If, as a small business owner, I have a client whotheir will not pay balance what is my recourse?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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If, as a small business owner, I have a client whotheir will not pay balance what is my recourse?

I painted 95% of the interior of their house. I have signed contract and 1/3 deposit with all material and labor receipts. Also, a letter of intent from the BBB. Customer started getting very antsy with the length of project and things went south.

Asked on September 7, 2016 under Business Law, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

You sue him--that's how you get your money for work you did, then the customer won't pay. You would sue for breach of contract for not paying what was agreed, and also for unjust enrichment--i.e. for the illegal unfairness of him getting the value of your work without paying fully for it. He may be entitled to some offsets for work not done, the cost to complete it, etc., but if you did 95% of the work, you should have a much larger amount coming to you than his offsets. If your business is an LLC or corporation, you *must* get an attorney--a non-lawyer cannot represent an LLC or corporation, even one wholly owned by themselves, in court. If it's a sole proprietorship, you would want an attorney if you are owed more than, say, the maximum limit for small claims court, but if owed less than that, you might choose to represent yourself in small claims court, to save on legal fees. Good luck.

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