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Client sold there house and now they are not paying there bill.

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by googles, Aug 19, 2005.

  1. googles

    googles LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 294

    I have a client who wont pay and they sold there house. i dont know how long they will still be living there but i want my money. i did the work and they wont pay. i called her and she had the ball#@s to say she didnt send it and i ask are you going to send the bill and she said no. They are older folks who are selling in prime area and most likely going to move to florida. If i take them to court wont they still have to fly to NY if i make them and to settle it in court since that is where i perform the service for the??? also how many certified invoices do i have to send them before i take them to court. these people where always trying to get freebies since i had them and now they think they are going to get away with a bill. her house went in the price range of 700,000 and they cant pay a $200 dallor bill. some people are so so cheap.
  2. brucec32

    brucec32 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,403

    I believe that when you perform services (as well as installation/improvements) on real property like a home you can put a lien on it for unpaid bills. I would immediately let them know you plan to do this. You can't close on a home until the lien is satisfied. It would have to be paid at closing and the closing agent would send the money, but more likely they would pay it to avoid a snafu at closing.

    Call your local county perhaps to see what the proceedure is for the lien. I'm sure others here will have better specifics.
  3. 1MajorTom

    1MajorTom Senior Moderator
    Posts: 6,074

    Why call? It would best if you would go to their door, and hurry while they are still living there. Matt did this last year to a customer that we had just signed on. Normally we don't have problem with non payers, but this guy thought he was going to get over on us.
    When Matt went to their door, the guy said, "I'll have my wife send out the check on Monday." Matt says, "No, I don't think so, I'll wait right here, and I'll wait here all night if I have to, go inside and have your wife write the check now." Persistance pays, he came out with the check.
  4. googles

    googles LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 294

    i dont want to keep calling them and threating them. If they move to florida and i take them to court, will they have to come to NY to settle it??? I think a plane ticket is around the same cost?
  5. OMG

    OMG LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 275

    Googles, if you have them served while in your home state, they'll either have to appear or you'll win by default......However, unless you enroll your judgement before closing, it won't do any good.

    Also, I don't think garnishments are allowed in Florida.

    Therefore, I would proceed with the lein.

    Or perhaps some Roundup balloons.....lol

    SHOWCASE LAWNS LLC LawnSite Member
    Posts: 238

    Go To The Local Police And File A Theft Of Services/fraud Charge On Them

    With That Paper In HaNd Go And File A Lien On The Property..................they Will Be Begging To Pay Once They Get The Criminal Complaint And A Notice Informing Them Of the Lien
  7. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 2,116

    Court could likely be a waste of time. I have sued two people who stiffed me. One guy paid about a year later. The other guy showed up in court and lied. The bastadge owed me about $700 and because he lied in court my judgement was only for $300 and change. I will never, EVER see a penny of that judgement...I am certain.

    Knocking on doors and making phone calls to collect your money takes time. If your business model requires that you do stuff like that in your free time then you are likely working on a failed business model. Collecting money is work. Large corporations have entire departments dedicated just to accounts receivable. Those corporate employes get paid nice salaries to collect the corporation's money. You can't hire $7/hr employees who speak no english to collect money.

    I have made it a mandatory requirement that all customers place a credit card on file for automatic payment. This is one of the smartest moves I ever made.


    The credit card is non-negotiable because I know from experience that I will get stiffed on 8% of all the work I do if I extend credit. Not only that, my company grosses over $25K per month and that amount is growing. If I were mowing for a month and then sending a bill and waiting an average of three weeks for payment, my business would require about $50,000 just for working capital. Plus, I'd have to work my azz off just to get paid. No way Jose. Let the bank loan the customer the money, not me.

    You can kid yourself all you want but rest assured, your bill is at the absolute bottom of the pile with your customers who are struggling with their bills. The mortgage, car payment, phone, water, cable, internet, electric and the credit cards all get paid before you see a penny of your money. The lawn mowing company is absolute dead last unless we are smart enough to require next day credit cards. I still get a few declines due to NSF but at least then I know to take them off the schedule. If they are the kind of person who doesn't keep thirty bucks in their checking account at all times, I certainly don't want them owing me for more than one cut.

    DFW Area Landscaper
  8. 1MajorTom

    1MajorTom Senior Moderator
    Posts: 6,074

    Why? It's your money right? I didn't say anything about threatening them, but I think a weak little phone call WILL NOT get the job done. What's wrong with showing up in person and asking for your money? If asking doesn't work,then TELL them you want your money. When Matt shows up at a door, the customer feels his presence. It sure beats having to go to court over a couple hundred bucks.
  9. mcwlandscaping

    mcwlandscaping LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,164

    In the original post by googles, he mentions a "certified invoice" What is this. I have some clients that have been bull ******** me over money they owe and i want to make sure that i am doing thing right, Thanks
  10. lawnman_scott

    lawnman_scott LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 7,547

    Sounds like they will fit in great down here. Unfortunatly for them most people here are charging in advance as I do. Oddly enough its because of people from the great state of NY who try to screw you.

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