Customer not paying bill..

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by pavwa, Apr 30, 2012.

  1. pavwa

    pavwa LawnSite Member
    Posts: 43

    I am a owner/operator of a very small landscape company in Michigan, I have no employees and work by myself. I am having a very difficult time receiving payment from a customer that I did weekly lawn service for last season. I have sent late fees along with bills, I have sent letters stating I will have to take her to small claims court, and also send a bill every month. I can not contact her by phone or by door knocking. This customer payed some of the outstanding balance after I threatened her with court but I have not received any payment in about 3 months. Is there any tactics u guys use for such occurrence? I really don't have the time to go to court since I do work on my own and I do have a family so if there is any other way to go about it I am all ears. The total is only about $400 but it still is $400 that I could definitely use in my pocket. Thanks
     
  2. GreenI.A.

    GreenI.A. LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,132

    What works best for me is to send a letter stating my intentions to file a mechanic's lien on the property in 30 days. Here we are also allowed to include filing fees and attorneys fees to the lien. I pay $350 for a lien to be filed by my attorney. I have sent these letters to customers who owe anywhere from $49 to over $75k. It gets the phone ringing when the customer receives a letter stating that their $49 balance is going to become a $399 lien on the property. I also include some scare tactics about the affects the lien will have such as how it will effect them if they go to sell the house or try to refinance. I also tell them that it may negatively affect their credit rating as well (it doesn't but, but most people are concerned about credit so this helps). Almost every single time I have sent one of these letters I have received payment within a week or at least a call back to set up a payment schedule.
     
  3. weeble67

    weeble67 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 286

    I had a lady who's outstanding balance was just about $2k. I told her last week I would be filing the motion in small claims court. Then I went on to tell her I would file it as theft of services and that I would request restitution on any further bills accumulated in the process of seeking payment. Such as a lien and lawyer bills. I told her I didn't want her to have to pay more bills, nor did I want her to have to be embarrassed by her name being in the paper. But that if she failed to reply with payment I would be forced to take other actions such as that to receive payment. Today I got a call, asking me to wait a week into May and to meet her at the banks, she would have payment for me. Hopefully it works.
     
  4. dc240nt

    dc240nt LawnSite Member
    from NW MN
    Posts: 79

    If all else fails, there's always men in dark cars and black suits. It works in the movies! :)

    You have to do what you have to do.
    I would do everything possible to recoup all I have coming to me. I know a lot of people are in dire straits, but my belt is pulled pretty tight also. Im kind of a softie so I usually give people more time and benefit of the doubt then I should. But just because I might cut them some slack, doesnt mean I'm giving them a freebie. I want what I worked for.

    Good luck to you no matter what your collection method.
     
  5. easy-lift guy

    easy-lift guy LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,376

    Don' waste any more time with her. Gather all of your paperwork total everything she owes you including court cost and a day of missing work and see her in small claims court. When one is in business for them self's there is always a chance that this will occure. Follow thru and let the forum know how you made out.
    easy -lift guy
     
  6. Bunton Guy

    Bunton Guy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,743

    Why can't you call or knock on the door? Try to time it as to when she would be getting home or leaving that way you can catch them getting out of the car.
     
  7. Duekster

    Duekster LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Posts: 7,961

    why do we let mowing clients get that deep?
     
  8. easy-lift guy

    easy-lift guy LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,376

    Try reading the beginning of this thread, he has already done that, and more.
    easy-lift guy
     
  9. ringahding

    ringahding LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 612

    "TACTIC" I use after emailing, calling or mailing invoice has not worked, simply put their last name on the envelope and physically stick it in their front door.
    The goal is for one of their family members to open it and confront them about the outstanding invoice for me.
     
  10. easy-lift guy

    easy-lift guy LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,376

    Really!, shaming someone into paying a bill by placing it into an envelope affixing their name to it and taping it to their door?.
    I guess your suggestion is real enough but not based in reality.
    easy-lift guy
    Posted via Mobile Device
     

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