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What to do, what to do?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by mtdman, Oct 13, 2003.

  1. mtdman

    mtdman LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,143

    So, I've got a long time customer that I stopped mowing last month because of constant late payments. She has always been late about a month, but she always paid. In August she was 2 months late and owed me for September upcoming. PLUS she owed me $40 for snow removal that I let slide because she was a lawn customer, I figured she would pay eventually. Well, anyway, in August I stopped mowing because she was so late. I sent her a letter asking for all the money and a deposit to continue service. I got a check for 2 of the months, no snow, no 3rd month, no deposit. I cashed that check, and did not mow.

    Well, today, I got a check from her for the 3rd month and a note asking why I hadn't been mowing. I am determined not to resume her service at this point no matter what. I never did the mowing in Sept, so I don't want to keep all of the check she sent. The question is, do I cash the check she sent and take the $40 she owes for snow, and send her the balance? Or just send her back the check and ask for the $40 in snow and tell her she's done with?

    And yes, I know, I should have stopped sooner. But she's a 4 year customer that has always paid late, but always paid. No more letting people slide.
  2. FrankenScagMachines

    FrankenScagMachines LawnSite Platinum Member
    from IN
    Messages: 4,739

    I think cash it, keep the $40 and send her the balance along with a letter for termination of services, this way you have all of the money you are owed. Oh, you will tack on the appropriate late fees right? (can't make them up just now, but if you already have 'em use 'em!) My late fee policy is:

    Money due by 15th of month (billed on 1st for services during previous month), if payment not received by 15th, a $20 late fee is tacked on. If payment not received by 30th, services will be terminated. Yes I could lose 4 mowings this way but better than the 8 or so that you could have lost letting her slide. One customer moved 40 minutes away and owed $220, they now owe $280 because of 3 months' worth late fees. They'd been late a couple times before but only a couple days, always paid no complaints or questions asked. I don't have their new address or phone number but I will find them and get my money, i'm done playing games. Study Bobbygedd's posts for forcing the payment outta deadbeats!!!! good luck!
  3. Sam-Ohio

    Sam-Ohio LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 304

    I would cash her check, take out what she owes you for plowing, and mail her your check , to return the balance to her. If you simply return her check uncashed, and she knows there will be no more services from you, she will never pay up.

    GRAB THE MONEY AND RUN !!! She owes it to you, so why should you be embarassed to collect what is owed to you. She hasn't been embarrased to be always late, for months at a time, for the years you have carried her. She is just careless about her debts, and pushes it as far as she can get away with it. People like that generally don't get better, and even if she promises to be on time with your bills from now on - she will slip back into her old ways again. You have the chance to get out with most of what has been owed to you for so long, - cash out and don't look back !!!
  4. o-so-n-so

    o-so-n-so LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Alabama
    Messages: 1,218

    If the check is for mowing that you didn't perform...don't cash it.
    Carry the check back in person and ask for the $40.00 for the snow. Make a copy of her pay history and explain to her why you are discontinuing services and ask her to pay whats owed. If she pays..good. If not....start a new thread on "what to do if customer will not pay".

    Good Luck...
  5. Rustic Goat

    Rustic Goat LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,194

    Send her the 'change' in the form of a money order with a note detailing her account activity.

    Sounds like you're really trying to do right by the customer and didn't read any animosity in your post about client.
    Leads to this question-
    Is there some factor or circumstance about this client that makes her unable to understand the situation, as in elderly, or not mentally 'with it', or is she just using you as a short term loan company?
  6. mtdman

    mtdman LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,143

    I'm not really pissed at her, now. Like I said, I got the mowing money from her in August, and I never did the work in Sept so I won't take that money from her. I was pretty pissed in August when she was 2 months behind, but she paid. She's been this way for a while, paying late but always paying. I am just not interested in carrying her anymore.

    I am not real sure what the deal is with them. They are elderly, I know. I have only seen them outside the house once in 4 years, and have only spoken with her on the phone once. I dunno if they go away a lot or are just shut ins or what. They let their newspapers pile up in the driveway, they just sit there. In the winter, I got a nice soggy old paper jammed in my snowblower and it took an hour to get the paper out of the auger. Which doesn't make their snow tardieness any better.

    I am leaning to cashing the check and sending the balance back. I sent several letters about the snow balance prior to August, with no reply. If I send her back the check, I doubt I'll ever see the $40 again, and I'm not one to throw away $$ for services I performed over 6 months ago.

    Either way, I won't return to servicing their account. I drove by the lawn last week on my route and the grass hadn't been cut since August, about a foot long.
  7. Richard Martin

    Richard Martin LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,699

    Frank wrote:

    I don't have their new address or phone number but I will find them and get my money, i'm done playing games.

    www.olddebts.com can help you out with this. For a very small fee they will send the deadbeat 3 collection letters, put it on their credit record with the big 3 reporting agencies and they can also find out where the deadbeats moved to.
  8. FrankenScagMachines

    FrankenScagMachines LawnSite Platinum Member
    from IN
    Messages: 4,739

    SWEET!!! Thanks alot Richard! I owe ya bud :drinkup: I'll definately look into that!
  9. Doc Pete

    Doc Pete LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,469

    Why haven't you talked to her in person?????? It may resolve things..........
  10. dvmcmrhp52

    dvmcmrhp52 LawnSite Platinum Member
    from Pa.
    Messages: 4,205

    Cash the check,Keep what she owes you and give her a refund for the rest. Talk with her when you give her the refund and find out what the problem is, If you cannot equitably resolve it right then and there remove her from the list.JMO.

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