Bad check collections


LawnSite Member
I just recently did a retaining wall, collected a 40% deposit, then collected the remainder at the completion of the job. However the second check bounced, how do you guys go about collecting. Thanks Tom


LawnSite Gold Member
I have been fortunate to only have had 1 bad check since 96 when I started. I contacted the person, told him the check was bad, they freaked out, I added the bank charge and the 26 dollar collection fee and told them I would need a cash payment to fialize the deal. Luckily my customer was military, I could have gotten my money one way or another. Just call and tell them you have the check and it will now cost x # of dollars to get it back, if they don't pay take it to the D.A.'s office and they will pursue it for you.<p>Homer


LawnSite Silver Member
contact your customer and talk to him about it. I assume you haven't done that yet and you are just asking opinions on what to do.<p>I get real irritated when this happens because they get a notice before you do and they never contact you first.<p>you do have options in the legal arena for recovery but you'll never recover what you loose in time and frustration. be sure to add the total of bank charges to your collection effort. good luck.<p>GEO


LawnSite Fanatic
N.E. Wisconsin
Talk to Moose and Rocko, I believe the going rate is 1 kneecap per bad check:)<br>Just kidding, try showing up at the door in person and ask whats happening. While you are there offer to settle for cash on the spot. Just a thought. Good Luck.


LawnSite Bronze Member
Tell them your brother-in-law is a member of the Hells Angels and you owe him the same amount of cash that they owe you:) <br>Or <br>Your new employee recently got out of a mental hospital and he has a hard time understanding that he can not get paid until their invoice is paid in full:) <p>I had a situation like yours Tom and I held on to the check. (the guy did not know I had it) A few months later I open an account at this fellows bank and the tellers let me know when he had enough to cover my check, so I deposited it. The bank manager told me he found out and came in and chewed her out because I caused him to bounce many other checks that cost him 25.00 each in fees! It was also the first time in months that he returned my call:)<p>Chris


LawnSite Bronze Member
Tell him you are offering free Glyphosulfate treatments and his is first on the list! Tell him you can spray his shrubs and lawn for free.


LawnSite Member
If you have a check that you think is gonna bounce have the teller call the bank and they will tell you if the account has enough money to cover it. Also you can try and recash a bounced check. If it doesn't hold onto it for a while and periodically check for funds, sooner or later the the customer will put in funds to cover his house payment or something and then bam you can get your money. Probably causing his house payment to bounce, then you will see who had the last laugh.
I haven't seen this yet, but a contractor or mechanic lien on property that was worked on? <br>Although this has never happened to me on a landscape job, I have had some bad checks come from my maintenance clients. I would suggest this:<br>1. Talk to this bad check person first. Sometimes it's just a simple mistake. Add any fees and collect this amount. ONLY ACCEPT CASH, CASHIER CHECK, OR MONEY ORDER FOR PAYMENT, unless you know this person take the check again. Be nice, but never be afraid to be firm.<br>2. If you're a licensed contractor in your state, file a lien on the property. This way you will get your money plus any interest. The lien affects the title of the property and can't be sold until the lien has been satisfied.<br>3. Every state that I know of has a &quot;bad check&quot; law. Go to your County District Attorneys office to file a report. In California, this isn't a real option since our D.A's can't even collect deadbeat parent checks. They won't even look at you unless the amount is over our small Claims court limits.<p>In the future, so a bad check doesn’t burn you, break your project down into smaller progress payments. For example, a sod and sprinkler job that you bid for $500.<br>Step one, remove any debris or weeds/sod, and collect say about $125. Turn dirt and rough grade; collect second progress payment of $125. Always cash checks immediately so if they bounce you can stop work. Also, give yourself a break. Don’t do the work all at once unless you have to.<br>Jean<br><p>----------<br>J-LC Landscaping & Maintenance Gardening<br>C-27 Ca Contr# 770044


LawnSite Senior Member
southern ohio
Bouncing checks is a felony if the amount is high enough. Check with the sheriff's dept. or police dept. in the area of residence in question. A lot of times, they will make a phone call to the other party since this could be a criminal matter and not just an oversight.<br>First thing you must do to be correct in this matter is to contact the other party and let them know. They should tell you to run it through a second time and the funds should be there. If it bounces again then press criminal charges.<br>A civil process or small claims court etc., will not get you much with a true deadbeat. If the amount of the check is high enough then you should get a law enforcement officer or prosecutor's attention.<br>I had someone bounce $6,700.00 on me once, from another state to boot. Ended up the W.VA. state police paid him a visit and I got my money. Criminal prosecution is where most deadbeats draw the line and pay up.

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