As a Reynolds Metering Services LLC meter reader / service tech it is important to understand a few things, first and foremost unless you filled out an IRS W-4 form you are not a Reynolds Metering Employee. This is not to be confused with an IRS W-9 form which just gives them your Social Security number for reporting purposes. In many cases you probably did not fill out any forms, in which case you are NOT an employees, employers are REQUIRED to have many forms filled out and submitted to the government, if you did not fill out these forms then your not a Reynolds Metering Employee.
Many Readers have falsely believed they were employees when they were not. This in a bigger deal that most people realize, it effects taxation, liability (you could be sued by the property), unemployment status and many other things.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):
- I have not Been Paid for Services what should I do?
- What is “Net 30”
- I was Injured on the Job what can I do?
- I am liable for property damages?
- If a meter that I serviced/installed breaks or leaks will I be liable
- What is a 1099 Contractor?
- Do I get unemployment?
There are several things you can do to collect on unpaid invoices. The first step is to send a email to “firstname.lastname@example.org” and “email@example.com” demanding payment. In the email you should be clear about your demand, the amount owed, what work you completed with data and what your next steps will be should they not respond (file a law suite, contact the property, contact their client, etc). Give them a Clear date by which to respond by.
If Reynolds Metering does not respond by the date in your demand letter, your next step should be to contact the property you preformed meter reading on. You as a contractor may have the right to file a mechanics lein on the meters or the property itself for services rendered that were not paid for (be sure to check local laws as the ability to file liens very from locality, a lawyer will be able to assist you with this), even if you do not have a contract with the property directly. Reynolds Metering will attempted to silence you, possibly even threatening you with legal action if you do not “cease and desist” contacting the property or their clients, they may use big, scary and official sounding words like slander, tortuous interference, and other legal sounding threats to get you to cease attempting to collect on your debt, but rest assured as long as your not making FALSE statements they have no legal reason to stop you from contacting all parties involved in the debt since they subcontracted the services. If you were an employee it may be a different story, Reynolds Metering thinks that they can have the best of both world in regards to subcontracted labor or employed labor, sadly for them the courts to no agree. Be advised that if the property, or the billing company has paid Reynolds Metering you probably will not be able to get a lien, so you should inform the property or billing company you where not paid and are requesting information on if they paid Reynolds Metering for your service so you know how to proceed.
Your initial email or call to the property should be something like “Hello, I am the meter reader that has been reading your property, and I just wanted to call to see if there was a problem with the services you have received as Reynolds Metering Services is refusing to pay me for the services I provided you on their behalf.” On the first contact do not be angry with the property or threaten the property since it possible they or the third party billing company that has contracted with Reynolds Metering has already paid Reynolds Metering for your services, so they will be shocked that you have not be paid. See of the Property manager will contact Reynolds Metering Directly or call their Billing Company contact to inquire about the status of your payment, many of them will be most helpful as they run reputable business and so not want their name associated with non-payment of vendors.
If you know the billing company that your providing services for, you can use the same steps outlined for contacting the property to contact that billing company directly.
If the property or billing company refuse to assist you can mention that you will be filing a report with the BBB or other online venues (see File a Complaint) in which you will name them in the complain as well as Reynolds Metering Services
If you have done all of that, and a reasonable amount of time as passed with no payment being made to you, then you have an important decision to make. If the amount owed to you is under the limit in your location for small claims court (generally $2,500 – $5,000 is the limit in most locations, check with the county clerk in your area for the exact limit for your county) the the best option is to file a small claims case against Reynolds Meters Services. You do not need an attorney to do it, the small claims system is designed for people to file their claims with out one, it is much less formal and complicated than normal civil courts. It will just be you, the Judge, and Reynolds Representative (if they show up), There is a strong chance Reynolds will not even come to the hearing which would give you a default judgment. Just winning the judgment will not force Reynolds to pay you, but with the Judgment you have more options including placing the Judgment on Reynolds Credit Report, in some cases putting liens on Reynolds Metering Services assets.
One of the biggest reason to file though is because in most jurisdiction there is a 2-4 year statute of limitations on the collection of a bad debt, with a judgment that can be extended 20 years or more.
Even after getting a judgement you will still have to continually call and mail them to get paid, the more you bug them the better chances you will get paid.
