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Customers That Don't Pay

Discussion in 'Business Fundamentals' started by Signature lawns, Dec 8, 2008.

  1. Signature lawns

    Signature lawns Junior Member
    Messages: 25

    Hello to everyone, :waving: Sorry if I am asking a question that has been asked but I've

    done a search and haven't found what I'm looking for. I was wondering if anyone has come

    across customers that haven't paid for services that were done for them, and how you

    dealt with and resolved the issue. I'm willing to be reasonable with customers but at

    the same time we are in business to be in business. payup Any help/suggestions would

    be greatly appreciated.
  2. YardMedic

    YardMedic PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,266

    I find repeat billing with billing fees tend to work (even $5 per rebill). After a couple of those (give each one 2 weeks with a listed 10-day due date), I find a phone call is effective when you can get someone on the phone (sometimes messages work too, saying something to the effect that, "I'm seeing your account was first due 6 weeks ago, and I have yet to receive any payment toward this. Please see that this is addressed immediately so we may avoid unpleasant collections proceedings. I appreciate your assistance and will be happy to speak with you anytime." I've done variations of this and had good response. You may lose a customer because they become embarrassed about whatever their circumstance is, but as you say this is business
  3. SilkKnitter

    SilkKnitter Junior Member
    from ZONE 5
    Messages: 20

    Do what YardMedic said first. If the issue still continues all you have left is court and putting a lean on the property. ( Putting a lean means the you will one day get that money if the property is ever sold. )
  4. Gicon

    Gicon Senior Member
    from MA
    Messages: 989

    You mean a "lein"
  5. Gicon

    Gicon Senior Member
    from MA
    Messages: 989

    You dont really find too many people who don't pay the plow guy in this industry.....................yea right...............Patients is a virtue, but the good guys always finish last. It is hard to stay on top of late payers in a busy winter. I have a relationship established with a local lawyer who specializes in collections. He sends out a letter to the overdue account outlining the next steps, and magically a check always appears before the court date.
  6. YardMedic

    YardMedic PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,266

    He meant "lean" like Tony Soprano!
  7. Signature lawns

    Signature lawns Junior Member
    Messages: 25

    Thanks for the advice guys :drinkup:
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2008
  8. Ipushsnow

    Ipushsnow Senior Member
    Messages: 314

    Signature, seeing as I am in your area I will tell you what works for me. These are the steps I have taken.

    I bill them.
    I send them a reminder on the next bill that previous bill wasn't paid.
    I send them a nice letter saying they may have forgot or whatever but they need to pay, and if they get it in right away I will waive the $30 dollar late charge.
    I send them, or even better I drop off a letter that says services are suspended due to failure to pay. If you want to restore services you must pay your full balance before we will plow again. And then in the future you must pay for every visit before we will plow again.
    Letter stating I will sue if I don't get paid.

    Do not be afraid to sue. If you are in Milwaukee County it costs like $80 to file, you can get the forms online, and it will cost about $30 to have them served the papers. Usually once they get served you will get your money. Just tell them you want your costs too or you will proceed with the suit.
  9. JohnnyRoyale

    JohnnyRoyale 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,935

    Send them a fresh triaxle load of snow.
  10. kurtzsnow

    kurtzsnow Junior Member
    from wi
    Messages: 5

    I just tell them they need to pay me now or I cant plow as i need money for gas. I had good success so far.
  11. Scottscape

    Scottscape Senior Member
    Messages: 662

    if im in the area sometimes I will drop in. That usually does the trick.
  12. gene gls

    gene gls PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 481

    I gave up trying to charge interest or a late charge. Now I send a letter stating that the account will be turned over to a collection company if payment isn't received by a certain date.

    I have a neighbor up the street that still ows $50.00 from last year. His plow guy didn't show for a storm and I did him a "favor", $150.00 plow job for $50.00. This year he will have extra snow in front of his drivway every time I go by, and I will make it a point to go as often as possiable.
  13. Longae29

    Longae29 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,953

    Make sure that you dont just surprise them with not providing the services you are contracted for, make sure you document, with a written letter as to what you are doing

    We have a customer who still owes us a 4,000 payment from last year, they had been making monthly payments but they are now behind. We are giving them one more week to pay then filing a lien
  14. NorthwestPlower1

    NorthwestPlower1 Member
    Messages: 57

    Liens work the best do your homework. 1. Have a title search done. 2. Notify all parties on title of intent to lien.(according to your state lien laws) 3. If still not paid notify all parties that a lien has been recorded on their property. By this time their bank or mortgage company will be calling them telling them to pay you.(If they have a mortgage) Now you earn interest and have 2 years to take further action. In the meantime they can't borrow against or refinance or sell their property till you supply them with a recorded release of lien. 4. If still not paid after 90 days take it to court to foreclose on their land. That's how it works in Illinois. It works well just make sure you follow your states laws to a T. I am in construction and have never had it go to step 4 they pay.
  15. Govbradst555

    Govbradst555 Member
    Messages: 56

    I understand that it also hurts your credit score ontop of not being able to refinance
  16. Great advice. What if the clients are renting the property? Does a lien still apply?
  17. Govbradst555

    Govbradst555 Member
    Messages: 56

    when they notice the interest rates on there credit cards going up among many other things ya the check appears.
  18. ews101

    ews101 Junior Member
    from cny
    Messages: 14

    actually its spelled lien
  19. Winterized

    Winterized Senior Member
    Messages: 120

    It is my understanding.... so I could be wrong.

    If you can get the dead beat to give you a check and post date it because..... you want to do them a favor and cut them some slack....! Come the date on the check when you cash it.... if it is bad... you bring it to the D.A. and they deal with it.... at no cost to you.

    I have done this.... but never had a bad one to test this. I have also been told a post dated check is illegal?

    So.... anybody done this?
  20. Govbradst555

    Govbradst555 Member
    Messages: 56

    It is illegal The last person that asked me to post date a check was the sherrifs dept LOL for a donation. and i have writen a bad check also to a home depot due to a bad GC who told me write the check i'll be there in a few hours with your money. later that day i called instead of being if florida he was back in michigan for the week. the state came after me even though i paid it right off they made me take there classes that they collect alot of money for. and this was the first time ever for me. so ya a bad check can be taken care of by state. Tom