I'm in a situation as follows....
I am a fairly young sole proprietor fabrication business,with not a whole lot of bankroll to use as cash flow.
Client(tv studio) hired us to design and build environmental decor, furniture, and sculptures for a scheduled tv event. They hired us through a planner they had subcontracted.
An invoice was sent for 30k+, half was paid up front. Final balance due on event date(early April) there were no signed contracts
at the time.
4 days before completion we were notified that the event was postponed with a future date unknown. They agreed via email to pay us 500/month to store the unfinished product in our warehouse, including the backed rent of June and July.
At the end of April they told us they lost their investors and weren't sure when they could pay us. After three months of attempting to get them to pay and finally threatening legal action they paid us( end of July)
This cash flow deficit(it wasn't a very high profit job) hurt us financially and actually prevented us from being able to take on a few jobs that crossed our table.
At that time they proposed an 18 month window to complete with a 3 month warning and complied that they would pay the additional 5-6k for us to complete the project. (Not having the full payment in april meant we had to release the contractors and pay them out) We have to rehire the contractors to help finish the build and painting)
We sent them an updated contract including the new terms and rental agreement included. We also required a signature as we didn't want a repeat of last time. The new contract also has late charges that Can be applied at our discretion.
They never sent it back and have dodged every email, phone call, etc. They owe us almost 5 months of rent(first and last were required up front)
What can I do? I would be happy to let them take the materials( though worthless until completed) and have them pay us out the backed rent, or I could even repurpose them and call it a wash. But I don't know how the rules apply in a situation like this, fabrication contract+rental.
I haven't been able to get a single lawyer to call me back and I've left messages with at least 30 offices. I reached a real person at one and after hold time she said it wasn't worth the lawyers time and that he said go to small claims
, however I want to know what's what before I put time into that long process.
One friend said we might be able to get a mechanics Lien. ???
I would appreciate any advice you can offer.