Customers Who Won't Pay....? - Business - Contractor Talk

Customers Who Won't Pay....?

 
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Old 02-26-2019, 12:24 PM   #1
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Customers Who Won't Pay....?


I've got this new customer who was referred to me by a colleague and I did some work for them last month. When I did up their first invoice I googled them to get their address but I found a yelp review instead. Only one review but it said "Do not work for these people, they don't pay their contractors". Still didn't find an address, just the town listed only.

Well, obviously I was concerned by this but I didn't say anything. I sent the invoice and decided to just see for myself. Got call from the client immediately, had a chat, was going to give me more work, invoice was good and he would e-transfer my bill right away. All was good.

Fast forward to last night. Get an email, you're good on March 1st for this job (details added) right? I explained I'm just starting a night shift up to that date and if there was any flexibility to allow me to get on a normal schedule first? But my bill is now past due and I need it paid.

The customer's partner who emailed me says, oh send your invoice again and i'll expedite it. Emails back and says :

"I looked through our payables and canít find an invoice from you. Can you please send one for us to process. We canít pay you without a bill for services rendered.
Regards,"

No **** they need an invoice and I know that. The tone is like I'm so dumb I'm not aware they need an invoice?

Anyway, now I'm at this point where our business relationship can go sideways in a hurry so I carefully think about my response. None. I know they have my invoice. Then the owner emails me and apologizes for being late and will e-transfer the money tonight (last night), then proceeds to ask me to squeeze in their job after my night shift with no sleep.

So here I am now wondering how to handle these situations. On one hand, they may be honest and any accusatory tone from me will blow any relationship. On the other hand... I don't need to explain. Typically, customers try to work around my schedule, not the other way around. They scheduled me for a job without confirming with me first. just some round about generalization around the end of the month back in January and 'potential work'.

I'm trying to see if there is any good faith first before I commit to another job for them. So far, it's not working that well. Still no e-transfer and now it's a game of chicken.

What's the delicate balancing act of holding your ground and not pissing off your customer? i don't want to mention the yelp review at all because that will just put them on the offensive. Or should I? So then they know where i'm coming from.

Thanks
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Old 02-26-2019, 12:37 PM   #2
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Re: Customers Who Won't Pay....?


If i get the run around around after only the first job Iím gone. Go with the gut.


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Old 02-26-2019, 12:59 PM   #3
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Re: Customers Who Won't Pay....?


Trust your gut! It's my number one rule. Anytime I have not trusted it, I have stepped in it. Get your money, let it clear and then tell them you are not interested.
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Old 02-26-2019, 01:23 PM   #4
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Re: Customers Who Won't Pay....?


Yeah, my gut says no $$ for me. I didn't respond to their request I pull off an all nighter for them so this is going to hang until the 11th hour until one of us says something. If an e-transfer doesn't roll in before the 1st I can be sure it won't come at all.

I do have one possible ace. Their client was my client 2 years ago. Good relationship. This job came full circle right back to me except now they're the ones I invoice. Would it be unprofessional to call up their client and tell him these guys are shady? I could go direct again like I did before.
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Old 02-26-2019, 02:11 PM   #5
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Re: Customers Who Won't Pay....?


After 40 years in business, I can tell you that taking on that other project for them is going to end in disaster. You might get paid for your initial job, but, I bet that 2nd project will produce enough agony for you to last a lifetime. I bet they nitpick every little thing.......then, they won't pay you and you'll be back to square one with them again.
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Old 02-26-2019, 02:18 PM   #6
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Re: Customers Who Won't Pay....?


good faith and being pleasant with them is out the window.

grow a set of nuts and demand your money...NOW!!!!

you do not need work from these kind of people....

and leave your past client out of it...
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Old 02-26-2019, 02:50 PM   #7
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Re: Customers Who Won't Pay....?


Doesn't anyone ever have face to face meetings anymore?
Go see the guy, hand deliver the invoice and ask him to cut you a check or do the money transfer right then and there. If that goes smooth, your call on taking on the second project.

I've just found that when people get shady about paying, it's much more productive to go see them, look them in the eye and make them realize that you are not going away until payment gets resolved.
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Old 02-26-2019, 02:54 PM   #8
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Re: Customers Who Won't Pay....?


i've done that. Sat in the waiting room until he got back from the bank with the money. He didn't like it one bit and told me he didn't appreciate it. Got paid though
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Old 02-26-2019, 08:12 PM   #9
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Re: Customers Who Won't Pay....?


i`ve always let people know i do need payment upon completion.
i hand them the bill and stand there .

one client said to me " you know spike . the real world works in 30 days as far as payment"
i told him " i get it , but this isn`t commercial work , and i really don`t see you needing 30 days to walk to your desk and write a check"

im real nice to my clients .
on my steady clients , i don`t even tell them the cost.
i just do the work , show them receipts , and tell them the labor costs.


you do need to be honest , and let them know " i really can`t/won`t wait for a check in the mail"

you can do it respectfully.

there a cost for you being ,an honest , hard working , guy who does an exceptional job
and not a typical scammer , or handy guy who does sub par work .
so don`t be afraid to say
" hi , i need to get a check today"
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Old 02-26-2019, 09:28 PM   #10
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Re: Customers Who Won't Pay....?


