Customer Wouldn't Pay, Now What?

About three months ago I had a customer stiff me on the pay. That has never happened to me before. She complained that I did not clean the tracks right. I brushed and vacuumed them followed by a wipe down. She had some calcium build up I couldn’t get off and said I was supposed to pressure wash them. I have never heard of a machine that pressure washes the tracks on the inside of the house. Anyone have a clue on that?

Anyway so she refuses to pay me, should I take her to small claims court or do a mechanics lien against her house? And what is involved with that?

Do you have a satisfaction guarantee? You may just have to suck it up. Guess it depends on what the bill is. I have never had it happen to me, but I’m sure at some point it will. Some people are just going to take advantage of others. Small claims is an option of you want to take more time from other jobs to go to court. You may or may not win and in the end, there is no guarantee you can collect. You can turn it over to a collection agency, they the resources to hound her that you may not have.

Personally I would bite the bullet on this one,but for future jobs just make sure you have a place on your invoice for them to sign off on,saying that the job was done to their satisfaction…

How much was the job for? Is it really worth it?

Cleaning tracks can mean different things. Are you going to guarantee that they will be perfect?
Are you going to wipe them down or steel wool them? There needs to be a discussion about this with
the customer. Leaving it unclear leaves the possibility that you will not meet their expectations and gives
them a way out if they don’t want to pay.

Agreed, this might have to be a lesson from the school of “hard knocks”. All part of being in business.

I use a collection agency for anyone who does not pay. It takes the burden off of me and I don’t have to be the aggressor. It does not cost you anything up front. they just keep a small percentage of the collection. The agency I use requires the amount to be over $50.00 which is great because that means you can collect on even small jobs. I’ve only had to use them with a few customers. I usually send a few kind letters letting them know that I never like to use collections as my desire is to maintain a positive relationship with them and if they could at least contact me and work out a time frame with me. The letters are in no way threatening, more appealing and informative. If they continue not to respond then I hand it over to collections.

Simple… Collection agency. Period.

Those old, aluminum “deep” tracks are tough. I use different size test tube/pipe cleaners to loosen up the debri, then suck it out with a vacuum. The problem is, they still don’t look that great. That’s why I love the new plastic, shallow tracks-just wipe and they look great.

Whenever a customer asks me about those deep tracks, I charge them $3.00/frame, then I demo one for them so they see if they want me to continue. Anyway, I’m sorry you got stiffed-that’s always tough. I have never used a collection agency, but I will think about it if it happens to me.

Dang three months, I had a similar situation a few weeks ago that was resolved through the threat of small claims court

I’ve got my first delinquent as well. she’s just jerkin me around without any complaint at all. are there any fees for small claims court? what about collection svc? anybody got a good one? what percentage do they take?

There are some fees but do it anyway. First call a lot and threaten court. She
may pay.

I’ve got a building that we’ve been doing for 10 years file BK, then it didn’t go thru because they found a potential buyer for the building
the owner wants me to settle for 35% of the outstanding invoices since my water pole “contributed to the water stain problem he had to pay someone else to remove who told him my water pole was the problem”.

Really? It has nothing to do with the pre-exisitng and continuing condition of reclaimed water going thru the sprinklers that hit the glass every day? wow


that’s money I’ll probably never see that coulda bought 5,600 8x11 postcards and postage


lot of stupid people out there :mad:

Which collection agency do you use? For me it’s not about the money as it is the principle of the matter. Also I don’t want her telling all her friends to use my services and then stiff me!

you could use greed to get your money. offer her some extra service , something you know that she will want ,and see if she takes the bait. but before you do the service ask can you have your money for the original job. but then dont go do the new service of course !

years ago when i was a mechanic a guy would not pay nor return a part he deemed faulty. while at mine he commented on a customers Jeep parked outside that he liked .
i later rang him up,told him i could get it for him dirt cheap,Why not come by and look. sure enough he did and loved what he saw . i then asked about the parts money which he gave me right away. At that point i picked up a big hammer and told him GERRROUTAHERE


Darn iPhone auto-complete – I meant “very unprofessional and immature.”

Instead, she’ll tell all her friends she didn’t care for your service and then you took her to collections.

The website is Home Page . I don’t recall how much they take out because it has been a while since we have had to use them. I want to say maybe 20%? Not sure. We mostly used it for collections under $500.00 which is the small claims court minimum. A lot of times when someone doesn’t pay it’s these type of customers because they think you won’t do anything as it is to small for small claims court. This service is perfect for that.

Most customers wren’t going to tell their friends about it because it makes them look bad. These type customers are the ones that are trying to look rich by buying the things they can’t afford to impress their friends, so they wouldn’t dare tell their friends. At least that’s my theory:p

It would depend on the amount of the invoice. You don’t want customers thinking that they do NOT have to pay if they do not want to. I have taken customers to court as well as filed liens. I have never lost in court and always collected. I have never collected liens because in my few cases, I was not the only person they were not paying and the banks had top priority (foreclosures). Sometimes its not worth doing anything.

One other thing you can do if you do not want to bother going to court is send her a letter, apologize that you could not get the tracks clean to her satisfaction, and tell her to send a check for what SHE thinks is fair for the work that you DID do to her satisfaction.