Southern Alabama experienced another sunny afternoon with bright sky and just a wisp of cool breeze coming down from somewhere north of the Mason-Dixon line. It was the perfect day for filing liens on properties.
Unfortunately another company, new to the property preservation business, fell for someone’s sales pitch and put contractors in the field with payment terms of Net 30. That’s what they offered so that’s what we accepted. We didn’t really believe it but we were willing to witness a miracle with our own eyes.
Needless to say, 7 or 8 e-mails and 6 or 7 phone calls had about as much impact as a feather falling on an anvil. Finally, though, our deadline came and I went from one county to the next filing liens on properties in the various counties we work in.
For some reason, $2700.00 seems to be a monetary figure that causes us problems. The last two situations that did not produce a miracle were in the neighborhood of $2700.00. This might be caused by some astrological alignment or something like that and I have absolutely no knowledge of that stuff. It does seem to be kind of strange though that the last three clients that owed us $2700, or thereabouts, didn’t want to pay. Our attorney is a real nice guy though and he sweet-talked them into it.
What deadline? Actually, it’s not self-imposed. Alabama has very specific laws concerning the filing of liens. That’s good cause we know “it’s now or never.” After the 23rd of this month, we could not have legally filed liens. Maybe we did rush it a bit – filing on the next to the last day instead of the last day.
Are you still signing away all your rights? Do you sign any contract sent to you “just to get the work?” Do you know what your property lien laws are in your state? I promise you, if you are signing a contract which gives away your right to place a lien, you will wind up working for some clients for free. Gratis! Whether intentional or not, some of them just are not going to pay you or try everything in the world to get out of paying you. Of course, some companies always pay … then hit you with a huge chargeback on the first three jobs you did in July of 2008. But, by golly, they did pay, didn’t they?
I’ve found a lot of contractors are not willing to invest any money and very little time in collecting what’s due them. That, of course, is the reason so many companies are willing to work the odds. I’ve said it before, take a little from this contractor, a little from that contractor and a bunch more from that one and wallah, a million bucks! Now that’s a business. Like taking candy from a baby.
I may have come up with an alternative for those of you that need help with your collections. You may consider joining the local chapter of a national motorcycle gang. I believe that if you were to buy 3 or 4 kegs of beer for the next biker party you might find the opportunity to casually mention your problem to a fellow biker. For those of you that are turned off by the beer thing, how about not signing those contracts that give away ALL of your rights. You won’t be loosing business, you will be losing huge losses. Remember that from high school algebra. Take away a negative and you wind up with a PLUS!
Get legal advise and legal representation. Get your money.