I've been foolish in handling a couple of accounts, which in the past 4 months, have cost me around $3,000. Now, I hardly ever have a non-paying customer. Maybe once every 1.5 years or so, so I don't watch over this part of my business with a sharpe eye.
Recently I had one of my multi-millionaire customers not pay a little over $2,000 in service work. He has been a long term customer with no problems. And I serviced his estate before he purchased it.
Then I had a call on an analysis of a pool dehumidification system at a residential apt complex. That always sends up a red flag for me. Two Service Invoices for about $842 and the management just won't pay. Happy with what I found. They just won't pay.
So I can file liens against both properties which I am most happy to do. I would like to own a little portion of both of these properties. Well, you know what I did? I waited just a couple days past the 90 day cut off period for filing a lien.
Yep, being a nice guy doesn't pay against people who are out to take advantage of others.
So I have contacted an attorney and he says the magic phase, which I have completley overlooked on my Service Invoices, is "late fees at X% per months PLUS attorney fees and costs for recovery" or some such wording.
I have a paragraph where I can charge interest for over due payments. BUT I forget to add attorney expenses in the paragaph body which gives me a distint advantage in having these non-paying customers take me seriously.
According to this attorney if I had included a phrase of some sort like that, this $842 bill can esclate up and up and up because of that simple phase making the customer look at me very seriously.
Just thought I would pass on this information to you guys and gals. It might save you paying a $3,000 over sight bill as I just did.
"The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers it can bribe the public with the public's own money.
- Alexis de Toqueville, 1835