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I just have to get this out or I am going to explode!

Got a call from a customer last week, whom we have never worked for before (and I didn't see their names on here anywhere at all), to reface a high rise above 130' and wanted a survey done first, etc. Because of the height we were going to have to rent a 135' man lift so I told them when we rent something, we get the cost of the rental up front so I don't keep my cash flow tied up for 30, 60, 90 or 120 days or sometimes even worse. When they thought I was going to be their bank, they issued the PO and, of course, wanted it done yesterday for the same rate I quoted to put it on the schedule and do it when we got to it like we do everybody else. Started e-mailing and calling the same afternoon they issued the PO to find out if it had been done yet, or when it was going to be done!!?? Long story short, because I was asking for money up front, they decided "to go another route" - so they canceled the survey as well as the multi thousand dollar face replacement because I dared to ask for money up front. Was I, am I wrong, for requiring folks - anybody - especially people I have never worked for before, to pay me money up front?? Am I the only one requiring this?? Why do these folks think we are supposed to be their damn banks, when we really can't afford to be in the first place. I kind of feel like if they couldn't pay me for something as simple as the cost of the rental up front, makes me wonder if I would have ever gotten paid for any of it when I was done?? I even suggested that they rent the man lift and us use it. Nope, didn't want to do that either. I guess they thought when they threatened to pull the job if I made them pay that up front, that I would just say - okay. Well, I can no longer get screwed over - don't know about the rest of you. Been there, done that, got the T-shirt!!

Just thought I would put this out there to see what everybody else's thoughts are on it.

Rant over!

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Good for you. Let them find someother sucker. I think if you have never heard of them before, and you've never done business with them before and the first thing they ask for is something costly and difficult then maybe you were number 5 or 6 of companies who they have already called.

Maybe if you HAVE done business with them before and you had some sort of case history to go off of it would be okay to risk, maybe.

I think you did the right thing, sounds shady. Sounds like you just saved yourself some headache. Anyone legit would have at least offered to rent the lift for you.

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You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life. - Winston Churchill

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Thanks, Erik!

Those were my thoughts as well. Just wanted to see what everybody else was doing in these cases. I hate to lose work any time, but I feel like I dodged a bullet on this one! When they turned down the offer to let them rent the lift, then the red flags started flying all over the place for me. If I am going to lose money, I might as well stay here at the shop and play games on the computer all day or get screwed, at least be able to have a cigarette afterwords! Work entirely too hard to have someone screw me over. Used to let them do it, but not anymore. Hard lessons learned!!

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A million dollar account isn't worth a dime if you don't get paid.

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Installation & Maintenance Services

Brian Phillips | expresssignandneon@sbcglobal.net | P. 812-882-3278

Express Sign & Neon | 119 S. 15th Street - Vincennes - IN 47591

express%20neon%20sig.jpg

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It seems like a legit company would not have a problem paying up front for a crane rental ..... and it only makes sense to get the $$ for equipment you would have to rent for it. I think you dodged a bullet with those guys.

Edited by HansonSigns

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If they don't cough up any money they don't even get on our schedule. The schedule is made up of good folks who know your company and value the services you provide.

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What they apparently don't know, but I'm sure will find out pretty quickly, is we are pretty much the only ones around this area with equipment! Hahahaha ....... There is one guy that is apparently working for dirt cheap, doesn't have his name on the door of his one truck (probably has no insurance - mostly works on the weekends and at night - so probably doesn't have business license or permits either) - so he MAY take on the job with no money down, but he will be short lived just like some of the others that have come and gone around here.

As always, I really appreciate you guys input. That's why I LOVE this site. No holds barred truth and help any time I need it. Feel like I have made some pretty good friends on here to boot!!

Have a great hump day everybody!!!

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You are 100% C O R R E C T on your decision

If they can't pay the deposit, they can't pay the balance either.

Their emergency, lack of scheduling or demands is not mine. I will do what I can to make it happen. But they have to pay on my terms.

Credit Cards...Useless since they can be stopped up to 18 months after the work is completed. Yes that is right...18 months after you did the work.

My way of doing business might be harsh to some, but Im not chasing money to pay my bills

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You are 100% C O R R E C T on your decision

If they can't pay the deposit, they can't pay the balance either.

Their emergency, lack of scheduling or demands is not mine. I will do what I can to make it happen. But they have to pay on my terms.

Credit Cards...Useless since they can be stopped up to 18 months after the work is completed. Yes that is right...18 months after you did the work.

