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Collection issue...HELP!

Discussion in 'Business Fundamentals' started by mullis56, Jun 16, 2009.

  1. mullis56

    mullis56 Senior Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 824

    So here is the short version. Bid 5 properties and all were zero tolerance properties when we bid them this was made clear by them, and we were awarded one of them. The customer calls and says bring me a contract, so I did just that. 2 weeks later he said he had it signed and to come and get a copy. I go to get it and it has changed to 'will call' on the lot salting and a few minor other changes. Nov 30th and Dec 3rd we treated the walks with landscapers choice ice melt and he calls on Dec 3rd and said, "we will take care of the walks on these small events, you take care of everything when we get to 2" or more" I said, "well the contract indicates we are to take care of this, but I'm okay with you doing it." Mistake I know. Well come mid-December, we have a straight out ice storm, and I call the property manager numerous times asking him what he wants and no call back, finally I leave him message and tell him we will salt is lot and treat his walks and if that isn't what he wants I will eat it. All of this trying to figure out what this monkey wants, because I don't want his 'will call' at 7am and him passing liability to us at this time when it would be a solid 2 hours before we could get there. So we do this and bill him and he pays. Fast forward we don't see the property until end of January our first plowable snowfall. The idiot sub contractors that we have break a few (7) sprinkler heads with a gator they decide to use for whatever reason on the sidewalks. They also knocked over 3 of the landscape lights, not a huge issue **** happens. The guy gets a little fussy about it but in the same sentence says heck the landscapers broke more then that doing leaf removal last fall. We used GreenScapes ice melt during this application and he wouldn't allow us to salt the lot. Told him we'd fix the heads and lighting and sent out a bill.

    Fast forward another week we get a 13"-14" snowfall over the course of days, and did the lot and walks several times, and one of the groups of hand workers sent to the property in middle of the night used a 21" single stage blower and blew some snow into the building as in some areas there are taller bushes/shrubs heading to the lot and grassy areas, he called and bitched. I sent another guy to clean this off of the building and windows, and no damage or issues out of this. It is important to note this type of storm isn't common in our area and we had some rookie fresh hispanics doing handwork. Used GreenScapes icemelt on the final cleaning of the walks during this storm. Sent him a bill.

    Fast forward another week and we get a daytime 4" snowfall, and I call him asking him what he wants and he says, "thanks for calling can you plow the drivelanes and open everything up and go ahead and do the walks?" I said, "sure can, and come back tonight to full push/clean up and finish the walks." Fast forward 45 minutes my guys show up, there is a front end loader moving snow on the property and it has plowed any open areas already and his guys are finishing the walks. I call him right back and tell him I'm billing for our time and that all of this was already happening, and he didn't know they'd be there that quick. We come in and plow that night and do the walks again, the idiot guys that did it the first time used RoadRunner a larger granuale material on the walks. I personally drove the property that evening and it looked great. Next morning 7:45am phone rings this guy calls saying our guys used water softner salt or rock salt, I said no way, they use our ice melt, he said yes I have pictures. I call the hand crew that supposidly used water softner salt, they used road runner they got at the hardware store. It is a TRUE sidewalk ice melt product, it is just larger granules. Anyway, I called the guy back and told him what happened and what they used and he said his guys were going to put real ice melt down and hung up. I sent him a quick e-mail and said my guys will go by tonight and pick up the larger granules even if they have to scrap it up. Well at this point you can guess I'm ready to fire him! Oh yeah, and we didn't salt again! Only 1 ******* time all year. Sent out bill and didn't bill him for clearing the walks or ice melt.

