contractors how do you deal with non-paying clients?

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Norwegian

Trad climber
dancin on the tip of god's middle finger
Topic Author's Original Post - Jul 14, 2013 - 10:42am PT
you know the type.
you send them the invoice.
nothing.
a cordial phone call,
dodgy noise on the dumb-end of the line:

"uh, i don't have the money right now,
i'll call you by friday."

nothing.

short of expensive litigation,
threats, and guilt-ridden slander,
how do you hard-working folk
navigate these pieces of sheets?

what tactics could i employ to
avoid this in the future.

the situation under scrutiny,
is that i mounted an internet satelite
in a tree top for a client,
and when i held out my hand for payment,
the hippy freak in a cute dress
told me to send her an invoice.

should i collect 1/2 before stepping in the tree?
suggestions are welcome and appreciated.
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Jul 14, 2013 - 10:44am PT
Four in the head and .....

...never mind....
Randisi

Social climber
Dalian, Liaoning
Jul 14, 2013 - 10:45am PT
So send her an invoice.
Norwegian

Trad climber
dancin on the tip of god's middle finger
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 14, 2013 - 10:48am PT
randsi
i sent her an invoice,
no reply.

i called her hubby and he was dodgy,
and told me he'd call me by friday,
which has come and gone.

another pleading call from me?
give up on the 200 bucks?
drive to their place with my daughters in toe?

chalk it up to a lesson?

i'll probably just go climbing and forget about the mess behind me.
rick sumner

Trad climber
reno, nevada/ wasilla alaska
Jul 14, 2013 - 10:49am PT
It's a judgement call. I don't have enough fingers and toes to account for the jobs i have turned down. You had a first impression, that is obvious. In the future, walk away or get advanced pay.
Randisi

Social climber
Dalian, Liaoning
Jul 14, 2013 - 10:49am PT
Go remove it then.

That's what I'd do.

But I've never had to deal with this scenario.
socialclimber

Trad climber
CA
Jul 14, 2013 - 10:50am PT
Capone always said you get further with a kind word and a gun, than with just a kind word... Though I'd figure you might have trouble finding further employment...

Charles
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Jul 14, 2013 - 10:54am PT
Actually only happened to me once.....a final invoice for 52k went unpaid....month after month after month.....

Of course, all of my phone calls went unanswered.....clearly they were screening them with their machine.

At about month 5, I got this unbelievable phone call from a trucking service who said this client had given them my number so that I could let them into the house to deliver an "item".

Curiousity got the best of me, so I agreed. I met the trucker at the house and, to my complete disbelief, he was delivering a brand new 45 thousand dollar pontoon boat! Needless to say, I was chapped!

I began the phone calls in earnest once again, with one difference....I began ringing their phone at ALL hours of the night. I would call the number every couple of minutes and drive them absolutely bats*** crazy!

Finally, after a couple of nights of this, the wife answers...in tears...and proceeds to give me this sob story of "how sick my husband is right now with the flu" and how I am "disturbing his much-needed sleep."

I informed her that if she thought I was disturbing....wait until she began hearing from my attorney.

They Fedexed a check the next day.
harryhotdog

Social climber
north vancouver, B.C.
Jul 14, 2013 - 10:54am PT
Climb back up the tree and disconnect it until payment which now includes a $50 a--hole fee!
Randisi

Social climber
Dalian, Liaoning
Jul 14, 2013 - 10:55am PT
I began the phone calls in earnest once again, with one difference....I began ringing their phone at ALL hours of the night. I would call the number every couple of minutes and drive them absolutely bats*** crazy!

Finally, after a couple of nights of this, the wife answers...in tears...and proceeds to give me this sob story of "how sick my husband is right now with the flu" and how I am "disturbing his much-needed sleep."

Mighty Christian of you.

What would Jesus do? He was a carpenter after all.
Stewart Johnson

climber
lake forest
Jul 14, 2013 - 11:00am PT
Don't burp on you're client
No one wants to pay a drunk
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Jul 14, 2013 - 11:01am PT
Randisi, believe it or not, Christians deserve to be paid in a timely manner too.

Someone willfully ignoring a WAY past due bill deserves to be prodded.

Quit being a hater.
Norwegian

Trad climber
dancin on the tip of god's middle finger
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 14, 2013 - 11:01am PT
so i drive an hour and re-climb the tree,
and now i've done it twice for free.

i don't know if my principles are worth 200 bucks.

shut the f*#k up stewy.
TGT

Social climber
So Cal
Jul 14, 2013 - 11:04am PT
If you are in California or any other state with a Contractors licensing law and don't have one you are truly f*#ked.

If you have one,

Mechanics liens and stop notices work wonders.

TWP

Trad climber
Mancos, CO
Jul 14, 2013 - 11:06am PT
"should i collect 1/2 before stepping in the tree?"

Good judgment of the character of the client is the lodestar. If in doubt, only begin work with 50% upfront. On the quality of client continuum, some clients are so flakey that the only defense is to refuse to work for them. Doctors, lawyers, the ultra-rich are the prime candidates for workmen to decline to assist without payment in full in advance. With your story, I think the list now should include hippie chicks. During my years of active practice of law, I always got a retainer in advance and always sent monthly billing. If the monthlies weren't paid, my work stopped. Regular billing and retainers are in line for workmen too. Hey, you are a professional too.

Randisi, you are off base and out of line.

I think Churchill told this story of ethics. If a person fails to pay his workmen immediately upon completion and ask what he owes, that person is not a gentlemen. He must be billed and dunned until he pays up; he is not entitled to gentle treatment.
Stewart Johnson

climber
lake forest
Jul 14, 2013 - 11:10am PT
Sober up then think
WTF

climber
Jul 14, 2013 - 11:12am PT
200 bucks holy sh#t stop the presses

Buuuuuuuuuuuuuuurrrrrpppppp
Cragman

Trad climber
June Lake, California....via the Damascus Road
Jul 14, 2013 - 11:15am PT
200 bucks goes a long way in feeding a family, WTF.

Wise up.
WTF

climber
Jul 14, 2013 - 11:17am PT
All those beers equal a lot of food too my man.
MisterE

Social climber
Jul 14, 2013 - 11:19am PT
Deans tactic seems like a good one...for 50 Grand.

200 bucks? Not so much.

Drive up there once and make a deal with her on the spot for a discount to not bug her any more about it.

If she still doesn't pay anything, walk away from it and insist on 50% up front always in the future.
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