Advice Wanted

Discussion in 'General Industry Discussions' started by PLM-1, May 13, 2005.

  1. PLM-1

    PLM-1 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,640

    OK guys. I have this customer that won't pay. She called, I did an estimate she says OK. I then ask if she would like a fert program and she says she will get back to me on that. Well, 2 days before the mowing is to start i call all of my customers informing them that mowing will start on X date and if they had any questions to give me a call. I didn't hear from her.

    I went and mowed the lawn, she was home. About a week later she calls and said that she didn't "confirm" that i was to mow. But she will pay the $45 this time.

    Well guess what? It has been 30 days. I have already sent two letters and administrative charge invoices.

    What can I do next? BTW, her account balance in now $75.

    I have heard of "Theft of Services" and a lien. What would you do? I will NOT just write this off!
  2. lawnman_scott

    lawnman_scott LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 7,547

    It doesnt sound like you have a contract (i dont either for residential), and most theft of services laws are a joke. I would take the $45 and call it even.
  3. proenterprises

    proenterprises LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,297

    Go to her house and track her down. Not the most professional method, but you want to be paid, right?
  4. out4now

    out4now LawnSite Bronze Member
    from AZ
    Posts: 1,796

    You could try small claims I guess if you had a contract. I would try a house call as a reminder. It may turn out that she will pay to be rid of you if you show up on the doorstep. If you only cut it once how did you end up at 75 bucks when it was supposed to be 45? Did I miss something?
  5. PLM-1

    PLM-1 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,640

    She had a contract to sign and i was to pick it up during the first mow. My invoice has my terms on it, so that's pretty clear.
  6. PLM-1

    PLM-1 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,640

    Yup, you missed the late charges! :)
  7. stumper1620

    stumper1620 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,889

    Well, Bobby G. claims theft of services works for him, try calling the cops.
    most they can do is say no, if they refuse to allow you to file then ask for the info to prove you tried so you have it for a lien.
  8. mtdman

    mtdman LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,137

    If you had a contract, you should have had it signed and in your hand before you did the work. You said she was home for the first cut. This whole thing would have been avoided if you had confirmed with her before you did the work. Same principle as with magazine subscriptions. A magazine can't just send you a magazine and say you have to send it back if you don't want it, otherwise you have to pay. For all you know she might have changed her mind and hired someone else. If you ask me, you are sol since she never agreed or confirmed.
  9. PLM-1

    PLM-1 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,640

    yes she did agree, and she had a 2 days to return my call to cancel, and 30 minutes to come out and stop me instead of wave and then not answer the door when i was finished.
  10. mtdman

    mtdman LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,137

    Did you knock and confirm before mowing? Obviously if she calls and says she didn't confirm, there is a conflict of opinion there. You should take this as a learning experience. I don't mow anyone unless I get the okay in person to my face. Calling someone and saying I'm going to mow unless you call to say no isn't a confirmation. What if she didn't get the message? I sent out 3 renewal notices to some people this spring whom I never heard back from, yet I still get calls from those people who didn't renew saying they never got the info or forgot to send it in, etc. I didn't renew anyone who didn't sign the renewal and return it.

    If someone showed up and just started mowing my lawn without permission, I'd let them finish too then tell them to hit the road.

    Bottom line is, your process is flawed, and in court you haven't a leg to stand. It's called cover your ass, and in the future I suggest you do so. As it is now, you might get paid if she decides to pay you, but you don't have any recourse if she doesn't as far as I can see.

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