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How can I get a client to pay a balance due?

MissouriRecovery Options

I have a client who is refusing to pay a balance for a job already completed. I cannot file a lien b/c that would require it to be posted before the first payment. This has been going on for months. It was a job through his insurance policy, and I'm pretty sure he over spent his insurance claim, which is why he's not wanting to pay - he doesn't have the money. He's not answering my messages or returning my calls. I just need to get paid. What do I do?

1 reply

Jan 25, 2019
I'm sorry to hear that you've gone unpaid. While I can't advise you on how you should proceed, I am able to provide some relevant information - and I think that might help you make the determination yourself as to how best to proceed. First, regardless of whether a mechanics lien is actually available, the mere threat of filing a lien can be effective to force payment. Many parties have found success by sending a Notice of Intent to Lien. Further, considering a Notice of Intent to Lien is a required part of the MO mechanics lien process, the document tends to carry a little more weight - a claimant will know that the threat of lien is serious upon receipt. Outside of the mechanics lien statute, there are a number of other recovery tools that might help recover payment. Specifically, making a demand for payment coupled with the threat of lawsuit can be effective. A claimant could potentially recover under several theories - such as breach of contract, unjust enrichment, or under the Missouri prompt payment laws, to name a few. Sending such a demand letter via an attorney can help provide some extra "umph" as well. Finally, litigation is always an option - albeit a risky and expensive one. Before deciding to litigate the matter, it's a good idea to consult a local construction attorney to decide whether to proceed with suit and for advice on how best to navigate your legal claims. Lastly, it sounds like you're familiar with the Missouri lien and notice rules, but this resource may be helpful for the next project: Missouri Lien & Notice FAQs.
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