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bobbygedd
11-18-2004, 07:54 AM
back in march: i got a new client. i recieved payment for a prepaid fert program. i only did one app to this point. she wants a row of trees along a fenceline. heavy shade. i reccomend hemlocks. splendid, we are a go. i bring 3 yds of topsoil to raise the height a bit. plan on bringing the trees next week when i have time. customer emails me saying they changed thier mind, hold off on the trees. i tell them they owe me for the topsoil. they say that they don't want the soil there, if they arent getting the trees. the soil is already there. they say they arent paying for it, i can come and take it back if i want. what do you do?

geogunn
11-18-2004, 08:06 AM
BOBBY WEASEL--as in the other thread, what does your contract say regarding changes to the specification?

otherwise, if they wont pay for the soil, tell them it's theirs. if they want it moved, it is magically twice the price of what it cost you to be put there plus your profit. case closed.

GEO

bobbygedd
11-18-2004, 08:08 AM
so, if they don't want to pay for the soil, i should just drop it, forget about it?

Mo Green
11-18-2004, 08:17 AM
send them a bill for the work that has already been done, and then - forgetaboutit.

bobbygedd
11-18-2004, 08:23 AM
i did, they refused to pay. next move?

crawdad
11-18-2004, 08:38 AM
Tell them you are fixin to bring a large machine to load the dirt with, and you will not be responsible to damages to their lawn caused by this machine. They will, however, be billed for delivery AND pickup AND disposal of said dirt. Tell them of your perfect record of court cases.
Why are you unsure of what to do? How does your contract cover change-orders? There must be some kind of surcharge for this. I know you wouldn't bring down the industry by working without a contract.
Crawdad

geogunn
11-18-2004, 08:40 AM
BOBBY WEASEL--it seems to me since the soil is there, and they aren't going to pay, you have limited choices including:

leave it...........

go and get your dirt for free.........

or have them pay for you going to get your dirt.............

and of course, you could charge them in criminal court for the theft of your dirt.

and perhaps they might charge you with vandalism for putting your dirt on their property.

I dunno. it seems you are in a pickle on this one.

GEO

olderthandirt
11-18-2004, 09:29 AM
Just put a mechanics lein on the home. When they get the papers that there house is tied up with a lien over some dirt they will pay.You don't even need a contract to do it but then you leave yourself open to them taking it to court to force you to remove the lien. Either way its gonna cost them an attorney to force you to remove the lien or pay you to do it, or buy it. Don't forget all your cost, It's way cheaper for them to pay than to fight it. BTW, I would inform them that if they did not pay that I would put a lien on the house. Just don't do it over a phone lol
Mac

bobbygedd
11-18-2004, 11:55 AM
i'll tell you exactly what i did. her pre paid fert program was $350. i did one app which i deducted $50 for. that left $300. i took out $225 for the topsoil, and sent her a refund of $75. i love pre paid fert programs, they give me leverage

Mo Green
11-18-2004, 12:04 PM
Now that's using your head for something besides a hat rack.

Gautreaux's LNG
11-18-2004, 05:14 PM
50% Deposit. Deposit is nonrefundable once we dig the first shovel into the ground, drop off the first drop of soil / mulch. This would protect you!

This way, when she said never mind, you could have turned her deposit into a 'credit' with your company. She could apply it, minus the cost of the soil + any labor you had invested towards the next job she hired you for!

tiedeman
11-18-2004, 05:41 PM
I would charge them for dropping off and picking up the soil, but that is smart what you did Bobby

bobbygedd
11-18-2004, 06:03 PM
I would charge them for dropping off and picking up the soil, but that is smart what you did Bobby
yea, i am pretty smart, aint i? there's my way, and then you have a police officer, who would crack your head with his nightstick for mouthing off, but will let the client slide on a bill. amazing

grass-scapes
11-18-2004, 06:15 PM
i'll tell you exactly what i did. her pre paid fert program was $350. i did one app which i deducted $50 for. that left $300. i took out $225 for the topsoil, and sent her a refund of $75. i love pre paid fert programs, they give me leverage

