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how to collect unpaid money?

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

  1. oqueoque

    oqueoque LawnSite Bronze Member
    Male, from Jersey
    Posts: 1,830

    This worked for me. I had a woman who owed me for a months worth of cutting. She stopped the service because her son started to cut it. I also cut three other lawns just by her. I would see her and I would go up to her and tell her that it has been 6 weeks since I stopped & I need to get paid. She would promise to mail out the check. So after a couple of times of that, I switched to yelling out from across the street "Hey it's been two months since you promised to pay me. I have to pay my insurance next week." She yelled back I'm sorry I forgot. Went back in the house and wrote me a check.
  2. Utah Lawn Care

    Utah Lawn Care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,402

    Right now I have 1 guy that owes me 300 bucks, 1 guy that owes me 180 bucks, 1 lady that owes me 80 bucks, 1 lady that owes me 75 bucks. It is incredibly annoying dealing with dishonest people, but there is only so much you can do without spending more time and money trying to get your money than it it worth. We have tried sending e-mails, making phone calls, sending invoices etc. I don't have a great solution besides doing what you can. There are idiots out there and that's just how it's going to be. Find out who they are and kick them to the curb as fast as possible.
  3. inzane

    inzane LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,365

    i signed a contract with a local collection agency. gonna see how that works out next year. I got a few that are well over 90 days and i have given up myself. I will put the collection agency on their butt so mabee it won't go away as easy as they think.. and who knows, mabee i'll get some of the money which is better than the nothing that i already settled on. I still feel lucky to have way more good clients than bad, so gotta see the good in the situation. there are just idiots out there, we are all gonna have to deal with them at some point. To bad i can't do a "wall of shame.." on the ole website.. hahaha.. like when people steal from the gas station and get there picture posted up there. Its stealing plain and simple.

  4. hemiman

    hemiman LawnSite Member
    from Earth
    Posts: 42

    I had a lady that owed me $55 for her last cut 60days past due. What I did was send her an invoice saying it was past due and this was the final notice before account was being sent to collections. I got a check 4 days later
  5. Tennesseepowerstroke

    Tennesseepowerstroke LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 366

    This did not work for me the 1 time I tried it. I now get paid in cash on the day of mowing or if a custome pays by check, I get paid for 4 cuts after the first cut. I once had a problem getting paid in cash as the customer left before I finished. I always find out where my customers work with smalltalk. I then proceeded to let him know I was a friend of the owner of the company and I got invited back to mow again and collected for both cuts. I never returned after that.
  6. getdown

    getdown LawnSite Senior Member
    from Florida
    Posts: 297

    Exactly. Not worth the time. But it would have been nice in principle to show this cop up.

    He's one of those typical know it all types...especially when you try to tell him he's wrong in what he considers his arena of expertise. Funny when cops who make have a knowledge or criminal codes (or may not), seem to think they earned a law degree at the academy.

    I could have shown this jerk his day in court and embarrassed him with by slapping him with unjust enrichment (something he probably didn't even realize), but it's not worth my time. I would still have to collect, and just because a judge writes on paper a demand to pay doesn't mean anything.

    He's also a very dangerous person...as in an actual criminal capable of horrific things but carries a badge. Literally a gangster. Not worth the damage someone like this could inflict with his power on myself or the business. I would, however, love to tell his neighbors and department about his lack of morals, but knowing his departments reputation it wouldn't do anything that get him some pats on the back for muscling someone, and I would risk defamation of character of slander.

    Bottom line, there are lots of jerks in this world, and some aren't very smart despite what they think of themselves. Regardless, in this situation I had to put aside my desire for restitution/compensation/justice and realize that by pissing off someone with power I could be hurting myself in more ways. Had to just let the fire burn out rather than fighting fire with fire...it's hard to put aside, but I do believe in karma. He's probably miserable in many ways knowing what I know about his behavior and psychology.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  7. Sean Adams

    Sean Adams LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,597

    It's your money. Go get it. You earned it. It belongs to you.

    I find it interesting how our world has changed in many ways over the years - but that is an off topic subject.

    One thing that has changed is how entitled consumers feel - how they think that if they do not feel like paying you the money or it just doesn't fit in their budget that they aren't going to pay you.


    Write the letters, make the phone calls, but don't waste an excessive amount of time. Be stern and professional. When that does not work, take them to court - no matter who it is.

    When you get your judgment, the game is not over. They have x number of days to pay. When/if they don't pay you have options.... Pay another fee and have the sheriff collect the money. If they don't pay the sheriff will confiscate their property and sell it at auction until the judgment is paid, plus fees.

    Think about that....how much do you think a 50" flat screen TV goes for at a police auction? Nowhere near it's face value.

    In other words, a lot of their personal belongings will be confiscated to pay the judgment.

    Most don't pursue it far enough.
  8. getdown

    getdown LawnSite Senior Member
    from Florida
    Posts: 297

    Sean, I hear what you're saying...believe me. And I understand your point of view. Just not so sure it is the best advice given the circumstances. A) I can make more money in the time I would spend pursuing a small amount of money. B) I would be creating enemies I don't need, that could adversely affect my business in a major way.

    I understand it's my money. I don't like people who think they shouldn't pay. But it's a waste of time. I know what my time is worth. Arguing with an idiot is a waste of time. Throwing dollars to save pennies and make a point, is dumb. I'm not hard headed enough to waste my time. I'm wise enough to walk away. Lesson learned. Karma will catch up.

    I'm no wuss and not one to be given orders or to take crap. But I know when it's better to keep your mouth shut, and when to avoid emotions getting the best of you.

    No point crying about spilled milk when you're trying to build a dairy farm...

    Thankfully I can cry and vent a little bit here to my brethren on Lawnsite...which helped me avoid doing what could be a very costly thing: taking a government sanctioned thug to court for $125. He's a degenerate, but I do work in his area...my first ticket would cost more than what he owes. If I pissed him off by pursuing it, daily operations would be tougher. And I would be adding gasoline to a fire. He would talk trash about me to all his neighbors and slander me. Right now he thinks he just got a freebie and pulled a fast one on me and probably doesn't think twice. I figure, I could waste a punch of time, create a lot of enemies, and have him talk a lot of crap about my business, and get my $125. Or I could do a little venting/therapy on lawnsite and forget about it.

    Completely understand what you're talking about when you say times have changed...I couldn't imagine not paying someone (and actually planning not to) who I had do work for me (and watched breaking back and sweating). Some people have a completely different moral guide. Scary that this guy is supposed to uphold the law. I could have easily slapped him with unjust enrichment and had my day in court, but not worth it. I am, however, acutely aware that there are still some amazing citizens out there. I am one of them, and I try to surround myself exclusively with them. Part of being in a business dealing with the public, however, causes us to meet all kinds of people. Better to get them out of our worlds sooner than later. Even if it cost me my hard work/$125. It's a cheap price to pay to rid yourself of something you don't want. But it would be more costly to try and get the $125 back and suffer angering someone with a big mouth/no moral conscience and lots of power.
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2014
  9. Tennesseepowerstroke

    Tennesseepowerstroke LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 366

    You are a smart man. Karma is a b****. I am old enough to have seen it come around more than once.
  10. getdown

    getdown LawnSite Senior Member
    from Florida
    Posts: 297

    Thank you, I appreciate the kind words.
    Posted via Mobile Device

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