Roofing Talk - Professional Roofing Contractors Forum banner

1 - 20 of 36 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Strange situation happened. A homeowner who still owes several thousand on a roof complete over 6 months ago called to say there is a minor leak on the roof. While we stand behind our work, the homeowner has no intention of paying the money owed.

What would you do?
 

·
Roof Pro of Vermont
Joined
·
351 Posts
Respond like they don't owe you anything. If it is in fact a issue due to workmanship fix it. Surely they told you why they wouldn't pay right? Address that issue as well, take some updated photos while you are there-and if they refuse payment call a lawyer. If it is in the thousands you probably already have so mix the pot with the attorney and get their advise.
 

·
Roofing Relapse
Joined
·
2,558 Posts
I would have filed a mechanics lien 4 months ago and began the lien foreclosure process last week. I would then ask my lawyer what I should do, and guess his answer would be to fix it immediately so that they have no "Reason" not to pay.

My suggestion to you is to call your lawyer before you do anything.


According to my written guarantee, the workmanship guarantee is null and void if any monies are past due.


Why aren't they paying? How can you afford to sit on your butt and let them get away with it for 6 months?
 

·
Roof Pro of Vermont
Joined
·
351 Posts
It is easy in my mind/ world to leave money on the table. When i finished my books this year $34,000 was left (temporarily) here and there. Can I afford to do that- absolutely not but it happens.

$10k on a unsettled Insurance Claim

$16,000 on one roof alone where there was a clear misunderstanding of the work being offered and accepted on two 100 square buildings-

Standing Seam Coil and custom made accessories not accepted by Owner when they found a "Local boy" to do it for 1/3 my price-

Re-deck when it was absolutely required and I did it expecting the owner to pay- ultimately did not/

Busyness in general covers many open files on the desk by more pressing work.
 

·
Roofing Relapse
Joined
·
2,558 Posts
This is the exact problem with "owners" wearing too many hats.

If you had someone working for you who's job it was to tidy up those loose ends who had a company policy set in place "On the 15ths day past due I do this, on the 30th I do this on the 45th I do this" and it was on automatic, I bet those lookse ends wouldn't account for $34,000. I couldn't afford that, I think $2,000 is too much. When I had an adminsitrative assistant she would sometimes ask if she should send a metter to so and so, I would answer "I don't care do what the manual says to do." If a custom would call complaining why they got the letter I would tell them that she was just doing her job and what I could do to resolve the situation. Either way it got the ball moving towards me getting paid. http://hangupthebelt.com/2011/making-collections-a-matter-of-fact/

At 60 days, insurance claim or not, commercial or residential, I don't give a phuck! They all get a letter of intent to lien. 10 days later they get a similiar letter from my lawyer in certified mail, and 10 days after that they get liened.


As for misunderstandings, that's why you need a detailed proposal. It is a protection for you and your customer. Everything is there inblack and white, there can be no confusion. "Mr. Customer, see line 5, it says right there that is what we were doing." As for the coil, why did you buy materials without a signed contract? If something is special order, as in not returnable, there is absolutely no way I am going to order any materials without a down payment period. I'd rather lose, and have lost, jobs than lose money on materials I can't use. My contract clearly states that special order materials are not refundable and if the customer cancels the contract will be responsible for full purcahse price of these materials, plus 10%.

All of these problems are avoidable, sometimes we as owners can be alittle too soft. Make it someone elses job and make them accountable, and if you think you can't afford them you are charging too damned little! YOu should be paying yourself the money that you'd pay these people anyways.
 

·
room2roof.com
Joined
·
114 Posts
There are alot of folks that just do not have the morals or values to pay people for their services. They make demands before the job, want the rock bottom price then still try to screw you out of your hard earned money. I screw them back! I actually knock on their doors when they least expect it like sunday morning at 7am or i go to their job and embarrass them by letting their colleagues know i'm looking for mr so and so because he owes me x amount of money for a roof i installed 2 months ago. You have to push the envelope a bit..call me crazy but I go the extra mile for my customers so they will pay me.....
 

·
Roofing Relapse
Joined
·
2,558 Posts
There are alot of folks that just do not have the morals or values to pay people for their services. They make demands before the job, want the rock bottom price then still try to screw you out of your hard earned money. I screw them back! I actually knock on their doors when they least expect it like sunday morning at 7am or i go to their job and embarrass them by letting their colleagues know i'm looking for mr so and so because he owes me x amount of money for a roof i installed 2 months ago. You have to push the envelope a bit..call me crazy but I go the extra mile for my customers so they will pay me.....
LOL on advice from my former Karate instructor, he suggested that you fax all collection letters to their place of business because in most cases the collection letter will be seen by numerous people before it gets to the intended recipient. ;)

I recall when I hired my production manager, about a week later, we were standing on a past due customer's front lawn early Saturday morning about 9 am on a very fair sunny day. His neighbors were out doing lawn work etc... and I was yelling at the top of my lungs "Yes, Yes, I am calling you a thief!"
 

·
Roofing Relapse
Joined
·
2,558 Posts
I wasn't trying to be mateure. We were well past that. The scum bag still owes me $2,750 dollars after I invested probably 2-3k additional above what was quoted into trying to make him happy. Every time I fixed one imaginary complaint, another fictional imaginary complaint would emerge.

It became obvious I was never going to get paid, so I sunk down to their level and emberrased them alittle bit. At the time I was yelling they woed over $12k, and sent a check for minus $2,750 marked final payment blah blah blah. The bottom line was I NEEDED to get paid and was willing to do ANYTHING to make that happen, even look a little foolish... and emberrasing myself and them accomplished my goal for the most part.

