Customer disputes huge payment at end of job?

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by Ramairfreak98ss, Oct 9, 2006.

  1. DBL

    DBL LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,219

    first off like everyone said you should have him sign off on everything to make it legit but no that were past that until he pays you the money you want be at his house at 6am and 9pm everyday banging on the door honking your horn what ever it thats the old fashon way
  2. RockSet N' Grade

    RockSet N' Grade LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,454

    DBL.......I am sure the customer would love that approach.....that is a dream come true for the customer......

    That would prompt a phone call to the cops for harassment, a possible legitamate legal charge by the customer against the landscaper and a iron clad guarantee that the landscaper would receive no more money period!

    Not that I do not share in the frustration.....but harassment like that is what feeds alot of attorney's families whether I like it or not......

    Talk with an attorney, present your facts as you see them and get legal advise and course of action. This is an expensive lesson....learn this one only once.
  3. godzilla

    godzilla LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 400

    Mac, yes you have already said about the COW, but after the fact I don't think it would do any good. Around here small claims court is only good for up to $5,000. $225 per hour in order to get $10,000 makes sense IMO.
  4. olderthandirt

    olderthandirt LawnSite Platinum Member
    from here
    Messages: 4,899

    If you ever had to pay an attorney to represent you in a lawsuit you would see that $10,000 is nothing. They will eat up 4-5k researching and filing the paper work, all on your time.

    Iw would cosult with an attorney and let him guide me at this point. and make it clear that the objective is for me to have some of the 10K left.

    BTW-- Thats why I pay an attrney to write my contracts and go over and update them when ever theres a problem.
  5. Sunscaper

    Sunscaper LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 305

    Get anything you can and get the hell away asap! I just got throught with the same thing from when I was in PA over 18 months ago. Cost me $2k in attorneys fees and nothing to show for the trouble. My advice move to Florida, no collection probems here at all, every customer and vendor in Pa seemed to be shadier than an oak tree.
  6. GAskidsteer

    GAskidsteer LawnSite Member
    from Georgia
    Messages: 30

    If I understand this correctly, the customer is simply refusing to pay --- NOT denying the charges. Two different ballgames. Send this Son of a B---- a copy of all of the invoices, and, a letter demanding payment in full of the outstanding balance. Don't give him another nickel of discount and I would seriously consider rescinding the discounts already given him. It's the old "that train has done left the station" routine. All you really need here is for him to either (a) ignore the letter, which constitutes agreement with your charges, or (b) simply reply and tell you that he does not agree with the charges based SOLELY on the fact that it is too much.
    So far as the "landscaping friend" is concerned, indeed he may not even exist, but if he does, he must have a crystal ball to be able to price the job without even seeing it. Besides, he knows what he's worth, not what YOU'RE worth. Sorta like a fellow here that went to get some sheetrock. ABC Supply says, "we're out". So, he goes to the next place. " Got any 1/2" sheetrock?" Sure, came the reply. It's $3.95 a sheet. "WHAT???? I buy it all the time from ABC for $2.95 a sheet." Well, go to ABC. "Can't - they're out of it". Well, when we're out of it, we sell it for $2.95 a sheet too.
    Just be patient - and RELENTLESS. Don't back down and don't back off. You will get it - eventually. I had one just like him, a couple of months ago. I called him everyday - always got the voice mail, just left a polite message, after message, after message ......................... I won. He paid me to get me off of his phone. No threats, always talk real calm and laid back. If you get all hot and bothered and start ranting and raving, he feels like he's won, and the conversation stops there. But, if you just remain calm, ignore his demands, counter his complaints, he will soon come to realize that you are there to STAY. Ever tried beatin' a tire with a hammer ??? Not much happens, does it ? Well, that's you. Ball's in his court, so what's he going to do ???? This routine won't work on some ne'er do well, but this guy has got something to lose. That's his Achilles heel. Work on it. Good luck.
  7. Ramairfreak98ss

    Ramairfreak98ss LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,210

    Yeah, he told me the name, and i looked it up, was curious to see even if he was BSing or not, company does exist, they are some landscape only company but dont even have a website. Funny CO. name too like something hard to remember.

    As far as i know, the guy only verbally was explained the plant list of what he got for that price. I think the customer mentally made it sound like an easier job and the guy that owns this other company just pulled some number out of his head on the fly

    He did apparently talk with other companies for the landscape. One thing im good at is my professionalism with jobs, quotes, billing, emails, communication etc. Most other companies wouldnt even get back to him or would wait a week before returning his phone call. He stated it was very easy to work with and was happy up front for that fact.

    I was billing him 21k, we settled at 19,500 with next years lawn service included. This is good for me mainly because it gets me into this new development where these shiester guys/el chepo LCOs are cutting every lot. They do a half arse job too so this will gain me more business. He was willing to cut me a check yesterday and i felt i could still make descent profit at that amount. I think this worked out ok at the end, some people are weird over email and get riled up about what others "think".

    oh and he gave me a "credit card" check too so maybe he ran short of money somehow and now was financing 70% of the bill so he started getting concerened with costs... even though the job was just about complete. Ill post pictures tomorrow too.
  8. DBL

    DBL LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,219

    hey if nothign else works and you dont want to pay legal fees
  9. MarkintheGarden

    MarkintheGarden LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,130

    Looking forward to the pictures!

    I have been thinking about this situation where the customer wants to add on to the project or change the work order. I think we need a good plan in advance. I have told customers to wait till the current project is done and then we can see what else to do with the landscape. The thing is customers commit to spending when they are ready, not necesarily when it is smart to do so.

    I am glad you came to a settlement that makes you both happy.
  10. Ramairfreak98ss

    Ramairfreak98ss LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,210

    I am too because he most likely will spend money next year after he has an additional patio put on the back. He still wants large trees put up on each side of his property too to make the lot somewhat less empty, in a year that will probably take place too.

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