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Repo Sod

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by Green Acres, Oct 2, 2006.

  1. Green Acres

    Green Acres LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 316

    I laid 2 pallets of sod for a guy about 2 months ago and can't get paid. I have called him and sent more invoices and have gone to his house a time or two. The sod looks fine and I talked to the neighbor and asked her how the sod has been doing and she said fine. The problem is some of the sod is on the neighbors property because the guy I did the work for messed up her yard when he did a new addition to his house. So my question is can I go back in there and rip it all out? Has anyone ever done anything like this before? The kicker is he lives in a $300,000+ house and has two new BMW's.
  2. Uranus

    Uranus LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Mass
    Messages: 1,624

    Trespassing and stealing. Its his now. small claims court.
  3. LindblomRJ

    LindblomRJ LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,570

    Take out a lien against the property. However the procedure works for your state, if it is small claims court or filing some papers.

    We used to joke about that when laying sod at some townhouses. If they don't pay up we will come back and roll up their lawn.
  4. DBL

    DBL LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,219

    are you trying to pull some "Fun with Dick and Jane" action here
  5. LindblomRJ

    LindblomRJ LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,570

    The first time I heard it was in 1993. Never seen the movie. Might have to rent it sometime.
  6. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,872

    I wouldn't recommend ripping out the turf. But I would recommend two things;

    1) Start becoming more aggressive with your collection tactics. I guarantee if some Jackass owed me for an install job and hadn't paid for months I'd be over at his house ringing his doorbell at 6:00 a.m. tomorrow morning and 9:50 p.m. at night until I got paid. If that didn't work, I'd find out where he worked, show up totally muddy and all pissed off, walk right into his nice clean office, tracking mud behind me and talking loudly in front of everyone in his office about how I was STILL looking for a payment.

    2) Don't do that again. I always get 50% down weeks before we start the job. And I get the remaining 50% usually within an hour of the time we finish a job. A lot of it has to do with communication. When we sign the contract, I make it very clear I expect to be paid as soon as we are finished. The day before we finish I call or speak to the customer in person and remind them we'll be finishing tomorrow and I'll be meeting them at 6:00 p.m. to do a walk through and "settle up." I haven't had someone stiff me for several years.
  7. landscapingpoolguy

    landscapingpoolguy LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 821

    I say take that as a learning expereince. Annually I had almost 10% loss every year untill this year. The reason being is I have a written contract for everything, I document every receipt, Always take no less then 50% deposit, Always have WRITTEN change orders for jobs, and am also very aggresive when collecting money. I like to get paid the same day we finish. Im less then 1% loss for the year so far on uncollected invoices.
  8. tthomass

    tthomass LawnSite Gold Member
    from N. VA
    Messages: 3,497

    i'm dealing with the same thing with a Magnolia tree.......i'm stopping by, dropping a notice and if nothing in 5 business days i'm either taking legal action or taking the tree out of the ground
  9. CrewCutEnterprises

    CrewCutEnterprises LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 898

    Jim, I always look forward to reading your posts. Could you email me @ jason@crewcutenterprises.com, Id love to pick your brain, also the payment ideas you showed me months ago, works great.

  10. MarkintheGarden

    MarkintheGarden LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,133

    Unless your contract specificaly states that you will repo products not paid in full you cannot legaly do it. I have a friend in the sign business who has this clause on all his contracts and he does repo sometimes. I do not think it works so well with landscaping, it is not so easy to remove sod and bring it back when he does pay. Your contract should have a notation regarding penalies for late payment. I never apply late payment penalties but I will reserve the right to do so.

    Follow Jim's advice on collection and even take it further, camp on the deadbeat's doorstep, leave or send a copy of the overdue bill every day, call him all the time, Tell him you will file suit and he will end up owing you a lot more. Park your trailer in front of his driveway, so he cannot get his BMW on the street. do not get angry, just get your money.

    If agresive collection does not work get an attorney and file for the money he owes plus legal fees.

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