Read the book ' Never Split The Difference'. This is one of the most-interesting and best books I ever read. The book was written by an ex- FBI hostage negotiator and has some great stories. The science behind negotiating is amazing.

The book has some serious input regarding how to collect money from customers, how to negotiate for the most money when applying for a job and how to deal with many different types of situations.

Now, I am reading a book titled 'Start With No. This book also has some very interesting information to close sales and how to negotiate every type of negotiation from negotiating with your children to negotiate what restaurant you will go to. Very interesting points.

Basically, Split The Difference says when your client owes you money and asks you to do more work you need to ask the 'HOW' question.

Client: "Can you start this next job"

Contractor: "I would love to, how can I do more work?"

Client: "Why can't you do more work?"

Contractor" "Because you haven't paid me."

You get your client to figure the answer for himself, put him in control and drop the ball in his lap.

That is my interpretation, but I may be not be totally correct.

I recently had a serious problem with my Yelp advertising contract. Yelp wanted a 12-month contract in March 2018 and I told them I wanted a 6-month contract. So, Yelp gives me a contract for 6 months with automatic extensions. In October 2018, at the end of 6 months, I called Yelp to cancel my contract. Yelp tells me my last credit card debit will be in November 2018. Yelp bills me for November, December and January. I called Yelp on January 14th and Yelp tells me there is no note in my records stating that I cancelled in October. I changed my credit card so Yelp cannot continue to take money from my credit card and now Yelp is billing me for February and March.

I talked to 3 Yelp reps and got nowhere. Then, I sent Yelp a long email and asked 'HOW' Yelp can solve the problem. I am waiting for my final answer and I think my letter did some good by asking 'HOW' rather than making them think I am smarter and in control of the situation. The truth is; if Yelp does not give me a favorable decision I think I will file in small claims court in San Francisco and use the time there for a small vacation.

But, the book Never Splits The Difference goes much further teaches how to ask Yelp questions so as to let Yelp figure out whether it will be more-favorable on their behalf to resolve my issues amicably.

It is all about letting the other person think they are in control and about letting them think they are making their own decisions.
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Old 02-26-2019, 11:54 PM   #11
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Re: Customers Who Won't Pay....?


Just went through the same thing a few months ago.
Tell them you'll start on the new one once their account is current. Let the start day come and don't start. Once they pay you for the last one, tell them they have to pay up front for the new job. They'll either walk (which means they were planning to screw you) or pay you (since they're desperate deadbeats but still need the work done).
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Old 02-27-2019, 03:37 AM   #12
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Re: Customers Who Won't Pay....?


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i've done that. Sat in the waiting room until he got back from the bank with the money. He didn't like it one bit and told me he didn't appreciate it. Got paid though

Your response should have been, I don't appreciate having to do it this way. Run forest run, on the second project, he's just using it as a carrot & you've already experienced their slow pay tactics. None of us need that kind of stress.
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Old 02-27-2019, 05:57 AM   #13
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Re: Customers Who Won't Pay....?


They will eventually pay you, but always for the previous job. Then once they have all their projects taken care of, they wonít pay you for the last one.

Scumbag builders will use this method with their trades, only they will get two, three or more homes behind. This allows them to enjoy a lifestyle (they canít afford nor deserve) financed by the trades.

Eventually, it collapses and they declare bankruptcy.
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Old 02-27-2019, 10:51 AM   #14
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Re: Customers Who Won't Pay....?


I love telling people no.

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Old 03-20-2019, 05:23 AM   #15
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Re: Customers Who Won't Pay....?


Go with your Gut. If you feel there is some honesty, ask for 2 cheques: 1) certified cheque or bank draft for the oustanding balance and
2) Deposit for the second Job.
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Old 04-19-2019, 08:08 PM   #16
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Re: Customers Who Won't Pay....?


Just want to update you. You were 100% correct. Nice call.
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Old 04-19-2019, 08:15 PM   #17
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Re: Customers Who Won't Pay....?


Thank god I never accepted yelp's relentless sales calls. The first few calls they will absolutely not take no for an answer. Had to block them.

Anyway, thanks for the advice.Turns out, they are cons and I had my bad experience with them finally after a couple more jobs.
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Old 04-19-2019, 08:22 PM   #18
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Re: Customers Who Won't Pay....?


I just learned the hard way after deciding to take the risk with them. They're cons and the owner is an absolute sociopath I discovered yesterday. Here's their angle. They push jobs on you with next to zero documentation and as vague as possible. Then, when you fail, they gaslight the situation to make you feel like you did something wrong, then withhold your pay. Clever. These guys are scumbags and I've learned my lesson. Another poster called it exactly.
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Old 04-19-2019, 10:21 PM   #19
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Re: Customers Who Won't Pay....?


This is why we use Contracts.

Detailed SOW, progress payments, all legal notices, etc., etc., and then, if they don't pay, they get a Mechanics lien dropped on the property, and a small-claims, or regular, lawsuit for Breach of Contract.
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Old 04-22-2019, 04:45 PM   #20
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Re: Customers Who Won't Pay....?


Do not do any more work until you get paid for the previous work. Then on future jobs tell them you need money up front.

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