1. Welcome to PlowSite. Notice a fresh look and new features? It’s now easier to share photos and videos, find popular topics fast, and enjoy expanded user profiles. If you have any questions, click HELP at the top or bottom of any page, or send an email to help@plowsite.com. We welcome your feedback.

    Dismiss Notice

Plowed a few houses never paid me

Discussion in 'Business Fundamentals' started by chuckraduenz, Feb 5, 2015.

  1. chuckraduenz

    chuckraduenz Senior Member
    Messages: 345

    so I had 2 houses last yr at this time. they have been on my list for about 2 yrs. I had yr round work. mow and plow snow.... so last in 2013 I sent them a invoice and after nagging I got paid. then I plowed a few more times sent invoice never got paid. plowed a few more times. sent another invoice. never got paid.... I quit plowing there driveway, sent invoice never got paid. tried calling never answered. I may also add both houses were rentals.... so the summer of 2014 tell now iv called and sent invoice. never got nothing back. so a few weeks ago I drove past both houses and both are now empty and forclosed on.... so I tried calling them again. holy cow he answer his phone. after 10min of talking. it was pretty much "to bad so sad" im guessing there is nothing I can do. he owes $350.

    I did have another guy 2yrs ago not pay me for snow removals and lawn mowings after being pissy whiny and wanted things done a certain way and then whine about his lawn after I plowed it. when it melted he complained about the lawn that I took up. I told him that he should have said something. and he was like alright... well he never paid. then when I tried to get paid he said I lot my house...... he owes me $1050....

    personaly iv about had it with residence houses.....

    pretty shure I SOL........

    any in put?
     
  2. k1768

    k1768 Senior Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 487

    If you had a contract you can take them to small claims court.
    No contract you may very well be SOL.
    I am not a lawyer. Local laws may vary.
     
  3. chuckraduenz

    chuckraduenz Senior Member
    Messages: 345

    I don't have a actual contract but I do have emails agreeing to what needs to be done and what not. but the questions I have is if I were to take them to court over $350 or the other one for $1050 what will the court take?
     
  4. k1768

    k1768 Senior Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 487

    http://www.mncourts.gov/selfhelp/?page=313


    When my wife took deadbeat clients to claims courts (different business entirely), I believe she paid a filing fee. She won the judgement and that fee was tacked onto what the deadbeat owed. When the deadbeat still didn't pay she went to a lawyer that specializes in these matters. The lawyer (with court judgement against the deadbeat) can compel (or force) the deadbeat's bank and/or employer to give the lawyer the monies owed by the deadbeat. The lawyer, of course, takes a cut of any monies recovered.

    This was my wife's business so I was not directly involved, and it was several years ago, but I am confident I got most of the facts correct.

    Only you can decide if it is worth your time and effort to pursue. If your deadbeat has already lost his house, chances are you will be behind a long list of people trying to get paid.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2015
  5. SnoFarmer

    SnoFarmer PlowSite Fanatic
    from N,E. MN
    Messages: 8,437

    Close,
    She could have don't it herself

    So you win
    They get so long to pay or appeal,
    then if none of that happens.
    You take you judgment,
    Back to the judge who saw the case.
    He reads the judgement into the record.


    You can put a lean on property go after wages
    Or go after the cash

    I went for the cash.
    The judge then gives you a writ of execution.
    You then file this with the sheriffs office for a fee.
    This compels the Sheriff ie orders the sheriff to go after the asset.
    The sheriff will go to their bank ,freeze their account . Get what your owed pluses any fees.
    The back is ordered by the judge to pay the sheriff .

    After it clears the sheriffs account they send you your money.

    Ps no lawyers in small claims court.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2015
  6. k1768

    k1768 Senior Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 487

    Yes, she could have. We found it easier to go with this guy, was recommended by a friend. We also could have pressed criminal charges on the multiple bounced checks, but the wife is too compassionate.
     
  7. SnoFarmer

    SnoFarmer PlowSite Fanatic
    from N,E. MN
    Messages: 8,437

    Sounds like a higher court than small claims.

    It's a long process it could take a year to see your money.
     
  8. k1768

    k1768 Senior Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 487

    If I recall correctly it was over a year before she began to see any money. At the time of the judgment the deadbeat had no official income or bank account. Some time later she opened a new account and our collections guy got some money out of that.
    After that the deadbeat worked out an agreement for $x/week or month. In the end she was able to recover most of the money. The rest was written off as bad debt.
     
  9. chuckraduenz

    chuckraduenz Senior Member
    Messages: 345

    so now I wana ask how often do you have people pay you and if they don't do you just quit and let them know that if they don't pay you wont be back tell they do or what do you do?
     
  10. fireball

    fireball PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 536

    your right, forget residences and go after the big guys. Go commercial, sign contracts with all the NSP's that you can. Let them stiff you too. That way, you get a Jeff Foxworthy tee shirt that says "been there, did that too"

    There is a long time between getting a judgement and getting actual money. Its a lot easier just stopping service after 30 days and crossing their names off your list. What you will find after going through the judicial system, there is a small minority of people who take advantage of good hearted small contractors. This includes lawyers too. It is not unusual for your lawyer to settle for pennies on the dollar because it is easier for him than to fight for what is right.
     
