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Collections & A/R Issues we ALL have....

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  • Collections & A/R Issues we ALL have....

    Riddle me this fellas..... Why the hell is it that if one of us shoplifted a $1 candy bar we'd be put in cuffs, yet clients can default on account balances in the hundreds after signing a binding contract, duck your calls, not answer the door when you know that their home & that's a civil matter? You can lein the house but what good is that likely to do for you? If you were to take a $300 deposit on landscape work & never show up do you think that would be treated as a civil matter? Bet not. You'd end up arrested for fraud & operating a business in bad faith. So why is there no legislature to protect us out there yet? In most cases it's not like we can go repo our products for lack of payment. We can't get our service hours, labor, fuel, maintenence back so how the hell are we supposed to fight back & protect ourselves?

  • #2
    I hear ya man.

    I did a big tree/shrub planting job for a customer and chased him for my money for the entire season.

    (it's illegal to remove the plants from his yard once they are planted - interesting right? Especially when he didn't pay)

    It's not like they'd hire me if I wanted to charge up front, even then sometimes you have to charge as you go - which is why we depend on our customers.

    We need a way for us to NOT depend on our customers, too much risk is involved - too much B.S!!!!

    Forget what anyone tells you, were going to have to ask for a larger deposit from customers before any work is done.

    It's a big trust issue...

    You start the job and ask for payment after = customer can rip you off

    You ask for payment before you start the job = customer thinks you'll rip him off



    I say F'em... Everything should be paid for in advance.



    If you charge $100/m for lawn maintenance but didn't show up for whatever two-sided reason, the customer will say, "I want it taken off my bill"

    - too damn bad! Because from now on my prices don't get divided up into individual visits, it's a one time fee per month.


    Just like any other service.. If you have satellite and pay to have tons of channels.. Just because you didn't watch every episode doesn't entitle you to a discount... OTHER companies can do it, now we should be able to.


    Set prices, minimum prices, nothing is divided anymore to accommodated the cheap a55 customers.
    Last edited by CHEESE2009; 10-26-2010, 10:42 PM.

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    • #3
      Psssttt...

      U want I should send over my dawg to pee on the deadbeat's lawn?




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      • #4
        Psssttt...

        U want I should send over my dawg to pee on the deadbeat's lawn?






        I already pee on their lawns... lol

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        • #5
          I am sorry about all that happening and you are right. It seems that the laws are tilted away from the contractor.

          Have you considered taking any of the problem customers to small claims court yet? Or what have you found to be the best way to deal with non paying customers?
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          • #6
            When I set up my business I had good advice from the lawyer. Litgation is not cheap but adding the line about paying reasonable atornies fees and cost for collection helped. He has had to take 3 people to court this year. Actual damages were less than 500 dollars but the judge ordered alost 1800 in payments to cover attorny fees and costs. They were pissed about haveing to pay so much more. He also request and got a siezure order for one of them, that means that (I) we could sieze any property personal or real and sell it to cover the ordered payment. Even had one of them call me an a__hole over this.

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            • #7
              They didn't pay YOU, made YOU chase them around to get paid, still didn't pay YOU, but YOUR the a55hole. That is just total audacity to me. I really like putting this in late bill notices:

              "If we have to send this to collection, you will be responsible to pay in addition to the amount you owe, all additional collection costs we incur to collect this debt, including lawyer fees. A judgment or lean against your personal property will also occur. So please take this moment to settle this debt to avoid all this unnecessary legal action."

              Anyone who I have to stop, I make it a point to stop when ever I see another contractor servicing them to let them know they screwed me so be careful.
              http://www.lunchesruslawncare.com

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              • #8
                When I set up my business I had good advice from the lawyer. Litgation is not cheap but adding the line about paying reasonable atornies fees and cost for collection helped. He has had to take 3 people to court this year. Actual damages were less than 500 dollars but the judge ordered alost 1800 in payments to cover attorny fees and costs. They were pissed about haveing to pay so much more. He also request and got a siezure order for one of them, that means that (I) we could sieze any property personal or real and sell it to cover the ordered payment. Even had one of them call me an a__hole over this.
                In the past we talked about collections on here, but I think most of the time it was small claims and without an attorney.

                What made you choose to use an attorney and was this still small claims court?

