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Legal Question for the knowledgeable individual...

Discussion in 'General Industry Discussions' started by Brown & Co., Jul 17, 2011.

  1. Ives Landscaping

    Ives Landscaping LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    Im not sure wher you all live.... But the state of Montana has a link on their website, were you can look up business names and see if they are licensed. Its hard to find someone here that will hire someone without a licence or insurance. I would flat out ask that company, being straight up with them.

  2. BrunoT

    BrunoT LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 741

    "You hear about these bigger corporate companies suing others in the same industry for copying what they are doing. I feel that this is the same situation only on a much smaller scale..."

    Wow, it's cool to finally meet the guy who invented irrigation and handyman services!

    I'm not in favor of unlicensed or otherwise illegal operations. They're scumbags who cheat the system because they're usually too stupid to compete legally and need the edge it gives them. But if you decide you can take the heat and want to make trouble for them your best bet would be to drop a dime to the local authorities about the licensing, etc, but don't hold your breath they'll do anything.

    Here licenses are like $80 and no big deal. Much more troubling is the fact that their help is paid under the table and so no income taxes are paid, no ss or medicare taxes are paid, and their employees show no income so they then run up to get food stamps, housing vouchers, and other govn't goodies at our expense. We're basically subsidizing the labor costs of our maggot competitors.
  3. Referee

    Referee LawnSite Member
    Messages: 4

    At the time I ran my service full time, ('91-'95) I was the only licensed lco on Ft Riley. I didn't care a single bit if someone else was doing the same thing, regardless of whether or not they were licensed. There was more than plenty work for anyone who hustled & wanted to work. I was also most likely the low baller in the area, even though I went through the trouble of getting licensed & insured. I just knew I didn't want someone acting the way some on here have. I worked hard for me and the people who decided to pay for my service. I even got stung a few times by people not paying, but because I was not operating on contract, I just wrote their name & address down & refused to ever service them again. It simply wasn't worth the effort to go after someone for $20 or so dollars, especially GI's who could hardly afford to meet their family's needs.

    At the time the economy was good for most everyone except me until I started my business. With the way the economy is becoming, I'm of the opinion that one should do the right thing because its the right thing for THEM to do, and not worry about what someone else is doing. What do you want your kids to learn? Do you want them to learn that hard work pays, or would you prefer they learn to complain about someone else rather than focussing on their goal?

    In everything we do there can be a lesson that we teach others. Always do the right thing whether or not someone else is watching, no matter how difficult, because you never know when you've missed an opportunity to teach someone else by your example.

    Be safe & good luck with your businesses.
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2011
  4. MarkintheGarden

    MarkintheGarden LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,133

    No it is not a slap in your face, it is just a couple of people who have ended up living next door to you, around here we call them neighbors. My advice is treat them like neighbors, let them be with their business and keep your nose out of their business. If you want to be a good neighbor go over with a six pack, or some muffins or something and welcome them to the neighborhood.

    Yes, you could report them, No you do not have a legal case against them, unless you have some trademarked products or services that they are copying. Do you have a patent on lawn mowing services or irrigation services?

    No, it is not potential profits taken from your portfolio, we call it capitalism and the game is won by those who play it the best.

    Having competition move in right next door is kind of un-nerving I am sure, but it does not matter if they live next door or ten miles away, you are going to have competition. And yeah some of them will not be compliant.

    You said it was just business, but you sound like an angry greedy person.
  5. AGLandscape

    AGLandscape LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    This only works if they're registerred with the BBB (Better Business Beaurou). If they aren't they will not be on said website. Though asking them may be akward. In my opinion, If it's not messing with your clients or profits, then why are you concerned? Unfortunately our filed of work isn't a Monopoly, and the competitive standings are infinate. There are 19 pages of companys here in Bismarck that do the exact same thing as me. Two of them operate a house or two down the same road I live on. It sounds to me like you're looking for any reason to get their trailer out from in front of yours. There's nothing wrong with a little friendly competition, licensed or not. Unfortunately you won't find the answers on this website, especially legal ones.
  6. capetrees

    capetrees LawnSite Member
    from ma
    Messages: 221

    Can you sue for lost profits? Have any been lost that you can prove? Are they effecting your income right now, for instance have they taken any customers from you or any contacts? Considering they just moved in and brought the company with them, do they actually work in the same areas you do? Is there such a scarce amount of work to be had that there is that much of a competition?

    I'm not saying you're wrong to be concerned but is it really that big a deal to lose sleep over? Sometiomes it is said that competition makes for better business. To your credit, you're licensed and that's a big step ahead of them. If they do decide to cut into your established customer base then yes, I would report them to the licensing authorities. Fair is fair. Your job now is to keep your customers happy with your service and price and the other guy may find he can't compete. The next best thing, as I have always doen no matter what I'm doing at the moment, is to look to the next step when the irrigation business is over. Where do you go next? I always look for new horizons even though I love what I'm doing currently.
  7. txgrassguy

    txgrassguy LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,083

    I didn't bother to read all of the posts - but if you think the one neighbor, or any scrub you see is working on irrigation systems without a license simply take a digital photo then contact TCEQ.
    Let them deal with the guy and not you.
    As far as "suing" anyone in Texas you first have to file an the initial affidavit through the precinct JP that has jurisdiction - that will cost you at least $78.00 for filing fees. Then the JP will review the matter to determine if there is sufficient merit to proceed. Then you'll have to pay service of affidavit fees which will cost at least an additional $100 or so plus all of the time to prepare.
    Then you'll have to wait for a docket call which has no real standing of importance in front of the JP - meaning if there are criminal cases they take precedence so you'll wait. Then and only then, once in front of the JP you have to state your case but the respondent (the other guy) can counter sue and the JP has discretionary authority to award a judgment against you up to $4,000.00 in a civil proceeding.
    Overall you have a better chance of screwing Halley Berry than getting a civil process and judgment through the local JP. So just document the unlicensed guy's truck with irrigation parts on it since presumably the truck is not lettered in accordance with TCEQ and state Law and let TCEQ deal with it.

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