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  1. #1
    RHI Guest

    Question Customer Refuses to Pay Balance

    Hello, I am a general contractor from Minnesota. I worked on a customers deck and railing last fall (2000.) After the customer refused to pay the outstanding balance with me, I halted work on the project. This June I returned and completed the project thinking that the customer would then be obligated to settle the balance. Customer never returned several phone calls, mailed 2 letters to homeowner and finally I got a response when I threatened to place a lein on their house. They still refuse to pay because " the work took so long to complete"

    Question..... CAN I legally lein this customer? It has been nearly a year since the project was started and almost 6 months since it's completion. Also.... their was no written contract between myself and the customer. There are however several documents with MY and THEIR handwriting discussing prices, materials and labor costs.

    I only did this because these NIGHTMARE customers were friends of a good friend of mine.

    I really appreciate your input..... thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    RHI Guest
    come on people...... don' just read the posts. Please offer some advice. Thanks :-)

  3. #3
    RHI Guest
    I had surfed your site for nearly 2 hours before I posted this thread..... obviously I didn't find anything realted to the unique situation that I have. Perhaps you could direct me to a SPECIFIC area. I mean, come on......
    "Advice: read the use intructions on this webiste" How incredibly more vague could you be??

    I plainly stated that I was from MINNESOTA**************. so it can't be a STATE problem. I read thru numerous other posts...... so it can't be a REPEATED question problem. I am confused... what is the ERROR???

    or was that just your "cut and paste" answer?

    Be a pal..... and lend some advice************** iI could sure use some. Thanks

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Catatonic State
    I suggest that you read the instructions again.
    It should not take you 2 hours to read directions.
    In addition, you have little patience.
    You should have waited a couple of days for a response before posting again. We are vey busy and may not have time to provide same day or next day service.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    We are busy. We do not sit glued to this site. We do our best within the areas of our expertise. We are free. A bit more patience, please.

  6. #6
    RHI Guest

    Rather than telling me to read the instructions again..... why don't you perhaps guide me to what it is that I am failing to do?

    I didn't read the directions for 2 hours you non-comprehending illiterate, quick to judge jerk-off! I plainly stated that I read thru related posts for 2 hours.

    Trust me.. I am extremely understanding of your high volume situation. Of course I am patient. I've already waited nearly a year for payment. Another day or week isn't going to phase me.

    Thank you for your sincerity...... it shows a little more heart than your buddy -HomeGuru

  7. #7
    tsjeep98 Guest
    Gosh RHI, if you talk to your customers this way and are as hasty with them it's no wonder you need this money badly, no one propably wants to hire you.

    Maybe you should think about the way you do business, and from now on always get signatures even if they are a so called friend.


  8. #8
    wendesigns Guest
    Have you tried to read the MN Statutes under Mechanics Leins? This should provide you with some info as to your position. I don't know about the time frame in which you have to file, coming from Florida, you have to file withing 90 days of the last day any work was done. You might need to go back out there and do some "touch-up" work. Just a thought.

    Hope this helps..

  9. #9
    worried ga Guest
    My husband and I own a business and are going through the same thing right now. Customer is waiting on a draw and is withholding payment. In the meantime, we have expenses to be paid on the job, so our business and our credit is at risk. I typed in "construction lien" to search the internet. Try that. You'll see lot's of information. I think you have 90 days from the time the job is finished to file a lien, or you lose your rights. I'm not sure though.

  10. #10
    RHI Guest

    Posts are missing,,,,,

    Home Guru left a post previously that was DELETED. That's why I came across like a jerk.

    Thank you all for the advice. Unfortunately the filing deadline had passed and I am out the $. My "friend" that owed me blabbed about how he "screwed" me outta $ to a coworker and the word got back to the supplier's boss that linked us together and he was fired.

    In summary, I got no money, 1 guy got fired, and 1 jerk off is enjoying a deck that he hardly paid for. And nobody's talking to eachother anymore.

