5 Legal Steps Landscapers Can Take If A Client Is Unjustifiably Withholding Fees Payable

If own a landscape design business you will experience negative issues that also befall other business types, and unfortunately, they tend to adversely affect smaller businesses more than they do larger ones. One which causes some of the most angst is when a client refuses to pay what they legitimately owe for the work which has been done, and in this case, it would be for a landscape design.

Now, let us be clear we are not talking here about situations where a client quite rightly refuses to pay for a product or service which does not meet the agreed standards. In those scenarios, we fully support the right of any person or any business to demand that a contract is fulfilled and fulfilled to an acceptable standard.

We are sure that all the landscaping work you do is professional and doubtless has received positive reviews and testimonials from your many happy clients. As such, we are not talking here about a client withholding money justifiably, but them doing so unjustifiably and for no other reason than they do not wish to pay their fee as stated in the contract they signed.

If this were to happen to you, we are sure you are wondering what steps you can take, and our first advice would be to ensure that any step you take is legal. We have seen stories of landscapers taking the law into their own hands and destroying landscaping work they have completed due to a client not paying, and whilst it might produce a degree of satisfaction, it is neither helpful, unlikely to be legal, and worst of all, it will certainly not see your fee being paid.

Assuming you wish to remain on the correct side of the law, you are presumably hoping we are going to suggest ways you can get the client who unreasonably refusing to pay you to do so, and we are, with the following five steps to recover monies owed to your landscaping business.

Step #1 – Give The Client A Final Chance To Pay: Before taking any formal legal action we suggest you appeal one last time to the reasonableness of the client. You do this by writing to them and offering them a chance to pay the fees which they are contractually obliged to pay. Tactics that may help are to offer them payment terms or a discount for immediate payment.

Step #2 – Get A Lawyer To Take Up Your Cause

If step #1 proves to be fruitless, then the next step is to hire a lawyer to help you pursue your claim. They may choose to write a similar letter to yours, however, from a lawyer letters always carry more gravitas, with this often proving enough to convince the client of the error of their ways.

#3 – Send The Client A Formal Letter Of Demand

The next stage in the process if the client still does not pay, is for your lawyer to send them a Letter of Demand. This is a formal letter that will include full details of the monies owed and the relevant sections of the contract that the client signed relating to their obligation to pay your fee.

#4 – Instigate Court Proceedings: If the client has ignored or communicated that they are still unwilling to pay their landscaping fee, then you should instruct your lawyer to file a claim. This can be done at either the Magistrates Court if the amount you are owed is less than 75,000 Australian dollars, or the District Court if the outstanding amount is greater than 75,000 Australian dollars.

#5 – Request A Seizure And Sale Order: You might be shocked that even winning your case in court may not see you being paid. A determined client might still try to hold out, and this is when a seize and sale order should be sought. This is a legal process that ultimately leads to the defendant’s assets being evaluated, seized, and sold to recover monies that they owe to another party, such as your landscaping business.