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customer owes money

Discussion in 'General Industry Discussions' started by grasscatcher10, Jun 8, 2005.

  1. grasscatcher10

    grasscatcher10 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 1

    what can you do when a customer owes you money for 2 months of
    lawncare? I approached him about it after i finally caught up with him,
    and he ordered me off his property. any suggestions would help.
  2. rookiemower

    rookiemower LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 766

    Like i told my brother, if anyone ever tried to not pay me for services, I would dump what i thought were a proper amount of clippings on their front lawn. Let them deal with the mess. you dont pay, HERES YOUR F'ING GRASS BACK! :angry: :realmad:
    Now i know thats not good advice but thats how i would handle the situation :cool2:

    CURB APPEAL NC LawnSite Member
    Posts: 118

    I cant see how you guys go two months without being paid! After the first month or after the second cut in my case NO MONEY NO SEVICE you dig?
  4. Soupy

    Soupy LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,125

    A lot of us invoice monthly after the work is completed. Then we give them a month to pay. This puts a non payer at 2 months.

    I invoice on the 1st of each month for the previous month and give a 15net pay but even a good percentage of customers still pay around the 20th or so(I believe that is because they get paid around the 15th). So I go ahead and let people have the full 30 days to pay. I always get burned by a couple each year, but if I was strict and held to the payment by the 15th I would piss off a lot of otherwise good customers. Even if they don't pay by the 15th and we cut them off they still owe for 1 1/2 months.

    It's part of being in business and like any business you have losses. I can see were a guy cutting grass would want to be paid after each cut, but most lawn care companies invoice their customers.

    CURB APPEAL NC LawnSite Member
    Posts: 118

    I guess it depends on the type of cust. As a rookie (1st season) I Have a lot of lower end accounts and customers. Next year I am going to try and improve my quality of customers and will probably start a billing schedule. For now I just get paid every other cut either in my hand or mailed to me. If I dont have the money before or by my second visit NO SERVICE. I would love to be able to just cut and not worry about the money and just open the mailbox but like I said my customer based is used to the kid down the street mowiing for $20. They dont likem the idea of getting another bill. Something in there mind set! Eveny though technically its still a bill evey month if I bill them OR they put ti in my hand. Dont tell them that! Hopefully by next year there will be some level of trust and can start billing 30 days.
  6. jt5019

    jt5019 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,432

    You can said him a Legal notice that you are going to collections and try to scare him.Thats usually all it takes for me.Or you can go the other route put some round up in a squirt gun and write a nice letter on his lawn. Or just put DEAD BEAT NON PAYER so everyone can see ;)
  7. steve122

    steve122 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 208

    In Illinois you can file a mechanics lien against the property, but you have to do it with 6 weeks of the due date for it to be valid. In Illinois the forms are available from the county clerk's office, all you do is fill them out, with the tax parcel number of the property you are filing a lien against, return them with the fee paid ($18) and the County Recorders office sends them back with book and page as proof of filing. You can add in a fee for the trouble you have gone to also. Then you can send a letter to customer, copy of lien attached, and let them know they can have it removed for the cost of mowing, fee for filing and your fee for time and trouble, and the fee to file a release. If they don't pay the lien stays until property is sold, and then you get your money. Mean time they have a blot on their credit. Last one I did was for a one time cutting, for $100. She wouldn't pay, filed lien for $250 for $100 dollar job, and she had to pay $250 plus another $18 for filing release.
    Do a google search for Mechanics Lien for your state, you should be able to find the statute, read thru it, (all legalese), or see an attorney for a explanation of ins and outs for your state, and then do the rest on your own, each and every time it happens. Good luck, and this is not legal advice and I'm not an attorney who cuts grass.
  8. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Posts: 10,178

    you guys will never learn. billing after the fact, and allowing 30 days to pay, while at the same time recieving more of your service, and running up additional bills, is not "part of business", it's plain rediculous. now you are issuing lines of credit to these people. what do you know about issuing credit? have you been trained in all the ins and outs of the credit laws in your state? have you been trained in how to deal with non payers, how to speak to them, how to handle them, etc? did you run a credit check before allowing a line of credit? the answer to these questions are NO, NO, AND NO. if you know nothing about electricity, you don't mess with electrical wires, do you? well, you are not a credit company, so don't issue credit. when i started, i issued credit, it didn't take me long to realize that if you don't like to get burned, you don't put your hand in the fire
  9. Charles

    Charles Moderator Staff Member
    Posts: 7,884

    This is an interesting law:

    Theft of services
    Theft of services is the legal term for a crime which is committed when a person obtains services - as opposed to goods - without lawfully compensating the provider of said services.

    Crimes of this sort are typically prosecuted as Quick Facts about: larceny
    The act of taking something from someone unlawfullylarceny, and may be either a Quick Facts about: misdemeanor
    A crime less serious than a felonymisdemeanor or a Quick Facts about: felony
    A serious crime (such as murder or arson)felony, based upon the value of the services illegally obtained. Specific examples of statutes covering these matters include Section 165.15 of the New York State Penal Law and Section 502 of the California Penal Code (in the latter state the main section dealing with Quick Facts about: theft
    The act of taking something from someone unlawfullytheft, Section 484, may also be applicable depending on the precise circumstances of the case).

    This category encompasses a wide variety of criminal activity - including, but not limited to, tampering with an electric or gas meter so that the true level of consumption is understated; leaving a restaurant or similar establishment without paying for the meal; and "turnstile jumping" or other methods of evading the payment of a fare when using a public transit vehicle.

    These statutes have also, on occasion, been applied in the realm of Quick Facts about: health care
    Social insurance for the ill and injuredhealth care, when hospitals or other health-care providers have pressed criminal charges against indigent, uninsured patients who were unable to pay for their treatment. One such instance was reported in the February 19, 2004 edition of the Wall Street Journal, involving two hospitals in the Quick Facts about: Champaign-Urbana, Illinois
  10. Carolina Cutter

    Carolina Cutter LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 987

    Usually one threatning letter about mechainics lien or small claims court does it for me.....

    After that i no longer service them....I figure if I had to collect once I will have to collect everytime.

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