                Looking back at it now, do you think you could have gotten the same results yourself or were the results due to the fact you had an attorney?

                I am sure others wonder if it is worth it or not.
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                • #9
                  One guy only owed one month. his wife told me when I showed up to mow that they didn't me anymore as they had bought a mower. I said ok. (this stuff happens) and she said that they would send me a check. I sent (over 3 months) 6 letters and knocked on thier door about 20 time. So I turned it over to the lawyer. Judgment was for me of course, original bill was only 120 dollars, lawyer fees 250, cost 200. my loss of pay for being in court that day 300. cost of serving with court order for seizure 150. Then the actual seizure and sale of personal property was 150. We sold everthing that we could get our hands on to cover all of the above cost. She was really pissed when she had to turn over her engagment and weeding rings. Cry cry cry, buckets of tears. told her if she payed her damn bills she would not have this problem. (found out later that they forclosed on for not makeing payments on house, had thier car repossed.) Very glad I was the first to go after them

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                  • #10
                    She was really pissed when she had to turn over her engagment and weeding rings.
                    This is really fascinating! How did you go about seizing such personal property?

                    I would think that would be very difficult?
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                    • #11
                      Yeah no kidding, I want to know too.... Steve, how did they/you go about seizing the property? Nice to here a positive result & that one of us actually won one.
                      I spoke with a lawyer (happened to pick up a new client 2 days ago who convieniently an attorney) about this subject, he said his guess why if they don't pay us ends up as a civil matter not a criminal matter is that the court stem would be simply over run by companies all over the country filing suits against every deadbeat out there. So the courts simply rule that a civil matter to keep from having to deal with most of these cases. Lousy huh?
                      This crap gets me enraged to no end. Makes one want to retaliate somehow & cost them as much money as they stiffed you for. I won't do this because it's wrong, illegal, & would be devastating to your companies image if you got caught.... but I am not saying I haven't thought about it.
                      people are great & at the same time some of them are just piles.

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                      • #12
                        happened to pick up a new client 2 days ago who convieniently an attorney
                        Do you think he could help you resolve any problems maybe even in trade? I bet you could learn a lot from him. Maybe there are things he could help you with when it comes to contracts that improve the business process?
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                        • #13
                          Although it is not fair to the people that pay on time or even ahead of time, I think it is time to add a small $1.50 fee or so to make up for the one or two people that screw me every year for unpaid work. It's usually $500 a year. One year was $21,000. That was when I did work for an investment company, it's a long story but I never got that money and there was nothing I could do. I was on a long list and I was at the bottom of people/companies owed millions. The thing about small claims is that once awarded, you still have to collect. I had a guy run into my trailer on the highway (the first day of work the next year after I got screwed out of $21k, so I was really hurting) I got his insurance info but turned out he didn't even have the insurance... it was canceled a week before. I was awarded $10k in court but couldn't collect because the private investigator from my lawyers firm didn't get enough info from the guy. I was told to follow him and find out where he works and banks, but he lived too far away for me to mess with. I have brought small claims of $250, $240, $975 to court but of course all I did was pay first to have them served by certified mail then after that didn't work, a sheriff which of course costs more and was unsuccessful. It has always been a waste of my time and loss of more money to bring them to court... it's BS!

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                          • #14
                            One year was $21,000. That was when I did work for an investment company, it's a long story but I never got that money and there was nothing I could do. I was on a long list and I was at the bottom of people/companies owed millions.
                            OH WOW! I am sorry about that happening! Can you tell us a little about it. What kind of job it was and how they initially found you? Looking back now, what lessons do you feel you learned from the experience so you never repeated that situation again? I bet you have a lot of advise from this as to what others need to look out for before they start a job.
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                            • #15
                              Luckily, I haven't had many late pays this year, but there are always those potentials on your receivable list. One thing I will try when someone refuses to pay is to go to the local police department and file a criminal complaint of 'Theft of Services', similar to what cartage companies do when someone is caught putting trash in a dumpster they didn't rent. This way, the police show up at the house and the (former) client has to explain themselves and hopefully pays up. If they do get arrested, I would enjoy getting a copy of the arrest record and mailing it to all of their adjacent neighbors for a little dose of humiliation.

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