you, which most likely will make it difficult to almost impossible to get a loan. So if you need a truck, equipment or home loan..good luck..

After a judgement has been made against the LIABLE party, if that party actually pays, it will now be up to the Party who filed the claim to CLEAR the LIABLE parties name, by submitting paperwork to the court stating payment has been received, thus lifting the judgement.

An agreement does not have to be signed in order for services to be rendered as an agreement.

PROOF-There has to be at least ONE MONTH of PROVABLE invoicing for services. In other words contracts can be communicated orally to make legal.

Kelly's Landscaping
01-13-2012, 09:00 PM
Build a release into the lawn contract that says if they do not pay their balances then you will post their names on Red Flag Client.

ringahding
01-13-2012, 09:02 PM
Build a release into the lawn contract that says if they do not pay their balances then you will post their names on Red Flag Client.

That's a great idea...! Ok we need to get that site built..lol

wbw
01-13-2012, 10:45 PM
Come on. Do you guys really have that much of a problem with collections?

PlantscapeSolutions
01-14-2012, 01:02 AM
What you and others are fortetting is that DWI and sex offenders have been found guilty in a court of law. Posting to said website would require such action too as I previously stated to be not held liable for slander. IF the contractor has a contract to prove his services were agreed upon and can show he was not compensated for it - then he would have a case - which he would get compensated for by the law...if the person has money to get...if he does not have those things...again all it would take would be someone saying it was false and claim to sue for slander and there name would be down.

Like I mentioned in the post there would have to be a clear statement that all info is the opinion of the contractor. You can be sued for slander if you make a statement and imply it is fact without question. That little "opinion" word lets you state whatever you want and is protected by freedom of speech.

I can't say a client is a thief unless he/she is convicted but I can say in my opinion the client is a thief all I want.

GreenI.A.
01-14-2012, 01:03 AM
What you and others are fortetting is that DWI and sex offenders have been found guilty in a court of law. Posting to said website would require such action too as I previously stated to be not held liable for slander. IF the contractor has a contract to prove his services were agreed upon and can show he was not compensated for it - then he would have a case - which he would get compensated for by the law...if the person has money to get...if he does not have those things...again all it would take would be someone saying it was false and claim to sue for slander and there name would be down.


Really, because in the past I had a complaint put up about me on BBB. It was removed because I had the proof to show BBB the conversations between the ex-client and myself, also I threatened BBB with legal action (search my last posts for BBB to see the full story, im not going to type it again).

How is us posting about about our relations with a client any different than the client posting about thier relations with us? I do think that if a sight was to be built, the site owner should do some work to be sure that the alegasions are true, unlike what BBB does. Also they site owner would need to be sure they have an attorney write up some terms and conditions leaving any legal action on the posters' shoulders and not the site owner's

PlantscapeSolutions
01-14-2012, 02:07 AM
Really, because in the past I had a complaint put up about me on BBB. It was removed because I had the proof to show BBB the conversations between the ex-client and myself, also I threatened BBB with legal action (search my last posts for BBB to see the full story, im not going to type it again).

How is us posting about about our relations with a client any different than the client posting about thier relations with us? I do think that if a sight was to be built, the site owner should do some work to be sure that the alegasions are true, unlike what BBB does. Also they site owner would need to be sure they have an attorney write up some terms and conditions leaving any legal action on the posters' shoulders and not the site owner's

The BBB is all about mediating complaints so the last thing they want to do is post info that can be disproved. I had the exact same thing happen with the BBB. My client made no attempt to back up his statement with more false statements so it was dropped.

My only goal would be to have contractors post the client info and what transpired in their opinion. There could be a spot for people to post comments as well.

The difference is this would be a site for contractors and not you average person who already has ways to tag a business as bad through the BBB. Being a moderator of issues would not be the goal for the site. The goal would be to have a database of properties where you would know there were some issues that you might want to avoid.

LindblomRJ
01-14-2012, 05:07 AM
Why not turn delquient accounts over to collections? Once there it will show up on a credit report. If you are unsure about customers it would be worth your while to have them fill out an application and run a credit check to see if they worth dealing with.

PlantscapeSolutions
01-14-2012, 10:45 AM
Why not turn delquient accounts over to collections? Once there it will show up on a credit report. If you are unsure about customers it would be worth your while to have them fill out an application and run a credit check to see if they worth dealing with.

