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Collecting money owed to you

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by boxoffire, Nov 29, 2005.

  1. boxoffire

    boxoffire LawnSite Member
    Posts: 169

    Ok I am pretty new to running my own business and cut this new guys yard a couple of times and he's owed me $80 for over a month now and I can tell he's probably not going to pay me anytime soon, if ever. What or who do I call to start the process of taking him to small claims court? I have the time and it's my first customer to not pay me in my first summer of cutting grass. It just eats at me and I guess I should get used to it happening from time to time. Hell, I've got to get his last name from him before I can do anything I would imagine. Yep, I only know his name is Mark. He said he was going to mail me a check on 2 occasions and stalls me when I go by to get it at his house. I want my freakin $80, dangit!
  2. marionlandscape

    marionlandscape LawnSite Member
    Posts: 93

    if you are only owed $80 consider yourself lucky.
  3. SodKing

    SodKing LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,648

    You run a "business" and you don't even know your customers names?
  4. boxoffire

    boxoffire LawnSite Member
    Posts: 169

    Yes I do, his name is Mark. Ha Ha... It looked like it was only going to be a 1 time cut and I didn't write down his last name. Didn't think he would do this to me. Ok enough with the critizism, who knows what department I contact to start the collection process? That was my question. Thanks.
  5. PR Fect

    PR Fect LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,074

    I would think that you need to check with NC state law. You are like many others including myself, that take a mans word for what its worth. Myself, others and now you have learned that some men are not worth much, and neither is their word. In six years we have only been not payed once. And that man moved out of the area with out paying his debt. Jan and I do not do written contracts. Most of are work is done with an agreed price up front, and a hand shake. The rest is done by yearly notification of rates. But we always get full name, address, phone number, and starting this year property owners name. When we are not payed you need to keep the communication open between you and the person who owes you. We send a monthly statement, after each month we add 3% service charge. In the third month we make by weekly calls and send notice of legal action. This is a letter that Jan put together. That has worked for us. Only the one time have we not received payment in under four months. You also could check out this site. http://www.olddebts.com/ PR
  6. gslawncare

    gslawncare LawnSite Member
    Posts: 134

    paying a lawyer and then paying the court fees would end up costing you a lot more than 80 bucks. the other guy was right, your lucky.
  7. olderthandirt

    olderthandirt LawnSite Platinum Member
    from here
    Posts: 4,900

    get the address and do a reverse search on line to get his name. Always have a written contract. But since none of this was done you don't have much to loose by calling strong arm collections, heck for 50% they will get the money and the hand might come with it.
  8. CP Estates

    CP Estates LawnSite Member
    from North
    Posts: 45

    Have you called him or stopped by and asked him A) If there is a reason that he is not paying you, B) When the best time is to come by and collect the money? That way you put him on the spot - people hate being put on the spot with questions like "Hi, Mark. I'm here to collect the $80. that is outstanding. Is there a reason that I'm not aware of why you are withholding my payment?"

    Either that or go there and ask his wife for the money and that way he looks like a cheap S.O.B..
  9. yrdandgardenhandyman

    yrdandgardenhandyman LawnSite Senior Member
    from midwest
    Posts: 953

    You have his address. Go to your cities property tax site and look up the address. That should tell you his name. Or call your city hall and tell them you want to know the name of the deadbeat who lives there. Or go to www.anywho.com , click on the reverse lookup tab, enter his phone # and if he is listed you will get his name from that. Or go to one of his neighbors and ask for his name. Then go to your city hall or county courthouse and file a lien agaist his house. Then go to the clerk of court and file a small claims action against him. You'll have to put a few $ up front to file but you'll get that back with the judgement. You could also wait till he has a guest or 2 and ask him in front of them. He won't want to look like a deadbeat in front of them.

    PS Always get the clients full name before doing any work. If they won't give it to you, no matter how desperate you are, walk away.
  10. maui8

    maui8 LawnSite Member
    from nj
    Posts: 33

    get a lawnmowers lean put on that guys house!.

    jk, i dont know anything about business, but have you tried showing up at his house to collect payment, or calling him on a weekly to get your payment? maybe just sending him a letter and saying if payment is not due by this date, it will be taken up by the collection agency.

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