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LawnTard
12-04-2011, 09:47 PM
I tried to buy a Lawn Care business from someone on CraigsList from a guy. Since then I found out he sold the business to 3 other people in the Denton and Dallas Texas area. He's also running the scam in Austin Texas. Charges were filed in the Denton courts for 4 counts of theft. Beware buying an existing business or you might lose big like me.

SECTLANDSCAPING
12-04-2011, 11:37 PM
sorry to hear that. One of the problems with buying a service business is you cant guarantee the clients will stay. Thats if its legit unlike in this situation.

Steve
12-05-2011, 11:10 AM
Oh WOW!

Can you tell us more about this scam he is pulling to help other members avoid similar situations in their area?

LawnTard
12-06-2011, 06:53 AM
Like the other poster indicated, you can expect a drop in clients as soon as you buy a legit business simply because you're not the guy they know and signed up with. In this case the guy claimed he had around 260 clients, I sent out letters saying that I'd be taking care of their account because he was moving and the new office number is ect. A bunch of letters came back undelivered because that person doesn't live there. But more alarming was that my answering machine was full of people saying things like, "I don't know who he is...", "My son mows my lawn...", "He mowed my lawn last year a few times but we fired him for...", "He owes me for services not performed...". My answering machine was full of people who didn't know the guy or wasn't using him. I also got a bunch of letters back saying similar things.

Then I found 3 other guys that he "sold" his lawn business to as well. They all had similar stories. They also gave him a down payment. It's not a bad program because the police wanted to say it's a civil court matter, until they found out that he'd done it so many times.

If you're new to he biz you might be better off just getting the accounts yourself, not buying them. If you're in the biz it's better to just fake sell your business to one person so the police can't establish a pattern of fraud.

DeMenkey
12-06-2011, 11:16 AM
Wow. Thanks for the info. I had 13k two weeks ago to buy a predone business here but everybody's equipment ked crappy or they sounded funny.

eMCeeW
12-06-2011, 01:28 PM
Ugh, some people are low. I hope this only encourages you to make a good name for yourself and develope an awesome business.

Steve
12-07-2011, 06:54 PM
How was this deal put together?

Did you get a chance first to visit all the customers? Did you meet him in person?

Was this deal just for the customer list or was it for equipment too?

How did he handle payment? Did he take the down payment and then disappear and when was final payment to be made?

LawnTard
12-07-2011, 11:44 PM
The scammer worked in different ways. He learned from me that he couldn't just sell the accounts. I put a 5K deposit down (I lost the least), after that I mailed all the "customers" letters that said I'm the new owner bla bla bla. I got a bunch of people who said I've never heard of that business or that person before. My son, husband, another company ect. mows my lawn, we don't use a lawn service. You name it I heard it over and over again. I had a performance clause in my contract that said if you lose more than x% then the deal is off. Well he never had 260 accounts to begin with, I suspect he had more like 80. Like I said the other victims were scammed differently, I guess he realized that if he's going to get more money he'd have to drag it out so he can get the big payment. I can't speak to their experiences but He moved towards selling a partnership. No I didn't visit 260 customers, yes it came with some crappy equipment, no he didn't disappear. He's an ex-laywer so he tried to blame it on me and use his knowledge of the law to stay out of reach. He knew it would be a civil matter like the cops said but that money came too easy, he couldn't stop doing it. But as luck would have it the four of us met each other and when all of us presented the evidence they knew it wasn't a civil issue.

Interestingly enough you can Google his name and see where he lost his license to practice law. From a lawyer to scamming people to cutting grass to scamming people again.

Steve
12-09-2011, 12:08 PM
Did any warning lights go off when you first met him in person or any other time besides when you started to get those mailings back?

If you were to look to buy another business again, how would you do it differently this time?

LawnTard
12-10-2011, 12:35 AM
No warning lights went off for me or any of his other victims, in my opinion that number is closer to 10 than the 4 that are in my case. I don't think there can be that many complete fools, also it makes me more comfortable to say the guys a good con artist. Wait, when he told me he had the routes memorized instead of written down that should of flagged me but the deal was so good and I thought he was just super disorganized.

It's better, cheaper and you're customers will be more loyal if you build your business one at a time, I've bought several lawn companies and the customers just aren't your customers and they regret you taking over. They'll fade out at maybe a 50% rate in three years. Regardless of the story you tell someone, they want to be the ones making the decision they don't want you to take care of their lawn as a result of a decision they didn't make... Yes even if the work is better. If you still want to buy one then do it with low down payment and owner financed, there's a certain amount of honestly that takes place when the owner knows he's not going to get paid if he's not on the up and up.

Good Luck

Steve
12-10-2011, 01:33 PM
Wow that is very interesting!

So for those who have gotten themselves caught up in a similar situation, what's your suggest what to do? When you feel like you are being scammed, where should you go and what recourse do you have?

