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Gimme My Money!

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by McKeeLand, Jan 3, 2003.

  1. McKeeLand

    McKeeLand LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 681

    I did a search on this before posting, but couldn't find anything to relate with my specific situation. I have a customer that i did about $15,000 in work for this spring. $9,000 was contracted and the rest were extras, no contract just a gentlemans agreement. I've been paid about $11,000 and trying to get the $3,000 balance since May. I say $3,000 beacuse he beat me down on the extra's $1,000 before agreeing to them.
    So since the last time he made a payment I've called him, no answer beacuse of caller ID, I've reinvoiced him, sent a friendly reminder letter, and lastly i sent the letter from legaldocs certified mail.
    Well its been over 30days since the certified letter and no response. This guy is really getting my goat. I've known him for a long time and had a pretty good relationship with him up to now. I also know the games he play when it come to money.
    My question is I want to place a lean on his house now to show how serious I am. Has anyone ever done this on here and if so what is the procedure?
  2. dan deutekom

    dan deutekom LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 424

    I don't know what the laws are in your area but up here you have to place a lien on property within a specific time period of the origional work. I can't remember if it is 30 days or 45. You probably are too late. You would best to consult a laywer about this.
  3. devildog

    devildog LawnSite Senior Member
    from sc
    Posts: 270

    but I suspect your SOL, without a contact or signed quote. I know this won't make the problem go away, but, help you avoid the problem in the future "ALWAYS GET A SIGNED CONTRACT". With Regards... devildog
  4. MOOSE

    MOOSE LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 393

    Have you stopped over there at night in another vehicle so he doesn't think it's you. And if he gives you any trouble tell him your not leaving or moving vehicle till your paid. And if he gives u a check ask for it to be made to U. Then in morning be at his bank when it opens to cash it. And I mean when it opens.. Cuz, He'll try to place stop payment on it.

    I had similar case but not that long ofa period of time.
  5. bob

    bob LawnSite Platinum Member
    from DE
    Posts: 4,254

    Sue him in small claims. The way in works in my state is, after you file paperwork, he has 15 days to agree or disagree with your suit. If he doesn't answer the court within the 15 days, you win by default. Now you hav to collect. Petition Motor Vehicle for discriptions of his autos. It cost a small amount. The sherrif will make 3 attempts to catch the vechicle on the property to tag it for auction. If tagged, the owner cannot drive it. If that fails the next step is to tag house hold belongings. Once again 3 attempts. All this happened to me. The sherrif made contact on the third attempt and the homeowner refused to let the sherriff in the house. This violated the judges orders and the homeowner was summoned to court right away. I had my money right after that! Plus some extra.
  6. Henry

    Henry LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 549

    I know that in Bergen county you have 90 days. Call the county clerks office where the work was done.
  7. greenman

    greenman LawnSite Addict
    Posts: 1,405

    Can this be done without a written contract? Its just your word against the customers.
  8. HBFOXJr

    HBFOXJr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,712

    Go to courthouse in the county the client lives in. There, you can file a small claims court document for a few dollars. He can either pay up before the court date including any interest and filing fees you paid or show up for court.

    At court they'll put you in mediation first with an independent arbitrator. If that doesn't work yougo before the judge at a later date. If the judge decides in you favor partially or in full the guy has to pay. If he doesn't pay you file a judgement default and a lein is placed against his property.

    It works and it is inexpensive. No lawyer required. Make sure you document yourself with written notes, phone book log etc when you first go in. Common sense says no business person is gonna just do xxx$$$ of work on a job for fun and just bill a customer hoping to get paid.
  9. I'd use small claims.
    While you are at the court house see if if the clerk has instructions forms on filing small claims and or mechanics liens. If not maybe they can tell you who sells a book for your state. It will help you in preparing your information to present to the judge, also what to do to collect after winning.

    Here are a couple of things I use to stay out of court.
    1. When you have court documents served, use the sheriffs office and have them served at work. Lets them know you mean business, and very effective on getting money sent before court date.

    2. Before things get as far as going to court check your mechanics lien laws, our state requires a 10 day notice of intent to file lien. This must be done by a process server also, but before going that far I fill out the form and mail it or tape it to their front door.
    This has worked great at getting those $50-200 amounts that aren't worth going to court for.

    The above things are done only when I have someone that will not respond to mailed late notices, phone calls, or answer the door when I visit
  10. rodfather

    rodfather LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,501

    Use Samll Claims Court. I'm almost positive that you have to file a Mechanics Lien of Intention (with the correct Lot and Block No.)BEFORE commencing work here in NJ.

    Then again, I'm no lawyer.

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