My way of doing business might be harsh to some, but Im not chasing money to pay my bills

When they wouldn't even agree to them renting the man lift in lieu of paying me for the cost of the man lift rental up front, that right there told me everything I needed to know. Meant they didn't have the money to rent it themselves, so they damn sure didn't have money to pay me when I got finished. I was REALLY close to giving in just to get the job when that happened. Glad I listened to that little voice that was screaming RUN AWAY in my ear. Glad you guys agree that I did the right thing. Makes me feel much better. Like my husband said, once you have that survey to them, they don't care about whether they pay you or not, because you can't even sign a mechanics lien around here on rental equipment!! I would have just been S.O.L.

I surely was not aware of the credit card thing!!! That is SCARY!!! I don't take credit cards anymore because they were nothing but a huge hassel for us anyway. I have let a couple of customers pay with PayPal recently, but I make them pay the processing fee in addition to what they owe. Do you still take credit cards?? If so, what do you do to protect yourself from the 18 month thing??

I really love when you guys reply to things I post, because you are all a WEALTH of knowledge!! I am really glad I am a part of this site.

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Angie;

The way I see it, is that if you can't get paid, it isn't real work in the first place. So don't fret not doing a job that is going to cause you nothing but problems anyway. Smart move to walk.

But if you are really feeling down about not investing your money on a bad debt, take the money you would have lost and fly to Las Vegas. Put it down on the Craps table or feed it to the slot machines. At least you'll have a chance of collecting and have a good time to boot..............

Best


"Don't be afraid to see what you see" - President Ronald Reagan

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Angie;

The way I see it, is that if you can't get paid, it isn't real work in the first place. So don't fret not doing a job that is going to cause you nothing but problems anyway. Smart move to walk.

But if you are really feeling down about not investing your money on a bad debt, take the money you would have lost and fly to Las Vegas. Put it down on the Craps table or feed it to the slot machines. At least you'll have a chance of collecting and have a good time to boot..............

Best

That sounds like a good idea!! Hahaha Just may do that. Never been to Vegas.

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tell us who it was

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We don't do much of this kind of work because of this very same thing.

I tell them up front in a very friendly way &

with a smile on my face.

"We would be happy to do your sign work for x amount of dollars.

Send the check along with the sign.Tape it to the sign face for safe keeping"

I won't go 13 ' in the air without some guarantee of payment.

But holy cow do a job 130' and we will mail you a check whenever.

No thanks

And oh yeah spill the beans

who is it ?

Your secret is safe here

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Being you have never done work for this company before, it is definitely not out of line to request a deposit - we are even starting to do that with the national sign companies we do work with, if especially they pay in 60 to 90 days as we can not be have our monies tied up that long if it is a big job.

like the other person said, if they can't pay the deposit they can't pay the balance,. you know on a job that size their customer had to give them a deposit.

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Just wanted to share a recent experience after reading yours. 25 years ago when I started in this business I received a very valuable lesson. If the customer can't (or won't) give us the 50% deposit we require to begin their project, it will be a nightmare trying to collect the rest. Thankfully I've stuck to my convictions and very rarely been stuck. Recently however, I almost fell into the poor-me trap. We created a proposal for someone who was in desperate need of a sign. The proposal was a rush as they we're submitting it to their city for an enhancement grant. We told them up front that we had to have a 50% deposit, and because of their story decided to spread out their balance due to be paid over four months. This wasn't a big job, $ 4k, and they were approved for $ 1k grant from the city. The city required them to pay us the deposit and then they would be reimbursed for the $ 1k grant portion. The client ask us if we would give them an invoice stating that they had paid the $ 1k deposit, when they hadn't, to submit to the city. They in turn would give us the money when the city gave it to them, and when the sign was installed they would make the first (of now five payments they need) to us as they would have the money then. The timeframe is very tight or they loose their $ 1k grant so essentially they were asking us to build their project completely out of our pocket with the assurance that after it was done, we would receive their first payment and the grant money. (Total of which doesn't equal the 50% we require before begin to build anything.) I felt a lot of compassion for them because of their story and almost caved in, until thankfully, common sense finally set in and told them that we were sorry but we had to stick to our policies. We have bills to pay and mouths to feed and we aren't a bank. As of now, we haven't heard back from them.

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Would sure like to know who the company was that contacted you so I can add to never ending list of companies that are becoming harder and harder to work with. We all always need work but if we aren't getting paid we may as well just go home and watch TV.

Speaking of lists of companies to avoid, or are late payers, being new to this site, is there a list on here we could look at?

