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Me and my boyfriend finished a painting job for this lady. We painted the whole house and sent her videos and pictures. When we asked for her payment, she state she’s not giving us the money until she gets to the property which is in 2 weeks. We agreed to get paid half today as we need the money and we don’t have the security to even get paid. We tried calling her on her phone and she blocked us. We don’t have any other contact number to reach her. She owe us £1250 and now we’re really angry as we don’t know how to even report her. Any advice on what we can do please?
 

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That's a tough one. Definitely a learning experience as far as how to approach clients in the future I think a lot of us have been there where we're a little too trusting and get burned. Your best bet might be to reach out to some of the neighbors explain the situation an just asked if they could give you a heads up if she shows up at the house. I know if I was a neighbor and you came to me with your story I'd have no problem helping you out. If she paid by check or CC you might be able to file something through them if you have a written contract but I'm not sure.

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That's a tough one. Definitely a learning experience as far as how to approach clients in the future I think a lot of us have been there where we're a little too trusting and get burned. Your best bet might be to reach out to some of the neighbors explain the situation an just asked if they could give you a heads up if she shows up at the house. I know if I was a neighbor and you came to me with your story I'd have no problem helping you out. If she paid by check or CC you might be able to file something through them if you have a written contract but I'm not sure.

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The owner is selling her house so the agent contacted us to get the house keys. We told the agent that we’re not giving the house keys until we get paid and explained the situation. She advised to hold onto the keys for now. If we don’t get paid tomorrow, me and my boyfriend are planning to go back and ruined the paints that we did as we’re supposed to be paid for the job that we have done and not taken for granted.
 

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The owner is selling her house so the agent contacted us to get the house keys. We told the agent that we’re not giving the house keys until we get paid and explained the situation. She advised to hold onto the keys for now. If we don’t get paid tomorrow, me and my boyfriend are planning to go back and ruined the paints that we did as we’re supposed to be paid for the job that we have done and not taken for granted.
Talk to your lawyer before you go about destruction of property. Around here a HO or even a contractor doesn't pay me a lien is placed against the property.
 

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The owner is selling her house so the agent contacted us to get the house keys. We told the agent that we’re not giving the house keys until we get paid and explained the situation. She advised to hold onto the keys for now. If we don’t get paid tomorrow, me and my boyfriend are planning to go back and ruined the paints that we did as we’re supposed to be paid for the job that we have done and not taken for granted.
Absolutely DO NOT do anything criminal (like destruction property). Not only will you NOT get paid then, you will likely have legal trouble.

Be professional. Calmy follow up as to when you can meet the customer -at their home- for review of completed work, and then payment. The customer stated she would pay after seeing the work. At this point you would do well to take her at her word.

I often wait for customers to see the work before requesting payment. Trust is more often than not repaid in kind. I have only been burned once in twenty years.
 

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follow up: as coco stated, a "mechanic's lien" in the US, is the customary way to dispute small claims. check with your local contractors (maybe someone you know in the local trades) about how to proceed. Keep all texts and emails for reference.
 

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The owner is selling her house so the agent contacted us to get the house keys. We told the agent that we’re not giving the house keys until we get paid and explained the situation. She advised to hold onto the keys for now. If we don’t get paid tomorrow, me and my boyfriend are planning to go back and ruined the paints that we did as we’re supposed to be paid for the job that we have done and not taken for granted.
If you didn't get a deposit and can't wait 2 weeks to get paid, then you shouldn't be in business. Wait until you do commercial work. Sometime they have a Net 60.
 

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Do you have a written and signed contract with her?

Aside from that question, I would echo what Holland advised; do NOT do any damage to the property. Pursue this professionally and maintain the moral (and hopefully legal) high ground.
 

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Consider it a learning experience. First of all, get a deposit. AT THE VERY LEAST, enough to cover material cost. Secondly, you state in your contract how remaining balances should be paid out, and the client should understand and agree. Holding out on the last 10-20% until signed off with homeowner is reasonable. Also, put some sort of late fee clause, by the week. That way, you would at least be taken care of a little if they dont pay in time.

Your client isnt legally bound to do so, but you can still try to get a late fee out of them for your trouble. Just give them a bill, and see if they pay... Ive had it work.

Dont damage their house, whatever you do, but you could go back and take all the leftover touch up paint and hold it for ransom.

Also, be thankful you figured this out with a small job. This happens to people with $100,000 jobs who have 20 employees screaming for their paycheck.
 

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The owner is selling her house so the agent contacted us to get the house keys. We told the agent that we’re not giving the house keys until we get paid and explained the situation. She advised to hold onto the keys for now. If we don’t get paid tomorrow, me and my boyfriend are planning to go back and ruined the paints that we did as we’re supposed to be paid for the job that we have done and not taken for granted.
[/QUOT
My hat is off to all those who responded so professionally when OP sounds like they found a HO looking for a cheap paint job done unprofessionally by 2 people that don't know a thing about what they're doing.
 

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Your anger of not getting paid yet is valid. Acting out in the manner you proposed is not.

Gauging a client and/or project is something everybody has to learn as a contractor. If that is too much for you, work for someone else.

Your post screams a whole lot of immaturity/inexperience when a project can take a turn that sucks. It happens. How one handles it illustrates your character or lack of it. Your choice.

Not that you can't learn from your mistakes. One of the golden rules of self-employment is: don't make the same mistake twice. I am willing to bet there were red flags about this client that you ignored/overlooked for whatever reason(s). Did your gut tell you something wasn't right about this client?

Hopefully you get the balance due soon without having to get into legal means.
 

