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So I got a non-payer

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Scottscape, Dec 15, 2005.

  1. Scottscape

    Scottscape Senior Member
    Messages: 662

    well I did a job last week for a client (not contracted). he had already signed the invoice and is now giving me the run around about payment. well I talked to his wife today which who was very rude, and she ses she handles all his "paperwork" and she didnt recieve and invoice that I would have to send her one. nuff said so I agreed to send her a copy. client agreed that I would recieve payment within one week. I've been through this before with a few landscaping contracts and lawn maintenance accounts. hopefully I wont have to go down and file small claims, but it seems that im going to have to. how many of you guys run into these downfall situations?
  2. caz41

    caz41 Member
    Messages: 86

    Been there a few times. Also been to court a few times. Here's a suggestion for you that have done a few times. Get a nice small tape recorder, or digital voice recorder. Place it in your front pocket, or anywhere else that you can keep it out of sight, yet still picks up the coversation. Go and confront the client, making sure that you say outloud that he owes you however much money and that it has been past due for so long. If he doesn't pay you then give him a specific time frame, like you have a week to pay me or will be going to court. If he still don't pay after that time frame, go back there again with the recorder and again demand that he pay you. If he still refuses to do so then you will have to take him to court. Try to be professional when you are talking to him and be patient. When you do go to court then you will have the tape as evidence that he was well aware that he had to pay. I play basketball with a Judge in our County, and he gave me this advise. He said the better and more professional you look, then you be more likely to win the settlement.
  3. WMHLC

    WMHLC Senior Member
    Messages: 248

    I love the deadbeats, be strong with them, if they give you the run around, take them to collections, and let somebody else deal with it.
  4. Antnee77

    Antnee77 PlowSite.com Addict
    from RI
    Messages: 1,056

    No problem, just place some snow right back where you cleared it off. I've got a few buddies with large tandem axle dump trucks and backhoes, ready to dump snow wherever it's needed.
  5. PLOWMAN45

    PLOWMAN45 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,951

    id just start bringing tri axels in and dumping snow sand all over his property
  6. justme-

    justme- 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,138

    My agreement specifically states:
    *all payments due in full within 30 days from date of invoice
    *Late charges will apply to payments not made within 30 days with a $5.00 fee and 1.5% interest (which is the state maximum allowed)
    *After 90 days account may be turned to a collection agency which will be entitled to collect the original invoicew amount, any and all accrued late fees and interest AND any collection fees incured (by me)

    They all sign, date and return the agreement to me so I have them, legally.

    Had to charge late fees and interest 2 or 3 times in 8 years, never deadbeats though.
  7. frostservices

    frostservices Member
    Messages: 63

    I thought you were required to tell someone if you were taping them?
    Maybe not just seems the proper thing to do. I`m not saying let the person walk on you,but one immature act does not justify another.(IE putting the snow back in their drive) Seems to me that would be bad advertising. Keep it professional you plowed the snow now it`s up to him to do his part if he wants his snow plowed again. And Then he really can`t say anything negative about you! And I prefer to keep out of court it looks bad if people see your name in court. Theres way to many sue happy people in my opinion! Besides It`s going to cost you time and money to take it to court,even if you only spent 4 hours dealing with court issues thats at least $80 at $20 an hour,I have more constructive things to do with my time then make an enemy over a $50 plowing that cost me $10 to do. just my opinion dont burn me down cause of it maybe I`m to ''nice'' of a guy,oh well I can think of worse things to be!
    BTW do some of you guys get paid every time you push must be a pain to keep track of for taxes I bill monthy.
  8. chesterlawn

    chesterlawn Member
    Messages: 87

    What would you do if half of your customers didnt pay?
  9. Scottscape

    Scottscape Senior Member
    Messages: 662

    I agree that would be an improper thing to do (i.e. dumping removed snow back into clients lot). but I disagree on your part to where you just eat a $50 plow job. because guess what? hes gonna do it to someone else and maybe already has. one of a guys house that I did some landscaping work, I found out that he did it to a company prior to me.. and they ate it.. just my opinion on that decision
  10. Chris-R

