Customers STILL Owing Money

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by nherweck, Jan 23, 2006.

  1. nherweck

    nherweck LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 326

    OK...I have one customer that I only serviced twice. He had me mow, edge, trim, & blow his property while he was out of town. He paid me for the first trip, but when I mailed out invoices for the second response. I try calling (a good 20 times within two weeks) response. I try having a collection agency contact him...they get no response. I know he still lives there as his car is always out front (yet when I ring the doorbell, he's not home :-/). I've thought of having someone else ring the doorbell and I sneak up when he answers the door (to some kid selling candy or whatnot)...but I'm not a big guy, and I don't think that would blow over too well anyways. I've left him invoices on his porch, taped to the door, mailed, left on voicemail, I even faxed invoices to his place of employment! All he owes is $25, but with late fees added in, there is $108.04 bill! My late fee consists of 5% PER WEEK LATE, which is CLEARLY STATED on ALL invoices. I paid the guy that helps out, I paid for gas, I paid for all items, so why can't he pay for a lousy $25 bill?

    Anyways...what I'm getting at is...can I go to small claims court as I am only 16 years old? If not, do you guys know of any other way I can get the money from this guy?

    Another late payer owes $61.88 after all late fees, and I've serviced her home about 10 times. She was a service-per-call client, and was always fast with payments. The last service though, she just ignored all phone calls, all invoices, and all collection agency efforts, pretty much the same situation as the guy I just spoke about.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated...Thanks everyone!:)
  2. dcondon

    dcondon LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,246

    OK, If your only 16 i don't beleive you can take him to court. Do you have insurance and own a business???? If you answer no to both questions then just move on to the next person.
  3. cgland

    cgland LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,929

    Check the laws in your state. There is a max % you can charge on overdue invoices. Ours is 2% compounded monthly. At some point you will have to realize that this deadbeat is not going to pay you. After all it's only $25 out of pocket and it seems as if you have already thrown that much at him in paper alone not to mention your time. I know it sucks, but cut your losses and learn from this.

  4. Edgewater

    Edgewater LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 457

    I wish my deadbeats were on $25 A/R's :gunsfirin
  5. nherweck

    nherweck LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 326

    Wow thanks for the quick responses guys. I'm not insured, but I'm licensed. My insurance agent said I really shouldn't waste my money on insurance this past year as I had very FEW clients and really started out the business. This year, I'll be purchasing Business Liability Insurance sometime around March. Thanks again guys!
  6. drsogr

    drsogr LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,275

    Just get your $25 out of him through revenge. There are many things that you can do to have fun at his expense!
  7. supercuts lawn maint

    supercuts lawn maint LawnSite Member
    Messages: 8

    i had the same problem one time.. i went to office max and picked up a packet of five lien forms for about $5.00. the law states that you have to warn the person that you are placing a lien on thier property first. i called her up and told her i was placing a lien on her property and that it would also affect her credit report, she just slamed the phone on me.. filled out the lien form, (make sure the form is double sided because it's $19.00 per page), then take it to the court house,(the recording dept), and record it. it takes about ten minutes to do. i charged her the bill she owed me($50.00) plus a lien processing fee which consist of ($60.00 pick up and delivery) this was me picking up the check at the title office and delivering it to the bank. and three man hours at $47.00 per hour. ten mintues to drive to the court house ten minutes to record it and ten minutes to drive back home. i just rounded those ten minutes to the hour. plus the $19.00 for recording the lien. her total she had to pay me to lift the lien was $270. you will get this money at closeing when she sells her house. no title company is going to close on a house if there is a lien on the property. it is aganst the law to do so.. the funny part about it was the title company wanted me to add on a per dieum charge for the days that the lien was on the property. (three months at $2.00 per day)
  8. MMLawn

    MMLawn LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,569

    You CANNOT charge 5% A WEEK late fees. That is a total violation of the Federal Usury Statues and that in turn makes the entire late fee uncollectable by law. That's 260% APR.....shoot the mob doesn't even charge that. So, its REALLY only $25.00 and you're only 16 and he knew that so he took advantage of that and because you are a minor you can't do squat about it legally as you have in legal terms "no standing" for a legal action at all including filing of Liens as suggested above. All you can do is learn from it and move on to the next "customer".

    TURF DOCTOR LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,138

    Jeez 5% a week man that"s 20% a month mastercard*nherweck*
  10. sheshovel

    sheshovel LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,112

    MM is correct you are SOL and you cannot charge those late fee's.

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