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Trials & Tribulations - The drama of running a business and of life. It's not as easy as it looks. Running a business is full of drama. Customers, employees, money, family, time. You name it, it's a problem. Share with us your drama and how you handled it.

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Trials & Tribulations - The drama of running a business and of life.

It's not as easy as it looks. Running a business is full of drama. Customers, employees, money, family, time. You name it, it's a problem. Share with us your drama and how you handled it.
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Old 12-14-2011, 08:11 PM
Clays Landscape Clays Landscape is offline
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I did a lawn renovation for a lady 25 miles away this fall. It including tilling up her entire yard, reseeding, lime fertilizer, create/edge beds around home, $220 of mulch and planting of 10 rose bushes. The yard is in a very low swampy area and is always wet.

Well the total bill came up to just under $1,500 with $850 being materials/tractor use. This job was done October 15 and the lady just paid me $615.68 today. I have been in contact with her reminding her but she continues to start that she is not happy that her yard is still wet. The estimate had the exact phrase "surface tilling", NOT REGRADING!

She refuses to pay until I come back in the spring and level the entire yard which would require hauling many loads of dirt in. I am not willing to do this. I have been back twice, free of charge, with a drag and worked for several hours!

Everyone, please be completely honest and let me know how you would handle this situation. I appreciate anything as this has really been bothering me.

Thanks!!!
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Old 12-14-2011, 08:32 PM
bruces bruces is offline
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what did your contract say about payment ? are you still able to lean the job or has your time run out?
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Old 12-14-2011, 09:03 PM
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what did your contract say about payment ? are you still able to lean the job or has your time run out?
Net 15 days. What do you mean by lean the job? Sorry, I am not up on all this bill collection stuff
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Old 12-14-2011, 09:06 PM
Clays Landscape Clays Landscape is offline
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One other item I forgot to mention. This job was an insurance job as lighting struck her well and they had to redig her well so the insurance paid to have her yard redone.
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Old 12-14-2011, 09:54 PM
SECTLANDSCAPING SECTLANDSCAPING is offline
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One other item I forgot to mention. This job was an insurance job as lighting struck her well and they had to redig her well so the insurance paid to have her yard redone.
I would contact them directly.

I think he means a lien on the property. If your a licensed contractor you can put a lien on the property. Each state is very different on how its applied.
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Old 12-15-2011, 06:44 AM
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My first questions would be do you have a legal contract, signed? If so it's real easy send the contract to the local bill collection agency and let them handle it. Or alternatively send her a certified letter that you intend to file a claim in court against her. Then file it.

I cannot stress the importance of 'signed legal contract' before you do any work. No matter who you are, what service you want to provide. The biggest mistake people make when setting up thier business is not contacting a lawyer. Yes it is a cost but it is deductable, and he/she will get you set up with all the information and paperwork to have a legal business. This makes it much easier to collect on people like this.
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Old 12-15-2011, 12:49 PM
TiedemanLLC TiedemanLLC is offline
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This is what I would do. Document everything first. Phone calls, emails, letters sent, etc.

Then call her again and speak with her. Tell her what you just told us about it was not for drainage. Try to be as polite as possible, but if she still gets defensive then it's time to be aggresive. And I don't mean yelling aggressive, I mean, being firm, yet still very polite.

There are two options of being aggressive with the collection. 1) Ask her if he insurance has already paid for the work, and if so, she is doing insurance fraud in which you will turn it into the local authorities. Sure it may not technically be insurance fraud, but it will still scare her a bit.

2) The other option is to inform her that you will submit the final due to a collections agency, in which the amount will show up on her credit history for seven years.

The main thing is to be remain professional, calm, firm, yet polite thoroughout this entire process.
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Old 12-16-2011, 06:37 PM
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Could you also take her to small claims court?

Another thing I was thinking, in future jobs, would it be better to require a certain amount of money at first to cover materials? Especially when the job is over $1000?

As you reflect on this job do you feel you would do anything differently next time?
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Old 12-16-2011, 07:10 PM
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Could you also take her to small claims court?

Another thing I was thinking, in future jobs, would it be better to require a certain amount of money at first to cover materials? Especially when the job is over $1000?

As you reflect on this job do you feel you would do anything differently next time?
Steve made an excellent point. We have a $500 amount. Once it hits $500, we require 50% down before the work is completed, and 50% after completition. We also have been experimenting lately with a 50%, 25%, 25% technique. That is a little bit harder though.
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Old 12-16-2011, 08:54 PM
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Steve made an excellent point. We have a $500 amount. Once it hits $500, we require 50% down before the work is completed, and 50% after completition. We also have been experimenting lately with a 50%, 25%, 25% technique. That is a little bit harder though.
So with that being said, am I at loss with this job? Should I not do anything else?
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