Customer won't pay!

I just did some work for a realtor who is renting out a condo. We never met face to face but I gave her an estimate over the phone for like $150 for about 11 windows.

She checked out the job two days later after I invoiced her, and said that I forgot to do the mirrors (which was never mentioned) and that they were worth $20 (by my account). I never remember her mentioning mirrors…

Then, she is claiming that I damaged a screen or two (untrue- every screen is already damaged. In fact, the mesh has some kind of chemical stain on them, and no Phil, I didn’t use oxiclean;)). I think she’s trying to pull a fast one.

What do I do? What leverage do I have? I am not licensed by the state, if that matters.

Any mechanic leins???

Take her to the job site.

if that fails, get a collection agency. i think they usually take 35%.

or, get some acid and f up the windows and screens…

Judo chop time…

On one hand realestate agents can be a goldmine on the other, they are very often one level below used cars salesmen.

First, TRY and keep your cool. Ask to meet with her at the house so you can see ‘TOGETHER’ what the issue seems to be.

Explain over the phone how important clients are to you and how you really want to try and find a solution so both parties can be happy. But you are having difficulty seeing ‘in your head’ what it is she speaks of.

I am not trying to be funny here. Honestly try and get her to the house. Assume, for now, she is the most important client you have. Act and think that way for now.

She may or may not accept.

If so, go to the house with no chip on your shoulder. There may really be an issue. There may also be the fact she is a power hungry sex starved freak with control issues. And…if so…she will have a ton of work for you.

Ask yourself how far you are willing to go for profit. Then ask yourself how much ego bashing can you take. Egos bruise reputations break.

“You know Mrs. Funkburger, it is possible I may have not heard you correctly but I’d like the chance to see what needs to be done to make you happy.”

Trust me…this is the exact thing most business owners do not handle well.

Starbrite- what up with the AUWC hate? I missed a lot of what has happened around here the last couple months and I need to catch up :smiley:

I have a love/hate relationship with real estate agents. I have a couple of good ones that I work with but most just cause me grief.

I’ve been sent to the wrong house before and only found out after half the job was done, I’ve waited over 2 months for payments (sometimes directly from them, other times from their clients). I’ve been told the home is small and has 20 windows; I arrive and it’s a large house with 45 windows.

Like others have mentioned, try to get her to the house and go over what she thinks you’ve missed. Be prepared to clean those mirrors (If it means she’ll give you a check that day, do them) just explain that you don’t recall them being mentioned in the original estimate but you’ll take care of them this time. But stand up for yourself when it comes to those damaged screens. Have her tell you how she thinks you’ve damaged them (with what tool or misuse of). Then show her how you clean them. Most people renting out properties don’t look closely at these things until it comes time to pay for them.

I don’t believe she’s trying to pull a fast one, she’s probably just flaky like a lot of real estate agents I’ve met. (sorry, it’s just my experience)

Well, we’ll see how it goes today. I’m gonna call her around noon.

Maybe I shouldn’t have wrote her a nasty message last night about how if she doesn’t pay I’m gonna take a brick and … …:mad:

I always mention that a phone bid is not the final price. The customer could get the count wrong. That being said if she’s insistent then you can do the extra work and eat the cost or walk away and let her know you’ll be contacting wcers in your area to let them know what happened so they can be aware.

Get yourself licensed. According to the state contracting board of Cali you need a license but I’m sure you know that or else you would not have mentioned it. Are you even insured? Eitherway I can’t see a lien being enforceable. How can you get a lien when according to your state you should not be working to begin with? Put a lien on that home and your not licensed is going to open up a can of worms for you. That’s like stealing something from a store and then trying to return it the next day for a refund. STUPID.
I hope this works out for you. But keep in mind, because you are not licensed and it’s required in your state what happens if this lady decides to report you? If your going to do phone bids, be very clear it’sa rough quote and the exact price will be given on site. On site with the customer there. You said you were going to speak with her yesterday. Did it work out for you? In some cases people might search the contractor database in cali. See you are not listed, decide to hire you anyway thinking they can get you to do extra stuff under the premise they will report you if you don’t.

In California you only have to be a licensed contractor if you do a job more than $500.00 or ccu. all you need is to be licensed in the city or cities that you do business in.

in some cities a business license is not required at all.

tried to delete it was a double post.

