Worst Payment Story

Here’s my worst.

HOA hires us to clean a bunch of town home buildings. Board president is the property manager, he’s a retired guy so he volunteers his time.

We finish the job, guy says we’ll get a check in about a week. It’s right about $10k and I don’t get the 1/3 upfront because it’s a hair under $10k and the president is a super nice old guy, what could possibly go wrong?

So 2 weeks go by with no check and I call to follow up, not only is the guy not there but the phone number now forwards to a property management company. They tell me the guy’s not around anymore and they have no idea who I am and won’t give me any info. They literally tell me resubmit all the paperwork and we’ll see if you get paid.

I’m like wtf? This is really crazy. I submit everything including permits for hydrant meters etc. The owner of the pm co calls me and tells me, ok it looks like you’re legit here’s what’s going on. The nice little old man stole $500k from the HOA and blew it in Atlantic City and the county prosecutor has frozen all the accounts while they investigate.

The nice little old guy admits to the hoa that he stole the money, a couple of days later he drives to a rest stop on the Garden State Parkway and injects himself with a lethal amount of insulin and kills himself.

At this point they’re about to pay us, then they find a secret account the guy had where he deposited checks from a bunch of vendors he took kickbacks from to award them contracts. The funds are frozen again while they subpoena those vendor’s bank records. I of course would never, ever “pay for play” it’s not worth it and it’s scummy and illegal.

I finally just had my attorney call the hoas attorney and convince them we had nothing to do with any of this and 6 months later we finally got paid in full.

So lesson learned, always get your 1/3 up front and even the nicest little old man can be a degenerate gambler.


wow thanks

I’ve had clients take longer than that to pay, but never with such a dramatic excuse! I’ve been caught between GCs and Investors taking each other to court, a GC and a municipality fighting over money, and I had one client last year claim she likes to reuse envelopes and therefore accidentally mailed my check to a wrong address twice (her utility company was kind enough to send her the check back). Funny thing for me is it always seems to be the really small jobs that have a hard time paying.

I agree with John on these bigger jobs. We always take some type of payment when jobs are over $5000. To much risk these days of getting the short end of the stick. Our basic payment is the 1/3rd up front policy.

We are 1/3 up front for commercial jobs as we’ll.

Fresh Look Pressure Washing

LOL we had a commercial landscape contract that went 45 days past due and thought we should fork out more money (around 10k) for their mulch to be done. I told them when we are paid they will get mulch. Threatened them with “Theft of Services” and showed them the law. We got paid needless to say. The funny thing with this one was that we sent a termination letter to Corporate and got an email response saying they terminated the contract…LOL.

As of right now I am dealing with a snow contract that has been almost 3 weeks past due. $30k worth of outstanding invoices. I was pleasant until the 3rd person told me the same BS. I asked the VP if his company was so big why didn’t they hire people that understood WTF a 45 net was. No answer. Now that I made it to the VP we were suppose to have checks cut yesterday…

This is hard won experience! A few years ago I got one of my first really huge apartment complexes, just under $100k job. I went in there like a big shot, no we don’t need a deposit, we’re a big company we can carry this no problem, but we expect payment at completion.

The job was beginning of the season, everyone was slow, new guys being trained and it dragged almost an entire extra week. I was broke covering payroll, fuel and everything else out of pocket. I tell the manager to start inspecting the job a few days before we finish and to have a check ready. No problem they inspect it, we finish, they give me the check I go to the bank and everyone’s happy.

Manager calls 2 days later, we wrote the ck out of the wrong account and placed a stop payment on it. Then he says come on in today I have another ck for you but it’s only $25k, our regional vp needs to inspect the job for you to get the rest, total bs.

Of course I flipped out! Turns out my contract that I had written up and says payment due upon completion, but the remedy for not paying on time didn’t kick in for 15 days. The regional guy saw this and they wanted the 15 day float on the amount due. They finally paid in full about 10 days later and they were such dicks the whole time. I almost had a stroke during that week and a half.

Well they say karma’s a bitch, they needed the power wash done as the final of several conditions by their bank to refi the complex. So they call me up and ask me to sign a lien waiver that the bank needs or they won’t release the MILLIONS of dollars to them. I just laughed at them, then they wanted the invoice showing it was paid, I said no problem I’ll send an invoice right over. I sent them an invoice past due for the fee I had to pay my bank for the returned deposit, they went ape$hit! Over the next couple weeks they kept calling writing and emailing me. I just kept sending the past due invoice, they gave up after a month.

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I have three management companies I will only work for if we get paid in, full two weeks prior to start date, due to issues in the past.

[MENTION=6139]John Doherty[/MENTION]
you win best story ever

Hell, I’m over here freaking about a 3k job that has drug out due to weather and other scheduling conflicts. I couldn’t imagine being out 100k!

Sent from my iPhone using Pressure Washing Resource

this story still makes my stomach turn, ugh!!!

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thanks for sharing john doherty…very valuable

this has been an eye opener…showing the many pit falls…in this business…I am a newbie however it did not stop me from getting stiff on a very very small job worth a few hundred. But I will use these situations moving forward