Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by polecat63, Jul 11, 2003.

  1. polecat63

    polecat63 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,655

    I have a client that owes me money. I contacted him today for payment and he agreed to pay me half (that's roughly the anmount that is "past due" and I agreed to start mowing again. Well I get there and the check is for 1/4 instead a half. So I take the check to his bank and cash it, and I don't mow. I'm sure I'll get a call when he gets home tonight. Anyway, his house is on the market and has just been sold, but won't close for a few weeks I'm sure. About half of what he owes me is for landscaping, mostly bed prep, trimming and lots of mulch. Do I take a lien on his property before he sells or give him another chance? What would you all do???
  2. MrBarefoot

    MrBarefoot LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 515

    It would depend on the amount of money I was owed.

    I realize its not my business to ask how much he owes you, but if I was owed more then $1000 (total billings, not just past due), I would take some action to strengthen my assurances I get paid. Since he has already demonstrated untrustworthiness by falling past due, and not keeping his promise to pay half, I would give him very little credibility. Knowing that his house is on the market should give you a real sense of urgency, since if he moves far away, your collection efforts become even more expensive and less likely to be successful.
  3. Rustic Goat

    Rustic Goat LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,194

    You may be too late already if it is already 'sale pending'. Might try getting in touch with the realtor, tell them you're about to throw a fly in the ointment, see what type reaction you get.
    Verify with your local court about length of time involved to get a lien, go for it if there's time.
  4. polecat63

    polecat63 LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,655

    Thanks guys,
    I haven't decided hwt to do yet. I suppose I will call one more time and try to get something out of him. As far as the lien is Va when selling a home you have to sign a statement that says you do not owe anyone that could assign a lien to the property. If he signs this statement the contract could be voided, even after the sale. It's a pretty serious deal and is in response to past illeagal practice by realtors and builders in this state. So contacting the realtor might be the right way to go.
    I have to call the clerks office on Monday to see how to file for this case. I'll either be able to file a lien directly, or I'll have to sue in small claims court first. One is quick, the other take about three weeks. Thanks again for the help!
  5. Mueller Landscape Inc

    Mueller Landscape Inc LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 489

    I would call him and tell him that you WILL put a lien on that property and you WILL be contacting both real-estate agents and let them know of the pending lien. I wouldn't give this guy 1 inch.
  6. goodbeus

    goodbeus LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 392

    I'd go over and start pulling out the new landscaping you did...tell him you want paid in full or you'll take out the landscapingpayup
  7. Seon

    Seon LawnSite Member
    Messages: 17

    Not a good idea.

    I'd go with informing the customer that a lien will happen if not paid. Also the real estate agent as previously mentioned.

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