Unsatisfied customer is ghosting me and won’t pay invoice

TruCutLawnCareTX

LawnSite Member
Location
Texas
We just finished a landscape job. Everything was done exactly as bid, the customer was present both days and approved aspects of the job as we went (confirmed bed dimensions, confirmed plant placement, etc.) At the end of the first of two days we get approval of the work completed that day before leaving and everything seems fine. She texts me early the next morning stating she wanted the bed extended farther on one side and had moved a plant she bought that she wanted added to the bed to a spot where she wanted it planted, and wanted us to extend the bed to accommodate that plant. The crew gets there and sends me pictures of the plant she placed after talking to them and I told them to extend the bed an additional 18” to accommodate the plant, no big deal. The customer was home and approved it. They get everything put in and go get the customer for the final approval and she snaps at the supervisor and said he clearly hadn’t talked to me and that’s not where she wanted the plant, but she’ll just live with it. I guess she forgot that she talked to the supervisor about the plant when they arrived and reiterated where she wanted it. She goes off on a rant yelling at the guys about how it’s nothing like she wanted. They offer to fix a few things and she says no it’s fine she’ll just “live with it” and goes inside. They stay late and fix some stuff she pointed out, then go knock on the door to try to get final approval again and she won’t answer. I email her invoice and decide to give her some time to cool off. That was 5 days ago and since then she has not responded to any of our automated follow up or invoice reminder emails, ignored my calls, and recently blocked my number (I’ve called twice, not trying to harass her). Our system starts sending daily past due notices after 3 days, and sent a feedback request the day of the job being finished.
We’ve done one previous job for her removing some shrubs and she wasn’t anything like this and paid upon completion. Her final bill is $1,800. I’m considering small claims court or sending a notice of intent to lien, but wasn’t sure how long I legally need to wait (Texas; everything I’ve read says a “reasonable” amount of time), and if that time frame is changed by the fact that she’s apparently intentionally dodging me by blocking my number. I also got her husbands number from another contractor that has worked with them. He was really nice and seemed reasonable, so I’m considering calling him, but surely he knows already that she’s blowing us off, so that may not help. The job looks amazing and we got 3 leads from people driving by. I don’t think we did a bad job, and if she’d just talk to me and tell me what she wants changed I would absolutely work with her on it as long as it’s reasonable, but she has cut all communication.
 

Ijustwantausername

LawnSite Silver Member
Location
Raleigh NC
I would do this, in order:
1. Every 2 days for the next week, send a follow up email asking for payment and continue to call and leave messages, explain that your terms are upon job completion.
2. Visit them during the day, unannounced.
3. Visit them at dinner time, unannounced
4. Final notice and demand for payment email/call
5. Hire an attorney to write them a certified letter
6. Small claims court.

Whatever you do continue to bug the crap out of them and hound them, keep records of every attempt to contact them. Some people forget, some sweep it under the rug, and the rest know full well what’s going on but play the game on contractors.
 

Mitty87

LawnSite Silver Member
Show up there in person, after a few emails, one of which stating you will use legal means such as liens, small claims, collections etc to get your payment. Usually with an issue like this I just offer to knock off the $40 I may have charged to plant her plant for her and then there is no excuse and its worth not having the hassle.
 
OP
TruCutLawnCareTX

TruCutLawnCareTX

LawnSite Member
Location
Texas
Show up there in person, after a few emails, one of which stating you will use legal means such as liens, small claims, collections etc to get your payment. Usually with an issue like this I just offer to knock off the $40 I may have charged to plant her plant for her and then there is no excuse and its worth not having the hassle.

I didn’t charge her any extra for the plant or extending the bed, we were already out there and it didn’t add much time. The final invoice was actually a little cheaper than the quote because the quote listed an estimated price for a crape myrtle and the one she picked was cheaper. If she’d even talk to me I’d be willing to give a discount for whatever she feels was done wrong, but she’s just straight up ignoring me. She yelled at the crew but won’t directly tell me that there was a problem with the project. I’ve had minor miscommunications with customers and was always able to handle it without incident and everyone was happy when it was settled. She’s just ghosting me, and that’s the most frustrating part because she won’t even give me the opportunity to resolve whatever problem she has.
 

AlohaMowing

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
Hilo, HI
email, texts, phone calls, and even showing up in person on the doorstep are no substitute for sending important communications by mail. Having that hard copy to show in small claims court is important. If a regular first class mailing does not get a positive response, then to follow it up with both a certified mail that requires a signature, plus a first class envelope mailed at the same time, provides strong evidence of the notice if she refuses to sign for delivery.

Mention that the debt, if unpaid, may be reported to credit bureaus. A potential hit on her credit rating may be as effective as a threat to sue.
 

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