Regardless of which option you choose, each and every month send Reynolds Metering a demand for payment letter, and follow it up with several phone calls during the month demanding payment, They may just pay you to get you to stop calling.
Legally speaking Net 30 means that Reynolds Metering will pay you in full on or before the 30th calendar day (including weekends and holidays) of when the Services were fully provided (meter reading date, or service visit date, NOT THE INVOICED DATE.) Net 30 payment terms typically have an interest penalty for not meeting these terms and they begin accruing on the 31st day after dispatch.
However Reynolds Metering Services seems to believe this mean they do not even have to consider paying you until after 30 days have passed. You should never agree to preform additional services until the services you have already provided have been paid in full, I understand that many meter readers are in desperate need of income, but you should never agree to continue to work with out having your previous services paid in full, CUT YOUR LOSSES and find better employment else where
If your a contractor it is not likely that Reynolds Metering Services will be liable for any of your medical costs, to our knowledge they do not carry workers compensation insurance on their contractors, nor are they required to. Also if you can no long preform your “duties” you can be replaced by Reynolds Metering Services unlike if you were an employee protected by employment laws. In short you have ZERO protection, and most likely assume 100% of the liability, a sweet deal for Reynolds Metering Services, not so sweet for you.
I am liable for property damages?
If a meter that I serviced/installed breaks or leaks will I be liable
As a Contractor, Reynolds Metering Services can hold you fully responsible for any damages. If you do not carry your own insurance you can be held personally liable and the property you did service/work at could cease your assets (house, car, personal property). Do you want to risk that over a few extra dollars a month? I know I would not.
This is a very important topic for meter service technician’s, as the property will likely sue everyone involved if a meter leaks, you will have to prove that your actions did not contribute to the leak, which can be VERY VERY hard. If you were an employee, Reynolds Metering Services (or their insurance company if they have one) would be responsible for all damages, but as a contractor they can legally shift 100% of the liability to YOU, PERSONALLY, this means the property could get a judgment against you that will limit your ability to get any new loans (car, houses, credit cards, etc), damage you credit score, they could even seize your assets (house, car, personal property) to pay off the judgment. Your just one mistake away from losing everything you own, all because Reynolds Metering Services has classified you as a contractor not an employee. This can shield Reynolds Metering from liability but does not protect YOU.
An independent contractor is a natural person, business, or corporation that provides goods or services to another entity under terms specified in a contract or within a verbal agreement. Unlike an employee, an independent contractor does not work regularly for an employer but works as and when required, during which time he or she may be subject to the Law of Agency. Independent contractors are usually paid on a freelance basis. Contractors often work through a limited company or franchise, which they themselves own, or may work through an umbrella company.
In the United States, any company or organization engaged in a trade or business that pays more than $600 to an independent contractor in one year is required to report this to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as well as to the contractor, using Form 1099-MISC.[This form is merely a report of monies paid; independent contractors do not have income taxes withheld from their pay as regular employees do.
This mean your responsible for 100% of your own taxes, including an additional 15.3% Self Employment tax on top of regular Federal, Local and State income taxes, Reynolds Metering is not responsible for withholding any taxes, nor do they have to contribute to Medicare, Social Security, Unemployment Insurance, Workers Compensation, and many other fees and taxes they would have if you were an actual employee.
Reynolds Metering controls how the meter reader / contractor does his or her job, and Reynolds Metering dictates to the Reader what the pay will be, and the terms of that pay, Reynolds Metering also provides uniforms, and supplies to the readers that they are required to use. Given these facts it is possible that Reynolds Metering is mis-classifying their meter readers and service technicians as 1099 Contractors when they should be (per IRS guidelines) employees of the company. We urge all meter readers and service technicians to file an SS-8 Form with the IRS to get a Ruling on if they should be considered a 1099 contractor or an employee. If your found to be an employee, this will open all many employment protection benefits, you may be eligible for unemployment should Reynolds Metering no longer need your services, you could be protected from some liability, and you no longer have the pay the 15.3% Self Employment tax on your income.
That depends on your state and local laws, “Independant Contractors” are never eligible for Unemployment Compensation, however we feel you should file for it, and attempt to get your local government to rule that you were infact an employee of the company, this would not only give he the ability to possibly collect unemployment compensation, but could lower your tax burden at the end of the year, and could grant you other liability protections that are afforded to employees but not contractors.