    Chris-R Senior Member
    Messages: 321

    The tape recorder idea is a good one except that some states make it a crime to record a person's speech unless they consent. For example, in my state, the Massachusetts wiretap statute specifically prohibits anyone from secretly recording anybody's voice. It is a crime punishable up to 1 year in jail. Interestingly, you CAN record video of someone without their knowledge. I think they did this so stores could continue to use surveillance cameras. Anyway, check with an attorney in your state to make sure you're not breaking any law if you use a tape recorder. Otherwise, you may be on the wrong end of a criminal investigation if your former customer goes to the police station and fills out a complaint form.
  11. go plow

    go plow Senior Member
    Messages: 322

    first of all, by law you need to give them 30 days for payment, second, as far as charging late fees, in ct and in mass i believe, its 1.5% per 30 days 18% annum, now i dont know were JUSTME gets his $5.00 fee from???? you cant charge a late fee and $5 just because you want to!!!!
    as far as going to small claims, i know that in ct. you have to give them atleast 90 days, and have them certified. first 30 days, no late fee's 31 days late fees apply, 60 days you sent the invoice certified, then at 90 days you may take legal action..... been there ... done that many many time's before.... as far as the tape thing, that it what your answer machine is for, all you need to do is have them call you, let the machine pick up. the you pick up the phone, its legal, and yes it holds up in court, it worked for me twice..........all i said was hello, mrs. skidamarink, i left a message for you to call me back several times with no results, we had a contract, that you signed , after understanding my terms of payment, i you owe me this much....
    ive sent you 3 invoices with late fees, you havent payed me... then let them talk away.......... your golden!!!!!!
  12. PremierLand

    PremierLand PlowSite.com Addict
    from detroit
    Messages: 1,572

    Ive had a fair share of deadbeats. Just play your cards right and scare them if they dont pay. And I mean SCARE them good. You dont have to get a shovel and go to their front door, but you can scare them otherways
  13. gpin

    gpin Senior Member
    Messages: 390

    I would advise against the mountain of snow in the driveway. I was charged with criminal mischeif, (misdemeanor) for an incident at a non payers office. There was no evidence that I was involoved in the issue and it took me a year to clear my record.
  14. gh21502

    gh21502 Junior Member
    Messages: 8

    use the tools available to you

    The courts are there for a reason. Why waste time and energy allowing them to BS you and drag it out. I doubt you care to continue the relationship with this account, so file suit. It's your right and makes a statement. Pay or face the consequences.

    In a slightly different type matter, if I get a returned check from a customer in my other non-snow related service business, I offer them a couple of days to redeem the check and bank charge for cash. If they don't show, I call them and simply explain that I'm going to let the courts collect it for me, since I'm not in the collection business and that I'm headed to the court commissioner's office. This has always worked for me.

    The bottom line is that you are not in the collection business, let the courts do their job. BTW, collection agency's are a waste of time, IMO.

    If you are un-easy about an account, or start a new account where you don't know the person, take a digital pic or video of the "before and after" when you plow their property with your truck in the picture. At least it shows that you were there. A judge would get the point.
  15. Acmemechanic

    Acmemechanic Senior Member
    Messages: 137

    No pay

    Here in Johnston R.I The Town got Behind In paying the Trash Contractor and He Brought one Days trash to Town Hall and dumped it on front stairs.That act landed him in jail With a HEFTY Environmental Fine.A couple of years later He Ran for Mayor.Then a couple of years later he wound up In Federal Prison for Income Tax Evasion Where he still is Today.Based on this true story I would say dont Dump A Thing Anywhere That you aint Being paid to do So!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:realmad: :realmad: :gunsfiring:
  16. Antnee77

    Antnee77 PlowSite.com Addict
    from RI
    Messages: 1,056

    Vinagro? I know him. I'll take care of my own accounts, don't worry. ;)
  17. Shadowrider

    Shadowrider Junior Member
    Messages: 8

    just out of curiosity has anybody plowed the non-payers car in or plow all the snow in front of their garage?
  18. DodgeBlizzard

    DodgeBlizzard Senior Member
    Messages: 526

    I think the best response I've ever heard to this problem, was a guy that would park at the end of the driveway reading the paper very early in the morning, read the newspaper and just wait for the homeowner to not have a choice to approach them and just kill them with kindness, and discuss how he's reading about a non payer in the newspaper and the things people will do when they don't get paid.
  19. NJ Plowman

    NJ Plowman Senior Member
    Messages: 794

    Wait for her in the parking lot. When she comes out of work, smash her knee's with a baseball bat. Visit her 2 days later in the hospital and ask her if she is now ready to pay you...:cry:

    EXCESSIVE FORCE Junior Member
    Messages: 29


    :nod: :drinkup: :gunsfiring: