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  #1  
Old 04-02-2011, 01:59 PM
tradeyouraccounts tradeyouraccounts is offline
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Who's had experience with debt collections?

Who's had experience with debt collections with a customers past due account? I heard even if you take them to small claims court and you win there is still no way to make the customer pay for your'e services?
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  #2  
Old 04-03-2011, 12:20 PM
sdk1959 sdk1959 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tradeyouraccounts View Post
Who's had experience with debt collections with a customers past due account? I heard even if you take them to small claims court and you win there is still no way to make the customer pay for your'e services?
I know in PA there's no wage garnishment and most other states that allow it it's limited to 10-20% of net pay. Same with bank accounts.It's also a separate filing so off to court you go again.


The only ones who can clean out your bank account or garnish your wages in any state are the IRS and if you owe back child support, family court.

I get paid weekly so collections and cash flow are not a problem for me. If I ran a crew then I would bill monthly. Running solo with the occasional helper, see no need to.
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Old 04-03-2011, 01:18 PM
WestGaLawnCare WestGaLawnCare is offline
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Go to the website of the county where the customer lives and look for small claims FAQ. The county I researched had a price list for various legal procedures such as X amount to file, X amount to subpoena someone, etc. It quickly adds up although legally the customer is supposed to repay your collection cost.

I don't speak from personal experience but I do think winning a case in small claims court is one thing, but collecting afterward is quite another.

In my case I started adding up the court cost and thinking about how much of my time I would spend preparing for all the legal stuff and had to ask myself 'is this a wise business decision?' For me, the answer was 'no' and I realized I only wanted to pursue it for personal reasons because I hate the thought of being taken advantage of.

Thank you for opening this thread. I hope some of the more seasoned veterans on LawnSite will express their views and opinions.
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Old 04-03-2011, 01:33 PM
Engloid Engloid is offline
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Here in my state, you go to court once and get a judgement. After they fail to pay the judgement, you can then get a garnishment of their paycheck. I think we're limited to something like 35% of a check here in TN. That said, if the amount is over that, they will take 35% from every check until you're paid or they petition the court to get the amount lowered.

Also, here, I don't think you even have to have a hearing on the garnishment. I think you just go in with proof you sent a bill to them, and they issue the garnishement.

The big key is whether you know where they work or not...and if they actually make enough money to make it worthwhile. If they work fast food, they might quit the job before the garnishment hits.
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Old 04-03-2011, 02:32 PM
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TuffWork TuffWork is offline
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Hire a strong and preferably very tall man to stand behind you when you go to their house to collect.
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Old 04-03-2011, 08:57 PM
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Georgia Lawn Works LLC Georgia Lawn Works LLC is offline
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We have to do it occasionally.

Here where we reside in georgia it's 100 dollars for the filling fee (Which is added to the customers bill when the case is decided in our favor). After they decide in your favor if the court does not receive a payment within 90 days they can have a court ordered stay issued on your bank account and also wage garnishment.


We went to court over a customer that would not pay us 110.00 At the end of everything she owed us 435.00.


It took me 20 minutes to file. And 20 minutes to go to court.


As long as you have a good service agreement typed up there is no way it would be a GOOD business decision to NOT persue the matter.


Late fees continue to occur untill the ballance is payed off. We charge a MINIMUM collection fee of 50.00 to compensate for our collection efforts.



Oh and if they cannot be served for some reason after the third try or cannot be located at all a bench warrant is issued by the court.


I think it's funny to see all of these people on here not persuing the matter and saying its not worth my time.... If you have things implemented in the first place to protect your self you wont have this problem!
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Old 04-04-2011, 12:24 AM
GrassesGuy GrassesGuy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Georgia Lawn Works LLC View Post
We have to do it occasionally.

Here where we reside in georgia it's 100 dollars for the filling fee (Which is added to the customers bill when the case is decided in our favor). After they decide in your favor if the court does not receive a payment within 90 days they can have a court ordered stay issued on your bank account and also wage garnishment.


We went to court over a customer that would not pay us 110.00 At the end of everything she owed us 435.00.


It took me 20 minutes to file. And 20 minutes to go to court


As long as you have a good service agreement typed up there is no way it would be a GOOD business decision to NOT persue the matter.


Late fees continue to occur untill the ballance is payed off. We charge a MINIMUM collection fee of 50.00 to compensate for our collection efforts.



Oh and if they cannot be served for some reason after the third try or cannot be located at all a bench warrant is issued by the court.


I think it's funny to see all of these people on here not persuing the matter and saying its not worth my time.... If you have things implemented in the first place to protect your self you wont have this problem!
Well said! It's called theft of services.
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Old 04-04-2011, 01:03 AM
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Greyst1 Greyst1 is offline
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Originally Posted by tradeyouraccounts View Post
Who's had experience with debt collections with a customers past due account? I heard even if you take them to small claims court and you win there is still no way to make the customer pay for your'e services?
I have, i'm an expert. I own rental properties along with a full service landscaping company.

If you win, you can make them pay. In ohio after you get your judgement you have 3 options:

1. If you know their bank info (always save a copy of their check), you can file for an automatic drank out of their account through the civil court
2. Wage garnishment

If those fail,

3. You need to file for debtors exam (this pisses them off it's great). They have to go on record about their assets and you can pick what you want to go to sheriff's sale. After the auction you can collect on your judgement.

All of these take time but if you have any amount of principle you will stick with it.
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Old 04-04-2011, 08:32 AM
Baytownlawncare Baytownlawncare is offline
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Get your money every time. I bill via credit card on every mow. I pull up whip out the phone, run the credit card, get authorization, cut the yard. Money hits my account in 2 days. My new policy is, if you don't have a credit or debit card on file with me, I won't cut the property. Go to squareup.com to get the reader. I do have a couple of clients that don't pay me this way but I am going to start pushing them to this method. I get hit for about a dollar and a half for fees but that is it. I have raised my prices about $5 per cut to cover fuel, fees and other incidentals.
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Old 04-04-2011, 09:51 PM
GrassesGuy GrassesGuy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Baytownlawncare View Post
Get your money every time. I bill via credit card on every mow. I pull up whip out the phone, run the credit card, get authorization, cut the yard. Money hits my account in 2 days. My new policy is, if you don't have a credit or debit card on file with me, I won't cut the property. Go to squareup.com to get the reader. I do have a couple of clients that don't pay me this way but I am going to start pushing them to this method. I get hit for about a dollar and a half for fees but that is it. I have raised my prices about $5 per cut to cover fuel, fees and other incidentals.
I like it. I will still accept cash though, thats a no brainer.
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