How To Legally Recover Outstanding Monies Owed To Your Landscaping Business

How To Legally Recover Outstanding Monies Owed To Your Landscaping Business

It is a sad fact that every business type occasionally deals with clients who, for whatever reasons, fail to pay the fees owed to that business on time. On occasion, it might simply be an oversight, and the client pays following a call to remind them the monies are outstanding.

Unfortunately, not every non-payment scenario is as straightforward as that, and thus the business owner has to take action to try and get the client to pay them what is due. The question is ‘How?’. The first point we would make is that landscapers should never try to take the law into their own hands and use anything that could be construed as overstepping legal boundaries.

We are talking about using threats, such as threats of violence to try to frighten the client into paying. Other examples would be going to their property and damaging the work that you have done for them. There is little to be gained by any of this and it often has the opposite effect where instead of the client paying, they sue you, or worse, report you to the police. So, assuming, you will pursue legal means to recover the monies owed to you, here are some steps you can take.

#1 Make One Last Attempt At Reasoning With the Client

Please believe us…this does work. A final opportunity to speak to the client can often resolve the issue especially if it is done in the spirit of fixing the matter amicably. It could be that you allow them to make split payments, or you could even offer a discount for them to settle. After all, 80% of your fee is better than 100% of nothing if they drag it out for months or even years.

#2 Acquire The Services Of A Commercial Lawyer

If trying the amicable route does not work, then you will most likely need to take the legal route, and the first step of that is hiring a commercial lawyer. Not only will they advise the best course of action, but often the fact that your lawyer rather than your landscaping business starts communicating with a client is often enough for clients to miraculously find the money to pay you.

#3 Send A Letter Of Demand

That communication from your commercial lawyer that we mentioned in the previous section will likely be a ‘Letter of Demand’. This letter will outline the outstanding amounts and also any fees payable for recovery should such a clause have been included in your original contract for the landscaping work. Again, you might allow them to make payments rather than pay the full amount if they commit to them.

#4 Begin Legal Proceedings

Should your Letter of Demand be ignored, or if the client replies but states they are still not paying, then the next stage is to file a claim with either the District Court or Magistrate’s Court depending on the amount owed. (Less than $75,000 = Magistrate’s Court. Over $75,000 = District Court).

#5 Seizure And Sale Order

Even a court order may not be enough for you to receive what you are owed if the client decides to ignore the court’s order. If so, you can request your commercial lawyer instigates enforcement proceedings. This can lead to a seizure and sale order where the debtor’s finances are assessed, and their assets and property seized and sold to provide the funds to pay their debt.