First time I've had a check bounce on me!!!

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by Above Par Lawns, Dec 19, 2012.

  1. Above Par Lawns

    Above Par Lawns LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 512

    So I picked up a new customer the other day that seemed pretty promising. He had just bought a house in Kansas City and the yard was in really bad shape. The guy went on and on about how he wanted a complete renovation next year and he needs a full time lawn service provider. I'm thinking, "hell yeah!". I'm only in my 3rd month of business and I need all the business I can get! He had a blank canvas to work with and I saw a lot of potential for business with the guy. I go over there for a leaf cleanup, was there for 2 hours, and charged him $120.00. He wrote me a check and I was on my way. So I'm sitting down at my desk today and literally JUST got done signing his Holiday Greetings card when my wife called to inform me that his check had bounced. Now like I said, I'm new here and DO NOT have a ton of money in my business account, so it made my account go negative because I had just an hour before that, went and bought a half pallet of ice melt for this winter.

    I go to call the guy and what do you know, his cricket cell phone is no longer in service. The guy practically lives in the ghetto and I don't know how I feel going and knocking on his door about this. I always stay out of areas like that for obvious reasons but was just kind of making an exception this one time.

    Should I just live and learn or bug this guy till he pays up? I understand it could be a big misunderstanding and maybe he'd gladly fork over the money, but then again, seeing the people coming in and out of his house when I was there, and a little bit of racial profiling, I'm a bit nervous on doing that.

    What do you think?!?!:confused:
  2. Mickhippy

    Mickhippy LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,275

    Seek legal advice!
  3. Duekster

    Duekster LawnSite Fanatic
    from DFW, TX
    Messages: 7,961

    Theft with a check. You are actually better off that he worte you the check than if he just stiffed you.
  4. herler

    herler LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,139

    You may want to check and see if your county and the district attorney have a program for people who write bad checks, that's what I do, the other problem with you spending the money, that is on you.
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2012
  5. Darryl G

    Darryl G Inactive
    Messages: 9,500

    I'd assume that he just messed up until I knew better. Bring a friend (witness) if it makes you feel better. Be sure to recover whatever your bank charged you as their returned check fee. Writing a bad check is a crime but good luck getting the cops to do anything about it.
  6. Sprinkler Buddy

    Sprinkler Buddy LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Florida
    Messages: 1,185

    I would make one attempt to collect. Maybe an honest mistake but it doesn't sound like it. Lesson learned, listen to your gut no matter how much you need the work in the future. Think we all have learned this the hard way at one time or another.
  7. Above Par Lawns

    Above Par Lawns LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 512

    The guys cell phone is turned back on today so that's a good sign I think. Maybe it was just a misunderstanding. Hopefully he calls me back!
    Posted via Mobile Device
  8. Darryl G

    Darryl G Inactive
    Messages: 9,500

    I've had numerous occasions where checks would have bounced off my personal account if I didn't have overdraft protection, because my wife and I both have checkbooks and debit cards on the same account.

    Good luck!
  9. caseysmowing

    caseysmowing LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,137

    One time service that you don't feel right about doing get paid up front if you can or don't do it. I had to tell someone no this summer for a mowing account just because where she lived. I'm not parking my stuff where I can't take my eyes off of it because it will be gone. PS I hate asking for payment up front because it makes you look unprofessional but I hate getting stiffed more.
  10. grandview (2006)

    grandview (2006) LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,465

    Thats right. Small claims court and if the guy don't show up they will send the cops to pick him up and jail him. Courts don't play around with bad checks.

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