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Do you think I handled this right?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Dockboy, Feb 8, 2002.

  1. Dockboy

    Dockboy Guest
    Messages: 0

    I want to get your guy's opinions.
    Just got an email from a friend of mine who lives in a small deveopment I plow. This will be a long post:( but if you can make it through it, let me know if you think I handled it right.

    Contract

    In consideration of the terms and conditions set forth herein below, the above identified CONTRACTOR, Gregory DaPron Enterprises, does herewith agree and contract to provide snow removal services for the 2001-2002 winter season to the OWNER, Tomax Farms Homeowners Assoc.

    1. The term of this contract is SEASONAL, said season commencing on the date of execution of this contract and running through April 30, 2002.
    2. SERVICES INCLUDED IN CONTRACT:
    Snow removal from two (2) main lanes only. Not included in this contract are the eight (8) connected driveways associated with the Owner’s property.
    3. Pricing on a per 24 hour event basis:
    4-8" $ 325.00
    8-12" $ 487.50
    Snowfall over 12" $ 568.75

    A 24-hour event will be the snowfall in a 24-hour period, in the Owner’s property area, as
    determined by NOAA weather and accessed at the following web site:
    http://iwin.nws.noaa.gov/iwin/md/climate.html

    In the event of a snowfall with less than four inches (4") of total accumulation, contractor shall be
    notified by Owner and or agent as to the necessity of snow removal services.



    4. SERVICES NOT INCLUDED IN CONTRACT (ADDITIONAL COST ITEMS)
    a. Removal of built up snow banks by front-end loader that impedes normal snow removal. Removal fee shall be charged at $150.00 per machine hour, this includes an operator.
    b. Contractor will not be held liable for damage to plantings or concrete surfaces caused by de-icers and or snow removal operations. Contractor will exercise due care and caution while performing services so as to avoid damage to Owners property.
    c. Application of any anti-icers to the Owner’s property. This service can be offered at the
    Owner’s request. Price to be determined upon request.

    5. INSURANCE
    Contractor shall provide and maintain property damage insurance of not less than $1,000,000.00
    Contractor shall provide a certificate of insurance to Owner showing evidence of such coverage.
    Owner accepts all liability for slip and fall accidents, and any motor vehicle accidents that are a result
    of refusal of service or caused by negligence of pedestrians or motorists.
    We reserve the right to remove our drivers from the road during extreme winter conditions for their safety. Extreme winter weather, excessive snowfall or blizzard conditions will be charged at our discretion.
    Accepted By:
    ________________________________________ ________________________________________
    Gregory DaPron Enterprises Date Tomax Farms Homeowners Assoc. Date


    Email Receved

    Hey dude what's up? working hard? not too hard I hope! how does Kim like her
    new fridge? Mom says she saw your house plans, (she just loves it) sounds
    like your getting further and further. Next thing you know, you'll be moving
    in!!!!
    We went to the Faulkensteins for the super bowl and was surprised to find
    out that you had charged for the plowing of the snow we got on the 19th of
    January. I thought you had just done our lane as a quick swipe on your way
    by as a favor to me. Not that I ever expect that but I truly believed that
    and just never thought anything else about it and was going to thank you the
    next time we talked. I thought about calling to make sure you weren't going
    to plow but I got sidetracked and then thought there was no need.
    Now, I must put on my suit and tie to talk business. This is non-personal
    and stricktly business to business. Meaning, Tomax Farms to Greg Dapron
    Enterprises.

    Greg Dapron,
    There seems to be a misunderstanding in the snow plowing contract between
    Greg Dapron Enterprises and Tomax Farms. We were under the impression that
    the lanes would not be plowed if there was just barely 4" of snow and the
    forecast was for better weather. That was the reason we opted for the 4"
    mark versus the 6" that we previously had with Dennis Reynolds. That allowed
    you to move less snow at a time if a substantial amount was forecast. You
    wanted to plow every 4", instead of waiting for the whole 6" or more which
    would be harder on your equipment.
    It looks to us that you are taking advantage of the snow removal contract
    and plowing, per the contract, just to attain due payment. The forecast for
    the last snow was 3"-6" and then sunny and 40 plus degrees for the next
    several days. Without actually measuring the snow, we do not believe there
    was quite 4" of snow on the ground when you plowed and the forecast was for
    40 plus degrees and sunny for the next few days. We understand that you use
    a "neutral" source to get your snow measurement from and we're not sure that
    is fair. We don't want to physically measure the snow and we don't want to
    have to call you when or if we need plowed. We want a professional
    businessman to use his intuition to accomplish the contracted task. We may
    need to amend the present contract, with your concurrence, to somehow
    capture this grey area. Again, we thought that this was a "gentleman's
    agreement" and would not need to be addressed in the contract.
    I don't know what you want to do as a business but, we as your customer are
    not happy. We feel that we were taken advantage of and are "theoretically"
    bound by contract. But, if you were to reimburse us as much as you deem fit,
    we would be happy to accept and will decide at that time whether to abolish
    or amend the contract as necessary. We understand that you are a business
    and when contracted, you have the right to perform your services. We also
    understand that when contracted, that reserves a place in your schedule,
    which could be filled with other customers, to plow our lanes. That is why
    we chose a contract instead of an "as called" basis, hoping you would be
    available when needed. On the other hand, a contract such as ours benefits
    you as a company and allows you to obtain and pay for equipment at less
    risk. I think together we can resolve this issue and prevent it from
    happening in the future.
    Please respond accordingly to email address and email address so
    we can settle this issue soon.
    Thanks,
    Doug Moore
    (Tomax Farms representative)

