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If you have customers with un paid invoices what $

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by tradeyouraccounts, Jun 15, 2009.

  1. tradeyouraccounts

    tradeyouraccounts Banned
    Messages: 343

    If you have customers with un paid invoices what $ amount would say its worth pursuing it in the Small-claims court or Collection agencies and have any of you gone down this route with any success?
  2. nobagger

    nobagger LawnSite Gold Member
    from Pa
    Messages: 3,065

    We just went through this! We did a spring clean up and mowed a few times for a lady. She owed us well over 800.00. Long story short, this was May of 08 and we just settled about 2 months ago. The dead beats have more rights than you do believe me! She was thrown out of one court room because the Judge's son owns a big landscape company and she made it seem as tho we are all idiots so that pissed him off and he threw her out of his court room. The next scheduled court day she never showed up so we were awarded the judgment, she appealed that decision so we just settled. Talking to her attorney, even he implied she was a real piece of work. In my opinion if some one owes you money, they owe you money and should pay! If you can afford to have your money tied up for quite a while then try suing. If you cant then try to settle. Just be prepared to be pissed off. Remember, its the legal system not a justice system!!!!!!!! Good luck. In the end I think she spent about 1500.00 more than the original bill (attorney fee's) than if she would have just paid up
  3. bohiaa

    bohiaa LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,220

    it's impossable to MAKE someone pay. you will have to check the laws in your county.
    I had a customer that set out to screw us, so I put the screws to her.
    it changes all the time. but a good medium is 6%. after 90 days sue them. with in that 90 days send 3 registred letters. make sure you have a sgined contract or agreement. or something to prove both parties agreed to the price. add on the cost of court.

    then if they wont pay after you win judgement. you can have the sherrif's dept. come and take EVERYTHING they own. NOT there house but items like refridge. washer dryer. you cant take food but you can take the fridge. and YES this is what i did to this customer.

    if they own the proptery. simply put a lean against it.

    when the sherriffs dept shows up, you will be amazed at somehow they find the money.

    Do NOT. and I repete DO NOT settle the case with out predjust.
    then add the custoemrs name to credit agancies. and or collection agancys.

    take no CRAP from anyone
  4. PROCUT1

    PROCUT1 LawnSite Platinum Member
    from TN
    Messages: 4,891

    I used olddebts.com for most of them with pretty decent success.

    Heres what I have found. This is from personal experience as well when I was over my head in bills and debt.

    Most people want to pay.

    There are 2 types of people who dont pay their bills.

    1. The ones who want to but cant.
    2. The ones that can but dont want to.

    The first ones are the tough ones. They just flat out cant pay the bill. Theyre not scammers, they really did think they can pay and most likely just came up short. Theyre probably working their butts off and are sure in their own figuring, they will have the money real soon and can pay you. So thats why they dont stop the service. And yet somehow they just dont make it and the bill runs up. Priorites, emergencies come up and being the lawn guy your bill is last on the stack.

    What I have found is, if these people are honest with me......Ill work it out with them and not get nasty. Ive been there myself and I cant tell you how bad it feels and how much you appreciate someone working with you.

    The other type are the arrogant, "screw you" types.
    The ones who say you didnt cut when you really did. The ones who make a damage claim about a cut 6 weeks ago. The ones you mow for months and then complain "they have never been happy" with the service.

    Those types I would go after like the hammers of hell. I have put leins on houses for a $35 past due balance before just out of principle.
    Ive paid a lawyer $2000 to collect $900 before. Just to make a point.

    The best thing you can do is to make your payment terms so that you avoid the problem to begin with. There is not enough profit in lawn mowing to carry even a tiny tiny percentage of bad debt.

    Before I sold, I had almost everyone switched to automatic credit card payment. When we mowed on monday, the charge was run tuesday morning. If the card was declined, we would have a week to get a new card or payment from the customer. If that didnt happen, the most we would lose is one cut. Our bad debt was next to nothing.

    The collections were sooo much easier. If a card was declined, all we needed to recover was $30 or so from the customer and that almost always worked.

    But let it go a couple months and now youre trying to collect a few hundred....Good luck
  5. tradeyouraccounts

    tradeyouraccounts Banned
    Messages: 343

    Thanks for your feed back on this it has been mighty useful. Have any off you done work for Real Estate Owned properties Bank owned! They have an asset management company take care of it and the service guys do the work and wait on the bank to pay them through the asset management company. So you get told to do the work by the middle man who gets paid from the bank or is supposed to…..

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