Collecting Money - Small Claims Court?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by dmc456, Feb 2, 2005.

  1. dmc456

    dmc456 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 386

    I have a customer who has not paid and is now 120 days over due. I keep adding on late fees and sending the monthly late statements as well as call every 2 weeks.

    Basically the customer is trying to weasle out of paying and probably does this every year to a different company. I know some people say, just forget it and move on, but then this person will just do it to someone else.

    They owe $297 and change.

    What is the best and easiest means of collecting. I know a collection agency will not work. I'm considering small claims court or a lien on thier house.

    What is the process of putting a lien on the house?

    Looking for advice.

  2. DFW Area Landscaper

    DFW Area Landscaper LawnSite Silver Member
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 2,116

    I've noticed several customers will pull this schit every winter. Now that we can't threaten service cancellation they won't pay.

    I sued two folks in small claims court. Waste of time and effort. I'm not even sure the judgements will effect their credit.

    If you want to get paid, in my opinion, you have to cause damage to their credit report. That's why I've decided to simply start turning the deadbeats over to It'll cost ten bucks, but that's still a lot cheaper than paying the fees for small claims. A lot easier too. And with, you'll know that they are at least supposed to figure out by the name and address the deadbeats social security number and get it on the right record with the credit reporting agencies.

    DFW Area Landscaper
  3. Randy Scott

    Randy Scott LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,915

    $82 to file a small claims in Wisconsin. Which the customer would be responsible for as well as the outstanding bill. Once a verdict has been reached in small claims, and if they're found guilty, and they still don't pay, an additional $5 docket fee will get a lien put on the house and the state of Wisconsin will not allow that house to be sold until the debt is cleared up.

    We've been days away from this until the customer paid at the last minute. I don't think the lien against the house hits the credit report though. Which sucks. I think it only shows up when the house would be sold. So technically, someone not planning on moving any time soon might not be concerned about the lien.

    Personally, when it comes to this step, it has gone past a money thing, and is now personal. I don't care what the costs are. Our last customer that tried not paying, back in December, I told him I have nothing to do all winter and will pursue this matter if it takes every day. I asked him how much free time he had this time of year? How easy it was to leave work for court appearance?

    Oddly enough, two days later I was paid.
  4. twins_lawn_care

    twins_lawn_care LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 932

    Well, this year we had an old debt and we used a letter from this site sent certified, and were paid within the week.
    i think it would help as well in the next step if we did have to go to small claims.
    check it out,

    request for payment letter
  5. dmc456

    dmc456 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 386

    I'm going to send this form letter certified as a last step before small claims.
  6. twins_lawn_care

    twins_lawn_care LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 932

    also, just a note on what I did. after it was all set, I cpoied and pasted it into word, and erased any extras that would print it from a wesite, like addresses on the top and bottom. also, I changed everywhere it said 30 days to 14 days, as i didn't want to wait another month.
    good luck with it!
  7. dmc456

    dmc456 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 386

    I have a new customer for next season who teaches Law. I'm going to get advice from him. He already gave some insight on legal contracts.

    I'll post what I find.

    This is my first non paying customer in 3 years. I have had several late payers which is fine. People always run into times where money is tight and I'm fine with that as long as they let me know they intend to pay and when. I work with customers who work with me.

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