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Thread: Okay, I got one: non-paying customer

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    Default Okay, I got one: non-paying customer

    I've got a topic I'd like to discuss.

    Earlier this year we (Garrett and I) delivered a bike to a client and due to a communication error they didn't have all of the money available at the time of delivery. They got the amount due confused with the amount already paid on account. Given that the amount of the difference wasn't huge and that the person had already paid most of the amount and promised to finalize payment in a short period of time we just said - "send us a check when you can, no worries."

    Well, that was in April.

    We've called and chatted to the client several times going back to June and July. They love the bike, they ride the bike, we chat, we talk, blah, blah, and then we ask for money. The promise is always "a couple of weeks, sorry for the delay."

    So far, no money.

    At this point I don' know what my options are.

    Can I write off the lack of payment as a loss on my business taxes?
    Honestly, I don't think it's worth trying to go to small-claims court. Seems like that would cost more in the long run.
    Be patient, it'll work out. (How patient is patient?)

    I'm generally easy going and I've always felt that my handshake and my word is solid and I treat people the same way. When selling custom frames and bikes I've never believed that I had to qualify a buyer, I don't see that as being a good experience for the client. Garrett and I work hard to be accommodating to each individual's situation.

    Ultimately we shouldn't have let the bike go without final payment but that's in the past and I'm trying to think about the future.

    Any thoughts?

    Conor

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    Default Re: Okay, I got one: non-paying customer

    Unfortunately we weren't all given the same morals and integrity at birth.
    Last edited by progetto; 09-30-2011 at 01:49 AM.

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    Default Re: Okay, I got one: non-paying customer

    One to grow on Conor. That won't happen again.
    Add one to the blacklist.

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    Default Re: Okay, I got one: non-paying customer

    Yeah, it seems like a write-off at this point.

    Conor

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    Default Re: Okay, I got one: non-paying customer

    Do they live near you? Often when confronted personally (work places are esp. good) checkbooks come out really quick.
    You work hard, get paid! Please never let anything leave your hands without full payment again, even with close friends, as it is one of the only things that can drive a wedge between good friends.
    Then there are they guys who you are glad to "give" $100 to never hear from again.........
    I hope it works out for you guys!
    - Garro.
    Last edited by steve garro; 09-30-2011 at 10:24 AM.
    Steve Garro, Coconino Cycles.
    Frames & Bicycles built to measure and Custom wheels
    Hecho en Flagstaff, Arizona desde 2003
    www.coconinocycles.com
    www.coconinocycles.blogspot.com

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    Default Re: Okay, I got one: non-paying customer

    Hey, I'm starting an CyclingDeadbeatsSuk.com database. Entry is free, costs to get out.

    Taking applicants 24X7.

    xxoo

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    Default Re: Okay, I got one: non-paying customer

    It seems like you have a pretty good relationship and I know you are easy to talk to kind of guy, so consider that your strength. Also, the client is happy with the bike. Perhaps a phone conversation where you explain that it's important for you and your partner and your business to receive the payment, and ask if the client can pay right away (maybe by credit card or paypal - maybe even send a fund request via paypal). See how the client responds. Ask "when should I expect to receive the payment by?" Perhaps you could point out, we've gone around on this a couple times now and I really like to get it all squared away and complete, can we do that?.
    Hope that helps. I would bet the client likes you, the bike and would also like to get things wrapped up and square and maybe isn't so skilled and the follow through.
    Good luck,

    John Caletti
    Caletti Cycles - www.caletticycles.com

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    Default Re: Okay, I got one: non-paying customer

    Quote Originally Posted by Too Tall View Post
    Hey, I'm starting an CyclingDeadbeatsSuk.com database. Entry is free, costs to get out.

    Taking applicants 24X7.

    xxoo
    Hey, it would pretty much be like the dead beat dads scenario. Not like they wouldn't be spreading it all over the 'net in the reverse situation like we've seen far too many times before. Not that I actually agree with the method, but fair is fair.

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    Default Re: Okay, I got one: non-paying customer

    Quote Originally Posted by Dorman View Post
    Hey, it would pretty much be like the dead beat dads scenario. Not like they wouldn't be spreading it all over the 'net in the reverse situation like we've seen far too many times before. Not that I actually agree with the method, but fair is fair.
    Exactly.

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    Default Re: Okay, I got one: non-paying customer

    Quote Originally Posted by johncaletti View Post
    It seems like you have a pretty good relationship and I know you are easy to talk to kind of guy, so consider that your strength. Also, the client is happy with the bike. Perhaps a phone conversation where you explain that it's important for you and your partner and your business to receive the payment, and ask if the client can pay right away (maybe by credit card or paypal - maybe even send a fund request via paypal). See how the client responds. Ask "when should I expect to receive the payment by?" Perhaps you could point out, we've gone around on this a couple times now and I really like to get it all squared away and complete, can we do that?.
    Hope that helps. I would bet the client likes you, the bike and would also like to get things wrapped up and square and maybe isn't so skilled and the follow through.
    Good luck,
    John,

    That's some good advice; thanks.

    It's a strange situation; we're even "friends" on Facebook. There's pictures of the bike being ridden that I get "tagged" in.

    We had the we're a small business and cash-flow is important conversation. I think there's a level of understanding there.

    Ultimately I would like to get paid. I'm sure Garrett would as well.

    Thanks again for the comments.

    Conor

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    Default Re: Okay, I got one: non-paying customer

    You have to decide what is best for you and your relationship with the client, I have let a couple people slide on some stuff in the past knowing that in the future it would pay off keeping them around, others I know I will never see from again as they know they pulled a fast one. When you get to the point of it is time to get paid and be proffesional about it, not friends about it, you need to send an invoice via certified letter. Phone calls are he said she said, emails and face book are to personall, certified letters are verifiable (in court as well as conversation) and make the person say hey they are serious, it sparks some psych nerve that makes people take it for real
    Sam Markovich

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    Default Re: Okay, I got one: non-paying customer

    This is an interesting topic because it shows the difference between payment moral in US and Germany. 100 % of my work is invoice with delivery and I've never had to send more than one reminder (knocking on wood!). Those that did get a reminder just didn't find the bill in the envelope on the outside of the box. Are there any builders, regardless of location, that deliver with an open invoice, meaning the customer gets the goods and has a chance to say "that's what I ordered" before payment? If yes, how have you dealt with Conor's situation? I'm sure at some point I'll be faced with it but I've only had good experience over the past 18 months.
    Cheers
    Kevin

    PolyTube Cycles

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    Default Re: Okay, I got one: non-paying customer

    Or, send an invoice with amount due, as well as a self addressed, stamped envelope.
    Do it again in 2 weeks, maybe with an interest charge
    ?

    John Caletti
    Caletti Cycles - www.caletticycles.com

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    Default Re: Okay, I got one: non-paying customer

    Quote Originally Posted by johncaletti View Post
    Or, send an invoice with amount due, as well as a self addressed, stamped envelope.
    Do it again in 2 weeks, maybe with an interest charge
    ?
    I'm sending a certified/registered letter today along with the invoice of the amount due.

    Thanks again,

    Conor
    Last edited by conorb; 10-04-2011 at 05:10 PM.

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    Default Re: Okay, I got one: non-paying customer

    Conor, the business end of it. there is nothing to "write off" assuming is was never recorded as income right? if he shorted you $500 then thats $500 not reported as income and thus $500 less being taxed on.
    Nick Crumpton
    crumptoncycles.com
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    "Mastery before Creativity"—Nicholas Crumpton 2021

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