New Industrywide Standards

I don’t know about you guys but I’m sick of getting stiffed by commercial accounts. It’s rare but it pisses me off to no end. The hassle of collecting, court if need be. It seems like its becoming more and more common, especially with these fly by nite, out of town property maintenance companies with national accounts. I feel like a 50% deposit should become a standard practice. I read more and more stories about these situations every day. We as contractors need to do something to stop this garbage. #50%upfront


Have lien paperwork ready a week before you need it. Make it standard practice to mail it on the 31st day. Liens move commercial along a lot faster than residential because the property managers/maintenance are typically middle men between the actual owners and you.

On new commercial I will NOT take it under any other terms than net 7.

  1. Ask or find the actual owner of the property before you ever start work.
  2. Give a written warning on the 21st day that it’s your company policy to start lien proceedings on day 31.
  3. Stick to it. No flexibility.
  4. A collections letter from an attorney on day 45 is a strong motivator.
  5. Do everything via email and take tons of pictures.

Owners of commercial refinance properties and put them up as collateral all the time. If there’s a lien they can’t.


All good points, I just hate that’s the reality of commercial work. Kind of disappointed. I’ve made an effort to run my business in a reliable, transparent way with as much integrity as I can and this is the reward. I’m sure it’s seems naive, but I just feel like it shouldn’t be that way. Makes me want to not do commercial, or at least be super selective.

It’s no better in the truck washing industry. That’s why we tend to stick with smaller accounts, not the FedEx’s, UPS etc …Plus you have to wait almost 3 months before you get paid and they beat the hell outta you on pricing.

They are easy to recognize, just don’t do work for them.

Sometimes a little less money is worth not having a headache


Well I have a meeting with a lawyer next week. New aspect of business ownership :disappointed_relieved:

I am not a pressure washing business owner, nor an attorney, but I feel I might be able to contribute one small thing. Take pictures/videos with a business use only phone/camera. You don’t want some attorney looking through your phone to find anything they can use to besmirch your character.

If you feel like your going to court a lot, a simple practice might be to arrive at location take a video (very short) saying today is “”, I am at property x (pan to property x with a door number or mailbox number visible) to do this (say service provided) for customer (use name) and if possible pan to the agreed upon document. You can do this in 10-15 seconds with some planning. It is a wealth of information available for submission in court. I have done this plenty of times in my former job. It gets so easy after awhile it is like saying good morning to someone. Keep it short, don’t get diarrhea of the mouth, and absolutely don’t get sidetracked. If you work the same area after awhile the judges/magistrates will get to know you, so will the attorneys, and they might advise their clients to pay.

You can lay your foundation for submission, but I don’t want to get into that. Every state is a little different.

Hope this helps someone.