How do you handle slow pays?

I have a few accounts that are either late already, or about to be late. One in particular is a large residential account I just landed last month. They want their windows done quarterly at $750 a pop. So the house manager (young girl) had me come out when the homeowners were on vacation to do the windows. I’ve never even seen the homeowners. About three weeks after the job, I sent her an email reminding her the invoice was due on receipt. Last Thursday, I left her a voicemail too. Still haven’t heard a thing.

I’m thinking about sending the homeowner a letter letting them know they’re past due, but I don’t want to ruffle any feathers as I’d really like to keep this account. I don’t really want to call the homeowner . . . “Hi, I’m Rob. I cleaned your windows a month ago, and you haven’t paid me yet” probably won’t solidify my relationship with them.

Should I just send a past-due notice like any business would with a “please pay within 10 days of this letter in order to avoid a 5% service fee” or something like that?

Was your initial contact with the homeowners or the house manager?

Do you know if the homeowner has even seen your invoice?

I would mail another invoice with your late-pay policy statement aboard.

BTW, who signed the fabricating debris scratch waiver?

I’ve only met the house manager and I have no idea if she pays the invoices or if the homeowner does. I mentioned in my email to her to make sure the homeowner was aware of the invoice, but that’s been about 10 days ago.

No scratch waiver on this house . . . didn’t use a scraper at all. All plate glass windows. WFP outside and mostly pole work inside. It’s a sweet gig.

I’m in the same boat. June 21 I did a job for a client of a real estate agent. Still haven’t been paid. I drove by the house a couple of times but it’s locked up, For Sale sign on the lawn, one of those realtor locks on the door, and the agent never picks up her cell. I call her office but she’s always out of the office. Last I heard she was on vacation. She owes me money too (not much) but I can’t believe how unprofessional she’s being. I know all her real estate agent friends because I do work for them and they all tell me she’s a flake. Well flake or no flake, I want me money!

Sorry, this didn’t help you at all. LOL

[B]Mark:[/B] Have you spoken face-to-face with the realtor’s office manager?

Is your agreement with the RE office?

The fact that I do or do not use a scraper does not preclude me from requiring a signed waiver prior to service. My waiver also includes language regarding any prior damage or scratches.

Please provide your definition of “plate glass.” Do you mean not heat-treated? To me, “plate glass” is float glass, which may or may not be heta-treated at some point.

BTW, not all heat-strengthened glass has a temperer mark.

i am in the same boat, i actually had to take my client to small claims court for writing a bad check. he is a piece of work. I found out that he tried to ripp off a couple of other contractors, but they just put a lien on his house.

my situation is still pending. 8 months later

you sound so commercial Larry

That makes no sense at all, Doug.

Yeah man me too, happened a few months back, it was about $450 dollar job. i think, I just kept calling and calling leaving voicemail after voicemail (well really it was only like 3) Finally got was able to reach him, he said sorry, check will go in the mail today. I believed him. 2 weeks later still no check, and not able to contact via phone, what a pain! Finally got a hold of someone else at the office and got my damn money.

I am referring more to the window type than glass type. Most of it was 4x4 windows, like you’d see in most newer shopping centers (see pic), and sliding doors.

It’s with the agent. I did her house and she liked the work I did and promised to send clients my way. Anyway, she’ll be back from holidays this week and I’m going right to her house this time.

I have found that when chasing money it is best to call the customer in the evening, usually they are home from work etc. I also will send an invoice once a week for 3 weeks. If still no payment then I send another invoice with a $25.00 late payment fee on the bill. Usually I get my money within a day or so, with a note saying that they are so sorry…Thought the wife/husband had sent the check. The payment never includes the $25.00 late fee, which by the way is illegal to charge in this state, but I have found gets some peoples attention.

I dont get too ruffled unless the account gets over 45 days with no response. At that point, I will make a call to address their deliquency. I also have due dates on my invoices. I used to have invoices that had no due date. It was hard to get paid on time. Put a due date along with a late fee if not paid by (I use a 15 day period for residential). X date. You’ll notice your receivables skyrocket over night. Keeps your invoice in plain sight instead of on the bottom of their pile of bills.


