Collecting money due for services rendered

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perry

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 22, 2006
Messages
869
I have not run into this problem YET!, what is the best procedure for collecting monies due?, can I also collect expenses if I go to court?, should I have a signed contract prior to starting work?, what should I do to avoid this problem?. And anything else I need to know.
Thanks,

Perry
 

Idoitall

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 17, 2007
Messages
126
This can vary greatly from State to State, but I imagine that the basics are about the same. If you have to go to court, you better HAVE THE DETAILS of the deal. I can tell you from experience, the one with the best story and the most details will likely win.

1) Have a signed contract for the work, including as much detail as you can. At the least have a verbal agreement on the work and payment (A witness is great here). I know, many small jobs just don't have contracts and many of us are not licensed, insured, etc. Don't be surprised if someone calls you on this or ask to see your license, insurance, etc.

2) Present the guy a bill showing detailed charges, stating payment by mm/dd, if not immediately.

3) Call and remind him once or twice per week for a reasonable time (a few weeks, note the date, time, response or lack of, details)

4) Send him another bill using the mail, SIGNATURE and RETURN RECEIPT REQUIRED for proof of delivery and receipt (Judges love this).

5) Consider having our lawyer write him a letter.

6) File a suit in Small Claims Court (Max $$ varies) and you show up at the date and time. As you may know, getting a Judgement and getting paid can be very different. Small Claims Court usually has a reasonable fee.

7) Last resort, File a Lien against his property. This will not get your money, but the Lien must be settled before he can sell the property. And the Lien follows the title/deed, so he can't around it and a buyer can't get a clear title/deed either.

Hope you don't have to resort to this. It is difficult (P-I-A), time consuming, and expensive if the lawyer gets involved. And there is no guarantee that you'll get your money.
 

perry

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 22, 2006
Messages
869
This can vary greatly from State to State, but I imagine that the basics are about the same. If you have to go to court, you better HAVE THE DETAILS of the deal. I can tell you from experience, the one with the best story and the most details will likely win.

1) Have a signed contract for the work, including as much detail as you can. At the least have a verbal agreement on the work and payment (A witness is great here). I know, many small jobs just don't have contracts and many of us are not licensed, insured, etc. Don't be surprised if someone calls you on this or ask to see your license, insurance, etc.

2) Present the guy a bill showing detailed charges, stating payment by mm/dd, if not immediately.

3) Call and remind him once or twice per week for a reasonable time (a few weeks, note the date, time, response or lack of, details)

4) Send him another bill using the mail, SIGNATURE and RETURN RECEIPT REQUIRED for proof of delivery and receipt (Judges love this).

5) Consider having our lawyer write him a letter.

6) File a suit in Small Claims Court (Max $$ varies) and you show up at the date and time. As you may know, getting a Judgement and getting paid can be very different. Small Claims Court usually has a reasonable fee.

7) Last resort, File a Lien against his property. This will not get your money, but the Lien must be settled before he can sell the property. And the Lien follows the title/deed, so he can't around it and a buyer can't get a clear title/deed either.

Hope you don't have to resort to this. It is difficult (P-I-A), time consuming, and expensive if the lawyer gets involved. And there is no guarantee that you'll get your money.
Is it reasonable to collect charges upfront when quoting by the job and, what type of customer is most likely to stiff you?.

Thanks
 

skidsteer.ca

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 20, 2006
Messages
3,853
Is it reasonable to collect charges upfront when quoting by the job and, what type of customer is most likely to stiff you?.

Thanks
I like to invoice the customer at the time I finish the job (unless its a long ongoing project, then every 30 days) I find it is just easiest to figure the bill and have them pay while its still fresh in their mind and usually they are quite happy to have the project complete and are willing to pay.
If for some reason invoicing or payment is delayed it becomes a (small hopefully) hassel for everyone to deal with.
To date I have only only run into one deadbeat and his bill was under $100. Although I have had a few that took months or a year plus to pay. I have otherwise always been sucessful with visits or subsenquent billing.
As for who is most likely to defalt, I find some of the people that appear to have money are slower to pay then the folks who appear hard pressed. I don't believe their is any way to tell.
I guess if your uncertain, asking for a deposit is done in many other businesses, so why not here.
Ken
 

perry

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 22, 2006
Messages
869
I like to invoice the customer at the time I finish the job (unless its a long ongoing project, then every 30 days) I find it is just easiest to figure the bill and have them pay while its still fresh in their mind and usually they are quite happy to have the project complete and are willing to pay.
If for some reason invoicing or payment is delayed it becomes a (small hopefully) hassel for everyone to deal with.
To date I have only only run into one deadbeat and his bill was under $100. Although I have had a few that took months or a year plus to pay. I have otherwise always been sucessful with visits or subsenquent billing.
As for who is most likely to defalt, I find some of the people that appear to have money are slower to pay then the folks who appear hard pressed. I don't believe their is any way to tell.
I guess if your uncertain, asking for a deposit is done in many other businesses, so why not here.
Ken
I had a conversation with a local who knows somebody ( I know) who got stiffed to the tune of a few thousand.....
Perry
 

