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How did Small Claims Court Turn Out?
This is about how this story of a cancelled bush hogging taken to small claims court ends. It is a process I have never needed in over 20 years of business and one I hope not to need again. The people in and around Ocala, FL are honorable hardworking and I have always done work on a handshake. The owner that led to the canceled bush hogging job is from New Jersey and may have tried to use tactics acceptable from back home. I’m still confident in doing handshake deals but now have a service agreement for larger or riskier jobs or jobs for people from out of the area in order to avoid canceled bush hogging jobs in the future.
The best way to learn how things turned out is to watch the video by clicking on the image above. The short answer is the judge ruled 100% in my favor and I was awarded the full job amount plus court costs totaling about $4,000. The customer ultimately paid about $2,500 more than the original job price. Oddly, I had offered her a settlement price of $2,500 but she rejected it on several occasions.
I did not enjoy the process, but it was educational. Knowing how to work through the small claims process was always a mystery. It turned out to be fairly easy and interesting although I hope to never need it again. The process was handled completely online through a web portal and zoom meetings. The first meeting was an attempt at arbitration. The defendant refused to increase her settlement offer so we moved to trial. The trail online enabled us to call witnesses via video, ask a few questions and present our case. The judge did not make a decision on the call but issued it a week or so later. The defendant did pay very quickly which was a total surprise.
Bush hogging is not meant to be work for me. I do it primarily because I enjoy being outside, earning extra money, and meeting people. It is a weekend gig for me and is opposite of my work week spent on a computer for Fleetistics.com, IGTech365.com and PubSafe.net.
If you do bush hogging or land clearing, consider using a service agreement (SA) canceled bush hogging or land clearing jobs. A SA protects you and the customer by outlining responsibilities and how things will work when things don’t go right, payment terms and other relationship details. You don’t have to enforce it but it gives you the option should a bush hogging customer change their mind on paying.
If you need bush hogging or land clearing in any of the following areas, call or text 813.699.9062.
Ocala, Williston, Bronson, Chiefland, Otter Creek, Cedar Key, Crystal River, Morriston, Archer, Raleigh or Dunnellon