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The Worst Feeling?

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by outrunjason, Jan 17, 2008.

  1. outrunjason

    outrunjason LawnSite Senior Member
    from dallas
    Messages: 719

    Well here is mine. It happened to me two time in one month and to houses next door to each other.

    I will start with the first lawn. I had been doing this yard since the beginning of the 2007 season. She always paid late but always paid. She came up to me one day while we were mowing and said she knew that she owed me $300 but only had $100 right now. I was like ok. She said I will see you in 2 weeks. At this time I was not mowing every week now cause it was slowing down. I arrive 2 weeks later.

    We pull up and I am like wow I have never been able to see through the front window and see the back yard. Then as my guys are getting out to mow I was like wait a minute. There are no Blinds or curtains in the windows!!! What the hell!!! I go to the back and everything is gone. No kids toys anymore. No sprinklers or water hoses. I look inside the house through the window and it is empty. Now that is a just one bad feeling.

    So, long story short this had a good ending. I called her up on her cell and she said oh sorry we moved on such short notice. Her husband got transfered out of state. She sent money about 2 months later.

    But guess what. How odd was it that one month later her neighbor moved and did the same thing. Just up and moved. Now this one was bad and it really hurt. Not only did we pull up to mow as 2 weeks had gone but but what was this. THE FRONT YARD HAD BEEN LANDSCAPED!!! Crepe Myrtles were all trimmed up. Some bushes had been removed and there was now edging in place around the front bed with mulch. There was also a huge dumpster in the driveway. I am talking about those large ones that takes up the entire drive. Like one they might use when they are doing your roof or something. I talked to the guy that was there and asked for the guy on the billing statement. He said oh they were renters and they moved 2 weeks ago. I am the landlord. I said oh well where are they. He said I couldn't tell you they left without giving notice. Son of B****.

    This was a customer that I had for over 2 years and he paid on time and had weekly service at that. So, I guess he just thought well I can just up and leave and leave the lawn service alone. There phones have changed and I still have not received a payment after all the letters that I have sent.

    Anyone else had this stuff happen?
  2. PROCUT1

    PROCUT1 LawnSite Platinum Member
    from TN
    Messages: 4,891

    slap a mechanics lein on the house
  3. outrunjason

    outrunjason LawnSite Senior Member
    from dallas
    Messages: 719

    I have done the court thing and have used old debts. But to get a mechanics lein I think it takes a lot. If I remember on the last court thing I went to once I was awarded the right to the money then that is when I could put a lien on there house. But still it cost more money once again. Sometimes I am just like I will bother the heck out of them until I get it.

    Speaking of that I have another post.

    HOOLIE LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,981

    A lien on a house the renters don't own? Not very effective.
  5. PROCUT1

    PROCUT1 LawnSite Platinum Member
    from TN
    Messages: 4,891

    When I was in the residential lawn business I used to do it all the time. I have a standard form that the lawyer made up once and i made copies. File it with the county clerk, pay the $25 fee and wait for your money.

    If the renters dont pay it automatically becomes the owners responsibility
  6. outrunjason

    outrunjason LawnSite Senior Member
    from dallas
    Messages: 719

    I can't do a lien here until I actually file it in court and give the owner a chance to dispute the charges.

    While on the court thing. One time when I was in there filing the guy next to me was setting up a court date to dispute his lawn company. He showed me a weather forecast for the day showing that it was going to rain. He said that his Lawn Company said they mowed on that day but they couldn't have because of the forecast. I was thinking in my head oh god I so don't want to go to court with BS like that. A forecast does not mean anything. If it's not raining we just might have mowed it.
  7. bohiaa

    bohiaa LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,220

    about all's you can do it send it to collections,,,

    I have done 3 this year, and looks like there is 1 more going today

    Good luck
  8. ArizPestWeed

    ArizPestWeed LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,457

    you should of learned a lesson here
  9. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    Yeah, effective earlier this year I will no longer perform any work for renters unless they pay upfront, two out of the three '07 deadbeats were renters. It just blows, there's no property to track them by, they up and move they might as well have been abducted by aliens... They're super hard to skip trace and there's little to no recourse, even their credit they may care less about.

    I've had home owners up and skip before too, but as a rule they tend to be more conscientious, I usually get my money from them, eventually, of course, no late fee.

    One thing I always do is as soon as I find out, send them a bill in the mail for the amount due, to the service address.
    Hopefully the post office forwards it, it's worth the stamp.

    I do like that idea about it ultimately becoming the landlord's responsibility thou.
    Here in VA you file a lien all you want, after six months it comes off...
    And as was said, it costs more money, another trip to the court house, too.

    But I've been thinking about sending a letter to a certain landlord to inform them of their tenant's habit of hiring contractors to take care of their maintenance responsibilities and then skipping out on the bill.

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