Need help with letter

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by CutApproved, Jan 16, 2006.

  1. CutApproved

    CutApproved LawnSite Member
    from NJ
    Posts: 234

    I got a new customer at the end of the season about Mid Oct.
    PRIOR to me starting, The lawn was very brown (looked dead) in a large portion of his front yard. (this is a million $ home) I've been cutting forever but outside of that I don't get the opportunity to do side jobs.
    Well to cut it short, he had grubs and the sprinkler system wasn't always on.

    So I applied Dylox from Lesco (dont even say it I know)
    Anyways it worked so about about two weeks later he moaning and groaning I WANT A GREEN LAWN,, well I say I can aerate and overseed your property.
    Ok all is good so I do the job (18,000 sqft) I cut the lawn then did the work. The lawn was soaking wet when I did it so a couple of days later I stop by and he says oh Johnnie (thats what he decided to call me) the lawn its so wet shut off the sprinkler sytem in the garage,, I said no I'll slow it down maybe water 2 or 3 times a week instead of EVERY DAM DAY. So a day goes by and he get this Stops by my house and says I shut the water off so come over and turn the system off. Now I should have mentioned he's Spanish and its alway broken up. So anyway I say ok I'll be over tomorrow.
    well a week or two goes by and the lawn is not germanating I said dont worry it will grow,, TWO DAYS LATER WE GOT FROST then back to warmer weather. Another week goes by and he's still stopping by complaining..

    Well all said I only charged him $410 + $50 for the cut... No payment now since October.. I tried calling he said NO I NO GET NO BILL. So then he'll call me back,,,,, well its been 2 months and nothing.. Can I put down ROUNDUP.

    What kind of letter should I write because everytime I call him he forgets who I am and it takes awhile for him to remember..

    WTF should I do?
     
  2. M RASCOE&SONS

    M RASCOE&SONS LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,475

    the only thing i bill monthly is mowing....if i have to do landscaping etc on a customers property its paid upon completion and ALWAYS MAKE SURE THEY UNDERSTAND THAT AND HOW MUCH ITS GONNA COST BEFORE YOU DO ANY OF THE WORK.ASK YOURSELF THIS, WHEN YOU GO SOMEWHERE TO GET SOMETHING DONE ON YOUR TRUCK CAN YOU LEAVE WITHOUT PAYING..NO...PAYMENT UPON COMPLETION!!!!!!!!!!
     
  3. sheshovel

    sheshovel LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,112

    AGREED!!!Dear Mr.Customer,
    I have performed work for you and have not been paid this amount....
    is overdue.Please pay promptly upon recieving this notice. Thankyou....and your name
     
  4. Dixie Rob

    Dixie Rob LawnSite Member
    Posts: 107

    I'm not sure in your situation, but it's just like the construction business.

    I partially own a insulation company, and if I get stiffed, ya know what I do? I just keep houding bills over and over and over, and if I get paid that's great, but most of the time I don't. I could put a lien on the house before it closes, but most contractors pay after the house closes.

    Have ya thought about a collection agency? You may loose 50% by paying them their cut, but it's worth it for him to suffer, and any money you get back is better than none.

    Sorry to say, but welcome to the business world. It just happens. We're almost to the point of where we're going to stop the million dollar homes, and only start working commercial work, and small $100k spec homes.
     
  5. RockSet N' Grade

    RockSet N' Grade LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,454

    for me, no matter how big or small the job....I have a contract that is signed by the person I am doing work for.....no ink on paper, no unload equipment!

    with a signed agreement......small claims court is just magical. You go fill out the forms, get them served and 9 out of 10 times just days before court date you get a check for the full amount in the mail.

    with no signed agreement, I have ALWAYS ended up on the short end of the stick...
     
  6. RockSet N' Grade

    RockSet N' Grade LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,454

    CutApproved......my last reply really doesn't address your current problem.

    Write up a bill...call and set up a time to meet...present the bill and at least get this guy to sign the bill saying he has received receipt of the bill, so even if the bill is disputed, you have at minimum, his signature.
     
  7. bohiaa

    bohiaa LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 5,220

    I hear ya CutApproved: "Johnny"

    I had a situation like this last year. I put down winter rye and here in Texas were going through the warmest and DRYEST winter we ever had.

    I had customers complain and tell me that There NOT paying for that.

    I did Finley get most of them to pay by informing them that I have NO control over mother nature....

    And you need to state something to this effect in your contract...
    I learned th hard way too.....

    But NO you cant come back and spray round up as much as you want to.

    He could get you for trespassing and vandalism.

    YA might try a nice letter explaining that No one can control what the weather is going to do.....

    It worked for me....Good luck
     
  8. Dixie Rob

    Dixie Rob LawnSite Member
    Posts: 107

    Better than what RockSet said...instead of the signature, send a certified mail. That means he has to sign that he recieved it. That is upholdable in court if it goes that far.
     
  9. CutApproved

    CutApproved LawnSite Member
    from NJ
    Posts: 234

    A possible additional problem.. I am quote not legit unquote, I don't charge tax and everything is usually paid by cash. You all make good points,, my second mistake was not sending out a bill EVERY month. My problem is I'm too nice a guy.. also my friend met this guy one day and they started talking about me,, well bottom line my friend said you got this guy wrapped around your finger, he wants you to have full control of his property,, even leaves the key to the garage. BUT THIS DOESN'T MATTER NOW DOES IT..

    I think I'm going to send him a PAST DUE INVOICE and include a letter stating what we discussed and what in my opinion happened.. The key here too is I want to keep him so bad that I'll even go back in the spring and reseed the entire front.. I think the grubs and wet then dry then wet again spells we had must be a big factor.

    Also I was kinda looking for more detailed wordage regarding the letter.
    thanks or muchas gracias (as my customer always said)
     

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