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Thread: Self Employed Builder owed £40k from customer a year to August 2016

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  1. #1
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    Unhappy Self Employed Builder owed £40k from customer a year to August 2016

    Hi all
    I'm so lost at what to do and aside making me ill through stress and the possibility of losing my business I don't know how to get the customer to pay the balance owing of just over 40k. I completed the building work and they paid me the final £2k for the outstanding debt from the original estimate. Through the build additional work was requested and completed and they were aware of this being ontop of the original price. They are an ENT Consultant and a Doctor so I never imagined having this situation, naieve I realise now. They argeed the work has been done to a high standard, no snagging issues and that the costs all all in order. I received a request from them to meet and discuss a 'payment plan' . Then they couldn't meet as one of them was unwell with all the stress of the build! That was back in June and I haven't heard from them since. I was thinking that I should send them an email requesting payment by a certain date and/or offering a payment schedule (not too small or long in payment though)? If I don't receive any response, then should the next step be speaking to a solicitor and/or starting a claim through court. I really can't afford to employ a solicitor and then end up with a payment plan stretching for years and a solicitors billl to pay.
    Any thoughts and suggestions would be extremely gratefully received.

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Self Employed Builder owed £40k from customer a year to August 2016

    Hi,

    have a look at this link for options

    https://www.gov.uk/options-if-youre-owed-money

    If you do decide to take them to small claims the fee will be about £2000 for the amount you are claiming. You will need to send them a letter before action, either search this site for an example or look online, here's a link to the Which one to give you an idea

    http://www.which.co.uk/consumer-righ...ms-court-claim

    I am speaking as a small business owner who has had to resort to this a few times when chasing money, hopefully some of the qualified people will be along to help you soon.

    Good luck

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Self Employed Builder owed £40k from customer a year to August 2016

    Suing for £40k means it will be allocated to the multi track, not the small claims track, so using a solicitor would mean certain costs can be recovered if you are successful.

    Can you let us have more details of the agreement, discussions etc?

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    Default Re: Self Employed Builder owed £40k from customer a year to August 2016

    [QUOTE=Jojo71;675993]Hi,

    have a look at this link for options

    https://www.gov.uk/options-if-youre-owed-money

    If you do decide to take them to small claims the fee will be about £2000 for the amount you are claiming. You will need to send them a letter before action, either search this site for an example or look online, here's a link to the Which one to give you an idea

    http://www.which.co.uk/consumer-righ...ms-court-claim

    I am speaking as a small business owner who has had to resort to this a few times when chasing money, hopefully some of the qualified people will be along to help you soon.

    Good luck[/QUOTE


    Thanks JoJo, much appreciated.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Self Employed Builder owed £40k from customer a year to August 2016

    Hi CLL1

    Initially I gave an esitmate for the extension build, which was accepted and agreed. The whole project took just over 18 months to complete (including the additional work). Payments were made as and when requested, sometimes it took longer to pay than I would have normally liked, but they seemed ok. Professional people, the bloke was a bit of a prat wanting things changed after they had been built, but agreed verbally with additional costs when discussed.
    All additional work as verbally agreed. I even let them use my business accounts at builders mechants, plu,bers and kitchen company on the basis they paid the account at the time of purchase. The plumbers merchants they didn't pay and I was left to settle after it being outstanding for several months.
    All the building was signed off by building regs and everything checked with them that they were happy with the work. They did say they were very pleased with the standard of work and no snagging as I always do this as I go along.
    They haven't disputed they owe the money, just the inability to pay the total. The meeting to take place in May was asked for by email after I chased them for payment and my book keeper emailed chasing payment for me. It was changed and put back because they were going on holiday. Then it was cancelled as the woman was ill so say through stress of the whole house renovations.
    What sort of final letter should I write and length of time. Should I also offer a payment plan and if so how much? £40k is rather alot for a payment plan, but I would do anything just to get them to start paying the debt. They both have very good incomes from Consultant and Doctor salary, would the court take this into account?
    Basically I'm an interest free loan to them without any schedule of repayment.

    Thanks for listening and looking at this for me.

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    Default Re: Self Employed Builder owed £40k from customer a year to August 2016

    Quote Originally Posted by superbike View Post
    Hi CLL1

    Initially I gave an esitmate for the extension build, which was accepted and agreed. The whole project took just over 18 months to complete (including the additional work). Payments were made as and when requested, sometimes it took longer to pay than I would have normally liked, but they seemed ok. Professional people, the bloke was a bit of a prat wanting things changed after they had been built, but agreed verbally with additional costs when discussed.
    All additional work as verbally agreed. I even let them use my business accounts at builders mechants, plu,bers and kitchen company on the basis they paid the account at the time of purchase. The plumbers merchants they didn't pay and I was left to settle after it being outstanding for several months.
    All the building was signed off by building regs and everything checked with them that they were happy with the work. They did say they were very pleased with the standard of work and no snagging as I always do this as I go along.
    They haven't disputed they owe the money, just the inability to pay the total. The meeting to take place in May was asked for by email after I chased them for payment and my book keeper emailed chasing payment for me. It was changed and put back because they were going on holiday. Then it was cancelled as the woman was ill so say through stress of the whole house renovations.
    What sort of final letter should I write and length of time. Should I also offer a payment plan and if so how much? £40k is rather alot for a payment plan, but I would do anything just to get them to start paying the debt. They both have very good incomes from Consultant and Doctor salary, would the court take this into account?
    Basically I'm an interest free loan to them without any schedule of repayment.

