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  #1  
Old 10-29-2001, 08:11 AM
scott's turf scott's turf is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: NH
Posts: 949
Customers that don't pay

I have been in the business for about 10 years now. In the past I had only done residential work, but this year I was a sub contractor mowing in a condo developement. I got paid weekly the from the guy throughout the summer, then weeks went by before I got paid again but I always got paid untill now. I am owed a little over $2000 now and everytime I call the guy he is really nice and gives me the "check is in the mail" routine, but it never is. The last thing I want to do is go to small claims court but then again I need this check. Do any of you have a tactic or letter that you send out to employees that don't pay that threaten them with a law suit? Does it work?

Thanks for your help.
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  #2  
Old 10-30-2001, 08:45 PM
MATTHEW MATTHEW is offline
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Join Date: May 2001
Location: NE OHIO
Posts: 665
You need a letter written in a FORM style, not a personalized letter stating that outstanding balances beyond 60 days will be sent to a collection agency or small claims court. This is business. Maybe they are behind on their bills and cannot afford to send it to you, but when they are allowed to do that, YOU find yourself in the same situation with your bills.
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  #3  
Old 10-30-2001, 09:00 PM
Island Lawn Island Lawn is offline
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Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Golf Coast, SC
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certified mail sometimes gets attention
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  #4  
Old 10-30-2001, 09:12 PM
lbmd1 lbmd1 is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Coastal NH
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Hey Scott,
I find the best approach is dropping by un-announced for a face to face. In about 7 years of being in business now, I 've only had about 8 deadbeats. After the initial rounds of letters\phone calls, I try to stop by their home (if residential) on a saturday night around 8:00 to collect in person. I am batting 1000 when it comes to this method. It's hard to say no or run away from your lawn guy when he knows where you live. Go see the guy at his place of business and don't leave without some form of payment. Embarrassment of unpaid debt is something that most wil try to avoid at all costs. Whereabouts are you in NH? I'm over in Rye by the coast.


Mike
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  #5  
Old 10-31-2001, 08:00 AM
scott's turf scott's turf is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: NH
Posts: 949
Thanks guys. I have showed up at customer's houses before and I agree that this works great, the problem is that this guy lives about 40mins away so I would hate to show up and no one be there. I called again last night and I was assure the check would be here by tomorrow. So we will see. Have any of you used a collection agency in the past? How does it work? And how much does it cost.

Mike, I live in Derry by the way.
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  #6  
Old 10-31-2001, 09:48 AM
HBFOXJr HBFOXJr is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Southern New Jersey
Posts: 1,700
I've used the collection agency before with mixed results and higher costs than small calims court. Don't be afaraid of small claims. It is easy and pretty fool proof and you get you extra costs of collection.

You should have cut him off earlier.
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  #7  
Old 10-31-2001, 09:57 AM
SprinklerGuy SprinklerGuy is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Scottsdale, Arizona/Colorado Springs, Colorado
Posts: 1,777
Search for my thread....lawsuit and the posts that follow that thread. Prevention is the best...........suing sucks.
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  #8  
Old 11-01-2001, 08:10 AM
scott's turf scott's turf is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: NH
Posts: 949
HBFOX. I would have cut him off earlier but I was his sub for a big condo deal and that was only 4 mowings, a months work. He had paid me at the end of the last month so I didn't think that there was a problem.
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  #9  
Old 11-08-2001, 08:38 PM
wolfpacklawn wolfpacklawn is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Reno, Nevada
Posts: 120
For residentials I would put a lein on the property. I always get right on anyone paying late and always stress the importance of prompt payment when I initially meet with a new customer. I stress to them that my payment is due upon receipt and that I expect to see payment within 10 days of my sending out their statement. I have had real good success with this and have only had to write off $125 as bad debt in the last 2 years.

As for commercial accounts or sub-contractors I don't know how to best deal with them but I would talk with my lawyer and get some legal advise. I think that you can recoup your legal fees with a judgement. I will no longer do these accounts for a variety of reasons but one of the main ones is that I found that my big commercial accounts were always late to pay and a real pain in the neck to deal with. This was particularly hard on me when these commercial accounts represented such a large part of my gross receipts. Like I said, I have refocused my business plan and no longer will do any large commerial accounts.
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  #10  
Old 11-10-2001, 12:41 AM
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Stonehenge Stonehenge is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Midwest
Posts: 1,277
The more I get to know people who were born and raised in WI, the more I hear of 'Farm Justice' when it comes to bill paying.

We just finished a project for a guy who has a real knob for a neighbor, and was telling me about how the guy had hired an excavation company build the road they lived on (this guy developed the land), but wouldn't pay.

Finally, the excavator company got 2 combines, went out into this guy's acreage and harvested ALL HIS CORN. Called him up and told him - "You want your corn? Gimme my money!"


I guess the bill got paid right away...
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