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Dead Beat- Need Help

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by Mike1977, Sep 23, 2012.

  1. Mike1977

    Mike1977 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 34

    Hey all, have my first deadbeat customer. Billed for June, July, Aug. Every other week I would cut their lawn. They paid me on time at first but partial payment in July for June. I thought I would stop mowing but they asked that I keep mowing until mid August. Now its time to pay and shes in Texas, now Mexico. I stop by and her sons say she isnt home. I call her and she says the sons have the money. I go there yesterday and he says come by tomorrow (Sunday). I do, no answer.

    I leave a letter saying you owe X, there will be late fees of $25 per month and attorney fees starting at $450.

    My question is, did I do wrong by putting atty fees that will apply if they dont pay me by Oct 1st? I dont want to harass these people and get in trouble.

    I am pissed so dont tell me I shouldnt have mowed, lesson learned. I know this.

    I had houses on this street so it wasnt anything to get it done. Im not owed much, 117 total. I am pissed though that I am getting the run-around from this customer who I will write off next year and not mow at all, unless paid up front.

    Can I get in trouble by writing my letter saying atty fees and late fees will apply if not paid by X? I dont know?

  2. BPS##

    BPS## LawnSite Senior Member
    from WY
    Messages: 828

    I got jacked this summer .......... white guy.


    I hear tell he owes other contractors around town 10s of thousands of dollars.
  3. Bumpmaster

    Bumpmaster LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 20,681

    Late fees are a touchy subject, especially if they where not addressed at the time the contract was signed.
  4. Greyst1

    Greyst1 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 900

    Keep on them, stay out the courts it will cost you more that you think and you will end up prob getting 0.
  5. ringahding

    ringahding LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 611

    Good luck....I have never been to court, when maybe I should have....To be honest with all the calls and new jobs we get, there is no time...and to be quite frank no reason....

    Although I do consistently remind people who owe $$$$ via email, mail & physically(YES I will come to your home with bill in hand) ....

    A trick I have taught myself when physically dropping off an invoice.....Only write the customers last name on the envelope. There is a high probability of a family member(other than the actual BILL PAYER) opening it...and then showing it to the Bill Payer
  6. easy-lift guy

    easy-lift guy LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,372

    Bill all of your accounts in advance from now on. The more stories I read about this on this site the more I can not understand why all customers are not billed in advance.
    You could take your existing customer to court, small claims and you might even get a judgement against the customer. I am sure many on this site will advise against it for any number of reasons. I can only speak from my own experience and what has worked for me.
    easy-lift guy
  7. It still amazes me that people will let someone go 3 months out with no payments. If I don't get paid that month, service stops.
    Posted via Mobile Device
  8. Bumpmaster

    Bumpmaster LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 20,681

    Well Bubba, it amazes me how some people can not find good clients?
  9. ringahding

    ringahding LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 611

    I do get it...some guys/gals believe a customer is going to be forthright...especially if a steady client base has not been established yet...Most find out over time and usually it is the hard way.
  10. BPS##

    BPS## LawnSite Senior Member
    from WY
    Messages: 828

    Two months tops is all I go.

    Lets say I bill for the month of June after the last cut of the month. If by July 31 they still have not paid then there is no mowing in Aug until they pay up. Do that a couple times and I'll start cutting them off with only 15 days after the bill was sent out.

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