It can be very frustrating dealing with lawn care customers in general, but when they don’t pay you, that frustration level can get worse. But as we will see from this discussion on the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum, there is no point in getting mad. You simply need to consider your collection options and scale them up as needed.
One lawn care business owner wrote “I don’t know about you guys but I’ve got a few lawn care customers that are just flat out deadbeat bums. I’ve had it. I’ve called, stopped by, sent reminders I’ve done it all, and they duck you at every turn. It sucks that people feel they can just ignore you. Well Here’s what I say. SCREW EM’!
Today I called a collections agency, they charge 30% if they recover funds, 0% if they don’t. They run a skip trace off of a name and last known address and send a notice of collections to the debtor. If no reply in 30 days, they report to transworld who then reports to equifax and whatever the hell the other major credit bureaus are called. Then it’ll trash their credit score.
Only catch at all is that well the company will attempt to collect any amount. Debts of $50 or less will not be picked up by the credit bureaus. I say fine you know what? After months of attempting to collect on my own. That $30 mowing debt is easily $55 with late fees! I know it’s kinda a jerky thing to do and that the people that owe me money will be MF’ing me all over town but tough crap. Pay your damn debts!
I may never see any money from these jerk offs but at least I know they’re a few points lower on the credit score and it will cost em’ significantly more than they owe me when the schmucks buy their next damn car!
I can’t just decide not to pay my phone, cable, water, or any other bill for that matter without consequences. So neither can they. Guys, being small business owners doesn’t mean we have to take it in the as@! I suggest you do the same unless that’s how you like it.
I got about 5 people that owe anywhere from $50-$300. Not really huge in the big scheme of things but it’s principle. Their almost all renters.
Not sure how the collection agency will do yet, but who cares really! It’s a win/lose! Either I win some money back or they lose their credit scores. Either way, I’m good with that. I had all but written them off already so whatever happens, happens.
I have looked into small claims court already on one of them. The trouble is even if they receive a judgement against them, they don’t necessarily have to pay. IF they don’t at that point all I can legally do is put a lien on the house. If they don’t sell or refinance anytime soon I’ll wait forever to see any return. I can put a lien on the home for $10. Plus as I said earlier, many of these are tenants and I don’t think I can put a lien on those homes, though I suppose if I found the owner, I might be able to contact them and collect from the security deposit.
As liens go here is a story that reinforces what I said above and why I don’t want to rely on just a property liens. One year after a hurricane destroyed our town, my father hired a roofing company to replace his roof. He had an expensive standing seem metal roof put on and had paid them a third as deposit, a third on delivery of materials. They put the roof on and wanted the balance that day. May father refused to pay until it passed inspection and the permit was cleared (good thing). It failed miserably, multiple issues, shoddy work and the roof needed to be ripped off and started over. The company refused to do it.
We got word that they were in financial trouble from an employee there. The owner through a fit and threatened my father with a lien on his house. My father said go ahead! If you morons are still in business when I die you can have your money then. They did and subsequently went out of business and the lien has since lapsed.
Now I’m not afraid of going out of business but my point is if someone takes this stance…. you can be waiting forever.”
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