Dead Beat- Need Help

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by Mike1977, Sep 23, 2012.

  1. chesterlawn

    chesterlawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 708

    Just disregard the lawyers fee, I would take them to small claims court, I have done it many times and it works. You pay a fee like $40 to file which you get back if you win, then you get a court date. If they show and you win you get a judgment and if they are a no show you get a judgment. Now most of the times they still don't pay, so you pay more $ which you get back, for a sheriff sale. For a sheriff sale they go to your customers house and tag their property to be sold at an auction to pay off their debt to you. I have only been burnt once with this, after I paid for a sheriff sale, the customer moved and I have no idea where he went. Check with your court, their rules may be different.
  2. MOturkey

    MOturkey LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,757

    First of all, you have to put things in perspective. No one likes a deadbeat, yet the world is full of them. Some people live this way as a matter of course, others do it because of immediate circumstances. My wife has a niece that moves probably 3 to 4 times per year. She and her husband will rent a place, then not pay rent until they get kicked out, then move on to the next place. That is just their lifestyle. Others manage to get their lawn mowed for nothing, or little of nothing, by conning a continous line of lawncare providers, and some just find themselves in a tight situation, and paying the "lawn boy" becomes their lowest priority.

    You need to determine which type of person you are dealing with. If it is the professional cheat, cut your losses by simply moving on. The odds of collecting the debt are slim, and in the long run, not worth the effort and stress. If, on the other hand, it is someone who just finds themselves suddenly and/or temporarily, in a crunch, and you handle it correctly, you will likely eventually get paid.

    Another thing to remember, particularly if you are a solo operator, is that you are, for the most part losing POTENTIAL income, rather than actual money. If you charge $35 for a lawn, your costs are nowhere near $35, and in fact, are probably nearer the $5 portion, so take that into account when deciding how to proceed. One should learn to never count chickens before hatching. I'm not saying it is right for anyone to stiff you for any amount. I'm just saying that putting it in the right perspective will often make it easier to swallow.

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