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I want to hear what U think of this customer

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by pjslawncare/landscap, Jun 3, 2006.

  1. pjslawncare/landscap

    pjslawncare/landscap LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,410

    Had this couple for two years now, both Attorneys, woman off work though due to young child at home. They have usually done fairly well when it comes time to pay up. This year the woman has called me several times requesting leaf clean-ups, pulling bushes and planting begonias in addition to the regular mowing we do. I have always billed them at the end of the month with 30 days terms (changed new customers to 15 now). They have recently purchased a home for his father and she is driving a new escalade. So far this year Ive received nothing for Half of March, all April and May. Sent late statement, talked to her while at her home a week ago and now I have called and left two messages and they aren't returning the call. Monday I will be sending a certified letter requesting payment in full and letting them know that Ive canceled there service and plan the file in small claims if this is not resolved promptly. This will be the first time ever in 12 years in the biz I will have to sue. Ive been very fortunate that Ive had such good customers in the past that I seldom have had any problems collecting, but I guess it has to start somewhere.

    TURF DOCTOR LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,138

    My advice stop cutting and see them face to face before taking legal actions.
  3. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 21,653

    Agreed. You never know for sure if that Escalade belongs to your customer or they moved away and the new tenant owns it, that crap happened to me about a year ago ...

    As for taking someone to court? I'd use olddebts.com myself, but that's entirely up to you how you wish to spend your time and money.

    Being that they're attorneys, it really depends what kind of attorneys they are, they might fight you and win, they might not. No, by what kind I don't mean good or bad, I mean divorce / business / real estate / criminal / etc...
  4. mike lane lawn care

    mike lane lawn care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,707

    my opinion is that they have over spent and can't afford your level of service, they think that they can give you the short end of the stick. i would definately sue if they don't pay up and let fellow landscapers know about them. I have a 7 acre farm that i do and i have never had a problem with them, and they were my first account, but if the need ever arises, i would take them to court.
  5. MMLawn

    MMLawn LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,569

    If you are going to take them to court, I hope you have them on a current contract that was drawn up by an atty, esp since they are atty's, otherwise you are wasting your time and more money. Also, even a two year client you should have never let them get that far behind before stopping service.
  6. DLCS

    DLCS LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,378

    I don't care whos Escalade it is, anyone can own one.

    Send them a letter saying that they have 10 days to pay in full or you are taking legal action. If you don't have payment on the tenth day, then you take legal action. But you have to stick to your guns and follow through. Lawyers must pay their bills too. You gave them plenty of time to pay up, I don't need to see them face to face.
  7. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,062

    They owe you for 2 1/2 months of work... that was your first mistake.
    Revamp your billing terms, as you are luck you have not been 'taken' before.

    They owe you for 2 1/2 months of work... that was your second mistake.
    Never let a customer get behind on payment like that with no explaination.

    This is why I my billing/payment terms are advance.
    They pay me for the work I am going to do between billing cycles.
    For most, if I have not recieved payment, then they will not recieve service.
    Once in a while, I MIGHT cut once past the due date, maybe two in special cases.
    But never more than that... not without some sort of contact and explaination.
  8. Brianslawn

    Brianslawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,004

    olddebts.com. right topsites? screw those frikin attys over good. they ALL think everything should be free for them cause they so busy chasing ambulances! file a lien. screw up their credit report. bend them over and dont use any lube. give it to them good.
  9. Green-Pro

    Green-Pro LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,420

    Even with only a verbal contract it is possible to win this in small claims court. That they are attorneys will not make a difference. There will be a pattern of services exchanged for payment in your accounting system that will help bolster your position. Verbal contracts are legally binding, sometimes, possibly harder to enforce but very much legally binding.
    BTW, should of canceled service much earlier IMO.
  10. Sounds to me like you've jumped to conclusion that they refuse to pay.
    I've had slow pay before. Lots of times it was from a death in the family. Once I found a check stuck in a crack in the back of my desk, a year later.

    I wouldn't have threatened litigation to a lawyer. I mean would you threaten violence to a gangster?

    A friendly approach will get you more money than agressive behavior. At least untill you know the situation.


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