A few months ago, I cleaned a commercial customers second story windows. I charged them $100, I presented the invoice, and they gave me $100 cash, and we agreed to a every 8 week schedule.

Eight weeks later I cleaned the windows, and brought up the receipt to the receptionist to get paid. The woman who set up the window cleaning wasn’t in. So I didn’t get paid. I had a receipt, instead of an invoice, so I didn’t leave anything with them, but went home and mailed an invoice.

Several weeks later, after not getting paid, I mailed another invoice, indicating that we hadn’t received payment and too remit payment. No payment came. After about two weeks, I called her, to follow up, got her voicemail. Told her the bill was overdue. I believe I called her again, left message on voicemail.

A few days later, I got a call from someone in their office, cancelling the window cleaning, I said ok, sorry to hear that, but the bill is overdue, she said she wasn’t aware of schedule, and the window cleaning was unauthorized, I explained that we schedule all window cleaning that we do. I calmly reasoned with her, and didn’t raise my voice or anything. She said that she would talk to her boss.

After hanging up on her, I called and left another voicemail message with the woman…

About a week and a half later, after receiving no payment, I went to the office to collect personally. She wasn’t in, I met the person in her office who I spoke to on the phone, and she said that they were going to pay. I left.

One week later I got paid. What is the lesson in this long story?

Keep very good records. Keep track of what bills are becoming overdue.

On most invoices, I put payment due on receipt, after about two or three weeks, I call to remind them, after waiting 10 days or so, I may mail another invoice, or call again, and after that, I would go personally to get paid.

Dont’ wait 45 days to get paid, unless you specifically gave them 45 days to pay. Follow up evey 10 days or so, if you don’t get paid make a personal visit. Keep following up, and don’t give up hope that you will get paid, often you do.

Don’t be afraid to calmly ask for your money. It’s your money, and if you do a good job, it is owing to you.


I had this happen to me. To find out it was a misunderstanding between the house manager. I did get my money. This guy is the president of Conde Nast the publisher of GQ and all those magazines your wifes buy at the supermarket.

For the most part when your dealing with that kind of clientele they want to pay you your money. Very rarely are they trying to get over on you. I actually went back to the house and got the fiancee. Now some people may not agree with that, But know I try to be extremly professional. I made several attempts to call but to find out I had the wrong number.

I’m sure you will get your money. Sometimes when you deal with the wealthy they don’t feel our pains. Not to say that there are some that just will down right stiff you. I have not had that happen to me yet. Keep us informed on what happens with this. I’m almost certain it will turn out OK.

We’ve showed up at people’s houses at 8pm on Friday nights asking for collateral or a check. We got a check the next week.
We’ve also tracked down people at their work. They won’t want their coworkers knowing that they haven’t been paying their bills.
I called a lady over 20 times who moved out of state over a $35 plow job. She still had her local cell phone number. She called our office and chewed out our office manager. I called her back and told her to pay her bill.
Sometimes you have to walk the fence of legality to get paid from some of these losers. Be creative and let them know that you aren’t going away.
Also, put a lien waiver on the bill so you can put a lien on their house. Very embarrasing for them.

As soon as any bill is due i am on the phone that very morning.
Persistancy is the key.

However theres always one who just will not pay, period.
After a while you just have to cut your losses and move on from people like that…its sometimes not worth the hassle for micky mouse jobs.

I have called them on Sunday afternoons using *67 (Caller ID Block). I only use this tactic as a last resort. The job is usually over $600.00. I am persistent on getting them to pay me using a credit card # when they are on the phone. I have only done this with a few folks. Another tactic is to go to your city’s courts building and get a small claims form. Fill it out (Don’t sign it). Send it to them with a letter stating that if you do not receive payment within 5 business days, you will sign and submit it to small claims court. This worked outstanding the last time I tried it. Lady called to settle her account 5minutes after she opened my letter. LOL!