Would I do it again? Well let's just say I am not one to back down from an argument. I'm quite sure at some point it'll happen again, that's why the line 1 of my company dispute resolution policy is: Don't involve Tom unless you absolutely have to. Exhaust all possible avenues of solving this dispute before involving Tom. Then line 2, 3, 4 etc... go onto explaining how resolving th dispute can happen without me... cause I'll just yell.
 

·
Roofing Relapse
Joined
·
2,558 Posts
and as this site can be monitored that is all I will say.
Yes, and if the customer pays me they won't need to experience the "grumpy" in me.

I get alot of work from these forums. People call my office asking for Grumpy several times a year, and during the busy season several times a month. All are very highly qualified leads. But I digress. Once a customer asked me as we were starting his roof why I call myself Grumpy, he commented how pleasant I seem to be, and I responded "Watch what happens of something doesn't go according to plan."
 

·
Roofologist
Joined
·
201 Posts
I have a customer who stiffed me for 7500.00 early in the year and I am still waiting on her to die so I can get paid off the lein. Our roof did not leak but after that fiasco if it ever does she can put a bucket under the leak and when it fills all the way up she can stick her head in it!

What can I say. I have a real problem with people who expect us to work for free.

That fact they had the gut's to call is impressive.

Seriously, I think I would tell them that you will make the repair for the balance of the bill minus 30%. Only because you guarantee your work. That will stave off any negative talk and you have given them the option. Fair enough.
 

·
Brink Roofing
Joined
·
39 Posts
Ex. Homeowner says there is a leak, but never paid a final payment.
Agree upon an amount that it would cost the homeowner to hire another contractor to fix the leak. Let's say 300.
If they owe 3000, then they must pay 2,700 immediately. Repair the area that the homeowner says has a leak.
The remaining 300 dollars is due after 2 rain days of no leaks.
At that point if they still say it is leaking, then they will have to provide proof (pictures-video) to capture evidence that it is still leaking. If they still playing games, then send them an invoice in a bright red envelope and stamp overdue on the front of it. Send it registered mail so they have to sign for it by the mail man. (embarrassment). Registered mail is only a few bucks. I wouldn't ever send them to a collection agency. You will only get 50% of whatever they collect. If they still don't pay, stop by and duck tape the envelope/invoice to there front door. We used about 1/2 a roll before and we got a call the same day. lol
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
49 Posts
Taken directly from my contract:

Any funds owed greater than 7 days beyond the Completion Date will be assessed a service charge of Four percent (4%) on the total contract amount and an additional 4% every 30 days thereafter. Owner is responsible for any and all collections costs, lien fees, and stop payment fees that Paragon Exteriors LLC may incur due to non-payment.

Not a lot of people are fans of 4% interest on a multi thousand dollar job. However, I handle it like how Grumpy has in his blog post, mainly because of his blog post.

After the job is completed, I schedule a final walk through. At this time I go over any questions or concerns with the homeowner and then I get paid. Now, beforehand - I take pictures of every side of the house and all items so they can't say "oh that was never there" when it was. If any problems arise, I simply pull out my laptop and plug in the camera to show them.

It is very awkward for the people not to pay when you are standing there. I mean, you sign the contract in person, why not get paid in person? Getting a bill in the mail has no sense of urgency.
 

·
Roofing Relapse
Joined
·
2,558 Posts
I have a customer who stiffed me for 7500.00 early in the year and I am still waiting on her to die so I can get paid off the lein. Our roof did not leak but after that fiasco if it ever does she can put a bucket under the leak and when it fills all the way up she can stick her head in it!

What can I say. I have a real problem with people who expect us to work for free.

That fact they had the gut's to call is impressive.

Seriously, I think I would tell them that you will make the repair for the balance of the bill minus 30%. Only because you guarantee your work. That will stave off any negative talk and you have given them the option. Fair enough.
Foreclose on the lien, in other words get judgement. Charge her for tghe extra court and legal fees. Then take your judgement to her bank, I assume she paid you a down payment? You get paid directly by her bank. Your lawyer can literally auction off her property to get you paid, I think, I've never had to do it. And charge her for every step of the way.
 

·
Roofing Relapse
Joined
·
2,558 Posts
4% may be illegal. Consult your attorney, because each state is different. I am 1.5% compound, which I beelive is the maximum allowed by Illinois law.


Collection Notice:
The purchaser agrees to pay 1.5% interest on any payments past due. The purchaser also agrees to be held responsible for any charges that Reliable American, Inc. incurs in any attempt to collect past due payments. These charges include but are not limited to any collection fees by any and all third parties such as lawyers and/or collection agencies, mechanical lien fees, and other legal or court fees. Deposits for special order and non returnable materials will not be refunded but the customer may keep the materials.

The above is a copy and paste taken from my contract.


I like to do the final inspection with the customer as well. It accomplishes two things. 1) I want to find the mistakes now, and sometimes I'll find something minor that needs to be corrected. 2) The customer knows I care, and since during my initial meeting with the customer I explain that we inspect each roof for completion, so I am honoring my promise. 3) In most cases, at least in the residential market, I get paid on the spot. Not always, sometimes people say they have to transfer funds or what ever, and I don't ever make a stink.

The commercial market is different, I often have to wait longer to get paid, but the honest truth is due to Illinpois Lien laws I have to begin the lien process at 60 days regardless if it is commercial or residential. I have only 90 days to file a perfected lien. If at 60 days I give the customer 10 days, then send to my lawyer a few days later he has to give 10 days by law before he files, we're already at 80-85 days.

Some people think 60 days is a little soon to be filing a lien but there you have it.
 
1 - 20 of 36 Posts
Top