Debt collection ,what should i do?


Rockclimber/ treeclimber
Aug 5, 2005
A week ago i was asked to bid a huge view clraring job for and extremly rich doctor on saterday.
I did the bid and was told i had one week to clear the view for a huge party he was having .
I had to put all my jobs on hold in order to accomplish the job.
On thrusday of last week we were done by 5pm.
His total bill was 8200.00 we topped or trimed an entire mountain side of giant poison ivy covered trees etc etc.
Anyhow he said he was extreml;y pleased and though the bill was very worth while.
So i figured i get my check monday at latest now its friday a week has gone by .
Wednesday i began calling to office and cell phones and home phone.
I never got any reply's .
I spoke with his secratary thursday and her only comment was that he said he mailed it.
He is obviously ignoring me at this point completly i called last night and today begging very very politly that he at least let me know when the check was mailed and if there is a problem and could we check the adress.
He has so far ignored all calls.
What should my next move be .My overhead on the job was 4000 and i put 9 jobs on hold in order to do it so quickly.
I found out that he was so freaked out the job was going to get done he called in another tree service monday ,,, they showed on tuesday and left.
I spoke with them of course they were not to happy but they told me he had called them on monday.
That was a shitty move but i guess he didnt think we could clear so many trees .
Anyhow im totally out of the money so far.
im starting to get really pissed and am thinking of what i should do
Dark, about all you can do is hold on for a few more days and see if the check arrives. Just recently I had to put a lien on a guys house because he stopped payment on a check, but I think it is a little early in the game for you to do that.

Good luck, I hope the check gets there later today or tomorrow.
Did he agree to payment terms?

Upon completion? Net 30 days?

Maybe you'll want to drop in on his party?
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  • #4
We did buisness on a hand shake and he told me to try to keep it under 10k
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What i cant understand is why he doesent take 30 seconds to call me and say hey sorry i had to run out of town or any excuse and tell me when he mailed it . Ive left about 7 very very polite messages telling him im recently moved and there has been problems with the mail here, That is true.
Could he just call and leave a message so i could quit worrying.
Ive been worried sick .The fact is the fellow is completly ignoring me Totally,,,
He said he heard i was the best in the buisness for this job and the go to guy when you needed something done now.
Well we did it .He was very responsive to my returning his calls he said no body else even bothered.
So i met him on a saterday at noon and began work that following monday at 8 am.
By tuesday he was esstatic and said he couldnt believe how fast we were , i told him it just took some really good climbers .
Then he called in a script for poison ivy for my men because they all had it really bad.
I thought it was a no brainer tillnow and here i am sweating it out when all the guy has to do is make one brief call and tell me what going on.
How do you think he got to be so rich? :/:

Seriously though, I wouldn't sweat it too much. He's probably just used to taking 30 days to pay his bills. In fact, he might even have someone else handling his finances for him. Doctors are typically known for being extremely busy people with little time for us common folk. I wouldn't go hog wild on the phone calls either, it may be perceived as harassment. Keep in mind he hasn't actually done anything wrong; it's only been a week. The only thing he's guilty of is forgetting/neglecting to return your calls. Patience Grasshopper.
I would let the party get going and take my dump truck over to get paid and mention all the trees are in the back of your truck thats parked behind all the party goers. Go into detail about how the mechanics of the dump work.
What do people not understand about...."Paid upon completion"
I would take said action after 35 days thou:P
I guess thats why I'll never have emloyees I couldn't cope with that much stress.
Try to keep it professional. I'm sure the doctor doesn't call his patients a week after surgery demanding they pay up or he'll put their rotten appendix right back where he found it.
i agree with mr sir, it hasnt been that long, i dont start bugging people till 30 days
I always like how people answer/call you when the job is important or they want it done ASAP. When it comes time that the job is done and payment is needed, there phone seems to stop taking calls and they fall off the face of the earth..
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Im being very proffesional he is ignoring the chit out of me all i wanted to know is where did he mail the check.Pretty simple would only take 30 seconds for him to answer.
I hope the check is here tomorrow.
If he put the wrong zip code on it it ill not be seeinmg that money for tight this year because of the new home and all.So i need my money now which is what we agreed i do job extremly quick and he pays immediatly.
Why on earth would he ignore my calls?
I was the only tree service in the area " he said" that even called him back.
I find it funny how responsive he was about getting the bid and getting the work done pronto.
Two weeks work for sure for most crews done in one short week.
Now hes showing his true color not even bothering to say hey man i forgot to mail it. At which i would reply no problem sir just get to it as soon as you can.But no he just ignors me completly.
Not for long because tomorrow after the mail runs if the checks not there im going to get in his face immediatly in a very passive aggressive way.
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I will . Im very cool about it and i can keep a cool head and speak in a normal tone.
Either way butt face needs to know that this man did hard work for him and simply doesent just walk away unpaid.
I would think a trip or two would just disrupt his life a tiny bit so hed just give me a check .
That way ill go away.
I wont cuss i wont threaten ill just ask.
Time to break some knee caps!

