First i wouldtry to call the customer and settle out of court
or, you could hire a "situation resolver", you can find these guys usually at a red cross or other free organization in your area, they help you out so you dont need to go to court.
Id also try to type up a legal form that states you are going to be taking them to court, some people get scared and pay right away
or the final stage spend the $100.00 and take them to court....if you have a contract, and did the job(s) right, then there will be no problems getting your $ plus the late fees, plus the 100 you spent on court.
i would never set up payment arrangements, come on....thats just begging not to be paid..
if you do , make sure EVERYTHING is in writing, every detail...then when they dont pay, take them to the court with documents.
ive never had to go as far as to put a lien on someone for landscaping services...
never back down in court, if you lose, which you prob wont, appeal again. most of the time the dead beats know they are in the wrong and dont show up to court anyways.
now, if you win in court, and the people still havent paid, you go to the clerk of judicial records in your town, where you could actually hire a sherriff to go to the house with you, (another $100.00), and TAKE STUFF FROM THEIR HOUSE WORTH THE BALANCE OWED!!
ive done it before and it seems to be the only way to actually collect on some people evern though they get preyyt mad...but hey....pay your bills....we all do.
I hope i helped a little
this is how it is done in PA, your state may differ.
WE DO NEED A DEAD BEAT LIST!!!
I ACTUALLY THINK THAT THEY HAVE SOMETHING LIKE THAT IN THE COURTHOUSE!!!!