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Keep the keys until the payment is in your account. If you have to wait 2 weeks for payment, then it should be ok for them to wait 2 weeks for keys. It sounds like the person that hired you is not located near you, and you don't know where they live. Interesting predicament. And, I agree with the others that any destruction will be counterproductive, especially since everyone has a video camera either in their hand, or mounted somewhere.
 

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My hat is off to all those who responded so professionally when OP sounds like they found a HO looking for a cheap paint job done unprofessionally by 2 people that don't know a thing about what they're doing.
I agree with this... and will go a little colder. The OP had no business doing the job, they're not painters and they disrespect the trade by thinking there's nothing to it. The HO doesn't want to pay until she sees it bc she knows she hired people who are very likely horrible painters. The probably did a 5000 job for 1250, and she's not paying until she see's how it works out. On the flip side, being that I don't care about the non-painters who got themselves into this mess and are the quality of people who would go in and destroy someone's house over not getting immediate pay.... jail is probably a fitting place and both they and the homeowner all deserve the outcome of their destruction plan. Homeowner learns a lesson and hires legit contractors in the future, OP does a week or two in jail and owes the homeowner enough money to get her house repaired by a real contractor. I say... go wreck that place. (sarcasm - don't really go wreck that place :rolleyes:)
 

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be patient, they will pay. most times when i stress about this it aint worth it
I agree, and sometimes it helps to lay on additional stress (within the limits of the law and good business practices).

I have found that when trying to collect money, the fax machine is your best friend. When you send an email, letter or make a phone call, it is easy to ignore the attempt to collect. But when you send a fax invariably all the office is aware of the contents.

I recall back in the 1980s I had a picture framing studio/portrait photography studio on the north shore of Long Island. My customer was a Neurosurgeon living in a multi-million dollar home in Sands Point. I was certain he would pay his bill (about $1,500.00 or about $4,400.00 in 2021 funds).

I had been sending him notices for 3 or 4 months and making calls to his home and he was ignoring me.

I was able to find out that his medical practice shared an office with four other doctors. I sent the dunning notices by fax to his office. That got his attention.

He called me right back screaming that he would sue me. I said that sending requests for payment for valid invoices was not an actionable act. I would send additional faxes once a week until I got paid.

The check arrived that week.

I embarrassed him in front of his colleagues. That was his soft underbelly.

Everyone has a soft underbelly. I had a lawyer who refused to pay. He wrote that I would have to sue him to collect. And that I would have to hire a lawyer and he was already a lawyer. That this was a losing proposition for me.

I think he used this tactic often.

I wrote back, that unless I was paid in full within the week I would forward his letter to the American Bar Association for discipline. I also got paid here. I found his soft underbelly.

Good luck.

Remember that a fax machine is your best friend when trying to collect money. But remain civil at all times. You want to give the appearance that you are the good guy and he is the bad guy.
 

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I agree, and sometimes it helps to lay on additional stress (within the limits of the law and good business practices).

I have found that when trying to collect money, the fax machine is your best friend. When you send an email, letter or make a phone call, it is easy to ignore the attempt to collect. But when you send a fax invariably all the office is aware of the contents.

I recall back in the 1980s I had a picture framing studio/portrait photography studio on the north shore of Long Island. My customer was a Neurosurgeon living in a multi-million dollar home in Sands Point. I was certain he would pay his bill (about $1,500.00 or about $4,400.00 in 2021 funds).

I had been sending him notices for 3 or 4 months and making calls to his home and he was ignoring me.

I was able to find out that his medical practice shared an office with four other doctors. I sent the dunning notices by fax to his office. That got his attention.

He called me right back screaming that he would sue me. I said that sending requests for payment for valid invoices was not an actionable act. I would send additional faxes once a week until I got paid.

The check arrived that week.

I embarrassed him in front of his colleagues. That was his soft underbelly.

Everyone has a soft underbelly. I had a lawyer who refused to pay. He wrote that I would have to sue him to collect. And that I would have to hire a lawyer and he was already a lawyer. That this was a losing proposition for me.

I think he used this tactic often.

I wrote back, that unless I was paid in full within the week I would forward his letter to the American Bar Association for discipline. I also got paid here. I found his soft underbelly.

Good luck.

Remember that a fax machine is your best friend when trying to collect money. But remain civil at all times. You want to give the appearance that you are the good guy and he is the bad guy.
Similar story for me.

Got contacted by a realtor to do a bunch of interior painting for a guy who was selling his house to move into a McMansion he was building. Realtor had me send the bill to her and said she would get it to the guy. I didn’t get paid, didn’t get paid, didn’t get paid… Finally I contacted the realtor and she told me she had delivered the bill but money wasn’t all that important to the guy and he’d likely forgotten about the bill. WTF???

I told her money WAS important to me and then she told me she’d didn’t want to bug him about it because he was also her husband’s boss and she didn’t want to cause issues for her husband. WTF x2??? After a few choice words, I hung up and immediately called her broker. I explained things to him and he said to give him a chance to look into it. He called back about ten minutes later to tell me a check was being made out as we were speaking and would be mailed shortly. Got my check a few days later - along with the late fees as were stipulated in the contract. Needless to say, I never worked with that realtor again.

So yes, sometimes it takes a bit of creative collecting techniques to get what is yours.
 

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Are you located in the UK? In the USA a contractor can get a mechanics' lien if the homeowner does not pay. Essentially the home is held hostage if the homeowner wants to sell. Before any transaction can be made the lien has to be first satisfied.

There are cases where the non-paying customer is not aware that there is a mechanics lien. And then 20 years later they are unable to sell their house until they satisfy the lien. But after 20 years it may not be easy to locate the contractor.

But in this case it is going to be just two weeks. I don't know the process in the UK, but if you get the lien in place then the transaction cannot take place until it is satisfied.

You can do a search online. I did and liens are possible in the UK.

 
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