  11. IHI

    IHI Senior Member
    from Iowa
    Messages: 245

    IF all they owe you is $350 and just write that up as educational training, then move on LOL.

    Residential work sucks, I cut my teeth doing it and learned quickly how people will take advantage of ya, somehow after a few weeks trying to get paid with nothing, they'd end up with a lot of snow at the end of their driveway....those damn city streets sure roll off the city blades weird sometimes hmmmmm...

    Anyhow, I billed every two weeks initially to stay on top of it, then switched to weekly to make the hit less hard for the homie if it was a bad winter, and made sure I knew where not to plow at the next storm.

    But yeah, screw resi drives, go commercial. So drawbacks with those too since payments are out longer but you will get paid (typically)
     
  12. SnoFarmer

    SnoFarmer PlowSite Fanatic
    from N,E. MN
    Messages: 8,437

    It took me 6 months to see my money.,

    Why go after it, because their stealing your money.
     
  13. k1768

    k1768 Senior Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 487

    EXACTLY!
    That's what irked me the most. My wife had already given this deadbeat a discounted rate, and was being very understanding with payments, asked for a steady amount of $x per week. When the deadbeat hadn't paid in a month my wife asked her about it. That's when the deadbeat turned psycho, said all my wife was after was money, started to bad mouth her and the business publicly and then vanished.
    That's when I wanted wife to press charges and send Sheriffs Deputy after her (which according to court clerk was an option since it was apparent she wrote checks that she knew would not clear, which is fraud).

    But that's all in the past.
    To the OP: best of luck in this and future matters. It may have been an expensive lesson, don't let it be a wasted one.
     
  14. IHI

    IHI Senior Member
    from Iowa
    Messages: 245

    But at the same time you have to use your head/common sense. You can argue principal until your blue in the face; and I get that, I really do...but when your in business there is a point where you cut your losses and move forward, my first year I started my construction business I budgeted/expected to be swindled out of $10,000 that year with no pays. As business grew, so did the amount of no pays, my last year before I hung up my tool belt it was just shy of $28,000 I was owed...not by just one person, $500 here, $1200 there, $300 here, yada yada yada...I'm not wasting my time, and spending MY MONEY over frivolous amounts like that putting liens on properties, having to renew my liens to keep them active, file court paperwork to try and sue...I can make a lot more in that amount of time lost than it's worth....so there is a tipping point.

    I do know a few guys that will spend $2000 to win $200 owed because of principal...I'm not that person and think that's ignorant...as a business, if you don't budget for loss, your screwed before you ever start because there is not a business in the world that don't take hits, and that's just how it is.
     
  15. SnoFarmer

    SnoFarmer PlowSite Fanatic
    from N,E. MN
    Messages: 8,437

    cool^.

    but some of us can't afford not to have $1000 there $500 there loss.
    It only cost me around $275-300 over the course of the precidings, and you recoup that money when you win so it only cost your time.

    Direct tv chased me around for years over $200 that
    said i owed?????

    It is the Principe of it ,you see that lost money is my vacation fund, and I like going on vacation all summer.


    Thumbs Up
     
  16. fireball

    fireball PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 536

    IHI and sno farmer both have good points. However sno farmer you have to realize that your time does have a cost too. What would you rather be doing and is more profitable, filing paperwork and appearing in court or approaching potential customers about your services?.

    I do not believe that sales losses can be a budget item. Yes, they are a accounting cost and should be considered part of your profit percentage. To say they are unavoidable is a fallacy. You need to establish rules and procedures that people pay their bills on time. You don't continue to provide service when they don't pay you.
     
  17. SnoFarmer

    SnoFarmer PlowSite Fanatic
    from N,E. MN
    Messages: 8,437

    I have time to go after $2800, dont you?

    20 minutes of paper work, 1hr for court, wait 6 mo, then 1hr to hire the sheriff, the in 30 days you have your money.

    sure, It's your choice.
    Time is always a concern.
    I only do kennel work in the summer so i had the little time required to go after it.

    and damm it i wanted my vacation $$$$:D

    Sometimes when they revive the notice, that they are being sued, they will call you, ether to bit-ch or to make arrangement to pay.


    Just before we went to court I got a letter from the honorable Greg Mathis, to have our case settled in is court.
     
  18. dellwas

    dellwas Senior Member
    Messages: 369

    Here in Canada you can claim Allowance for Doubtful Accounts on income tax. Of course you have to be a registered business with a CRA number. It allows you to deduct the loss on your income tax. Does the IRS have something similar?
     
  19. k1768

    k1768 Senior Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 487

    Our accountant called that "bad debt" and yes, it did reduce the amount owed on taxes. That may not be the exact/legal term, but that is what our accountant called it.
     
  20. Lee Vitalone

    Lee Vitalone Junior Member
    Messages: 18

    Depending on the state your in, small claims is the way to go in NY under $25,000. But! You can sue who ever you like, the real trick is getting paid. I would sue only if I knew the defendant had resources or money. In NY after 30 days and no pay, you get a marshal or sheriff to enforce the judgement by you finding bank accounts, or property that is not personal. Or you have to find where they work to attach wages.
    I now do a record of business: contract singed- and time/date stamped video's of service. Cut and dry evidence of claims.