What to do About This Non-Paying Customer?
I have a customer who has been a real pain this season. It is a lady, rough, tattoos, piercings, bandanas... She contacted me in May needing someone just to mow & make her property look clean. Arrived to an overgrown jungle with trash and debris all throughout. It is a rather large lot with a fence that is also out of our service area, but we decided to take it to maybe expand to that region, and because we have a lawn that is close to this one while still in our region. The price I gave her was $71/cut. This was with a military discount because she is a disabled vet. Being nice I made it an even $70. She signed into a contract with me and we got started.
First cut I had to charge the high-grass fee of a mere $5, which probably should have been $10, but hey I'm a nice guy. Now we come to the end of the month, time for bills to go out. She had already mentioned that she would like to pay me the first week of each month, and I said that would be no problem as bills go out the last service day of each month and are due in 14 days.
First month she receives the bill, and I had the check the next day. Only problem was she had made the check out to my company (Green Blade Lawn Care) and I am only 16 so I am not old enough to open a business account yet. So I had to get another check explaining her the situation and pointing out to her that on the bill it says "Make checks payable to Logan Sizemore". I go to the bank and deposit the new check.
Couple weeks later I see I have $(however much the check was written for) taken out of my account AND a $12 returned check fee. It was a bounced check. I contact her about it and she says she doesn't know why it happened and will try to get to the bottom of it. She contacts me later saying it was some sort of auto-pay thing with the cable company that she "didnt authorize".
Being I thought the previous month was payed, we continued service for the next month. So now it was time for the next month's bill to go out, AND I had to send her another bill for the previous month with a $12 inconvenience fee added in.
So that brings us to now. We have stopped service, she is 2 months behind, and nothing. It's something different each time I need to receive money from her (air conditioner went out, $500 electricity payment, etc.). The lawn has been mowed either by her or another company, which voids the contract.
What should I do? As I mentioned she did sign a contract saying she would pay and all, so do I take her to small-claims court? I plan on giving her a few more weeks at least to pay. I'm not concerned about late fees, I just want my money. All $371 of it.