    Reply

    Doug,

    No problem. I don't take it personal at all. Just trying to do my job :)
    I physically measured the snow before I came to plow, it was 5". I'm not
    trying to take advantage of anybody, just trying to fulfill my contractual
    agreement. Actually, I have never received a signed contract for this year.
    So technically, I should not have plowed anyway. Please relay to the
    Homeowners Association that they can disregard the invoice for 1/19/02. The
    last thing I want is unhappy customers!

    As you stated, in order to provide a legal and legitimate service to any
    business or association, there are several ingredients necessary. First,
    from the customer, a signed and binding contract. Second, from the
    contractor, the equipment, manpower, time and proper insurance to fulfill
    that contract. As the contractor, Gregory DaPron Enterprises incurs those
    expenses regardless of whether services are rendered or not. That is just
    part of being in business. Also, part of being in business, is billing when
    the conditions of that contract are met.

    I would be more than happy to renegotiate the terms of the contract to
    something that is suitable to both parties, whether that be different
    triggers, an Annual contract, etcetera. Please provide me with Tomax Farms'
    ideas and we will work from there.

    Thanks,

    Greg DaPron

    PS The fridge is great! Thanks for your help! Later :)
    ---------------------------------------------------------


    Well if you made it this far you are alright!!!!!

    Thanks for any advice,

    Greg
     
  2. WHITE=GREEN

    WHITE=GREEN Senior Member
    Messages: 161

    you handled it alot "nicer" than i would of. if you hadnt shown up would the email read "where the hell where you when it snowed last week?" in my opinion you should have charged them something, maybe not the full amount, maybe 1/2 or 2/3, but at least enough to cover your expenses. think about it, it actually cost YOU money to plow THEIR lot. just my 2 cents.
     
  3. Dockboy

    Dockboy Guest
    Messages: 0

    Steve,

    Thanks for the reply.

    I guess what I was trying to imply by not charging them at all was this.

    Because I didn't have a signed contrat(every year they are late getting it to me. Usually right before a big storm), I would be willing to disregard the invoice. But from this point further, what ever the contract ends up being, they should EXPECT to be billed precisly for whats in it. No "gentleman's agreement" or "it was right on the edge".

    I think I'm going to push for an Annual.

    Greg
     
  4. 75

    75 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,382

    After reading through the exchange of E-mails, I think you were more tactful than I might have been in the same situation.

    In the contract: "In the event of a snowfall with less than four inches (4") of total accumulation, contractor shall be notified by Owner and or agent as to the necessity of snow removal services."

    From their E-mail: "I thought about calling to make sure you weren't going to plow but I got sidetracked and then thought there was no need."

    So, seems to me they didn't say "don't plow". If it was the other way around, as in "I was going to plow your lane but got sidetracked and then thought there was no need" I can imagine the E-mail that would have been received.................................

    Yes, I think you handled it in a tactful manner, much more so than I might have. Especially considering that's just about the first plowing all winter, isn't it?
     
  5. John DiMartino

    John DiMartino PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 2,154

    I would have been nice,but made sure they knew that i expected full payment,as 5" of snow was there,well over your 4" trigger..Im sure by the next afternoon ,after time,and the sun had worked on it,there was less than 4",but at the time it stopped snowing there were 5".I would make sure they understood,that I would hope they would trust you on that measurement,if not,get local weather depths,see what they had,we had exactly 5 3/4" ,my residential price changes at 6",a few of my customers asked if they owed me for a 6" storm,I told them no,it wasnt 6".So they know I am honest.No one complained.Not to sound mean,but I feel you need to be paid,and i would try to replace this account next season,if they didnt pay.How are you going to stay in business giving away your services,especially this winter,you must need that money,on per push accounts,we have only had 2 plowables on residentials this season.I like my customers to be happy too,but you need to be firm here,IMO. You are nice guy!
     
  6. litle green guy

    litle green guy Senior Member
    Messages: 279

    I think I would have charged them if not the full maybe 2/3 or something. If you mesured 5" then you did what you where supposed to right? What was the acuall officail snowfall?
     
  7. TurfPlus

    TurfPlus Senior Member
    Messages: 179

    Greg,
    That had to be the longest post I have ever read. I pretty much agree with everyone. John makes a great point....it was the owners responsibility to call, besides you have a 4 inch trigger and with 5 inches on the ground you were filling your contractual obligation. I would want full payment or at least 75% of it, keep them for this season and look to replace them for next season. I still can't see how they would think you were taking advantage of them??? Good luck with whatever you do.

