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Home>Levelset Community>Legal Help>I own an upholstery business in the Austin, Texas area and service several resaurants. One restaurant that I have serviced for several years has in the last 2 years or so has not been paying for work and materials unless I continually email, text or call their accounts payable or management. Normal payout used to be 1-2 weeks, then it just kept getting harder and harder to get paid and if I do not continually hound them, I would never get paid. Such is what is going on now. One outstanding invoice for $330.00, dated 12/24/2018 is still unpaid! I have been texting, calling and emailing and the last response I received was, "money is tight right now", from their top manager in the company. Payout is supposed to be 14 days, we are near 60 and this was the response I got, money is tight. What recourse do I have as they called me to perform this work which requires material that I cannot use anywhere else and has to be cut, sewn and installed, which I did back in December 24, 2018

I own an upholstery business in the Austin, Texas area and service several resaurants. One restaurant that I have serviced for several years has in the last 2 years or so has not been paying for work and materials unless I continually email, text or call their accounts payable or management. Normal payout used to be 1-2 weeks, then it just kept getting harder and harder to get paid and if I do not continually hound them, I would never get paid. Such is what is going on now. One outstanding invoice for $330.00, dated 12/24/2018 is still unpaid! I have been texting, calling and emailing and the last response I received was, "money is tight right now", from their top manager in the company. Payout is supposed to be 14 days, we are near 60 and this was the response I got, money is tight. What recourse do I have as they called me to perform this work which requires material that I cannot use anywhere else and has to be cut, sewn and installed, which I did back in December 24, 2018

TexasRecovery Options

I am out $330.00 material and labor for that job and have other material that I purchased for other work there that cannot be returned or used anywhere else, around $250.00 worth

1 reply

Feb 19, 2019
I'm sorry to hear about your situation - it's incredibly frustrating to perform work and go unpaid, all due to the concerns or whims of someone else. Nobody should have to chase down their customers simply to be paid what they've earned. This is an interesting situation, though, and it's probably outside of our expertise here at the Construction Legal Center. Typically, restaurant supplies or upholstery work would not be considered an improvement to permanent property, thereby potentially serving as the basis for something like a mechanics lien claim. However, for equipment that is "permanently" attached to property for its improvement, there's a chance that mechanics lien rights might be available to aid in the recovery of payment. If installation has permanently improved the project property, these Texas Lien and Notice FAQs should provide some information helpful for determining whether a lien would best suit this situation. But, regardless of whether a lien claim might be available, the mere threat of a mechanics lien is often enough to compel payment. Property owners and tenants are pretty averse to lien claims (for obvious reasons), so if they know a lien claim might be on the horizon, they may be more willing to talk payment. zlien discusses this idea in-depth here: What is a Notice of Intent to Lien? Other potential remedies may exist - such as contract claims or unjust enrichment claims, to name two potential options - and sending demand letters or threat letters based on legal claims could help convince a customer to pay up. Beyond that, sending a debt to collections could help recover some payment while also hurting the credit of a creditor, or taking to small claims court could help recover payment. Ultimately, though, considering this seems outside of the construction realm, it would likely be wise to seek the assistance of a lawyer better versed in situations such as yours - and sites like Avvo and JustAnswer provide great opportunity to connect with lawyers from all different practices (beyond simply construction) in locations across the county.
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