LawnTard
12-11-2011, 08:59 AM
If you get scammed it's a civil issue (which means nothing will be done) you're basically SOL. If a career criminal does it and he can't stop and you can find the other victims (that's a big if) then you might be lucky enough to get the Police involved.

hawthornelawncare
12-11-2011, 09:02 PM
I tried to buy a Lawn Care business from someone on CraigsList from a guy named Kevin Capps. Since then I found out he sold the business to 3 other people in the Denton and Dallas Texas area. He's also running the scam in Austin Texas. Charges were filed in the Denton courts for 4 counts of theft. Beware buying an existing business or you might lose big like me.

Criminal Case Records Search Results
Logout My Account Search Menu New Criminal Search Refine Search
Location : All Courts Help
Record Count: 4
Search By: Defendant Exact Name: on Party Search Mode: Name Last Name: capps First Name: kevin Middle Name: ray Case Status: All Sort By: Filed Date
Case Number Citation Number Defendant Info Filed/Location/Judicial Officer Type/Status Charge(s)
CR-90-00876-CC
Capps, Kevin Ray
12/21/1970
02/07/1990
Probate Court
Godfrey, Hollis
Adult Misdemeanor
Inactive: Disposed
SPEEDING (APPEAL FROM LOWER COURT)
CR-90-05176-AA
Capps, Kevin Ray
12/21/1970
10/09/1990
County Court At Law #1
Whitten, Darlene A
Adult Misdemeanor
Inactive: Disposed
SPEEDING (APPEAL FROM LOWER COURT)
CR-2010-07426-A
Capps, Kevin Ray
12/21/1970
11/09/2010
County Criminal Court #5
Podgorski, Richard S.
Adult Misdemeanor
Inactive: Disposed
DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED/OPEN ALCH CONTAINER(BT)
F-2011-1414-A
Capps, Kevin R.
12/21/1970
06/23/2011
16th Judicial District Court
Rivera-Worley, Carmen
Felony by Indictment
Active
THEFT PROP>=$1,500<$20K

stevef1201
12-12-2011, 07:26 AM
Now I realise that this is somewhat shi**y, but when I see lawn care company for sale, I advertise inthe local newspaper "JOE BLOW lawn care is up for sale, so it looks like his customrs may need a new servicer. If you call me in the next two weeks at xxx-xxxx I will give you better service, and your first cut is free" . I have pick up a few customers, gotten a few phone calls about how this guy scammed customrs, friends, etc. Why should I pay you for your customers list, your old crappy equipment, etc when I can get your customers, and use my new equipment for just the price an advertisement. Makes no sense to me.

Steve
12-12-2011, 10:22 AM
If you get scammed it's a civil issue (which means nothing will be done) you're basically SOL.

Could you hire an attorney to get your money back or maybe do something with small claims court?

when I see lawn care company for sale, I advertise inthe local newspaper "JOE BLOW lawn care is up for sale, so it looks like his customrs may need a new servicer.

I would think most businesses that are for sale, wouldn't advertise the business name, but maybe I am wrong about this? How often do you see local businesses up for sale that include the business name in the ad?

SECTLANDSCAPING
12-14-2011, 09:50 PM
Now I realise that this is somewhat shi**y, but when I see lawn care company for sale, I advertise inthe local newspaper "JOE BLOW lawn care is up for sale, so it looks like his customrs may need a new servicer. If you call me in the next two weeks at xxx-xxxx I will give you better service, and your first cut is free" . I have pick up a few customers, gotten a few phone calls about how this guy scammed customrs, friends, etc. Why should I pay you for your customers list, your old crappy equipment, etc when I can get your customers, and use my new equipment for just the price an advertisement. Makes no sense to me.

interesting marketing strategy. What kind of success have you had with this? Do you think some of the calls are just interested in the free cut and are not associated with the other landscaper?

Steve
12-16-2011, 04:28 PM
And how would you be able to confirm those that called were using this other lawn service?

LawnTard
01-29-2012, 10:58 PM
Looks like he's gearing up another company to sell to someone.
These are the lawn businesses he claims to own.
Lawn Ventures Inc (is the newest one)
Lone Star Lawn and Landscaping
OC Lawn Care
Operation Cut Lawn and Tree Services

dpld
01-30-2012, 07:52 AM
Now I realise that this is somewhat shi**y, but when I see lawn care company for sale, I advertise inthe local newspaper "JOE BLOW lawn care is up for sale, so it looks like his customrs may need a new servicer. If you call me in the next two weeks at xxx-xxxx I will give you better service, and your first cut is free" . I have pick up a few customers, gotten a few phone calls about how this guy scammed customrs, friends, etc. Why should I pay you for your customers list, your old crappy equipment, etc when I can get your customers, and use my new equipment for just the price an advertisement. Makes no sense to me.


somewhere, somehow i could see that being a issue for you.
that would have to fall into a slander type of category and even though every business can say they are better or bigger then the next guy i do not believe you can actually list anothers name like that unless it were in regards to a poll like " 9 out of 10 women prefer sweet and fresh over masengil ".

the guy could have a good legitimate business for sale that he busted his tail for and is selling due to injury, age or even just greener pastures.
if it were a good business he would be entitled to compensation by selling it and in the right scenario the purchaser could be far better off and further along then if he started from scratch.

and even when " you get the custmers on your own " it is never free, as well as takes a lot longer and requires a much longer stretch of financial cash flow problems when the work is slow and minimal.

i don't believe in much hokus pokus crap but i do believe " what goes around, comes around " in everything you do in life and when the wheel comes full turn i just can't envision anything good waiting for me when i got there if i were to do a pitch scam like that.

