how to collect unpaid money?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by kebrowns, Aug 26, 2013.

  1. kebrowns

    kebrowns LawnSite Member
    Posts: 203

    I cut someones grass about 2 months ago and he is giving me the run a round. How can I go after this person.
     
  2. Sprinkler Buddy

    Sprinkler Buddy LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Florida
    Posts: 1,187

    Cost you more to get it, remember the name, don't ever service him/her again.
     
  3. GrassGuerilla

    GrassGuerilla LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,437

    Depends, are you busy? If so, keep going. Don't let a turd in the punch bowl break your momentum. Filing a small claim is probably not worth it.

    Unless its a substantial amount of money, your probably better off writing it off and accepting the loss. Sucks, but deadbeats are part of the game.

    I do remember a post (Chilehead I think) that called the police to file a report on "theft of services". While this is a civil matter and really the police have no authority to collect for you. It seems just the officers presence may spark a bit of cooperation. I wouldn't be surprised if the police declined to get involved. But using the key phrase "theft of services" may work. What do you have to lose?

    Seriously, I might spend an hour on it due to principle. But it's counterproductive to let a deadbeat steal MORE of your time. Thankfully these guys are pretty rare, focus your energy where it's appreciated, you'll be way ahead.
     
  4. Colaguy

    Colaguy LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 599


    Sue in Small claims court in your off season time, For Theft of Services. Some here advocate you do nothing & let it go. I do not advocate that mentality.
     
  5. LandFakers

    LandFakers LawnSite Fanatic
    from CT
    Posts: 6,229

    I just keep sending the same invoice every other week with all the extra late fees. Get it eventually. Took 6 months for one guy last year
     
  6. GOATMAN GEORGE

    GOATMAN GEORGE LawnSite Member
    Posts: 88

    Sue in small claims & file fir mechanics lean. IDK how posters are claiming it cost you more, there are up front fees but you will b reimbursed when you win. I will file one for a $45 unpaid bill if I have to. Its not about the $ its the.principal
     
  7. foreplease

    foreplease LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,940

    I agree with not putting much time or money into this. I would probably give it one shot with a strongly worded persuasive as possible letter. In addition to theft of services might ask if he is familiar (and comfortable) with the concept of unjust enrichment.
     
  8. PK Mows

    PK Mows LawnSite Member
    Posts: 88

    Personally, I'm not spending 2 or 3 hours, or more, of my time to collect on a couple residential cuts. I just use a local Attorney who has a form letter he sends out for me. He charges me $25 for each letter and I collect on about half the ones he sends out. Now if they owe several hundred dollars, that's different, but for a cut or three, Just not worth it. Some people are going to no-pay, just a fact of doing business, you have to decide when effort expended exceeds gains received.
     
  9. getdown

    getdown LawnSite Senior Member
    from Florida
    Posts: 297

    Yeah, happens to us all. I had a thug cop (I don't believe all LEO are pigs but this guy doesn't represent his brethren well) watch me everyday while I worked and he drank beer. Didn't pay the last month ($125). He was a thug, just a dangerous person with a badge. Based on his aggressiveness, I deemed it not worth the risk of pursuing but it made me angry on a different level since he is supposed to uphold the law, not abuse his power to screw contractors. Not worth getting pulled over when he or his brethren see my trailer in "their territory" (very little to distinguish these kinds of cops from gangs). Karma...I'm well networked with my local LE...I hope to see him chasing stray dogs in due time!
     
  10. inzane

    inzane LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,366

    i signed up with a collection agency recently, local company. Gonna give that i shot.. I have a few that are well over 60 and 90 days and i sent out final notices already... Gonna see what happens atleast.. It may not work, but if the collection agency collects they get 28% and that is better than me letting it go and getting nothing. Small claims is to expensive to go after smaller amounts, potential to lose even more money there i would think. The collection agency i am using is a reporting agency so they can make an impact on the deadbeats credit, from what i hear.. not sure how they can do that with out SS#.
     

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