how to get paid from a customer.. i searched

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by JLSLLC, Dec 4, 2012.

  1. CowboysLawnCareDelaware

    CowboysLawnCareDelaware LawnSite Senior Member
    from DE
    Posts: 555

    I never have anyone know where I live on purpose, just incase you get a crazy customer that feels like turfing my lawn should anything every get out of hand. I just tell all of my customers which neighborhood or street I live in/on.

    -Michael
     
  2. Darryl G

    Darryl G LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,033

    To the OP: One thing I will say...do not slack off on your collecton attempts for months the way you did even if you're getting aggrivated. As a minimum keep sending statements monthly. I send a certified demand letter at 60 days giving them 10 days to pay...haven't had to do that in quite some time though. Sometimes I will hand the collection calls over to my wife...she's much less likely to get angry with the customer because it wasn't her blood and sweat that went into doing the work.
     
  3. Wayne's Lawn Service

    Wayne's Lawn Service LawnSite Member
    Posts: 184

    I'm not sure about the size of your company but there are alternatives that make sense. There are many collection agencies available that do't charge an arm and a leg to help you out. We utilize I service that charges us $14 per assignment regardless of the amount due. If anyone would like information on them feel free to give me a call. They are a national collection firm and work very well for us.

    Liens and court dates are too time consuming and generally a waste of time. Don't write them off like we did for many years. It's your money, you earned it, get it!
     
  4. championlawnstl

    championlawnstl LawnSite Member
    Posts: 19

    Hey Wayne...I would appreciate it if you wouldn't mind sharing the name/contact info. for your preferred collection agency
     
  5. Rvldesign

    Rvldesign LawnSite Member
    Posts: 200

    Same here wayne
    Posted via Mobile Device
     
  6. Pietro

    Pietro LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 857

    To the author of the thread, I have your solution. There are a few ways you can do this. I have experience in all of them and I also conduct business in NJ. They are as follows.

    Step 1. Get an invoice and write a letter about how his account is overdue put it in an envelope and go to the Post Office. Send it certified return receipt. (He/his spouse must sign to receive it.) Even if they refuse receipt, you can prove you sent it. Make sure to write in the letter that he has 5 business days to pay you in full. If payment is not received you will charge him in civil and or criminal court.

    Step 2. Go to the County Superior Court, file a small claim against him. It costs $22 in Monmouth County not sure about yours. Then you have to go to court. If he doesnt show up you get a defalt judgement, and it will take you forever and a day to get your $. I no longer go this way, as it is a waste of time. Small claims court will not issue a bench warrant.

    Step 2A. This is what I found to work BEST. Worked EVERY TIME for me. Follow step 1, and wait a week. If no $ is received, go to the Police Dept in the Jurisdiction he lives in. Thats where the work was done, thats where the crime was committed. Tell the dispatcher you want to make a police report. Give the Cop the Invoice. Tell him what happened. After he makes the report as him if he can call the other party and let them know what is going on. Once the man gets the call he WILL pay. If not, take your case # (from the police report) and go to the municipal court and file charges against him for Theft Of services:2C:20-8. If he fails to show up he will get a warrant.

    It seems like a long process, but I have done it a few times and it is quick. The report takes 15 mins. 1 Call from the Police regarding the incident and all clients have paid me. I guess it boils down to how bad you need the money. I dont know about you, but I worked for it, I want it.
     
  7. Brownlandscaping

    Brownlandscaping LawnSite Member
    Posts: 2

    small claims is not worth the time spent and money lost by taking a day in court here so I have tried sending multiple bills, if they normally get invoices via email I start to mail them. If I still don't receive payment I notify them that service will be terminated until payment is received then they will have to do a pre paid account if they would like to resume service. If none of that works I offer to "return" their material. I have never actually needed to dump any debris on a customers driveway. They typically come running out with a check. This time of year is tough though. Many people will claim they have no money because of the holidays. Never give up on sending invoices though. That will almost guarantee you will not get paid. Also look to replace those customers asap.
     
  8. It's About Thyme

    It's About Thyme LawnSite Member
    Posts: 17

    This has happened to me twice this year.One account for $100 and the other for $1100.it burns my a$$ that it even has to go this far.I don't understand how you could hire someone and never intend on paying them.Total BS.

    It also seems like the more I talk to fellow LCO's it happens ALL the time.one owner told me get used to it.It just makes my blood boil that it does happen.
     
  9. bj1bmx

    bj1bmx LawnSite Member
    from NJ
    Posts: 76

    i get a few each year. you can send as many certified letters and invoices as you want, but you wont see the money. you either need to catch the person face to face and basically shame them into giving you cash on the spot or count your losses.

    first year customers get cut off if they dont pay within 30 days. that way at least you dont work all year for nothing. existing customers sometimes turn bad as a result of job loss, etc. and dont want to admit the true reason. some times they end up paying with due time...

    several landscapers around here actually do "repo" their unpaid jobs. they show up with a team of employees and begin disassembling the landscape. often the homeowner runs out in a panic with a check.

    i doubt this is legal in NJ but neither is theft. technically this customer stole from you.
     

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