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HELP!!! need advice quick!

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by 1brilord, Dec 16, 2004.

  1. 1brilord

    1brilord LawnSite Member
    Messages: 17

    Ok this is my situation. I have two customers who have not responded to my calls or invoices for two months now. One of them I dropped the invoice off to her husband at her door step so I know she has gotten it. What can I do to collect my money? Can I file a lein on there properties? Should I send the bill to collections one is ($190.00, and the ladies is $350.00)?, or should I take them to small claims court? I live in Salt Lake City Utah so if anyone lives here could you give me the details on how I can collect (small claims court phone #s, collection agency fees and phone #s, how to file a lein etc..).I want to collect before any of these people leave town or move I am afraid of getting STIFFED! Anyones help is greatly appreciated. :help: :help: :help:
  2. stevesmowing

    stevesmowing LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 847

    I would try to talk to them directly to start with. Either in person or on the phone.
  3. jawinchester

    jawinchester LawnSite Member
    Messages: 5

    I don't know what the lien laws are in your territory, it may be too late. I would definately try and swing by in person when they are home. Here in WA we have up to 60 days to file a lien on their property. I know that small claims court even after winning judgement you still have to personally collect. This may be a runaround. Good luck to you!
  4. walker-talker

    walker-talker LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 4,771

    I have a lawyer friend that will send out a "letter of demand", but will collect 50% of what is owed. 50% of something is better than 100% of nothing. Usually it's never more than $200 a year that I battle with. I have not tried this method yet, but he said that most that receive the letter will pay. The letter is mailed certified, return receipt.
  5. gene gls

    gene gls LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,213

    I had a guy refuse to accept the certified letter. The post office returned it to me with a big "refuse"stamped on it. I made special trips by his house untill I cought him out side one day. He paid up.

  6. walker-talker

    walker-talker LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 4,771

    The good thing about his services is that if they collect nothing, then you owe nothing. If the customer still does not pay, it's up you you if you want to proceed further with the case. Personally, $200 does seem worth the hassle. I would like to do some more research on the subject some day just to see how much time would be involved taking them to court and so forth.
  7. Team Gopher

    Team Gopher LawnSite Platinum Member
    from -
    Messages: 4,040

  8. Ecobjs

    Ecobjs LawnSite Member
    Messages: 55

    We use a stair step method to collect. First a Call, nice, Then a letter, nice, Then a letter strong. In this letter we indicate that if they do not pay within 15 business days then "we will be forced to proceed with further action." Here is the trick to know, Go to the small claims court and get copies of a "complaint" or "action", they are called different things in different states. Either way, they are easy to fill out, normally just a one page form. Then drop that off and indicate in a letter that you have no choice but to file it, unless they give you the money.

    Lawsuits for anything under $500 are simiply not worth it, time, lawyers fees, and COURT Cost, it will cost you $80 to 150 just to file the action in most states, and that fee is not recoverable in an action unless you have a contract. But I have found the threat of a lawsuit with an actual court document does the job.

    Please Note, I am attorney and started this business on the side several years ago with a partner that knew the lawn side of business and did the work... I liked it so much I now run its day to day operations. My point is that we attorneys use this approach to scare all kinds of people into paying that our clients would never dream of actually suing.
    Hope that helps .... it drives me crazy when people don't pay!
  9. 1brilord

    1brilord LawnSite Member
    Messages: 17

    It makes me angry too :angry: :angry: :angry: ! These were honest customers. I dont know why they are not paying up but I think it is very disrespectful and I am going to get my rightfully earned money!
  10. SLCINC

    SLCINC LawnSite Member
    Messages: 110

    Yea I have about $2,500 in past dues for this year. Im going to send invoices again and make phone calls as well, so don't feel too bad.

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