Just kidding of course. It is a crappy situation, but you do need to make the best of it. I always find it funny when a client wants the job done yesterday and you hurry hurry hurry to get it done ASAP, then all of the sudden it takes forever and a day to collect payment. As far as I know, doctors are people who are qualified to make a phone call. He should have already called you and explained when he would make the payment. I guess the best thing you can do is just be patient right now and try not to do something you will regret later.
We do a written contract for anything over $1k with a down payment of 35-50% depending on the circumstances.

If I was as busy as you were, I'd write an open ended (money wise) contract and require $5k down (50% of $10k).

Then I'd expect the balance in 30 days/first week of the next month.

I once had a guy stiff me for $7k for 3 months. The person I dealt with was his wife and apparently she went back to rehab and they were getting divorced.

He kept not returning my calls and finally I left a message stating that starting the next morning we were going to start dumping our wood debris in his front yard to recoupe our money.

Needless to say, we had the check the next morning. :)

Basically at this point, I wouldn't sweat it too much.
He kept not returning my calls and finally I left a message stating that starting the next morning we were going to start dumping our wood debris in his front yard to recoupe our money.

Needless to say, we had the check the next morning. :)

That may have worked for you, but from a legal standpoint you could have opened up a large can of worms had you actually done that. Illegal commercial dumping is a serious and costly offense. The fact that he owed you money does not give you the right to commit a crime in order to collect.
Around here, the only guys who demand a down payment are scammers and fly-by-nights.
After having had to wait 45 days or more on a couple of different tree services who hired me and my spiderlift, I changed my policy of doing work for anyone who needs the spiderlift. My policy is this for the hiring of the spiderlift. I have either a half day rate of $500, or a full day rate of $750. Payment is to be made in advance or I don't show up. They can buy a half day and if more time is needed, pay me for the 2nd half at noon or I go home. Being that I have the only narrow access lift available on the island gives me a big advantage, but all other rentals that I know of is pay in advance so my policy is not any different from any other rental company.

On tree work, unless the job is small, like under $1K, I always write out a contract and let them know I expect to get paid as soon as the job is completed. The only ones that policy is not extended to is commercial accounts like condos, hotels, property management companies etc., where you have to work on a net 30.
I give an email and/or phone call at 30 days, another at 45, a collection agency 7 day warning at 50 and collection agency gets the invoice to collect at about 55 days or so.

Communication is the key, the less the client responds, the more aggerssive I am.

For install work I shoot for a 50% deposit when work initiates at the site. For pruning I dont do much thats big enough ($ wise) to worry about a deposit.

When I had only been in business for a while and did an install job for a strata management co I wanted my money and after waiting a week and a half I waited at the elevator of the strata co one morning to have a chat in the elevator with the fellow that was dodging my calls. I got paid the next morning. ;)
Listen to Mr. Sir Jerry. This guy may be an ass but being unprofessional will hurt you in the end. I recommend contracts on large jobs with a surcharge for late payment(I just added this to mine) and make sure they get signed.