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what is the proper way to collect debt?

Discussion in 'Business Operations' started by beachtownlawnservice, Jan 5, 2012.

  1. beachtownlawnservice

    beachtownlawnservice LawnSite Member
    Messages: 104

    what is the most professional yet stern way to collect debt from customers that have a unpaid balance?
    I have two customers that have given me every excuse imaginable , car broke down, I'm sick, lost my job , etc.. i have given up on calling and sending out invoices each month. I want your professional / legal opinion on the best way to settle a situation like this. i have let small debts go before but both of these accounts have over $300 each on the books. if they were senior citizens that were really sick or financially struggling i would let go. hell i would probably take care of there property a time or two if i was in the neighborhood. but both of these customers are young ,employed, in good health, just wont pay there bill.
  2. FoghornLeghorn

    FoghornLeghorn LawnSite Senior Member
    from Texas
    Messages: 751

    Go to www.nationallienlaw.com and buy a "notice of intent to file lien" $15-20, it'll give you a PDF that you can use unlimited times for whatever accounts/addresses you need to. Then if after 2 weeks they haven't responded for payment, buy the lien (another 15-20 bucks) and you can use it unlimited times.

    This way, you're only out of pocket $40 or so and you get to use the form for the rest of your business life. It's way cheaper than $300 per lien x 8 homeowners.

    With the "intent to file lien", I would send a brief cover letter to each homeowner stating to the effect, "we have tried unsuccessfully to collect, bla blabla. Filing a lien is the last thing our company wants to do, so we ask you to please have your management company contact us with payment arrangements since we have not been able to get any response for them."

    You will want to send a copy of your original invoice, a copy of the notice, and the letter to homeowner

    Lastly, if the payment date comes and no arrangements have been made, then send a copy of the lien to homeowner. You will need to go to your county clerk office to file the lien as well.

    hope this helps.
  3. ringahding

    ringahding LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 611

    I like Foghorn's idea. What I usually do is mail and call, if that don't work it's time for the scare tactic. No, not threaten them.

    Whomever the main payer of the property is will POOP their pants when another individual hands them your invoice.

    Here's what I do; hand deliver it with only the last name on the envelope and let's say it's a homeowner, either one of the kids' or spouse will actually open it. To be confronted by your own family is a real kick in the pants.

    I can't begin to tell you how many times this has worked, it hasn't worked 100%, but if I were to put a % on it, I would say 80% would be an accurate number. GOOD LUCK!
  4. Fvstringpicker

    Fvstringpicker LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,639

    An extension of the above is to call the company they work for when you know they are at lunch or otherwise out. Tell whomever answers the phone that you want to leave a message that they need to call you about the delinquent bill.

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