    Fast forward to early March, I request a meeting to go over the sprinkler heads we need to fix and the lighting. He shows up late, then acts as if he doesn't have time and that it isn't a big deal and that his guys would fix it and invoice us. Well he hadn't paid us at this point in time a dime except the December bill. I reluctantly said okay under the premise that I know what 7 sprinkler heads costs and knowing the lights can't be too bad as the housing and bulbs aren't even busted. Also with the understanding that we would talk about the estimates, etc. He also knows that my partner in snow owns a mid-size landscape company in town too. (NOTE: I did keep back $300 from the sub-contractor's pay for damages). Well fast forward to April, I call 2 times in first few days and get him the 2nd time and he said that nothing has been fixed and that he did have an estimate for $180 from the electrician and that as soon as the sprinkler company that opens his system up gets to this property we will talk. Fast forward to early May nothing, left 3 v/m's over 2 weeks, fast forward to late May tried him 2 times and got nothing and then in early June I left him a message, "Stating we have to get this resolved." I then left his boss and the owner of the company a message about the same thing, but in a professional manor. Two days later I get a check for $137.77. They owed me over $2500.00, and the bill is for $480 for electrical and $483.33 for sprinkler damages and $1480 or so for landscaping damages and plant replacement! I sent an e-mail right back to him and the owner saying WTF! His response: your guys damaged our lighting, I sent our electrician to the property and he said it was $480 to fix the lights (wtf-happened to $180), your guys damaged the sprinkler heads and they billed us $483.33 for this part and your guys used rock salt on our walks and there is dead areas and some dead bushes up there I called the landscaper and he said it is from salt so you were billed $1480 for this. Also I didn't keep anything for damages your guys caused when blowing snow against the building and windows....(well nothing happened with this as we cleaned it off). Well I looked back we all in all treated most facilites walks 22 to 27 times last year we only treated this guys walks 5 times and we are the ones that killed his plants? Yet on the other properties we don't have there is dead plants too? In Indiana a corporation, can't go to small claims for over $1500 without representation what do you all suggest I do with this *******? We really aren't a bad contractor at places that let us do our jobs at 68 other properties we had zero major issues as we did at this one. We also had zero grass/plant issues even where the same group of subs used roadrunner ice melt. What should we do? I the big scheme of things this is small change, but this company is a bunch of ******* and I don't want to get run over. Suggestions?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 17, 2009
  2. QuadPlower

    QuadPlower PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,056

    Don't say "here is the short version" and then have 4 huge paragraphs.

    I can't believe the monitors haven't caught the wording in the last sentance.

    You're out the money. You gave up too much in the begining and didn't stick to the contract. Your guys broke the stuff and they can hire anyone they want to repair it and send you the bill.

    Chaulk it up to "Stupid Tax" and let it go.
     
  3. RichG53

    RichG53 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,135

    I hate to see a long version of this story !!!!!!!! Yes bad words to use !!
     
  4. mullis56

    mullis56 Senior Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 824

    The long version well it would be longer. I did get carried away this guy just frustrates me to no end and I got carried away in the story. Anyone else have input?
     
  5. QuadPlower

    QuadPlower PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,056

    You have every right to be pissed off. When ever I hear that accent on the phone, I click delete on the voice mail or off on the phone. Just not worth the hassel.
     
  6. mullis56

    mullis56 Senior Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 824

    What accent? This guy is white as I am LOL
     
  7. QuadPlower

    QuadPlower PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,056

    I read too many posts at a time. The accent was from another one about a truck stop. My bad.
     
  8. mullis56

    mullis56 Senior Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 824

    I read that same one, and I'm wife you on the accent!
     
  9. FordFisherman

    FordFisherman PlowSite.com Addict
    from 06611
    Messages: 1,593

    You set yourself up for failure when you relinquished control of the property and deviated from the contract. Once you lose control of a job you're finished; chalk it up to experience and move on.
     
  10. mullis56

    mullis56 Senior Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 824

    Did kinda of that today. I told him to pay all late fees we never invoiced and to give me legit invoices for the work that had been done and we were settled without further action. He is a jerk that is for sure, recieved payments for services well into the 6 figures last winter with no hicups and the guy who I do 4K work for screws me....go figure!
     
  11. JohnnyRoyale

    JohnnyRoyale 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,935

    IMO You made a huge mistake with this guy right from the get go by accepting his terms.

    Ask for invoice copies of the deductions, and take it from there. Unfortunately, you may have to chalk this up on your "lessons learned list".
     
  12. QuadPlower

    QuadPlower PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,056

    Asking for invoices is a good idea. You are probably out the money, but it will be a hassel for him to get you all the stuff. You could then contact the people that did the work and see if they actually did bill that much.

    Something like:"All damages with be repaired by ABC Snow. No deductions in amounts owed will be accepted to cover repair costs performed by any other contractor." Might be good to have in a contract.