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First Dead-beat Customer

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by SpruceLandscape, Jul 11, 2007.

  1. SpruceLandscape

    SpruceLandscape LawnSite Senior Member
    from ohio
    Messages: 502

    Ok, let me start this off by saying that I have no one else to blame but myself because I saw this coming and decided to give this lady the benefit of the doubt. Here's what happened.
    This was the very first lawn account I ever had, been a customer of mine for almost 3 years with lawn maint. and snowplowing. This past snow season she ran a few months late on her bills, but when I called her in May and let her know she was almost 3 months behind, she apologized, said things were crazy and had a check for the full amount due in the mail the following monday. She called me back a week later, wanted to know if I was still going to keep her on this season and if a price I gave her for mulch and flower bed work was still good. Now.... I really didnt want to take her account back on, because #1 its somewhat out of the way from the rest of my route, #2 I was still a little upset that she took so long to pay for snow removal, and #3 I found out that the reason she took so long is because she is now separated from her hubby and (I assume) is having a tough time paying for the house, kids, etc.
    Well, I took the account back on because I felt bad for her with the situation (Dumb move number one) and a week in she asks me about what I can do to work with her on payment for the flower bed work. She knows that I usually like full payment the day we finish, but I ended up agreeing to take a deposit and giving her 3 months to pay the balance off (was only a $990 job).
    We finished the work there the second week of May, have been mowing her lawn all season, and so far the only money I have recieved from all the invoices I have sent is the initial $100 deposit! On July 1st I sent her the new invoice from June and also another copy of her May lawn maint. invoice that is now overdue and the invoice of the remaining balance on the bed work hoping that would be a non-threatening reminder that she hasn't paid a dime and that I've noticed. Invoices are due on the 15th and I have yet to hear from her or recieve any payment, and am not really holding my breath on it at this point.
    Where should I go from here??
    I would hate to send her to collections, because she really is a nice lady and I understand her situation as that is the same household that i grew up in, but business is business. If i wait and she files bankruptcy, am I $%^ out of luck???
  2. SpruceLandscape

    SpruceLandscape LawnSite Senior Member
    from ohio
    Messages: 502

    Wow, fingers are cramped from that one.. lol
  3. 1MajorTom

    1MajorTom Former Moderator
    Messages: 6,073

    Have you showed up at her house in the evening when she was home? That's what you need to do, and you need to be as forceful as you can to let her know you mean business and you want your money. Don't wait another day, the longer you let this go, the harder it will be to collect.
    Good luck,
  4. robbo521

    robbo521 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 601

    i have one now having a tuff time.she changes jobs all the time.she is behind and i am still cutting her because she is a very nice church woman.i would have to tell her in a letter that if not paid you will send her to collections,and that works most of the time.

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