another lawnboy getting screwed by a customer

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by bobbygedd, Jun 30, 2004.

  1. bobbygedd

    bobbygedd LawnSite Fanatic
    from NJ
    Messages: 10,178

    my friend, who's been in the business 20 years, was telling me what happened to him a few weeks back. it was sickening. first off, he doesn't use any type of contract or written agreement, and in this situation, i probly wouldn't have either, i mean, i don't carry them around and make everyone sign for every little piece of work. heres the scene: while he was mowing a regular client, a man pulled up( of a group that i would refuse to service, but i won't mention his group). he stated he had a large lot that was very overgrown, no house, just an empty lot, for a one time hack mow. jim followed him to the property. jim told him $150 for the cut. the guy said ok. the arrangement was, the next day jim would mow, and go to the mans convienience store to pick up cash. jim mowed the place, it took him 2 hours. jim goes to the store to get paid, the guys wife says the man is not there, and left no instructions for her to pay him. jim leaves his number. the guy doesn't call. jim calls the next day, the guy isn't there. the day after that, jim shows up at the store again, the guy is there, but refuses to pay, saying he hasn't had a chance to inspect the work yet. he tells jim come back tommorow. jim does. now it's like 4 days since the lawn was cut, the man refuses to pay jim, he says jim didn't cut it short enough. he tells jim to go back, cut it shorter, and he will pay him. jim, wanting his money, went back, lowered the deck, and cut the place again, this time it only took 25 minutes. jim went back to the store, to get paid. the man didn't think he should be paying jim $150 for 25 minutes work. jim says just pay me something. the guy gives jim $75. jim goes home. jim lost alot of time chasing his money, not to mention the emotional damage of getting porked by this low life, and then getting shafted for half the money. jim been in business 20 years, i said jim, "what are you going to do?" he said , "bob, there's nothing i can do." jim is a pee on. please guys, advise me here, what would your proffessional advice had been to jim ? what would you have done? how would you have handled it?
  2. watatrp

    watatrp LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 511

    I would do this. Write the guy a very direct letter giving him 48 hours to pay up. Placing a lien on the guy's property or taking him to small claims court are both options that should be stated in the letter. Send the letter certified mail. Back to the origination of the problem. Always have a customer like this pay up front. It takes all the head aches out of the situation.
  3. ElephantNest

    ElephantNest LawnSite Bronze Member
    from La.
    Messages: 1,878

    My professiaonal advice to Jim would be to get a desk job.
  4. fga

    fga LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,449

    i wouldn't have cut it in the first place. people like you're referring to who own convience store, and "dunkin donuts", usaully try and find a way out of it. I did snow plowing for some a few years ago. they agreed to my price, then when i came to collect, they felt it was too much money. it got pretty heated, but I got my check right there cuz I made a scene in thier dunkin donuts!!

    I don't know if he could legally go after his additional $75, but, tell him to maybe take all his extra straight fertilizer, and use it at the field. get those weeds back up there quick!!!
  5. SWD

    SWD LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 988

    Can't do anything about it now - Jim has been paid. Regardless of the amount he and the store owner agreed upon, Jim accepted less.
    On new jobs where there is no payment history - I get paid up front before I do the work. People don't like that - go somewhere else.
  6. impactlandscaping

    impactlandscaping LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,332

    I would have placed a lein on his Slurpee machine....Jim should have refused the $ 75.00, now he's boned....
  7. txlawnking

    txlawnking LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,905

    Jim screwed up. This is actually the most believeable Bobby story I've heard yet... Jim shouda taken before and after photos and then put the lien on em' when he tried to rennig.
  8. Mikes Lawn Landscape

    Mikes Lawn Landscape LawnSite Senior Member
    from Texas
    Messages: 458


    Just so you know in Texas we can't file a lien on a property for maintenance. Only Improvements like landscaping
  9. txlawnking

    txlawnking LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,905

    I stand corrected. I'd pursue some sort of legal action, but in his buddy jim's situation mowing the lot would be an improvement!!LOL
  10. txlawnking

    txlawnking LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,905

    And Mike, could you elaborate on what kind of action is available to those of us in TX? Have you gone that route before, and been unable to file one, or what? I'd appreciate any help. It's better to know and not need to, than need and not know.

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