Yet another small claims action against a property management agency for an unpaid invoice for work they asked for at the price they asked for at the time they asked for means I'm pulling the plug on the bally lot of 'em!


Personally, I don't get it. Maybe someone who works for an agency firm can explain? The way I see it, a property management agency are a middleman operation: the client who has a problem calls them, they then call me and I go out and fix the issue. Afterwards, I bill the agency, and they bill the client with their fee whacked on top for managing the job. Any agency needs to keep me sweet because I'm the guy on the ground they're gonna call. They need me to be responsive, reliable, good with their client, efficient and for my charges to be as low as possible so that their profit when whacking on their fee will be suitably juicy.


So why is it that every damn agency I've dealt with fails to pay my invoice? We're not talking late payment, we're talking no payment, at least until it is actively chased, sometimes to the point where the small claims court are involved. You'd figure that these firms need to keep people like me on side, otherwise finding reliable trades when you need them becomes more difficult, and their business model relies on them finding someone in the right place at the right time so that they can make their money.


I also know they're not shy about money. The mark-up from these people who have to do little more than make a few phone calls can be over 100% of the invoice I present to them and which I would have charged the client had they come to me directly.


But no, it seems they'd rather wait until the point where I'm actually initiating a small claims action before they're willing to part with the pennies I'm asking for, and we are talking small change here, £50 to £150 or so most of the time. Maybe they figure I just won't be arsed to chase it up, but when the work is on a written quotation and I have their written authorisation ordering the go-ahead, then I can't lose in court, so of course I'm going to come in all guns blazing.


Anyway, to hell with them! All of them! I don't need the hassle of any short notice call-outs that take weeks of chasing to see cleared funds. As far as I'm concerned, my less reputable competitors can have the crap work and the payment hassle, and the agencies can have the crap competition I keep moaning about in my blog and on social media.