Im sure he licensed in the city he works in and in the surrounding areas. What i think he means is he is not a contractor ( contracting license ). From what i have read on the state site is you dont need a contracting license for maintenance window cleaning only for ccu. I say take them to collections

So what your saying is this guy and every other window cleaning company in california NEVER does a job that’s over $500 so they can get around being licensed?
I find that hard to believe with all the services offered.
Even more so with the cost of living in Cali.
Meanwhile I’ll come right out an say it. This guy is a lier. Full blown out bull**** artist. He states right on his website. “Licensed and Insured”
Guys like this make legit businesses look bad. Why? Cause if he screws up something for a customer he just falls off the planet and the next legit guy has to work twice as hard to gain a customers confidence.

“Unlicensed contractors are part of the $60-140 billion dollar underground economy that doesn"t pay taxes, insurance or follow safety laws. Labor Enforcement Task Force

How can you say that? He states right in this post. He is not licensed. Not licensed to me means not licensed.

Jugg read the first point it says " construction work ", construction work and maintenance window cleaning are two different things. Theres a section in there stating that you dont need a contracting license for maintenance window cleaning.

Jugg he says hes not licensed by the “state”, meaning not having a contractors state license. He is licensed to work in his city and the surrounding areas. ( city license )

You sure about that? I just went an looked over which is to tell you what the requirements are for operating with in and outside city limits.
This guy is operating in all these cities and counties. So with all these places your telling me he does not need a permit or license? Besides he is also stating “Not limited to these” meaning he will leave those locations if you have the money an want the work. Makes no sence to me, when you can get a state license for roughly $1000 (at least thats the lowest cost I could figure out on their site). Why go an apply for a business permit/license from each town and county with a cost of roughly $50 when you can get the state one? I also don’t see him having the option of a lien. It states right on this link. “Determine if it is a valid lien. It may not be valid if the work was not completed or supplies were not included in the plans or contracts. An attorney can help you find out if the lien is valid.” What contract? Theres not paperwork here. It’s a he said she said issue. He says she did not mention the mirrors, she says she did. He then goes on to state he does not remember if he mentioned the mirrors. But either way. No paper, no proof of anything. Look I for one hate to see a guy not getting paid for anything. But so far this is a great example of not running your business professionally. This is what happens when you just go for the quick buck.

KC Power Clean serves the following (but not limited to these) Orange County OC, Los Angeles (LA County), and Riverside County Cities:
Aliso Viejo, Anaheim, Anaheim Hills, Atwood, Brea, Buena Park, Capistrano Beach, Corona del Mar, Costa Mesa, Cypress, Dana Point, Diamond Bar, East Irvine, El Toro, Foothill Ranch, Fountain Valley, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Irvine, La Habra, La Habra Heights, La Palma, Ladera Ranch, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Woods, Lake Forest, Los Alamitos, Long Beach, Midway City, Mission Viejo, Newport Beach, Newport Coast, Orange, Placentia, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, Santa Ana, Seal Beach, Silverado, Stanton, Sunset Beach, Surfside, Temecula,Trabuco Canyon, Tustin, Villa Park, Westminster, Yorba Linda
Professional window washing service to the following Los Angeles County, California cities:
Artesia, Bellflower, Belmont Shore, Bell, Bell Gardens, Carson, Cerritos, Chino Hills, Cudahy, Diamond Bar, Downey, Lakewood, La Habra, La Mirada, Long Beach, Hacienda Heights, La Puente, Los Altos, Lynwood, Norwalk, Palos Verdes, Palos Verdes Estates, Palos Verdes Peninsula, Paramount, Rancho Palos Verdes, Rolling Hills, Santa Fe Springs, Signal Hill, South Gate, San Pedro, Torrance, Walnut, Whittier, etc.

KCpower, your situation calls for an upperdecker! Ask Alex, he can explain.

As Dougg stated, in CA a state contractor’s license (Limited Specialty | Window Coverings) is required for CCU work that totals $500 or more, [B]not[/B] maintenance work.

In CA, each municipality has their own rules regarding a business permit. The town where I live has no requirement; the city ten miles away does, but not if you do less than a certain dollar amount per year.

I do not believe there is such a thing as a “window cleaner license” anywhere in the US.

Larry this is why this is as confusing as it gets when it comes to your state. Allowing the licenses or permits to be controlled at a county/city level is flawed. In this link the state talks about needing a license if you clean gutters which he offers on his site.

I agree I don’t think their is such a thing as a window cleaning license in the US. But their are janitorial licenses and handyman licenses. In reading that site and some of the STINGS they are ranting about it looks to me like CA contractors board could easily jump on someone.

Hey if I owe the guy and appoligy then I owe him one. But I think the whole thing is just bad business. Should I have jumped for it? Maybe not. But it just seems fishy to me. I don’t see how it’s practical for a 1 man band to purchase a permit for each town they want to work in.