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LSAdams

How do we collect without going to collections??

Question

We used to clean hoods for a well known fast food chain until some new owners took over the franchise. Once the new owners took over, I explained that we needed to rebid the stores. Maybe that was a bad move on my part. They agreed and I went to each store and submitted a bid as a whole as long as we obtained all the stores. I offered what I thought to be a low yet fair price. After a few emails back and forth, They decided to go with the company that they had used before at their other stores that they had before they took over the stores that we cleaned. I wished them well and told them to remember we were just a phone call away.

On the morning of September 5th, This company called with an emergency, One of the stores had caught fire the morning after the new company cleaned them. I explained that the price was going to be a bit higher because it was an emergency and it was also a holiday weekend and we were closed for that particular weekend. They quickly agreed because they wanted to get that store opened as quick as possible. I called in our complete staff and we responded to the scene. We went over the complete system and I pointed out that the system had quite a bit of damage do to the fire. The stainless steel actually turned blue and there was a ton of smoke damage. Still they agreed. So, We went to work.

As soon as the system was cleaned, An invoice was left on the door to the managers office as there was no one available to accept the invoice. I explained that because this particular customer was no longer a customer of ours, The invoice would have to be taken care of that Monday. They also agreed on that. I told them that they no longer enjoyed the Net 30 benefit  because they dropped us and had another hood cleaner, Clean the systems.

I made all of this very clear and yet, They agreed.

Now, We've been calling them to obtain payment and we're getting the run around. I called their offices many times and all I get is, You need to talk to this person or that person. I've left messages and no one calls back. I went to their office and was told that I needed to leave before they called the police and had me arrested for trespassing. I've sent emails and now, I'm faced with the fact that I'll probably end up having to send the to collections. I've warned their corporate headquarters of my intentions and they asked me to please not do that yet. However, I don't see any other option.

I will tell you these customer are becoming a "Royal" pain in my butt. This is one that I'm going to have my way! LoL!

My question here is how would you collect from such a customer? I don't want to send it to collections because, It costs us 40% of what they collect. I've talked with our attorney and he says we can file for lien. Now maybe that's a thought. I just want this customer to pay their bill and be out of my hair.

Funny thing is this was a good paying customer that had their system cleaned faithfully before the new owners took over. Sure wish I had the original owners back.

 

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Send Vito over there with his favorite baseball bat that should do it..lol J/K

It sounds like this new company has financial issues. I would start with the lien because you only have so many months to do that & I would keep calling them with the threat of going to collections & if that doesn't work then just do it. The 40% loss is a write off anyway and getting 60% is better then getting Zip.

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I agree with John....write it off.

 

The time spent chasing a few thousand + Lawyers....will end up costing you a few thousand........now costing you double.

 

Learn from the experience & move on.....and don't make the same mistake again.

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We have in our area a few TV stations that usually are willing to reprent either the customer or a company that is being unjustly treated after they performed a service. This being a Franchise I believe it would be a great set back for them to see their company on TV for not making payment for services that were provided to them. Another alternative would to have an attorney write them a letter sometimes that all it takes. Just a thought.

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Larry,

 

Sorry to hear that your having such problems and I agree with you that 40% of the invoice is a little crazy to be paying if you send that company to collections. My .02 cents for what it's worth, is I have recieved phone calls to the office in the past (cold callers) asking me if I had trouble collected past due invoices. I really dont know how much they charge but I do know that is a collection agency. I would suggest looking for a local company, just try and google search "collection agency in...". Hope this helps and good luck to you.

 

 

 

Mike Mena

 

Hood Pros LLC.

28790 S Diesel Dr. STE 8

Bonita Springs FL 34135

Licensed & Insured

239.300.7613

www.hoodprosnaples.com

#GotGrease? #GotGrime?

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Add the 40% to the invoice and send them a new invoice, include a letter of intent to send to general collections if original amount is not paid by a certain date.

If it's not paid, then just turn it over to collections. The additional percentage covers the cost of collections and you still get full amount for service.

Collections also reports to all credit bureaus so it will be a negative mark on their entire operation.

If collections takes them to court, you might lose 10%. My collection company charges 50% if taken to court.

90% is better than 0%.

If I did that math right?

Just my experience.

 

Thanks!

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Who is/are the new owners?  I find when I have to go to collections, I often get 0%.  Those people know how the system works, and it does not work in our favor.  I find it is best to concentrate on those who do pay and to ignore those who do not pay.  And do not be afraid to let others in the trades know you got screwed.  Your local electrician, sheet metal shops and such have already been screwed by those folks.  Are they Chinese, Morrocans,  Indians? 

 

Scott Stone had problems collecting for some flat work.  He scheduled a thank you dinner for his employees at the account. After dinner, he asked for the check.  He told his people to start leaving.  His bill did not equal the amount owed to him.  So he circulated around the dining room, collecting bills.  When he got enough, he went to the restaurant owner.  He held up the original invoice for cleaning and fanned out the tickets he had collected.  He told the restaurant owner they were even and to never call his company again. 

 

It is too bad we cannot save the grease we clean until the check clears. If the check does not clear, we dump the grease down the duct. 

 

Do you know who the insurance company is?  Contact them, that may help.  Who does the fire system?  I have been  paid directly by the insurance company for work after a fire.  At times, I have also been paid to upgrade the fire system. Did the previous owners get paid in full or are they taking payments?  If they still have an interest in the property, they maybe able to help.  They would be interested in knowing there was a fire. 

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We FINALLY resolved the issue. We got them to pay up then we told them to find another company. It's kind of funny because they brought in their own people and just a few months later they called because they had a fire close their store. The " New" hood cleaner was apparently just wiping out the hood. He would be in and out in less than an hour. I told them that they get what they pay for and to continue looking because we were no longer servicing them. I hate to be this way but, It looks like Karma bit them and hard. 

Because of the issues that we had with them, We no longer take checks. They bounced the check they sent. I would agree that they were having money problems. Everything we do now is either Cash or Credit and we collect before we enter the facility. It just has to be that way....

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Restaurant owners have cash flow issues,

30 days is the norm,

If a customer is delinquent, I would insist on a monthly payment plan, spread the cost over the year.

If a customer still wont pay, i would offer a one time discount, then drop them if they pay or dont pay.

i think Doug said it best " it is best to concentrate on those who do pay and to ignore those who do not pay"

Small claims is a joke, hence why people refuse to pay.

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