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  • #16
    Re: Property managers...

    You need a better contract and a better policy in place to curb this type of situation from the get go.

    I recommend a contract on everything you do for money. Contracts sets out obligations from the get go and clearly states payment terms, and what happens if payments are late.

    Forget the tenants. Have in the contract the PM is responsible to pay. He is the one contacting you and authorizing the work being done. To be honest even if the tenant is the cause of the problem you have no chance in collecting from them unless the PM is working directly for them as an agent. By putting him on the hook, your collection becomes a lot easier as he will be the one getting all this cleared up between the tenant and association.

    When you go do the work, look at the job, give the quote, have him sign a work order. I always tell anyone who questions signing my work order, it is necessary for insurance purposes and I am not covered if it's not signed and I don't have it documented.

    The work order should have the payment terms outlined on the paper. Have it state the person signing is the one responsible for meeting the payment schedule and is also responsible for any fees, interest etc associated with late payments etc.

    Put in a generous payment deadline of say 30 days. State unreceived payments after 30 days are passed off to collections AUTOMATICALLY. If they ask about this tell them you work with an accountant who process these things for you (even if you do it all yourself they will never know) . Give it another two weeks and send them a reminder letter with an updated invoice. Remind them late payments could affect their credit. Have it include an updated invoice which now list a one time administration late payment fee of say $40 which is stated on the work order. Justify this fee as an admin cost for having to write the letter, having the accountant deal with the collection etc. If they still don't pay wait two more weeks (now at the two month mark) and send an updated invoice with the interest incurred. Make the interest high, have your interest rate at 28% per annum compounded daily. Again remember to put all this in the fine print of your work order. If they don't like these terms simply dismiss them and don't engage other than saying all this stuff won't apply so long as payment is paid when due.

    I've been dealing with collections for a long time. Trust me nothing speeds up payment like an increasing invoice. If there is no penalty there is no incentive to pay on time.

    If your getting concerned and feel the situation is getting extreme on the length of time no payment has been received, (6+ months) send a letter stating if payment arrangements are not made asap then the account will be passed along to legal and legal action could be taken. At the 8 month mark, I'd go pay the $20 and start court proceedings. Most of the time this gets it done. As they receive a letter saying they are being sued for the cost of the invoice, plus penalties, plus interest, plus court filing fees, plus the fee for having them served, + any additional cost associated with collecting.

    As for this guy. I recommend going to speak to the PM in person. You are probably going to have to fudge it a bit in order to get your point across with out him getting angry. I'd lie and say that you are becoming extremely busy with customers (this will take his advantage away of thinking he is doing you a favour by giving you work). Tell him you don't have the time to deal with delinquent collections and have decided to outsource your collections on invoices over 30days and explain the new rules to him. Tell him since you have worked with him for a while now and this will affect a few of the invoices between the two of you, you wanted to tell him this stuff in person.

    By the way, there are companies out there that do actually perform this collection service. They usually take a percentage of the collected invoice as payment. Some are pretty ruthless.

    Most likely he will be upset that he can't pay right away if he's having problems collecting from tenants etc but assure him that's ok, but from now on there is a cost associated with accounts that go on past the due date. Tell him flat out that his problems of getting the tenant or association to pay in a timely manor is not your problem. You are running a business and you have bills to pay. Tell him you've passed along all accounts which are now 30 days over due and if he receives any letters it has nothing to do with you. They are just doing their job.

    If you clear this up now and this guy knows what is expected from now on, he is less likely to get upset when you press him for a payment. If the delay is the tenant, all he has to do is keep passing the increasing invoices along.


    • #17
      Re: Property managers...

      Appreciate all the responses. Update: this PM is all caught up on past bills.. Since we got so busy this season, he had to call other plumbers to bail him out. Not sure how much he likes them or what they charge.. He has had us do little work for him in the past few months. That's OK; we're going to take action to drum up business with more homeowners and deal with customers directly. Manofsteel, you are right on about having a contract. Even my wife said that we can't let someone owe that much money and not have something in writing. I have decided not to go after business from property managers(trust me, there are a lot of them here right now!), but if they are interested in my services, I will offer up a contract.. Some will not sign it, and that's fine; at least we won't waste each other's time. Not that a contract will guarantee smooth sailing, but without it, I may have little to go to court with. And really, who here wants to go to court? I'd rather be under a sink or at a cleanout making $$$ than in court with a deadbeat.


      • #18
        Re: Property managers...

        Good move Rich! I have had good and bad property managers, I keep the good ones and stop helping the bad ones, after all if I rented an apt. from them they would not let me slide on the rent money.
        Seattle Drain Service


        • #19
          Re: Property managers...

          Originally posted by Plumber Punky View Post
          Carry your smart phone and the Square adapter to run the card immediately. Who says the card is any good with this joker?
          I have a square reader also it works great
          shooting the s*** is a lot more fun when you use hollow points (much more splatter)

          coffee hell gimme booze!!!


