What do you think?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by DJ Contracting, Oct 11, 2007.

  1. DJ Contracting

    DJ Contracting LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 487

    Well I just received a letter from a lawyer saying that one of my customers just field chapter 13. Now this may seem strange that they could afford lawn care services but not pay their other bills, Would you continue to provide services (they are paid up in full) or don't service them anymore, also how do you approach them to explain, should I send them a letter just as I received one?
  2. Frue

    Frue LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,472

    A phone call to the property should be all you need. Ask them to explain and if do you need to be worried? Be very cautious with this process if they get behind a judge could look at your bill and decide they only have to pay half of it.
    If they are paid in full walk lightly from here on in.
  3. DJ Contracting

    DJ Contracting LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 487

    Yeah I think I'll just send them a letter. I have never had any problems collecting from them, so it makes me wonder if they other larger bills they can't pay, anyway i have to get out and work before it starts to rain.
  4. topsites

    topsites LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 21,653

    I would secretly thank whoever the responsible person was for warning me, then get paid in advance.
    So yes, I would ask the customer, that since you got this letter, you would like to get paid ahead of time and would this be a problem?
  5. whoopassonthebluegrass

    whoopassonthebluegrass LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,305

    Ha. That's the financial equivalent of the plague!! Stay away. They CAN'T afford your services, even if they think they can. Chapter 13 means "I want to pay my bills, really - but I don't have the money for it." I.E. "I chronically spend more than I make." (Disclaimer: medical costs, job loss, etc - could also be a source of this - wherein no blame is laid)...

    They might help you out now, but if things get bad they can progress to Chapter 7 - which is a financial "get out of jail free" card. And even before that, who are they more likely to stiff: they guy cutting the grass, or the company supplying electricity to their house?

    Just my two cents. If you're not desperate for the work, I'd suggest you walk away.
  6. The Captain

    The Captain LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 607

    I think I'd go the "cash in advance" or "cash at time of service" route until this issue (if it exists) is resolved. Notice I said cash. I think your clients, being paid up, will understand your concern, if you talk with them. If not....watch out for #1 first.
  7. Mrs. H

    Mrs. H LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 708

    I agree here. They really can't afford you. They probably can't afford a whole lot of anything, no matter what the reason. As long as your not owed anything now or listed on the banko itself. I would say...make sure you keep it that way. Only do services paid in advance.
  8. Maitland Man

    Maitland Man LawnSite Member
    Messages: 175

    Yea, I said it::waving:

    But seriously. If they have never had a problem in the past, are good customers that don't gripe, and are just all the way around...good customers, you have nothing to worry about.

    Filing just eased up the collections on them. If they have been paying as they should, some weight has just been lifted from them, and you really shouldn't worry. Just be alert, not scared, or really over-caustious.

    They acknowledge that they are in a financial bind. They feel that setting themselves in Chapter 13 will allow them to continue to live as they do. Chapter 7 would not. They simply have you listed as one of the household bills that MUST be paid month. So you were one of many (cable, cell phone, gas vendors,) that were notified that they in deed filed Chapter 13. Other creditors that they owe a lot of money to, will break it down into payments, and settle the account. You are like a water bill, electric, phone, and what not, they "have" to have the service to run and keep up the household. At least this is how they listed and explained your monthly bill in the bankruptcy declaration.

    But you have a heads up from the trustee or court official. Just keep an eye on them. Make your payment terms very clear on your invoice, and make sure they pay by the due date for the maintenance. Any additional work will have to be paid at time of arrival....it's your "new" policy. Only you have to know that's it's your new "possible deadbeat" policy....but a policy none the less.

    If they don't pay by the due date, cancel service and start the phone calls. Stop by on a Saturday morning if need be. Worst case....you'll write off a loss for one months service....WRITE IT OFF....worst case! You may get another two years of income from them before the worst case scenario happens...if it ever does.

    Don't lose a good profitable customer over a private matter that they have now declared and made public.

    Just my dimes worth.

  9. DJ Contracting

    DJ Contracting LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 487

    I kind of like the idea of contacting them and maybe work out being paid as I service the account until the can work things out.
  10. bohiaa

    bohiaa LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,220

    Not sure about the other advice....

    But remember sometimes doing good deeds can really pay off.......

    especially when people are in need

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