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Customer moved, never setteled up bill :angry:

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by mowingtowing, Mar 1, 2007.

  1. mowingtowing

    mowingtowing LawnSite Member
    Posts: 226

    I have a customer who has moved and didn't pay their bill. It was for around $400 and I had a suspicion when I got the guy towards the end of the season that he would be a unique one. He talked about buying the house he was renting and submitting the bill ($300 of which was for a little spruce up) to the land lord. Should (and HOW do) I try to track down the guy, or should I take this up with the land lord?

  2. thes

    thes LawnSite Member
    Posts: 106

    If you go to http://www.olddebts.com....you can pay for NCOA - National Change of Address automatically forwards the letter to your debtor's new address if the debtor has filed a change of address. I'm sure he told the US Postal Service that he moved and to have his mail forwarded to him at his new address. It's worth a try!
    Plus, you can pay the extra $3 to have all 3 credit bureaus alerted.:clapping:
    Of course, you should go after the person whose name the bill had on it....was that the guy or his landlord?

    I just did the same thing for someone that owes me a little over $200.:nono:
    Hope this helps.:waving:
  3. IN2MOWN

    IN2MOWN LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,993

    First try finding the guy yourself before you spend money for someone else to do it. It just takes a little detective work on your part. Talk the landlord and I can guarantee the guy left a forwarding address with him.
  4. Roger

    Roger LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,923

    Renters can be a problem. If the arrangement between the renter and the landlord is the renter is responsible for lawn service and upkeep, then the landlord will not hear your story. If the property is between renters and the landlord wishes to have work done so that the property looks better for potential new renters, then he is responsible.

    In my experience, the renter is responsible for all lawn care work done while they are in within the time period of their rental agreement.

    I had one case a year ago, ... a property we had mowed and maintained for years. The owner moved out and rented. The renters maintained the property (not by us), until September 1, then quit. On December 31, they moved out. The yard was quite a mess, no mowing for the last couple of months of the season, and no leaves were removed. However, the owner wanted new renters, and believed he could not expect a new renter to do all the remedial work. During a warm spell last January, I spent three full work days, getting the grass mowed (only time I have ever mowed in January!), cleared the leaves (yes, well plastered into the turf, wet and nasty), trimming of bushes, new bed edges cut, and new mulch spread. Within a couple of weeks, he had new renters. The owner paid for all of my work. The new renters hired one of their friends to mow last season - a bummer for me. I tried to get their business, but they gave it to their friend (understandable).
  5. David C.

    David C. LawnSite Member
    Posts: 246

    As Ricky Ricardo would tell his lovely wife


    Thats a lot of bula-bula to let slip through your fingers!!

    Get with the LandLord---see if the guy left a forwarding---then go pay a visit!!
  6. Daneman

    Daneman LawnSite Member
    Posts: 154

    If you know his full legal name, you can find out people's addresses on www.zabbasearch.com

    It's actually pretty scary, test it out on yourself. It had my last 5 addresses on there, my date of birth, and telephone numbers.

    Let me know what you think after trying it on yourself.
  7. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    Not to put you down, this is how I learned to trust my instinct because you're not the first and unfortunately probably not the last, but...

    I even did a study once, by accepting ten customers who each gave me that kind of a suspicion, I wanted to see how often I was right: 9 of those 10 shafted me... Now this isn't conclusive by any means, because I'd really have to perform this study over 100-500 customers to come up with an accurate figure, but it was enough for me especially since it costs me money when it happens...
    Ever since then I get a suspicion like that, I'm gone before I start working, a lot of times I don't even quote a price anymore.

    It boils down to red flags: I give everybody one for free because I can assume they made a mistake, but by the 2nd one I start turning around, and most don't get more than 3-4 red flags past me before I'm gone for good.
    Don't get me wrong, I still fall for one here and there...

    But I call it pre-screening, other guys call it cherry picking, it's all the same thing, it helps prevent the headache.
  8. StBalor

    StBalor LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 798

    Something like this happened to me once before. she moved on me owing me 1 grass cut. luckily i was doing a re-seeding and clean-up job for her sister and just tacked on the 35.00.
    Some of these guys have probably went throgh this before and should give you some good advise.
  9. Jay Ray

    Jay Ray LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,510

    Unbelievable. They had my DOB wrong, but everything else right.
  10. workinallthetime

    workinallthetime LawnSite Member
    Posts: 105

    crazy site there have to put that in my fav's. one thiing ive found with some sites like that is that you can e-mail them and tell them the info is wrong and poof your gone. had some guys name w/ my number on white pages . com and did that now his bad debts dont haunt me

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