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Just wanted to share a recent experience after reading yours. 25 years ago when I started in this business I received a very valuable lesson. If the customer can't (or won't) give us the 50% deposit we require to begin their project, it will be a nightmare trying to collect the rest. Thankfully I've stuck to my convictions and very rarely been stuck. Recently however, I almost fell into the poor-me trap. We created a proposal for someone who was in desperate need of a sign. The proposal was a rush as they we're submitting it to their city for an enhancement grant. We told them up front that we had to have a 50% deposit, and because of their story decided to spread out their balance due to be paid over four months. This wasn't a big job, $ 4k, and they were approved for $ 1k grant from the city. The city required them to pay us the deposit and then they would be reimbursed for the $ 1k grant portion. The client ask us if we would give them an invoice stating that they had paid the $ 1k deposit, when they hadn't, to submit to the city. They in turn would give us the money when the city gave it to them, and when the sign was installed they would make the first (of now five payments they need) to us as they would have the money then. The timeframe is very tight or they loose their $ 1k grant so essentially they were asking us to build their project completely out of our pocket with the assurance that after it was done, we would receive their first payment and the grant money. (Total of which doesn't equal the 50% we require before begin to build anything.) I felt a lot of compassion for them because of their story and almost caved in, until thankfully, common sense finally set in and told them that we were sorry but we had to stick to our policies. We have bills to pay and mouths to feed and we aren't a bank. As of now, we haven't heard back from them.

Wow, sounds like you dodged a bullet too! When we started back in '89 we took any job we could with nothing down just to get our name out there and got screwed more times than I care to remember. One of those things, you live and learn. Sounds like you learned a lot faster than I did not to listen to sob stories. I am a sucker for a sob story - my heart is too soft they tell me. Had one 3 months ago, young woman wanted to open an after school day care service, had no money so my husband and I felt sorry for her (which my husband NEVER does). We were at least going to make her pay 1/2 down at my husband's insistence (which she said she could borrow from family) and then we were going to let her split the other 50% over 3 months. We padded enough in the cost of the sign so that the 50% down would at least cover the materials and some of the labor that would be involved in the manufacture of the sign. Well, long story short, we had already lettered the face because she said she could get the 1/2 down to us on Friday - 2 Fridays later, when I had the face still sitting in my shop and couldn't get her to answer the phone, I sent her an e-mail and told her that if she didn't have the 1/2 down to me that day, we were done. Never heard from her again, and she still doesn't have a sign!! Guess she thought I was going to give her a sign. Before the recession hit, getting paid in 30+ days wasn't nearly as hard as it is now. Being used as a bank for 30, 45 and 60 days is really tough now. That's why I depend on this site so much!! You guys know everybody and if you don't, you find out!!

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So all this and we STILL don't know who they are????? You know if someone else posted this you would want the name too

Edited by burkeenterprise

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Guys if your nervous about the client and want us to run a credit report and D&B make them fill out a credit app for terms. We'll do the pull and I'll let you know if they are a risk.

My shameless plug is that if they need to we can finance the whole project and offer them terms to pay for it so you know you're getting paid.

Always here to help.

Joe@fernwoodcapital.com for any questions about running credit for you. IT'S FREE TO SIGN SHOPS

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I'm sorry - I meant to put it in my last post and got busy and forgot. The post sat there for 3 or 4 hours before I hit the post button. Got side tracked - imagine that. It is Charles Hampton's A-1 Signs. They were the 2nd company that I quoted the job for. Apparently they beat out the first company for the bid. Anybody know them or anything about them??

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Guys if your nervous about the client and want us to run a credit report and D&B make them fill out a credit app for terms. We'll do the pull and I'll let you know if they are a risk.

My shameless plug is that if they need to we can finance the whole project and offer them terms to pay for it so you know you're getting paid.

Always here to help.

Joe@fernwoodcapital.com for any questions about running credit for you. IT'S FREE TO SIGN SHOPS

Hi Joe,

Hope you are doing well.

I give your name out a lot to customers that need signs built, but only if I think they can get approved or repay you. Don't want to send you anybody that would leave you hanging either! You surely have helped us out a lot!! I would recommend you to ANYBODY that needs to lease equipment for their shop.

Folks, just a side to this - Joe is exceptional at what he does. If you need to finance or lease equipment for your shop, he is the guy to call. If your customer needs to buy a sign and can't afford to buy it, he will finance it for them. He even does non profits and churches. The only one I have found that will finance a sign for a church and non profit. I would recommend him highly!

Thanks!

Angie

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