If someone does a contract flight, or a mechanic does contract maintenance for an aircraft owner and they refuse to pay after the fact, what options do they have to "encourage" the owner to pay?
One of the big problems is that this tends to happen informally:
Owner: "Hey, can you do this flight for me?"
Pilot: "Sure, I charge $xxx." "
Owner: "Okay, great. See you on Monday morning at 9:00."
Pilot: "Sounds good, see you then."
So they show up, do the flight, send an invoice, and wait. And wait.. And wait.... After a few weeks or 30 days, they send the invoice again. Give it a bit and make a phone call. Eventually it becomes clear that they just aren't that interested in paying a lone individual without the typical resources of a larger company. Unfortunately, this happens more than you would think in this industry.
It probably isn't enough money to actually go out and hire a lawyer for, but it's irritating and they want their money. It's the principle! I've heard of people placing a lien against the aircraft. Is that something that an individual can do, or do you have to hire a lawyer? Is small claims court an option?
I'm looking for an answer that describes general approaches that can be taken, as obviously specific legal advice cannot be given without details of a situation like this.