Idoitall

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 17, 2007
Messages
126
I had a conversation with a local who knows somebody ( I know) who got stiffed to the tune of a few thousand.....
Perry
If you get stiffed, I think you just have to ask yourself how much is it worth to you (not just dollars) to potentially collect from the guy. If its a few hundred you can just hope he pays and continue to contact him. If its several thou$and, then you may want to pursue the lawyer, Small Claims Court, Lien, etc. As much as you might like to, making threats or breaking knees is usually not a good option these days!!

Many large equipment operators such as dozer, track-hoe, etc., have minimums, like 4 hr. or so, to even bring their equipment to the job site. This I understand because of the cost of the relocating the machine. I don't know if this is customary or not with a skid steer since they can be easily moved with a large pickup, 1 ton flat bed, etc. This said, it still doesn't mean they will get paid.

Right now I have a local hauler dumping 150 loads of fill dirt for me from a nearby road project. The dirt is free because it is saving him 10-15 miles per load. He brought a small dozer on site and is charging me for leveling work, but thats it. Just a handshake agreement between two guys.
 

perry

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 22, 2006
Messages
869
If you get stiffed, I think you just have to ask yourself how much is it worth to you (not just dollars) to potentially collect from the guy. If its a few hundred you can just hope he pays and continue to contact him. If its several thou$and, then you may want to pursue the lawyer, Small Claims Court, Lien, etc. As much as you might like to, making threats or breaking knees is usually not a good option these days!!

Many large equipment operators such as dozer, track-hoe, etc., have minimums, like 4 hr. or so, to even bring their equipment to the job site. This I understand because of the cost of the relocating the machine. I don't know if this is customary or not with a skid steer since they can be easily moved with a large pickup, 1 ton flat bed, etc. This said, it still doesn't mean they will get paid.

Right now I have a local hauler dumping 150 loads of fill dirt for me from a nearby road project. The dirt is free because it is saving him 10-15 miles per load. He brought a small dozer on site and is charging me for leveling work, but thats it. Just a handshake agreement between two guys.
Whoa is me, I just found out Georgia has a new law concerning 'money due for services rendered'. It's called 'theft of service', I haven't read it but as I understand, you have immediate recourse to get monies due, including having the person arrested.
Thanks goodness.......
 

lgammon

Active member
Joined
Jan 2, 2007
Messages
29
Whoa is me, I just found out Georgia has a new law concerning 'money due for services rendered'. It's called 'theft of service', I haven't read it but as I understand, you have immediate recourse to get monies due, including having the person arrested.
Thanks goodness.......
well personally i am a good sized guy, i find that when i feel that my first 2 bills have been thrown in the trash i like to make a vist to there house. and simply hand them a new bill. and just keep standing there untill i get a check. this ussually workes really well. never had a problem this didn't take care of. but i guess if someone stried to stiff me on a big bill i would go over to my mother-n-laws house and get the 12 foster children and go back to there house and when they opened the door i would tell the kids welcome to there new home cause we can't pay the rent. and have them walk on in, heard this one from a contractor once that must have owed a mason too much too long.
 

Kermode

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 15, 2009
Messages
134
well personally i am a good sized guy, i find that when i feel that my first 2 bills have been thrown in the trash i like to make a vist to there house. and simply hand them a new bill. and just keep standing there untill i get a check. this ussually workes really well. never had a problem this didn't take care of. but i guess if someone stried to stiff me on a big bill i would go over to my mother-n-laws house and get the 12 foster children and go back to there house and when they opened the door i would tell the kids welcome to there new home cause we can't pay the rent. and have them walk on in, heard this one from a contractor once that must have owed a mason too much too long.
That's what I do. I'm 6'6" and 280 lbs. I don't get in a Bobcat, I put it on like a coat. I've only had to show up and demand payment a couple of times but they paid up promptly. I threatened to repossess a guy's fence that I built once when he wouldn't pay. He laughed at me until I went to my pickup, got my fencing pliers and started pulling staples. He paid up promptly too. 99.99% of my customers pay up no problem. Once you've been in business for a while you learn to weed out the deadbeats.
 

Daewoo

Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2010
Messages
6
Different states are going to be different but in KS we have a collections attorney we use. We turn unpaid bills over to him and he handles it. We never have to touch it again, he just sends a check when they finally pay up (or the court has taken enough of their stuff and sold it to pay the bill). He does not charge us anything for it...all his expenses are paid by the debtor.
 
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