The problem with collection places is your only going to get back a very small portion of the total bill. You better off to go to court if the sum is in the thousands. I've never been burned for large sums of money. It's usually just the occasional nickel and dime you type stuff that irritates the hell out of you. You know the client has the money and it can feel like it's almost a game where the client has made a sport out of avoiding you.

grassmasterswilson
01-14-2012, 10:49 AM
it's a good idea and i have thought about it before, but don't have the tech savy to do it.

This could work for any industry not just ours.

I would want it completely descrete. would not want my name attached to snitching on a client or providing enough info in the entry that would lead back to me.

would be nice to know who was a slow payer or non payer before you took on a job.

PlantscapeSolutions
01-14-2012, 03:56 PM
it's a good idea and i have thought about it before, but don't have the tech savy to do it.

This could work for any industry not just ours.

I would want it completely descrete. would not want my name attached to snitching on a client or providing enough info in the entry that would lead back to me.

would be nice to know who was a slow payer or non payer before you took on a job.

Being anonymous would help people who may have a be leery about making a situation worse but yet still don't want to give the SOB a free pass. To give the posting more weight it would need to have a summary attached to it stating what went down.

Landscape Poet
01-15-2012, 09:25 AM
Really, because in the past I had a complaint put up about me on BBB. It was removed because I had the proof to show BBB the conversations between the ex-client and myself, also I threatened BBB with legal action (search my last posts for BBB to see the full story, im not going to type it again).

How is us posting about about our relations with a client any different than the client posting about thier relations with us? I do think that if a sight was to be built, the site owner should do some work to be sure that the alegasions are true, unlike what BBB does. Also they site owner would need to be sure they have an attorney write up some terms and conditions leaving any legal action on the posters' shoulders and not the site owner's

You just made my point I think...you threatened legal action and the BBB took it down....why...it is not worth the hassle to them....you think a site that is run about deadbeat customers getting started out will have the juice to the letters that will roll in?

GreenI.A.
01-15-2012, 03:10 PM
You just made my point I think...you threatened legal action and the BBB took it down....why...it is not worth the hassle to them....you think a site that is run about deadbeat customers getting started out will have the juice to the letters that will roll in?

The reason I threatened legal action was not because of the complaint, but because BBB offered to remove it if I joined the BBB. They were willing to take it down and give me an automatic A rating if i joined. I got it in writing from them, and threatened to sue and go public with what their policies were, if I was ever to have another compaint posted about my company again.

Thats why their was a threat of a suit, not because of what they were posting about my company, it was about their handling of the situation and unfair business practices.

The reason I think that a site such as we are talking about here would need to be variefied is because many contractors agree that BBB is onesided, they take the complaints and use it to get the contractors to pay them money. If another site was to be built it should be better, their should be someone who quickly looks at the claim before posting it on the site. If a LCO has a customer who he got in a heated arguement with, what would keep him from posting that the homeowner owes him 20k when in reality it is only $25 owed.

BeachysLawn
01-16-2012, 11:25 AM
There are currently two sites I know of that are already in this business. You might find them useful.

www.businessbeware.biz
www.ratemycustomers.com

PROCUT1
01-16-2012, 02:20 PM
Unless this was a subscription based site, where you were going to have a team of investigators and on staff attorneys to follow protocols and investigate the claims before going public, I dont see how it can be done without opening yourself up to huge liability.

Example, customer has you install plants. 2 weeks later they die. You claim it was the customer that didnt water them, and they claim that you installed sick plants and they did what you told them to do.

End of the month, they get your invoice. They refuse to pay until you replace the plants. You refuse to replace the plants because its not your fault.

Now they find themselves on a public website with their contact information claiming that they are deadbeat non payers.

I know what I would do if someone did that to me.

I have people that I have not paid for things because i believe im 100% in the right. Im not paying for stuff not being right and they didnt make it right.

If you ask them. Theyre totally innocent and I just decided not to pay when I got the bill.

Whos to decide that? If they disagree, they can take me to court, if they win, they will have a judgement and at that point in time it will be public record and can be disclosed.

But until then, its their word against mine and that doesnt entitle them to post my name, unlisted address, and unlisted phone number on a public site making accusations that may not be true.

As a business youre not afforded the same privacy as an individual when it comes to "reviews" But slander law does still apply there too.

I love the idea, and i have a whole list of people i would love to post on something like that, but i just see it fraught with danger and would require a huge amount of money in subscriptions to pay for the team you would need to keep things legal