          • #20
            Re: Property managers...

            ive been on both sides of this, having been a property manager and owner for 10 years, and doing on and off contract work {plumbing, general repairs, ect...} for the same time.

            as a property manager, ive had different payment terms with different contractors. some ive taken a check with me to pay them on the spot when work was completed, some stop by my house that day or within a few days to have a cup of coffee and collect their check, and some I mailed as soon as I get the bill, or I may mail the check while they mail the bill and they cross in the mail.

            as a contractor, ive done much the same thing. some folks pay on the spot, some I collect in a few days, and some, especially the larger professionally managed communities, pay within 30 days.

            taking care of your contractors is not just good business, its essential! they have bills to pay, equipment, gas for trucks, employees, insurance, ect... to be able to stay in business, and if you don't pay them in a timely manner, they cant keep helping you. its always easy to spot the landlord who doesn't take care of his contractors/employees. hes the guy constantly complaining that he cant find good contractors to help him out. on the other hand, if I am out of town, and a tenant calls with a problem, I know I can call one of my contractors, and they will find time to fit that tenant in, get their problem taken care of, and as soon as I get home they will get paid.

            if this property manager is taking that long to pay you, then hes not worth helping him out.

            I hardly ever use a contract either as a landlord or as a contractor {I probably should, but haven't gotten one drawn up yet}, as I know most of the landlords and property managers in town as they know me. and the best thing about working with good landlords is that they are repeat customers. land a couple good landlords, and your name gets around like wildfire if you are good at what you do. the landlords that aren't worth working for's names get spread around just as fast by the contractors, so it evens out pretty well.
            Last edited by Clearit; 03-06-2014, 08:42 AM.


            • #21
              Re: Property managers...

              Originally posted by richinflorida View Post
              Right now one of my biggest customers is a property manager. When we first met, he liked my truck, service, the whole enchilada. I told him I get paid upon completion of the job, no "billing". After doing an emergency repair on one of his properties, he let me know he had to make a special trip to the accountants office to get a check; they usually do bills twice a month. In an effort to get more business from him, I told him that I could deal with that to make his life easier. At first, the payments came in a fast timely manner. Then, he started using my service a lot. Great, right? That's when things changed. One of his properties is an older condo on the beach. He gets a call from one or more tenants claiming there's water all over the floor, carpet's soaked, not sure where it's coming from. He call's me, I go there and find the problem. CI stacks and waste pipes are breaking open, 20+ year old heaters are going, 18 year old dishwashers leaking, etc. If the problem turns out to be a main stack, it winds up being the associations bill. Sometimes it pushes over a month, but I do get paid for it. If it's determined to be an owner's bill, I give him(the property manager) the bill and he passes it on to the owner. This is where it gets ugly. Guess what? Sometimes the owners are slow to pay or disagree that they should have to pay. I don't want to (and feel I shouldn't have to) go after the owners for the money as they were not the ones who called me. On one bill that a woman refused to pay last year, I pressed him about it, and he said, "I don't know what to tell you Rich, I do work for these people.." That really pissed me off. Came to find out, he rented this particular woman's unit out for her, so he really did work for her directly. I got paid from her after 8 months and threatening a collection agency. Last summer, I sent what I thought was a professional letter reminding him of our payment policy and that we were having some trouble collecting certain payments. He hit the roof and said that if he got another letter like that again, he would never use us. Times are tough and we are a small company, but we hoped he got the message. Now, we are in the busy season and I'm back to giving him the same bills months overdue. I have one bill from May of last year, it's only $180, but I've submitted it at least 6 times and have yet to be paid. Another bill for over $1700 from November. What would you do? If I push the issue, we could lose him and his referrals (he does refer us a lot). Losing this customer would mean having to acquire more business to make up for the loss. It's the principal that drive's me crazy; I love plumbing, but I have better things to do than keeping track of and chasing down old bills. Love to hear your input and opinions..

              Rich you aren't Robinson Crusoe. Unfortunately the big world is made up of sweet things as well as lots of crap. I too love what I do as I do it well. Why should we have to fight for our money. We didn't ask them to call us when they were living with floaties all around.
              We are guardians of Health.
              Everyone knows that nothing is forever and if they are honest there is no such thing as a free lunch.
              I have had property managers stop using me too because they cracked it when I said I needed to be paid. They didn't like it when I asked how they would feel if I did the same to them. This is what the whole story is about. I want something, you provide it, I pay you. Simple to us but I cant understand how PILLARS of SOCIETY don't understand.
              I know this is a bit out there but our Country is cracking down on what they call Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs. Now I don't like drugs but these guys were offering debt collection services. Funny, Authorities didn't like this. Why. Because the FILTH(that's the Lawyers and others) were missing out on ripping us blind of the little we make and we suspect that there may have been some high powered Judges and Politicians who were afraid too. Now I don't know much about laws in the states but here the filth implemented a policy called PRIVACY. So now we cant publicise the names of those that treat us with contempt and don't pay their bills. We would love and embrace a place where we could post the truth about landlords and property managers and others who rip us off. However saying this we have warned other contractors off certain people only to find that they suck up and get abused just as we did. They are too gutless to tell these parasites to go forth and multiply elsewhere.
              On the flip side there are many like us who pay and appreciate. I bet you offer tradesmen who do work for you food and drink whenever you can. You treat them with RESPECT. You follow the good book, do unto others as you would like them to do unto you. Maybe we should hire these parasites and then not pay them.
              Just my humble opinion but..................!!!!


              • #22
                This is a nice discussion about the property. Here the stuff shows us best and good ideas about the business issues. This is a fine stuff.


                • #23
                  Hey Rich, could do what one of my Irish mates does. He shows up at their home with a pillow under his arms and then when the door is opened walks straight in and jumps into the bed, boots and all. When asked what he was doing he replied he was kicked out of his home because he couldn't pay his mortgage because his bills weren't paid. He reckons the lady of the house was the best weapon invented. Got paid then and there. Luckily I haven't done this, most of the ones who owe me, it would cost me more getting fumigated than the debt.