Steve
01-30-2012, 03:42 PM
if it were a good business he would be entitled to compensation by selling it and in the right scenario the purchaser could be far better off and further along then if he started from scratch.

If you were looking to buy a lawn care business from an online craigslist ad, what steps do you feel would be necessary to make sure you were getting what was being advertised and it was a good deal for you?

dpld
01-30-2012, 07:18 PM
If you were looking to buy a lawn care business from an online craigslist ad, what steps do you feel would be necessary to make sure you were getting what was being advertised and it was a good deal for you?

i don't even know if i would consider doing a deal like that on CL but, who knows.
you definitly need to look at all cash reciepts over the last few years and if they don't have them, see ya.
bank records are a must.
speaking to the customers and how long they have used the services is big.
are the customers under contract or is it word of mouth?

lawyers need to be involved and not one for all, seperate attorneys.
the terms requested are usually outrageous, guys think that they are gonna get someone to just hand over a large sum of cash just like that.

i know guys that bought businesses and it worked out for them but you have to do your research and you can not take anyones word that what they are selling you is the golden egg. and if you don't take the time and trouble and investigate you will be screwed because no one else is gonna do it for you. providing it is a established business there is always a paper trail as well as the customers and how long they been a customer to help determine if it is worth buying.
most that i spoke to about it over the years have said it takes a long time to find the right business for sale and 99 out of 100 are garbage.

under the right circumstances it can be a big quick boost for a business, but it is like finding a needle in a hay stack and if all you are gonna do is buy some slackers business you might as well just put the money into advertiseing and build it up the old fashioned way.

finally, with craigslist if has been up there for any amount of time or constantly gets re-listed it is probably beat.
nothing good slips through the cracks there it always gets snatched up and disappears as fast as it came.

Steve
02-01-2012, 12:22 AM
most that i spoke to about it over the years have said it takes a long time to find the right business for sale and 99 out of 100 are garbage.

I think this is a very interesting point. I would venture to guess that any business worth buying is not going to be posted on craigslist. But if by chance one is, do you think there are any good reasons a business owner looking to sell, is going to have to explain why they want out?

It seems like selling a lawn care business on craigslist can be too easy an escape route for a business owner who finds themselves in debt with no way out but to sell a poorly run business that helped to put them in debt.

LawnTard
03-06-2012, 09:18 PM
The newest company name that this guy is using is Lawn Ventures LLC. Don't buy a business from him it's a scam.



fraud

ch4x0r
03-08-2012, 06:44 PM
The newest company name that this guy is using is Lawn Ventures LLC. Don't buy a business from him it's a scam.



fraud
I am just curious do any of you guy's happen to have a email address or anything of that sort on this scammer? I think it's pretty sad people like him scams hard working people trying to better themselves out of their money and i myself well maybe if his internet or computer didn't work then he couldn't advertise so much :) So any info or a link to his ads please send my way or post on this thread thank you.

stevef1201
03-08-2012, 07:24 PM
forget buying a business off CL. If there really is someone selling, then there customers for the taking

kalawn
03-09-2012, 11:48 PM
we have had 2 very good experiences buying businesses of CL. We purchased a large snow removal company before the snow season that did mostly commercial properties with around 25 residentials and we only lost 3 residential customers and actually got all of the commercial companies into multi year contracts and all but 2 residentials in a contract for next year. It came with alot of equipment in excellent condition and the owner was very upfront about everything and we had all the equipment checked, all of the financials looked over by our lawyer and accountant and we met with all the clients before any money was exchanged. We also purchased a lawn/property preservation business last week and have had the same luck so far with multi year contracts entered and so on. I have seen many horrible ones on CL and it helps if you have an established name and reputation when purchasing a business to help the transition. I agree if the ad keeps getting reposted or if it has been there for along time its best to not waste your time. I have seen several ads listing the business name that is being sold as well as a general area where it is located, but I think advertising to take the customers from the business for sale is just bad business and what goes around comes around.

LawnTard
04-05-2012, 09:56 PM
Well it looks like Kevin Capps has slowed down his lawn business scam to move on to easier prey.
http://www.jailbase.com/en/arrested/tx-dcso/2012-02-21/kevin-ray-capps-492483