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Customer wants me to Discount their bill

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by DSLL, Feb 20, 2009.

  1. DSLL

    DSLL Senior Member
    Messages: 136

    The largest commercial account I have asked me to discount their upcoming March bill by 20%. Plowing is priced seasonal so their costs are divided into equal payments, due every month during the season. They are always on time with their payments, sending the checks out as soon as they get their bills. However, these are by no means dream accounts to plow. They are self storage facilities (3 separate locations, all same company), so they are not all that easy to do.

    Back story

    The managers at two of the locations are understanding and nice to deal with. They understand that we can not get directly up to all the doors to clear away all the snow. We get as close as possible with out risking hitting one of the doors, and they are fine with that.

    However, the manager at the third store is entirely different. She is constantly complaining that there is too much snow in front of the doors, or its to high on the doors or the sky is blue, or whatever she wants to complain about that day. I have gotten as close to the doors at this location as I have at the other locations and the other managers think it's perfectly acceptable. Not saying that I do a bad job and that I get mad when they complain about it, but I do all I can within reason. Several times this season I have brought in equipment, on my own dime, to try to please this manager ( We do get paid to relocate on property but only with managements approval). One time after spending several hours with the skid and snow blower (on my dime, mind you) cleaning out as close as possible to the doors she still wasn't happy. I had to go up there and shovel, yes shovel in front of all the doors on the two main aisles. Shoveling was the only way to get any closer to the doors, with out ripping them off with the plow or blower.

    So the cliff notes are: Company wants to receive a discount and I feel that I have more then lived up to my expectations in the contract. I have bent over backwards to get these stores done on time and properly. So what would you guys do? Stick to your guns? Counter offer with a lower discount? I'm not going to be doing these accounts next season so factor that into your thoughts.
  2. festerw

    festerw Senior Member
    Messages: 986

    Ask them if they ever discount any of their customers 20%, you already know the answer and I bet they get the point.
  3. Longae29

    Longae29 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,954

    If you aren't going to do these accounts next year, or any year after there is no reason to consider any sort of a discount.
  4. creativedesigns

    creativedesigns PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,929

    Exactly what I were going to say! I have storage space at a facility like that, & I don't ask for any discounts!??! If I did that, they'd say go find somewhere else to store! lol
    Using a 2 stage snowblower close to the doors would work perfect!
  5. metallihockey88

    metallihockey88 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,405

    dont just tell em to pack it cause you need to remember your reputation is the most important factor to a successful business. i would ask them how much money in discount they have givin out to customers due to their claim of lack of snow removal and tell them you will be happy to reimburse them for all of that with proof. im assuming it will be nothing becuase those guys dont discount anything so there you go.
  6. metallihockey88

    metallihockey88 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,405

    or just go the other route...remind them of all the work youve done on your dime nad tell them youd be happy to give them the discount but you will have to back charge them for all the good will work youve been doing for them.
  7. Burkartsplow

    Burkartsplow PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,248

    20% is a very hefty discount. If you are doing what the contract entails then there is no need to discount. Ask them if you broke a piece of equipment on there property while pushing snow can you ask them for more money to fix the equipment since it happened on their property. They will say NO. It is not exactly the same, but I think they would get the drift.You did the work for the contracted amount. You deserve your pay.
  8. MileHigh

    MileHigh PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,827

    No discount..and start shoveling.
  9. Brant'sLawnCare

    Brant'sLawnCare PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,748

    Tell them ok, but they have to pay the other 20% in May or something.

    Messages: 65

    I agree with Metallihockey88 as to handling this situation! Keith
  11. Runner

    Runner Senior Member
    Messages: 957

    This is one of the replies that I like the best. Another thing, if they are asking for a 20% discount (which is ridiculous in the first place) for the whole company, they are in fact actually asking for much more. Now, if they were asking for 20% off the 1 location - the one with the complaining woman, that would be a different amount, altogether. That is still too much, though. All she is trying to do, is bring her numbers up, as she probably isn't in the match with the other two managers of the other properties. My answer to her would be..."I wish I could, but just cannot afford it with the work that has gone into this place this season." Then tell her you'll give her a real good deal on May's bill.
  12. QuadPlower

    QuadPlower PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,056

    First off, NO DISCOUNTS

    I guess I would want to see the contract that says you only have to get soo close to the doors and leave the rest of the snow. I doubt it does. I bet it says you will clear the snow from that property for $XXX.xx. I would make her happy before the other two managers make you do it at their stores.

    I get out of my truck, use my hand shovel to scrap 2' way from the garage door and then use my back blade to drag it out of the drive. If I left the snow there every time, there would be such a hill that they couldn't get out of their garage.

    And it doesn't matter if you don't plan on working for them next year. Your reputation is on the line.

    Good Luck
  13. Longae29

    Longae29 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,954

    If you're not going to be trying to retain them as a customer, there should be no reason to even consider a discount, get the money you're owed for services you provide. I wouldn't be worried about my reputation. If they tell a few people they know (who would want to listne) that you wouldn't knock 20% off of their bill even though you did what you were supposed to....not something i'd be overly concerned with myself.
  14. downtoearthnh

    downtoearthnh Senior Member
    Messages: 121

    I had a commercial client who simply withheld 20% of their final payment without notice, and advised me that it would cost them nothing to battle in court, as they had attorneys on retainer, while I would have to hire and pay more, they said, than the amount withheld. Some places just get a thrill from beating contractors up. All you can do is walk away. I would not jeopardize my standing as a professional for the amount of money in dispute.
  15. hlntoiz

    hlntoiz Senior Member
    from NW, CT
    Messages: 588

    Totally agree, talk with the owner not the managers, about all the extra work you have done and that all the one manager does is complain and the other 2 are happy.

    Don't discount anything. I did that last month and one (commercial) asked for more of a discount and nobody paid any faster. Not worth it. A contract is a contract. I learned my lesson.
  16. Lencodude

    Lencodude Senior Member
    Messages: 128

    Stick to your guns and tell them you can't give them a discount, you have bills to pay operating a business just like them.
    If your doing your job according to the contract, they can't say you were not doing a good job and want a discount.
    If you are not doing them next season, I would even consider giving them a discount.
  17. oldmankent

    oldmankent PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,317

    No discount since you've gone above and beyond. But you need to start shoveling to get it clean. And you need to revamp your contract so the shoveling is an option and it is charged out appropriately. I have done alot of reading on this site. Seems that with commercial accounts, 95% of the problems come from something missing from a contract. Put everything in there, regardless of how stupid it seems. It will come back to haunt you down the road.
  18. 04superduty

    04superduty PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,354

    wow that takes a set for a business to pull that off. i would check to see how long legally you have to go after them. times are tough and i bet they might think differently if you tried to go after them now.
  19. Bajak

    Bajak Senior Member
    Messages: 999

    I read a tread in here a while back about the same situation and I recall one poster said
    "No problem, what 20% of the lot do not want plowed?"
    That's a paraphrase, but you get the point. A deals a deal. period.
  20. daninline

    daninline Senior Member
    Messages: 430

    1st I would ask why they want the discount if it's due to the snow in from of the doors at the one lacation I would then offer a discount for that location. But if there just looking to save money I would then just say no, they should of offered that rate when signing the contract.

    You could also tell them you will need to increase the price if the extra cleaning is need now on.