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Customer is wanting to wait

Discussion in 'General Industry Discussions' started by JRAZ, May 26, 2005.

  1. JRAZ

    JRAZ LawnSite Member
    from NW
    Messages: 143

    I just finsihed up a nice project for a customer. A great piece of work. New pavers installed, flagstone installed, and a whole new irrigation system. I called just a moment ago to say hey we are finished I would like to show you the sprinkler system and how it all works. They say can we do it when we get back? I say sure, where ya going. They will be gone for one week. So I say, well since you are going to be gone can I drop off the final bill to you and get payment since balance due upon completion per contract. Client says they want to wait till they get back to make sure they are happy with everything. I remind them of the agreement and that I paid for all the labor, supplies etc already. I told them this will hurt my cash flow blah blah. They say that is what happens with business sometimes. I kept my cool b/c at that point I wanted to say no thanks for a lesson on that. With the big balance that is due I don't want to have to wait any longer to get paid so I am (for now gonna) going to have to play along with their game. It is all my fault I should have been able to weed this person out from the beginning.

    I HATE getting jerked around over money. HATE IT! If I don't get paid as soon as they get back I will start the lein process.

    If anyone has any words they care to share or similar stories please feel free. I needed to vent.
  2. Drew Gemma

    Drew Gemma LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,508

    yeah 2 years ago went to a lawyer put all finnacial stuff aon all forms. so now when I have to go to court I win. It has happened and I am sure it will again. BUt I win even if I have to pay to win lawyer charges 220 an hour ouch. make a dollar a min. petty cash!
  3. Lnd Svyr

    Lnd Svyr LawnSite Member
    Messages: 33

    You DID get at least enough up front to cover materials and some labor, right? Big jobs we always get 50% up front--or we just don't do it. I'd rather NOT work than work for free, any day.

    Trouble with judgments, according to my bro-in-law, is you can easily win--collecting is the hard part. You may get a lien but if the deadbeat isn't moving or refinancing you'll still never get paid. Also, I'm told the lien has to be constatntly updated (don't know about that one).

    If you're doing big hardscape jobs you definitely need to use contracts. Our contracts for big jobs are usually 3 or 4 pages, then there's the 4 pages of General Conditions (real lawyer garbage) we tack on. To be honest, due to the wierd nature of clients and the human thinking process, we spend more time saying what we will NOT do than what we will do. Go figure!
  4. Charles

    Charles Moderator Staff Member
    Messages: 8,637

    Be patient and give them a benefit of a doubt before you start to panic. I know easier said than done. I am the same way. I freak until I get paid just about every time.
  5. meathead1134

    meathead1134 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 637

    was this a new customer or an existing customer? IMO you should have gotten 50% up front and the other 50 when you complete if they are a new customer. If it is an existing customer I would bite my tongue and wait if no contract was written
  6. Top_Fuel

    Top_Fuel LawnSite Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 3

    Here's a view from the customer's perspective...

    Maybe the landscaping business is different, but if a contractor says they need money up-front for materials, they are instantly out of consideration for any job I need done. For a consumer, demanding money up-front is a HUGE red flag that the contractor is either unprofessional, a scammer, under-funded, or all of the above.

    There isn't a consumer advocate anywhere who would recommend giving a contractor money up-front for materials. California recommends no more than 10% up front or $1,000 (whichever is less).

    Here are a couple of bullets from a consumer web-page I found:

    • Never give money upfront to a contractor so he can ‘buy materials’. If he does, ask why he doesn’t have a line of credit and be suspicious of the answer.
    • Make sure you have a written contract specifying a start and completion date.
  7. betterlawn

    betterlawn LawnSite Senior Member
    from MI
    Messages: 426

    It's a week - and I would never take delivery on something without checking it out. What they did was rude, but all this talk of suing and stuff is kind of premature.

    If you want to be a business you've got to run like one. You know where they live - if they stiff you, THEN you worry about collecting. If one week is going to hurt your cash flow to a damaging level, than they are probably thinking they shouldn't have hired you (that's what I would think).
  8. Remsen1

    Remsen1 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,020

    You're a fool! First post from a troller, off to a bad start. Line of credit or not, you have to get at least 30% up front from the customer as a showing of good faith.
  9. Remsen1

    Remsen1 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,020

    Can you get there before they leave? They can't decide whether they are satisfied with your work before they go? It sounds like they are BS'ing you. You need to tread lightly so they don't decide to screw you. Regardless of how this works out, I hope this is a big lessen to you. I would pizz me off if a customer decided that it was their role to teach me a lesson in business, but I would have to take a deep breath and handle it calmly so as not to get screwed and have to take legal action (which is more of a pain that doing all of the work).
  10. JRAZ

    JRAZ LawnSite Member
    from NW
    Messages: 143

    Of course I have 1/2 down, and a contract. I am not a bank and not talking about suing, yet. The balance due is a good chunk of change. These were new cst's this year. My biz is run professionally...I just get real pissy when people play games with MY money.

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