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Collection issue

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by robertsturf, Jan 2, 2008.

  1. robertsturf

    robertsturf LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,402

    I had a full season account for the last 4-5 years. There contract expired Jan 1 2007. They were paying me XXX dollars a month averaged out for lawn maintenance, etc.. Snow was per time. The snow contract was for the same term just per time. We had our first plowable event on 12/06/07 so I went out to pretreat the parking lot and sidewalks. As the snow increased to over 2" I went out to "open" the drive lanes and parking spaces as I always did. When I arrived someone had already done it. I went inside to talk to the owner and was told they had found someone else cheaper to do it. I responded that we still had a contract with them to the end of the year. She said they assumed that since I didn't call ahead of time that I wasn't coming so they got someone else. Well the contract states that they are to notify us in writing 30 days before they cancel. I recieved a call from the manager begging us to finish the contract so I said I would. We plowed the event and sent a invoice. $600.00 or so. After reflecting some on the matter I decided to terminate the contract since they already had a contractor to replace us. In the mean time we finally recieved the most hateful letter from them cancelling the service. Today I recieved another letter from them saying they were not going to pay the invoice for the snow removal we provided. Me question is since this is a business how do I go about collecting this money from them. It's not the amount of money , it's the principle!!!:nono:
  2. mattfromNY

    mattfromNY LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,581

    What do you mean 'its not the amount of money'? You dont need to eat, or feed your family. Gas is free, how 'bout insurance....
    If you have a contract signed by them, contact an attorney, or small claims. If you have provided adequate service for the term of your contract, and now they fail to uphold their contractual obligations before the contract term has expired, that is breach of contract by all definitions.:nono:
  3. robertsturf

    robertsturf LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,402

    I realize that!! I was just saying it's not an exceptionally large amount of money so I wasn't sure if I should file a lein, small claims court, etc... I have never had this issue since I have been in business, (7) years. So I don't have a lot of experience dealing with dead-beat customers, especially commercial ones.
  4. grassmanak

    grassmanak LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 792

    dont worry about the small amount of money, i have gone through the collection process for 60.00 before. A lot has to do with principal, just think if the next guy they do this too. Let them know you will take legal action if they account isnt paid in full, let them know they are resonsable for intrest, late fees, attorney costs, and court costs if they choose not to pay it. is this a large company. Arent they worried about their reputation?
  5. fknippenberg

    fknippenberg LawnSite Member
    Posts: 49

    small claims court - if you have a contract they owe you till the end.
  6. John Zaprala

    John Zaprala LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 283

    We now added to our contracts if not paid in full within 7 days of completion (we don't plow, but..) we will add 15% to the balance every 14 days until balance is paid and will void all warranties/guarantees. Then it goes further into any additional costs incurred by us (collection service, court costs) will be passed on to the customer as well.
  7. mattfromNY

    mattfromNY LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,581

    Just curious if you checked with an attorney on this, I was told there is a cap/ max that can be charged for interest, differs by state. I wasn't told by an attorney, so I could be wrong, but am just curious if you have looked into it.
    On a note, I had a commercial account this plowing season that wouldn't sign my contract b/c it states 5% late charges. Sucks to be them, the guy that is plowing for them is doing a terrible job, guess a slip and fall will cost more than that 5% down the road.
  8. robertsturf

    robertsturf LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,402

    I forgot to add that for the 4 years I had them I had to go pick up a check every month. We always got paid it's just we had to go pick it up. For this inconvienence I added $100.00 to their monthly charge in the contract. They had no I idea they were paying it!!
  9. paydex

    paydex LawnSite Member
    Posts: 64

    dnb.com has a collections service that is NASTY! you pay them like $50.00 and they will eat the guy alive...
  10. DiyDave

    DiyDave LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,695

    Here's why: Cause when the judge takes a look at your fees, and sees that they are way over the top interest limit in your state(here in MD it is 21%, I think), then the judge will not award you ANY interest, should you win the claim.:nono::waving:

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