1. Missed the live Ask the Expert event?
    Not to worry. Check out the archived thread of the Q&A with Ken Hutcheson, President of U.S. Lawns, and the LawnSite community in the Franchising forum .

    Dismiss Notice

The Customer That Would not pay!

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by jasonnau, Oct 25, 2005.

  1. jasonnau

    jasonnau LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 454

    Here' the lowdown: It's the first week of spring, a new customer approaches me while I'm mowing an existing customer's home. I finish up what I'm doing, head over there and give them a bid. They accept it. Now let me explain something here, I bill on the first of the month for all cuts the prior month. That bill is due on the 15th of the month it was sent. So, I continue to cut their grass for an entire month, send out there bill, and then cut two more times until the 15th when I haven't gotten paid yet. I knock on the door, and speak to the owner. He assures me his wife will send out the bill soon. So, I cut the grass for the 7th time. Now, the following week, I call because.......I haven't been paid yet. I let them know that I am not going to be cutting anymore until I receive payment. His wife says" That's ok, we got a mower, and we're going to do it ourselves." Then she says" My husband doesn't get paid till next Friday". Well, next Friday comes, and no check. Then I call, and I'm put off till the following Friday. It goes on like this till July! Finally, I go down to the court house, and file a case in Small claims court. This costs $65.00. Money well spent to see justice. Well, the court date is in September, and to my surprise, they were both there! It took the court about two seconds to decide in my favor. Now they were court ordered to pay me what they owed, plus a couple hours of my time, plus the court costs. Great. Well, I ask the judge, how do I get paid? He says" it's up to you to collect it". Yeah, great. They again agreed to pay me. $50.00 a week this time. Well, here it is, almost November, and I haven't seen a red cent. Now, I want to kill!!! I have never let anyone walk all over me, and I don't want this A$$ to be the first. I'm trying to maintain a business sense about things, but, I have these teenager thoughts envisioning myself late at night sneaking up and slashing their tires. This is not your typical customer, this is a selfish, piece of shat customer who could care less about anyone other than himself. I had employee wages, gas, time, invoices, court costs, ect.. Now, the only way that I can legaly get my money is to have his wages or his bank account garnished. Since I never received a check, I don't know his bank. The only way I can think of figuring out where this guy works is to stalk him early in the morning or steal his trash. Neither of which I have the time to do. Maybe this winter, It could be a fun thing to do to curb the boredom. What would you folks do in this situation?
  2. SodKing

    SodKing LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,648

    I would go back to the court and ask that his wages be attached. You could also put a lein against his house. I feel the judge is wrong that it is up to you.

    Perhaps sue again this time with an attorney.

    Anyone else?
  3. jasonnau

    jasonnau LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 454

    They tell me that I have to figure out where this guy works or banks. How do I do this?
  4. Green-Pro

    Green-Pro LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,420

  5. jasonnau

    jasonnau LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 454

    If I use an attorney, there is still no guarantee that I will get my money. We're only talking about $360.00 here, but it's the principal of the thing. I'd hate to put any more money into it if this guy is flat out not going to pay.
  6. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,192

    We have tried a lot of things but finally decided to find a lawyer that was interested in helping us collect. This has worked well. We spend less of our time and generally the letters from the lawyer gets results. The lawyer is a junior guy in a large law office so it works great. One recent situation resulted in us getting our money(after 2 years) and the lawyer got his money. The homeowner realized that we had lien against their house and they were trying to sell it.
  7. jasonnau

    jasonnau LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 454

    I already threatened putting a lean on their house. His wife told me "You can't do that, because we don't own this house!". This is what I'm dealing with here.
  8. Green-Pro

    Green-Pro LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,420

    You don't need to go that route if you don't want to, do some damned legwork and ask around where this cat works, for petes sake man its your money go and get it, legally of course.
  9. steve45

    steve45 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,325

    I'd call the sheriff. You have a judgement against them and the sheriff should be able to help. This might include arresting the customer.
  10. Runner

    Runner LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 13,496

    Of course she's gonna tell you that. Your county records will tell you who owns that house...that is all in the proces of filing the lien.

Share This Page