    Life is grand! I shoulda joined the Army :-)

  11. #11
    tamwham2 Guest

    go ahead.....

    go ahead, put the lien on, they have to go through the BS of proving the time frame of recording the lien, and have to spend some money to do it.!

    they propbley cant sue you for placing a lien on their property, just have to prove you had wrong info on your affidavidt

    like the earlier post read.....touch-up work at no charge

    homeguru, what do you think?......a little trouble to the deadbeat would be nice.

  12. #12
    StephenS Guest
    RHI,,,,,,,,,I too am a contractor and followed this post. From experience I can tell you that their is hardly more of a nightmare than working a job without a contract. It's a formula for stress that you don't need.....With a contract, their is never a need to question expenses or your compensation and you can concentrate on your work. The first thing you should do as a contractor is to find another Contractor to refer your friends and family too. Some of your friends and family might be quite on the level however Working for the above in any field is a double edge sword. They may seem like easy jobs to get however too many times a break is expected at your expense which leaves hard feelings. ( more usually for you than them.) Invest your time and work hard to find a customer base which you can build by referral at your market price level**************..Lastly,,their are two sides to a story and we have heard one. You mention in the first line that you asked for the outstanding balance and then halted work which doesn't make sense as it should be due at completion. It's possible you meant only a payment was due or ??. The time table also seems excessive which would explain thier behavior a bit however if they watched you work to finish and didn't attempt to stop you then it should be considered that you were working for compensation as not a service is free except a gift.....I understand that a lien is no longer possible however, I would think a venture to small claims would still be an option for you.....In MA the time limit is 1 year from the date of completion. This job sounds like it may have went in every wrong direction however if you believe you are in the right then by all means take a day in court. If nothing else, you might get the customer to wake up a bit and consider some more agreeable options.

    PS....For those times when you do work small jobs or for really close family**************.Communicate by email.....Print them and you'll have a paper trail...to reference.

    Last edited by StephenS; 01-30-2002 at 11:00 PM.
  13. #13
    RHI Guest
    Yes, I agree it is extremely dificult working for friends and family.

    It is funny the way people think. I always hear "Rob can come over and fix that, do this, repair that, etc." And it is always at night or on the weekend that my "friends" want the help. For FREE nonetheless. Granted, I have no problem helping a friend out, but there is some things they need to understand.

    People just need to understand that I AM A CONTRACTOR BY TRADE...... This is not my hobby. I need to get paid for my labor and time so I can feed my family!!!!

    "Friends" need to undrstand that that $45,000 dollar truck with another $15,000 worth of tools on it have PAYMENTS. Not to mention, Insurance, operating costs, wear on equipment, etc. Operating costs are extremely HIGH.

    I have an Uncle that is a doctor..... I wouldn't ask him to come over on a Sunday to perform surgery on me.
    I also have friends that are auto mechanics...... those guys are always getting "used" by friends.

    Well..... thanks for letting me rant a little.

    Thanks again to all those that have posted.... your input is very much appreciated.

    Last edited by RHI; 02-11-2002 at 03:39 PM.
  14. #14
    StephenShane Guest
    Keep it simple.....People get used to your ways so when you do side work for free it appears to everyone else you are okay with it and some people will just think your a nice guy,hence the door opens up for you to get used**************some people consider contractors to be hobbyist as that's how they view it when they pick up a hammer. Let me people know you do not do side work because you are too tired from your day job.....As soon as they hear this , many people will then start to realize your business is work and the serious ones will offer to hire you as a business......For the ones that just don't get it**************Tell them your just too busy and offer to answer a few questions.."What is it you need help on to do it yourself?".....It's a last tactic.....as they hear that a project is not as simple as waving a wand, a few more people will then realize again it is work that requires experitise and skill which by itself should open their eyes.....The old saying is true.....You can only be taken advantage of,,,if you let them.....

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