Customer that owns a small store went out of business and still owes me money.......

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by soloscaperman, Mar 4, 2011.

  1. soloscaperman

    soloscaperman LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,045

    I am not surprised. He is a well known old man that is very nice and gave me a lot of work and two customers. He owns a mom and pap hardware store and I mow his store and house. Well I got word from a family member of mine that he was selling everything in his store including a classic coke machine. I did a late fall cleanup at his store since he wanted me to wait till December. I gave him a bill and he never paid it. I am surprised he didn't tell me he was going out of business. He did kind of hinted it when I asked him if I would be doing the store next year plus he said times are getting tough and started to ramble oddly late December.

    It's not a lot of money I mow a small island and he just wanted me to blow the leaves to the island and wanted me to mow short and bag it. Took about 30 min and charged him $40 which is what the cut is worth. I mean should I walk up to him and ask where is my money or ask why he went out of business or just act stupid? I got far behind and trusted him plus the record snow fall keep my mind away.
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2011
  2. delphied

    delphied LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,067

    Ask him. Why not? You prolly wont get it. Ever.
  3. torotorotoro

    torotorotoro LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 510

    find out where he lives. go there ,act stupid.problem solved.
  4. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,988

    Now really think about this....he was good customer and now he goes out of business and you want him to pay up. And $40 for 30 minutes of work, have some compassion.
  5. torotorotoro

    torotorotoro LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 510

    find out where he lives.go there. act stupid.
  6. 1MajorTom

    1MajorTom Former Moderator
    Messages: 6,073

    You said he owns or owned a hardware store. If he saw a customer of his walk out of his store with a $40 item that they didn't pay for, do you think he would follow them out of the store and demand payment? Or would he just let them steal the item? OF COURSE contact him and demand payment. You did the work, you need to be compensated for it.
  7. BINKY1902

    BINKY1902 LawnSite Bronze Member
    from South
    Messages: 1,123

    Work out a deal and get a few free tools.
  8. Turf Dawg

    Turf Dawg LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,719

    I have to agree with Ed on this one. If this would have been a one time deal then go ahead and dun him, but someone that had used you for awhile and then fell on hard times would be hard for me to kick.

    It would have been nice if he would have informed you about this first though.
  9. mowerbrad

    mowerbrad LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,268

    You have to make a decision on whether or not you want to be "nice" about this or be a "businessman".

    If you've had this customer for years and this is the only bill he has ever faulted on, you may just let it go...its only $40. The economy isn't great and he lost his business over it. I can imagine that this isn't the only bill he has outstanding and its probably not the most important bill that he has/had to pay.

    Now if you want to be a true business owner and not tie any sort of emotion(s) to this situation, you can go after him for the money. You could go to his house, send him letters, etc. You did the work so you should get paid for it, $40 can buy you some gas for your truck.

    Personally, I'm a pretty nice guy and try to understand the situation that people are in. If its a tough situation (like this one) I will try and work with the customer to figure out a solution. I'd either lower the bill or just forget about it. This guy has been a good customer to you (it sounds like), so I'd cut him a break.
  10. soloscaperman

    soloscaperman LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,045

    What do you mean compassion? $40 in 30 min I mow his house which is a $45 lawn that I do for $35. It sucks mowing a store because you gotta pick up beer bottles that people throw from there vehicles when they drive by. It's a nice area but you will always get crap thrown on the ground that is located on a main road. Up here in CT you gotta at least make a dollar per hour or you won't make it in the winter. He is always hard to get and from the snow I lost track. My fault but I learned my lesson. I never had a customer that never paid me and this is new to me. He is very well known and if I do something word would spread. I mean the man is depress he loved that store. That store was there for many many years and who knows he might snap at me with how people are stressed out these days. I guess I will stop by his house this weekend to say hi and go from there.

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