I am being subcontracted from my old boss, and he is refusing to pay me until his customers pay him. (Please read I need advice)


LawnSite Member
I started my own Lawncare business this spring. My old boss asked me if I could take about 10 yards from him that are far out of his area. He made it sound like I would get paid weekly once I did the job. These are NOT small yards. One is a 100 dollar lawn. So I did the end of April for him. I asked him for the money and he said, “I don’t pay you until I get paid” which wasn’t discussed when we set this up. So, finally, mid may, after numerous texts to him he finally met up with me and paid me. He claimed that some of the customers hadn’t paid yet, but he wanted me “off his back”. Then he explained, “the mowings you do in May, I will bill them end of May and pay you when they get paid. So right now we are in mid June and I just texted him asking him if we can square up for May. He said “I can’t square up everyone because they haven’t all paid me yet” so I asked him, “ok let me ask you this, if they refuse to pay you, what happens then?” And he said “if they don’t pay me, that’s on you” to which I replied, “ no it’s not. They are YOUR customers, and if you are failing to get them to pay you in a timely manner that’s not on me, it’s on you”. So now I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to ruin this relationship with him, but at this point I’m starting not to care. I don’t believe this is the correct way subcontracting works. If I told someone to mow for me, even if my customer didn’t pay me yet, I would pay them. So if it comes down to he doesn’t get paid, he’s basically telling me I spent money on gas, hours and hours and weeks of work, and I won’t receive all of the money because they haven’t paid him.

i plan to wait until the end of June, and if he has not paid me ALL of the work I did in May, I am not sure how to proceed from there. Is he obligated to pay me? And have any of you ever had something like this happen?

when We agreed to this, heNEVER explained that if his customers don’t pay him, I’ll be out of luck. Because in that case, I would have NEVER agreed to this.


LawnSite Fanatic
Memphis TN
Oh heck no. I'd first stop doing any work for him at all. But someone will ask so do you have any written agreement? Take him to small claims. Immediately. I've heard people do this I don't know all the bins and outs but I've heard if you can get the VIN on one of his vehicles you can attempt to put a mechanic lien on it until you get paid. I dunno it's been out in the ether for a decade I've heard stories about this.


LawnSite Member
Sure doesn't sound like he started his own business. Sounds like he's still working for the same guy only with a much worse arrangement.

The guy dropped his crap outlier accounts on him and got him to take on all the risks of non-payment.

I say hell no
I do have my own business. I registered an LLC and everything and have a decent amount of my own customers. He was struggling and asked if I wanted some extra yards so I said yes. He told me he’d pay me weekly, and wow has that been a complete load of BS. I’m just scared if I cut ties with him he will refuse to pay me for all of what he owes me. So I’m in a bind. Might just have to take the loss and move on.

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