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How do I recover what is owed from an incomplete tree removal

IllinoisRecovery Options

My company partially took down a tree for a customer November 7, 2017 that was suppose to be a removal. We found bees and had to stop the removal. The customer was to have the bees removed by a professional or his choosing, and then contact us so we could return to finish the tree removal. After not hearing back from the customer for several months, we contacted him to check the status on the bees so we could get the job completed. Customer hung up on me, said we should've completed the work, and he won't pay. Another call was made to the customer that day. Customer stated he won't have any money for several months due to eye surgery, does not want us to complete the job, but he will pay us only for the work completed but not until September, 2018. I called the customer October 8 to make certain he had our correct address since payment was not received. The customer said he doesn't have any money, it has been too long since we were there, and we are in breech of contract for not completing the job. Please advise.

3 replies

Oct 9, 2018
I'm very sorry to hear that. Without reviewing the contract, it's hard to be sure what options and legal rights are available. But, breaching a contract does not necessarily mean the party in breach is entitled to nothing. Potentially, sending a demand letter threatening some legal action could be effective, as could a Notice of Intent to Lien. Despite the fact that work was performed a long time ago - an Illinois mechanics lien might also be an option. Unlike most states, an Illinois lien may be filed at any point within 2 years of performing lienable work on the property. Of course, sending a Notice of Intent to Lien, as discussed above, can often compel payment without a lien filing actually becoming necessary. You can learn more about Illinois mechanics liens here: Illinois Mechanics Lien FAQs. Finally, an action in small claims court or full blow litigation could also be fruitful - though both carry a lot of risk, and litigation will be quite expensive.
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