Lien to property

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by premierlawncare, Nov 5, 2005.

  1. premierlawncare

    premierlawncare LawnSite Member
    Messages: 91

    I just bought a LCO about 3 months ago. I have 6 customers that have never paid me a dime. It totals almost $1000. Do I have any recourse in collecting? Can I file a lien? Do I have to sue in small claims court?

    By the way, I am taking the approach of others here at lawnsite, and all of our new customers are going to be on contract and paying a month in advance. So far , 7 of 7 estimates , zero signed up. I think it is because it is dormant time and they dont want to pay a higher rate per month.
  2. ElephantNest

    ElephantNest LawnSite Bronze Member
    from La.
    Messages: 1,878

    Find a notary in your town, file a lien with them against the properties. Mine cost about $30.00 to get the paper work done, and about $35.00 to file it with the courst system. They then ADD the $65.00 ( or whatever the cost is) to the ammount owed.
  3. premierlawncare

    premierlawncare LawnSite Member
    Messages: 91

    Can I lien a property for services of maintenance (lawn and shrub)? Also I dont have a written contract, but I have detailed records.
  4. SodKing

    SodKing LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,641

    You can either go to small claims court or file a civil action. In small claims court you can seek a judgement and then it is up to you to get them to pay. In a civil action you can immediately file for an attachement without the judgement and when the court rules in your favor, your money is guarenteed.

    A lawyer will most likely charge you for work on a civil action which you can then add to the judgement. You may want to start with small claims court, usually the letter from the court alone will get the people to pony up.

    Why have they not paid you?
  5. SodKing

    SodKing LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,641

    You can only lien 120 days from the date of invoice. Verbal contracts are fine.
  6. Green-Pro

    Green-Pro LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,420

    Thats strange? In Iowa the small claims I filed and won all I had to do was go back to the clerk of court and fill out a form to have the sheriff serve papers to the employer notifying them of the garnishment being attached to their wages. Whole process was pretty simple really and recovered my money without having to do anymore than fill out an additional form mentioned previously.
  7. SWD

    SWD LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 988

    perhaps that is the law in your state. In Florida it isn't, as a "sunshine" state, materials-men liens are approached in a different manner.
    When I protected process servers while a sworn police officer in Florida in the late eighties to early nineties, the following was accurate:
    Unless the maintenance work performed is of a skilled manner, meaning a trade, which under "sunshine" state provisions makes 'normal turf mowing' difficult to prove, the contractor, to take a customer to court, had better have all of their business ducks in a row.
    If Sodkings business isn't set up exactly the way the State of Florida dictates, meaning all of the required business licenses, insurance protections, etc, Sodking will not be recognized as a business eligable for court assistance.
    I am aware of exceptions, but not for turf mowings. Now, if Sodking has installed plants, repaired irrigation, applied chemicals, all while having a business model approved by the State, then Sodking can pretty much whang the customer in a type of claims court.
    The thing to remember is Florida is that common law is not the basis for "sunshine" provisions - contract law is. This places states like Florida in a unique catagory for businesses and the conduct of business.
    Sodking, you best bet is to seek legal assistance through your county's legal aid. From there, you should be informed of the necessary steps to protect your business income.
  8. premierlawncare

    premierlawncare LawnSite Member
    Messages: 91

    question for GREEN-PRO did they show up in court? or did you win by default when they didnt show up? Was it for lawn service or installation?
  9. SodKing

    SodKing LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,641

    Easy...I am not the one seeking legal assistance. I was giving advice to premier. The laws in each state are indeed different as evidenced by the different nature of our answers. I had recently asked an attorney a question along the same lines and was relaying his answer.
  10. Brianslawn

    Brianslawn LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,002

    hit them where it hurts... their credit score!

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