    Thanks for listening and looking at this for me.
    Whilst I appreciate it is often what is done in this trade, agreeing verbal changes to a written contract is not advised. Perhaps factor that in when you come to futrue jobs, if only to protect you if you come to this kind of situation again (which, touch wood, you won't).

    Firstly, you need to decide what sort of approach you take to this. If they seem perfectly happy to pay, but they're simply being a little tardy with their attention, perhaps a gentle reminder/telephone call impressing upon them the urgency with which this matter needs dealing with. I wouldn't ordinarily suggest this, but firing off formal letters of claim will put people's backs up immediately, so if there's a possibility of getting payment or an agreeable payment plan without this, please do that first.

    The alternative is to send a formal letter of claim which kick starts the process of issuing court proceedings. The next stage is then, of course, the issue of proceedings. As a preliminary, can you just confimr you're a limited company, and that all costs (i.e. labour, materials, etc) are through the company?

    I can draft a full letter of claim, but we need to address what we say the other side are liable for. We need:

    1. Exact figures as at start of build;
    2. Any written correspondence on the starting price;
    3. Details of oral variations from point 1, above;
    4. Any written correspondence on the variations
    5. When the costs became due;
    6. Details of any contract you had with them (e.g., JCT small build)

    That should be all I need, but your answers should be full and detailed. Then we can get this off the ground.

    Issuing a claim with a balance of £40k will mean a court fee of around £2k. It's cheaper if you issue it online using MCOL, but I hate that process with a passion.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Self Employed Builder owed £40k from customer a year to August 2016

    As this has gone on for so long and there is a lot of money owed time to get legal help and escalate this, maybe to a CCJ a Solicitors letter may spur them into paying ,if not court action must be taken, if not after this time they have the upper hand unless you take the action .

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    Default Re: Self Employed Builder owed £40k from customer a year to August 2016

    Quote Originally Posted by CLL1 View Post
    Whilst I appreciate it is often what is done in this trade, agreeing verbal changes to a written contract is not advised. Perhaps factor that in when you come to futrue jobs, if only to protect you if you come to this kind of situation again (which, touch wood, you won't).

    Firstly, you need to decide what sort of approach you take to this. If they seem perfectly happy to pay, but they're simply being a little tardy with their attention, perhaps a gentle reminder/telephone call impressing upon them the urgency with which this matter needs dealing with. I wouldn't ordinarily suggest this, but firing off formal letters of claim will put people's backs up immediately, so if there's a possibility of getting payment or an agreeable payment plan without this, please do that first.

    The alternative is to send a formal letter of claim which kick starts the process of issuing court proceedings. The next stage is then, of course, the issue of proceedings. As a preliminary, can you just confimr you're a limited company, and that all costs (i.e. labour, materials, etc) are through the company?

    I can draft a full letter of claim, but we need to address what we say the other side are liable for. We need:

    1. Exact figures as at start of build;
    2. Any written correspondence on the starting price;
    3. Details of oral variations from point 1, above;
    4. Any written correspondence on the variations
    5. When the costs became due;
    6. Details of any contract you had with them (e.g., JCT small build)

    That should be all I need, but your answers should be full and detailed. Then we can get this off the ground.

    Issuing a claim with a balance of £40k will mean a court fee of around £2k. It's cheaper if you issue it online using MCOL, but I hate that process with a passion.

    Thanks CLL1, much appreciated. I'm not a limited company, but yes all the materials, etc and money received are through my company accounts and bank account. I have a book keeper who keeps it organised for me as a favour. This job spans 2 years and was prestty much all I did over the time span. I know my answers are not going to be the best news, not alot of written confirmations. paperbut I've never had a problem before, which in hindsight I have been very lucky. Shall I PM my detail notes? I'll have to look back at paperwork (I guess I've been very lucky before, never having a problem with none payment. I know through the build they both spoke at times of 'running out of money', 'getting the mortgage increased', and such things, which should have rang alarm bells, but people do sometines say these things off the cuff to hope you will knock something of the total. They have refused to pay two of the other trades, a gas engineer and a stone mason, both of which I recommended and can say hand on heart, are good at what they do. Lame excuses have been given as to why they won't pay.
    Thanks again for your help, I've been so taken back by all this and it has affected my health to the point of seeing my doctor. Big lesson learned.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Self Employed Builder owed £40k from customer a year to August 2016

    Sorry for taking such a long time to respond. Ive been pulling all the information together in what spare time I have at the moment. I'm doing my 'normal job' and then fast food delivering in the evenings to make ends meet and keep my families heads above water. No excuses but along with that I've been diagnosed with depression, so finding things tough at the moment. A friends has offered to communicate on this for me if CLL1 youy are still willing to help. I hope so. Thanks again for your time, it is much welcomed.

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