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Bill collecting

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by BO-TY, May 12, 2002.

  1. BO-TY

    BO-TY LawnSite Member
    Messages: 18

    Does anyone know what it takes to go to small claims court or what it costs i have a rental owner that stuck me for $ 220.00 & was wondering if it was worth going after or if it would cost me more than she owes.
  2. KDJ

    KDJ LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 325

    After sending two letters for payment turn it over to a collection Agency. No money = no pay Agency will get a larger % but will lower your risk. Let them work for you.
  3. dougaustreim

    dougaustreim LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 488

    Small claims costs are usually not that high probably under $20.00 will very from state to state.

    If they protest, however, you are going to have to show up in court and sometimes wait a long time for your turn, depending on how many cases that day. For a small bill, probably not worth your time.

    A collection agency will take a significant percentage, but you have the satisfaction of knowing that the client had to pay. I recently had a business try to stiff me. One of the partners was an attorney and thought he could bluff me. They made an offer to settle, which I refused. The collection agency got the money, I only got about as much as if I had taken the settlement offer, but I had the satisfaction of knowing they had to pay.

    As for collection agencies, it has been my experience that small one or two person agencies are the best for small bills under a couple thousand. The bigger outfits only want the big bills where their percentage amounts to something. On a $2-300.00 bill, even at 50%, they aren't making a lot. To the little guy though, that is a lot more. On big claims though, the bigger agencies usually have thier own lawyers etc and can do a better job there. We use two differenct agencies depending on the type of claim.
  4. LawnLad

    LawnLad LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 738

    Another thought - if the threat of collection isn't enough, often the fact that you filed is enough to get them to settle before the court date. If your customer has too many other things to do and values their time, they'll often settle. If they don't settle, and they want to fight it, they'll show up in court. I've had people not show up to court and we are given the judgement. Then the burden of collection is on you to still collect your money. You never know with legal matters what direction it is going to go.

    We haven't used a collection agency perse, but I've used an attorney who's handled it for me. And it's more hand off for me so I can focus on running my buisness. I thought it was worth the 25% to 40% of recovered dollars that I paid to him.
  5. aakin

    aakin LawnSite Member
    from 6
    Messages: 11

    Threaten to put a lean against his home or business or property. And if it is not his tell him you will notify the owner of the property and still put lean against it. And tell him that when you do he will not be able to refinance or sell unless the lean is satisfied. I don't know if you can or not but that will scare the pants off most property owners and I doubt that they will even risk that happening for a few hundred bucks especially if they are not disputing anything about your service.
  6. Grasshog

    Grasshog LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 270

    This worked for me. Did some work when I first started. The dude just wasnt going to pay me. I sent invoice after invoice. No money ever came. So I did a new invoice. In big bold letters.

    He Paid.
  7. ProMo

    ProMo LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,468

  8. John Allin

    John Allin LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,488

    Is there any cost to you to send that particular letter ??
  9. ProMo

    ProMo LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,468

    nope just fill out info and print and mail registered
  10. Kyle Carter

    Kyle Carter LawnSite Member
    Messages: 13

    It's probally not worth your time to fight it.

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