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BrandonH
08-14-2004, 04:13 PM
I have one client that I lost after my mower broke down and we had over 10 days of non-stop rain. I called everyone, but he is the only one that didn't understand why I couldn't mow his property. Well he dropped my services and I sent him the bill on June 1st for the month of May, just like I do every month. I don't have a contract with him, but was under agreement that I bill on the first and he always paid promptly. Well I've sent 2 more invoices for the same amount, but never heard anything. I got word from his son-in-law this week that I would have to take him to court to get the $160 he owes me.

I would like to know what my first step is on collecting my money. I want to go about this in the right way so I at least have a chance at collecting. Since I didn't have a contract with him is it possible for me to add any kind of late charges? I would appreciate any help.

-Brandon

chimmygew
08-14-2004, 04:35 PM
On all my invoices I put at the bottom: If payment is not made within thirty days of date on statement a $10.00 late fee will be assessed to account. Returned checks are assessed a $40.00 fee. If collection process such as small claims must be taken, you will be assessed a $75.00 processing fee, not including court cost.

BrandonH
08-14-2004, 04:53 PM
Problem is I don't have any of that on my invoices...so can I still charge penalties?

-Brandon

MudslinginFX4
08-14-2004, 04:59 PM
You infact do have a contract with him. In court, having a written contract isn't the only way of proving you did the service for him, having a verbal contract can go just as far as a written one. Ask yourself this... is the $160 really worth spending all the time going through the legal processes etc. or would you be better off just forgetting about it, accepting your losses, and moving on? If the $160 is really that important to you, then by all means continue to fight him and you WILL get your money. But you won't get the money that you could have been making while you are in court, etc. which will probably be more then that $160. JMHO

chimmygew
08-14-2004, 05:19 PM
I would send him another invoice stating you will sue for the above amount and include a filing fee plus court costs. Also, people will see you don't mess around and it is not ok to rip you off.

HOOLIE
08-14-2004, 06:34 PM
Originally posted by ECM LAWN
You infact do have a contract with him. In court, having a written contract isn't the only way of proving you did the service for him, having a verbal contract can go just as far as a written one. Ask yourself this... is the $160 really worth spending all the time going through the legal processes etc. or would you be better off just forgetting about it, accepting your losses, and moving on? If the $160 is really that important to you, then by all means continue to fight him and you WILL get your money. But you won't get the money that you could have been making while you are in court, etc. which will probably be more then that $160. JMHO

You're right that getting the $160 will cost you in time lost, but its the principle of the matter. This guys basically laughing in his face, challenging him to come get his money. Those are the kind of people that you have to go after.

DennisF
08-14-2004, 07:33 PM
File a small claims lawsuit against him. Sometimes when a person is threatened with legal action they will pony up the money rather than risk going to court. Look at it this way, if he has to go to court, he will also lose time and money. At the very least he'll have trouble sleeping at night knowing he has a date in court. To me that's payment enough.

promower
08-14-2004, 07:44 PM
Scare tactics work. I had a landlord that owed me $1100 when I moved out. She sent half and said the there were a few damages, mainly the carpet wasnt as clean (I did live there 4 years and the carpet wasnt new when I moved in) Anyways I filed for court asking for double the amount owed. I had a check by the end of the week for the rest of my 1100 plus my court filing fee.

leeslawncare
08-14-2004, 08:02 PM
I'am in the same boet your in .I got a lady that owes me 180.00. Plus i got a friend for an attorney.So guess what i'am doing?you guessed it i'am sending it thru the court system.80.00 to get 180.00 plus leagle fees zapped outa here checking account.(by the way i do know where she banks an what time of the month she gets paid) from past checks.And yes it is worth it!!just to get the satisfaction of knowing i can't be screwed over!!!

Greenservice
08-14-2004, 09:31 PM
I've gotten action from people just by sending them a letter threatening them with a collection agency. No one wants their credit report to get black marks on it.

BrandonH
08-14-2004, 10:01 PM
I know I'm loosing time which is money by going to court, but it is just the prinsiple of it. He made a comment to his son-in-law, which is a friend of mine, that I will have to take him to court to get my money. That alone makes me want to take is a$$ to court.

How do I need to go about this? Do I send him another invoice? Do I send an invoice certifed return receipt that also lists late fees as well as threaten legal action, or do I just get a letter sent to him requesting balance due or else I'll take legal action?

-Brandon

HOOLIE
08-14-2004, 10:37 PM
Call the courthouse for the county he lives in, and have them send the paperwork for Small Claims. Once he gets some official paperwork in the mail, he'll probably pay up without actually going thru the real process.

kbenvironmental
08-14-2004, 10:40 PM
Brandon
You cannot assess fees or fines after the fact.
Yes you can include filing, collection and court fees.
Send two certified letters 15 days apart, clearly stating the arrangement you two had, what he owes and when you expect a response by. Also get your bank statement showing his deposited checks to reflect your version. If you want to get nasty when collecting, record your phone call to the customer discussing the balance due. (Check you state laws) In AZ only one party directly involved in the conversation needs to be aware of the recording.

A1 Grass
08-15-2004, 12:07 AM
Get BOBBYGEDD to collect for you and buy him a 12-pack. :D

steve122
08-15-2004, 02:31 AM
In Illinois you can file a mechanics lien against the property without having gone to court. We can get the forms from the County clerks office, fill out and return with a filing fee and there will be a lien placed against the property. You can include the filing fee and charges for your time and effort. I had a gal who used me one time to cut her yard for a 4th of July party. I told her it was going to be $100, she said she'd have a check for me when I finished. Guess what, she left. Since there was a for sale sign in the yard I sent her two invoices, both stating I would file a lien if not paid. She ignored them so I filed the lien and added $150 for my trouble for a total of $250 owed. This was in September. In December I got a call from a title company asking how much to clear the lien. I told them $250. In February I got a check for $250 from the proceeds of the sale of her house. I don't know about TX mechanics lien laws, but I'd sure check into it.

leeslawncare
08-15-2004, 10:19 PM
Greenservice., who do you use for you collection service,if i can ask? will you p.m. me ?