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Collecting Outstanding Balance?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by BrandonH, Aug 14, 2004.

  1. BrandonH

    BrandonH LawnSite Member
    Messages: 138

    I have one client that I lost after my mower broke down and we had over 10 days of non-stop rain. I called everyone, but he is the only one that didn't understand why I couldn't mow his property. Well he dropped my services and I sent him the bill on June 1st for the month of May, just like I do every month. I don't have a contract with him, but was under agreement that I bill on the first and he always paid promptly. Well I've sent 2 more invoices for the same amount, but never heard anything. I got word from his son-in-law this week that I would have to take him to court to get the $160 he owes me.

    I would like to know what my first step is on collecting my money. I want to go about this in the right way so I at least have a chance at collecting. Since I didn't have a contract with him is it possible for me to add any kind of late charges? I would appreciate any help.

  2. chimmygew

    chimmygew LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 578

    On all my invoices I put at the bottom: If payment is not made within thirty days of date on statement a $10.00 late fee will be assessed to account. Returned checks are assessed a $40.00 fee. If collection process such as small claims must be taken, you will be assessed a $75.00 processing fee, not including court cost.
  3. BrandonH

    BrandonH LawnSite Member
    Messages: 138

    Problem is I don't have any of that on my invoices...so can I still charge penalties?

  4. MudslinginFX4

    MudslinginFX4 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,170

    You infact do have a contract with him. In court, having a written contract isn't the only way of proving you did the service for him, having a verbal contract can go just as far as a written one. Ask yourself this... is the $160 really worth spending all the time going through the legal processes etc. or would you be better off just forgetting about it, accepting your losses, and moving on? If the $160 is really that important to you, then by all means continue to fight him and you WILL get your money. But you won't get the money that you could have been making while you are in court, etc. which will probably be more then that $160. JMHO
  5. chimmygew

    chimmygew LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 578

    I would send him another invoice stating you will sue for the above amount and include a filing fee plus court costs. Also, people will see you don't mess around and it is not ok to rip you off.

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,981

    You're right that getting the $160 will cost you in time lost, but its the principle of the matter. This guys basically laughing in his face, challenging him to come get his money. Those are the kind of people that you have to go after.
  7. DennisF

    DennisF LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Florida
    Messages: 1,381

    File a small claims lawsuit against him. Sometimes when a person is threatened with legal action they will pony up the money rather than risk going to court. Look at it this way, if he has to go to court, he will also lose time and money. At the very least he'll have trouble sleeping at night knowing he has a date in court. To me that's payment enough.
  8. promower

    promower LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,233

    Scare tactics work. I had a landlord that owed me $1100 when I moved out. She sent half and said the there were a few damages, mainly the carpet wasnt as clean (I did live there 4 years and the carpet wasnt new when I moved in) Anyways I filed for court asking for double the amount owed. I had a check by the end of the week for the rest of my 1100 plus my court filing fee.
  9. leeslawncare

    leeslawncare LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 649

    I'am in the same boet your in .I got a lady that owes me 180.00. Plus i got a friend for an attorney.So guess what i'am doing?you guessed it i'am sending it thru the court system.80.00 to get 180.00 plus leagle fees zapped outa here checking account.(by the way i do know where she banks an what time of the month she gets paid) from past checks.And yes it is worth it!!just to get the satisfaction of knowing i can't be screwed over!!!
  10. Greenservice

    Greenservice LawnSite Member
    Messages: 76

    I've gotten action from people just by sending them a letter threatening them with a collection agency. No one wants their credit report to get black marks on it.

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