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Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 251
I'm sure this has been asked but,

Whats the acceptable wait time for payment? IMO, its 30 days.

My state law says I need to lien before 90 days.

How do you handle collecting deliquent payments. How do you handle it everything about late payments in general.

Iam asking becuase I currently have some uncollected funds at 50 days. Its only $900, but I have sent the invoice out over a month ago, I tried calling about a week ago (left a message) and I still have heard nothing from the guy.

I'm still new so this will be my first experiance with any type of non payment... I do have the paperwork to file any liens, just itching to use them too. smile.. What can I say I like new experiances.

Shake n Bake
Latest Estimating Cost Guides & Software:
Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 174
I think part of your problem is you waited to long to call. I am on the phone after 15 days to insure that they recieved the invoice and everything looks ok. Then they get a follow up call on the 29th day in which I always mention how broke I am and I always place it on someone else(my supply house is threating to cut me off, i.e.). What ever you do don't let of the gas. $900 dollars is alot of dough. If he dosen't answer your phone calls show up at his house.

Jesus may have been a capenter,but God was an electrician.Genesis1:3
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 47
Trick440 asks some questions:

Whats the acceptable wait time for payment?

What does your contract say they are?

How do you handle collecting delinquent payments. How do you handle it everything about late payments in general.

Does your contract have language about a mechanics lien?
Makes it simpler to do (see your state statutes)

Its only $900...

No it isn't.
$900 net = at least $2700 is sales, maybe $3600, maybe a lot more

I'm still new so this will be my first experience with any type of non payment... I do have the paperwork to file any liens, just itching to use them too. smile.. What can I say I like new experiences.

Get on it Monday AM.

Christmas just passed. Wanna bet what was under their tree?
Thats right. YOUR $900.

Customer = a person who pays their bills

Defendant = someone who doesn't

Design-Build isn't supposed to mean design *as* you build.
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 745
The minute that you allow an invoice to age past 60 days, your success in collecting it is cut in half. You should have been on top of this a month ago.

Don't play the "I'm broke" thing. That lowers you on their list of priorities. If you tell them this, then you are also telling them that you don't have the money to hire a lawyer to sue them. You need them to know that you have resources and that they owe you the money, plain and simple.

If you aren't comfortable being stern with them, get a friend or relative to make the call. I've had my dad do this for me in the past. They don't have the emotional connection with the customer that you may have. They can be firm with the customer without offending anyone. Besides, it doesn't hurt to appear to be more than a one-man band. You need to maintain control here. The minute that they feel that they are in charge and you let them be that way, then they will continue to take advantage of you.

I'm not implying that you have a bad customer. This situation happens to all of us and in most cases, it's just due to a mistake on someone's part, to include lost mail. Training a customer is just like training a child. Set firm limits with them from the very beginning and stick to them. They will respect you for this. If they don't, then you can't afford to have them as a customer. You aren't a bank.

I had to cut off a hospital chain that's been a loyal customer for twenty years over a $400.00 invoice that was very old. They needed service and we told them that they were on credit hold. We would not be able to come out until we received a check. Mysteriously, they managed to have a check waiting for our technician upon his arrival today.

Sorry to be so blunt, but you are legitimately owed the money. There shouldn't be the need to play any games at all, but if you must, play them against the customer. You MUST maintain the upper hand or you will lose. Be polite, but be firm.


"But the guy at Home Depot said it would work."
Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 244
I can share a couple tips I found useful:

Wait patiently for payment to show up within the time period you agreed upon before accepting the project. If you are ansy, call and make sure the invoice was received.
Customers who feel trusted are more likely to act trustworthy.

Rule # 1, Never lose your temper, it will only make a deadbeat more inclined to pay you back by holding your money. Keep it professional and don't jump to conclusions.
It is possible your customer may be having the same problem collecting money owed him. I'm not saying that is a valid excuse but it may take him a little extra time to find the funds.

Rule #2, Communication, communication communication, is the key to getting paid. Call, go to the business, job or home. Whatever it takes to start dialogue. Negotiate a payment plan if that is what it takes.

Rule #3, always file pre-lien notices when required, to protect your lien rights.

Rule#4,Hone your instincts and listen to them as you go.
(Anyone for fun want to submit a top ten on how to spot a deadbeat?)

Rule #5, Stay on it. The old addage "The squeaky wheel gets the grease" applies here.

After your efforts are unsucessful you can always go to Small Claims Court. If you have all your ducks in a row it is usually easy to get a judgement. That does not mean you will get paid though.

If a large sum of money is owed and you have not retained lien rights, hiring a lawyer will usually drain large parts of large sums. At that point, you will gain both advanced and enhanced intinct honing and communication skills more rapidly.

Good luck and keep us posted on your progress OK

Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,429
LK Offline
# 1 Service Calls are COD no expections

# 2 Remod jobs and small jobs are 30 to 50% down with progress payments last paymnent of the balance 90% on job completion, and 5% payment on inspection

So I assume some of you guys, like being in the banking business, more then electrical construction, Most every business I buy from wants payment up front, where did the crazy idea come from that we should extend credit, Builders and CG's want a the money in the bank, but they try to play with all the sub trades on payments, and the subs let them play them.

Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 23
I only have one steady customer that always drags his heels with payments so I have instituted some new company policies effective 1/1/2008:

1) I will not provide any license, insurance, bond, etc. to a village/city for a project until I have received a signed contract. I have trusted (mistake) people in the past and I have been burned.

2) Once I have started a project I mail a notice to the property owner stating that I have been sub-contracted to provide electrical material/service to their property. My notice also recommends that the property owner request lien waivers from the general contractor before releasing any payouts to the general contractor.

As stated earlier, I am not a bank or a finance company.

Last edited by HEI_Inc; 01/05/08 02:47 PM. Reason: spelling
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 251
Great advice guys. Ill be taking some notes.

I know one thing I need is a good contract. Invoices and estimates get done on an older version of Quickbooks. Not much info on payment due dates or any other contract-ual(sp) things.

Anyone have an example of a good contract?

Shake n Bake
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 706
VERY good to hear from you Les!


Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 13
What's the acceptable wait time for payment? IMO, its 30 days

When you go to a restaurant you pay before you leave right.
Why do we have to wait 30,60 ,90 days or more. Personally iI think 30 days is enough time to process paperwork. I pay my suppliers in 30. As stated above we are not bankers. Stay on top of it. After 15 days check in and make sure they have recieved your bill. 1/2 the buisness is working the other 1/2 is getting paid. At what point is it considered steeling. You decide.

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