It finally happened...

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by ontheotherside, Jan 7, 2005.

  1. ontheotherside

    ontheotherside LawnSite Member
    Posts: 1

    I've been so lucky this year with receiving payments on time. Only had one late pay, who once I brought it to his attention paid that month and two in advance. Now, I've got a customer in a high scale neighborhood who I've let get two months behind and still providing service ( I know it was stupid on my part but they've always been good customers) I've been chasing my money for a month and keep getting "he said, she said" stories. The other night I go by and tell 'em I have to have a check tonight. They give me a personal check (instead of on-line checking). I go to BofA to cash it and it's no good. These people live in a $1,000,000 home, just bought a new Hummer, have new Mercedes, a Denali and a Range Rover. They must have excellent credit for the time being anyway! I went ahead and deposited the check in my account so it'll be a criminal matter instead of civil now. Oh well, more toys = less money I guess. Live and learn. :realmad:
  2. procut

    procut LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,853

    Wow, thats quite a surprise. Seems like the last people you'd have touble collecting from. Anyways, good luck!
  3. naturescaretaker

    naturescaretaker LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 851

    Maybe you'll get lucky and they will have a line of credit tied to the account for overdraft protection. If not, you can nail their a$$ to the wall there. Just get the 10 day certified letter in the mail when it comes back. Hopefully it will not. Let us all know....
  4. impactlandscaping

    impactlandscaping LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,332

    How long have you been in the biz?? House poor people are the worst ones to work for...all show and no dough..they gotta pay to play. I actually have more inclination to ask for more than a standard down payment on homes like that. When I pull up and see 4 Benzos and a Hummer or two in the driveway, and then see no furniture in the house, it sends up a red flag...
  5. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,841

    How soon after you got the check did you try to cash it? If you took it down the same day, straight to their bank, they may have not had enough time to get money in the bank. They probably figured they had a day or two to get the funds in their because they figured you'd deposit it to your bank the next day.

    Anyway, as long as you have a check, you needn't worry so much. Bank of America still allows business owners to check on availability of funds. So if that happens again, just leave the bank, and keep calling every day until funds are available. Chances are, they will have the money in their within a few days, then you take it down and cash it.

    Also, you learned a good lesson. Just because people MAKE a lot of money, doesn't mean they always HAVE a lot of money. Even with good credit, you can be living high on the hog and paycheck to paycheck. I know lots of people with high incomes who live that way. Be wary of that. How you choose to respond or work with those people is your challenge.

    btw, just because funds weren't available doesn't mean it's a criminal matter. It's only a criminal matter to KNOWINGLY write a bad check. And that's almost impossible to prove. You would have to take them to court and prove that the person who wrote the check knew for a fact that it wasn't going to be paid. That's difficult to prove. They could have any number of excuses why they thought there was money in there. They could say they forgot some other checks were coming through. They could blame it on their spouse and say they didn't know. They could say they miscalculated, etc.
  6. Soupy

    Soupy LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,125

    Just the opposite. My worst payers are the ones with the nicer homes. Middle class people don't hire a service such as our if they can not afford it. They will spend the time and cut it their self. Rich wannabees want to spend their time at the golf course on their days off and will hire us without thinking it through.

    The Elderly and handicap are the only people that should have the right to hire a lawn care company without really being able to afford one. At least they have an excuse.

    My very worst payer is a financial adviser and owns his own firm. I call, and he says he will cut me a check right away, then a week later I call and same thing. Finally I will get what is owed 120 days past due (because that is as far as I will let him go). But right now he owes me for 120 days of lawn care and I have not serviced his property since the first of November. So he is around 180 days past due on his entire bill. He pays me for my hassle though. He went from $30 to $45 in two years because of my hassles (maybe $60 next year). He's not happy about that either, but his wife will not let anyone on their property except us. I don't think she knows the situation either. She is a retired model that doesn't handle those type of affairs. Actually she is probably his biggest expense :). I heard his Country club bill isn't pretty either. He is defiantly living beyond his means and will probably have to make an adjustment in life styles soon. One of them will probably be cutting his own lawn in his soon to be middle class residency.

    PMLAWN LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,535

    Hi, On the side, Where are you? Welcome to Lawnsite. this is a great place and you can learn a lot. You saw a post by Jim Lewis and he has great advice as always.
    What neighborhood were you in? Charlotte is full of new money and a lot of the people don't yet know how to control it. I do a lot around Lake Norman and the Nascar group has that problem a lot. If they have a business manager than it is cool but a lot of the new guys or Busch/Truck guys don't yet and they are gone a lot. They just don't keep up real good with the money stuff.
    Look at the cars in the drive. If you see Buicks or Toyotas, they tend to be financially responsible. 50K + transportation with $4000 + wheels can be a sign of a person still living in the excitement of money.
  8. walker-talker

    walker-talker LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Midwest
    Posts: 4,771

    I think I would of just held onto it and checked with the bank every other day or so. I had a client that did this, would pay me and it bounced. After that I would check the account to see if they had funds to cover it. Never did they have sufficient funds on the day they wrote the check. I would call the bank until they did, usually a week later is when it would clear. The only reason I put up with this client was because she was my cousin....urghhhh.
  9. lawnman_scott

    lawnman_scott LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 7,547

    I agree with the others. Just because they look like they have money doesnt mean they do. The ones that live in the most expensive homes are quite often the ones you have collection problems with.
  10. Tvov

    Tvov LawnSite Bronze Member
    from CT
    Posts: 1,157

    Yep, just had a customer call me this fall. They are selling their beach house, "because things have changed". Too bad, they were actually a good customer. Of course, the sale of the beach house should be able to pay for everything and then some.

    On the other hand, I have had customers who were truly rich, but just had no idea about how to run their personal checking accounts. It seems that they would just write check after check, and not until they started bouncing would they deposit a large chunk to cover everything.

    Welcome to the world of having customers!

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