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The Customer Who Just Wouldn't Pay

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by jasonnau, Oct 25, 2005.

  1. jasonnau

    jasonnau LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 454

    Here is the situation: The first week of this season, a woman pulls up to me while cutting one of my customers yards. She explains that she lives down the street, and would like her yard to be cut this season too. I finish up the job I'm on and head over to her place. We settle on a price, and I cut it. Well, I bill at the first of the month for the previous months cuts. The bill is due on the 15th of that month. So, this being the first of the month, I cut her grass for the whole month, and sent out the bill on the first of May. Of course it's not due to the 15th, so I cut it the next two times. Well, the 15th comes, and still no payment. Since this was a new customer, I knocked on the door before performing the 7th cut of the season. Her Husband "Steve" says, I'll check with my wife, and we'll get a check out to you "Sorry about that", so, I cut it the 7th time. Well, no check. I call, and tell her unless I receive payment, I will not be cutting anymore. She says, "That's Ok, we got our mower fixed, and we'll take care of it from here". I say, that's fine, but I need paid. She had told me for two months that it would be next friday, or my husband doesn't get paid for two weeks, ect. It gets to be JUlY!!! So, I file a claim in small claims court, add in some additional money for my time and invoicing, and we have a court date. To my surprise, they were both there! The judge looks at him and says" Mr. Gilardi, why haven't you paid your mowing bill?" He says" Well, we've been having some hard times". The judge hits the gavel and decides immediately on behalf of me. He is ordered to pay me 360.00 including court costs. I asked the judge, how do I get paid? The judge sayd "you have to collect it". Well, They of course lied to me and said they would pay me $50.00 per week until it was paid off. It's now almost November, and I haven't received a dime, and I've spent $65.00 just to take them to court. I want to kill this guy, and his wife!!!!!!! Somehow, I feel like a sneaky teenager again, envisioning myself sneaking up late at night slashing his tires or something. I've never let anyone walk over me, and this guy isn't going to be the first. The only way I know that I can be paid, is to be a detective and figure out where he works or banks. Since I've never got a check, the banking thing is tough, and since he's changed his cell phone and disconnected his home phone, I can't even reach him. I thought about stealing his trash. I know this sounds stupid and childish, but, I want this guy to pay no matter what. What would you folks do?
  2. Green-Pro

    Green-Pro LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,420

    Go to your clerk of courts office at your county seat, should be able to file a garnishment of wages on them. Folks at the clerks office will walk you through it, but ya gotta do it right away. I filed on a deadbeat and here in Iowa you have something like 90 days to file garnishment papers after winning judgement in small claims.

    Good Luck

  3. Pecker

    Pecker LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,454

    Yeah, don't get caught doing something illegal and stupid - then you're the bad guy. Do as Green-Pro says and get a lein against these guys. Maybe you can find some way to continue to add late fees and at least be compensated for the raise in your blood pressure:realmad:
  4. lawnman_scott

    lawnman_scott LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,547

    This is a good reason to look seriously at advance payment. A judgement is good for crap if they dont pay. Of course people like this will say the last guy we paid and he never came....... whatever, just to get you to not charge in advance. It can be done. I dont care how big and nice of a house, its written on my sheet, advance payment one month.

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