But since Im sure you had a contract for the prepaid fert program, if you don't complete it, you are in breach of contract and you can be sued. Plus she could bad mouth you. Just because they don't live up to their obligations, does not give you the right to not live up to yours.

tiedeman
11-18-2004, 06:30 PM
yea, i am pretty smart, ain't i?

let me get back to you :)

but seriously I feel you did the right thing

geogunn
11-18-2004, 10:24 PM
yea, i am pretty smart, aint i? there's my way, and then you have a police officer, who would crack your head with his nightstick for mouthing off, but will let the client slide on a bill. amazing

OK...there is the troll. as with most of his posts, this one smells like a new jerkey rat.

OPPS! sorry. I meant a NEW JERKEY WEASEL.

GEO

Smithers
11-18-2004, 10:42 PM
Bobby,

Grass-Scapes is right. If you signed a contract, (and if they kept a copy of it) they can sue you for not completing the fert program.

OlderthanDirt is also right....you should write a letter to them and tell them that you are putting a lien on the house (if they try to come back after you for the $350 fert program)

Envy Lawn Service
11-19-2004, 03:31 AM
i'll tell you exactly what i did. her pre paid fert program was $350. i did one app which i deducted $50 for. that left $300. i took out $225 for the topsoil, and sent her a refund of $75. i love pre paid fert programs, they give me leverage

:realmad: You make me wanna swear at you Bobby :realmad:

Two words.... pre paid. You are so close, and unlike others, you have backbone, and you use it.... just not wisely. You piss and moan about others setting a precedent for things. But just look at what you are doing YOURSELF.

Use that backbone wisely. Don't be afraid to ask for a signed contract and payment at signing (AKA- Pre Paid). Don't be afraid they will tell you no and you won't get the work. The good customers will have no problem paying up front for the work so long as they have a signed contract from your company stating you will perform the work. The ones that do say no and refuse to come around are the ones who intended to BONE you from the get-go.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Avoidance is what I'm getting at here. You can avoid problems like this before they start. People will dick you around and pull some unreal crap if you leave yourself open to it in any way. Personally, I've been there, and I don't have the time, patients or need to deal with that sort of BS continuosly.

It was a big gamble for me to implement such hard and fast rules to try to abide by. But in the end, Pre Pay has worked out nicely for me. Way less headaches, worries, stress and wasted time. All I ever get is the occasional person who will try to squeeze a little extra free work out of me that was not included in the original contract. No problem. In fact, the only related stressful issues that come to mind are all as a result of me allowing myself to slip outside my policies here and there.

The moral of what I'm saying? I think you are a good guy and you are trying to make a positive impact on our industry. So take your own advice, plus mine. Set a better precedent by not rolling over for the customer and make that precedent Pre Pay. You'll live a lot longer, happier, stress free life in this business.

What do you have to loose really? Hell, they pre pay for a lot of other stuff. So why not your services?

The big picture is, you need to realize, although you think you were victorious here, the truth is you are still the looser in the long run. Sure, you ditched a problematic customer, and sure you didn't loose any money in the here-and-now. But... you lost future profits and the way you handled making sure you got your money for the topsoil gives the customer a perfect way to self-rationalize themselves as the victim and you the bad guy. Bad news travels fast.

On the other hand, apply the pre paid policy to this situation, and here is what you get. Either they say no, no big deal, you keep chugging along as usual on the account, making those future profits. Or they say yes and pay you for the work you were to perform. You start the job, and if they change their mind mid-stream, no big deal. Either the work gets performed as you were contracted and paid to do, or you give them a 'credit' and ammend the contract to reflect the changes. Wham! The table is 'ethically' turned on the customer and I'm here to tell you, they are a heck of a lot more cooperative when YOU are the one who's holding the money hostage.