    John
     
  8. PAPS Landscape

    PAPS Landscape Member
    Messages: 51

    You handled it nicer than i would have too, but thats the position you in being that he is your friend. Thats why i try VERY hard not to work for friends... I think you should cut them a break maybe charge like 1/2 - 2/3 or so, even though you were 100% right according to your contract specs. Next, i would come to strict terms and get an agreement signed. Question? why are your terms set a 4'' minimum?? did they want that?? Why not tell them that you HAVE to plow at 2'' and up?? Also i like how they client was supposed to call you and he got back-tracked... love that one.
     
  9. PINEISLAND1

    PINEISLAND1 PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 664

    He would never have the guts to do that if you were not friends. He is taking advantage of the situation if you ask me. I would demand either the signed contract and payment, or payment and no contract-which means you walk. Either way, you deserve to be paid.
     
  10. allabout

    allabout Member
    Messages: 50

    Pienisland: You are so right , what happened to 2" trigger or even 1"
     
  11. Ohiosnow

    Ohiosnow Senior Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 415

    Greg

    You are way to nice, even if it's your BEST friend it was 5" of snow. And so what if it was to be in the 40's the next day. We had the same thing here on Monday we had to salt & then plow like crazy before it melted. We still had to salt Tuesday morning as it froze over night. Now I admit we plowed to make the $$$$$ but 2 guys I know didn't as they thought it would be taking advantage of their accounts, but guess what the slush froze over night & their accounts where screaming mad on Tuesday. You can't please everyone, you can only do your BEST. :) And you did & should be paid. IMO
     
  12. RCIPlow

    RCIPlow Member
    Messages: 86

    You asked for our thoughts, here's mine... NOOOOOOOOOOO WAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY, can I be any clearer? Yes it is your fault for not getting the signed contract but if someone would have gotten in an accident since you didn't plow, they would be screaming at you. This crap about the temps going up and snow tapering off is just that, a load of crap. If they are such weather experts, then why dont they just pick which storms they want you to clear? While they are at it, ask for the daily loto numbers as well. Sounds to me that as most associations go, see other related post, someones butt got caught in the sling. So now they want to try to correct the situation. It is there fault for not getting the contract stated and agreed to how they want it, not yours, other then not getting it signed. You did them a FAVOR! Favors dont pay the bills. We all do this at times, its a judgement call, you did right by them and now your friend or brother in law is trying to stick you? I would tell them that the contract is to be signed as is, or find another contractor. You will not be losing anything from them, since they already are questioning you. I wouldnt have given them a nickle off the price, but hey thats just me. I guess if it snowed 6 inches then rained for 8 hours they would say "Why did you plow, the rain would have washed it away?" And finally , the guy who sent you the email was not professional. He should have sent you a seperate email stating their concerns, not mixed family/personal chat into it. These are just my thoughts, but who knows?
    First time shame on you, Second time shame on me!!!!!!
     
  13. cat320

    cat320 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,223

    You handled it very well but I still would of charged them something just for expenses anyway.And when he said it would be 40 degrees out yes it might of been but that night it would of froze up and been very bad for driving then you would get another good email.
     
  14. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    Dockboy - not meaning an attack on your friend, but I had a hard time following his arguments and reasoning. He said the trigger was 4" and it snowed 5" - you should plow. The fact that it may or may not warm up enough to melt is irrelevant. He said he didn't measure (you did), so should be no argument. He wants you to use your judgement. You did and now he's saying you should have done differently? I have all verbal aggreements but if anyone did that to me, it would be the last time. Yes, I've had people want to change triggers etc, but they paid for what I'd done up to that point. I too think he is "using" your friendship - he'd never try that in a strictly professional relationship.
     
  15. John DiMartino

    John DiMartino PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 2,154

    Greg your friend might be able to save the DOT a lot of money too,maybe he should E-mail them,and tell them not to plow too,since it will warm up the next day anyway,they could save a lot of money.And god forbid his house caught fire in the night,the slightlest hills,and those fire trucks aret worth anything as far as traction,your selling him access,and safety.If you didnt plow,and it froze,they'd want to to hang you.You did the right thing,at the right time,and you should get paid,in full.Remember some people will never be satisfied too.No sense giving away your services trying,when you could be making money somewhere else making someone happy,and actually making some money too.
     
  16. cat320

    cat320 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,223

    John you are right .he should get paid in full .and they would hang him if it was not plowed and it tured to ice.they all want the service with out paying.
     
  17. CT18fireman

    CT18fireman Banned
    Messages: 2,133

    John our trucks have no problem getting through some heavy snow. Lots of weight and chains make a world of difference. I agree though. I cannot beleive a private development association would want to risk leaving that much snow on the road before any kinds of service. At the first flake we make an application of salt or sand. After an inch plowing begins. Leaving that much and waiting for it to melt is crazy. What happens after it half melts during the warm day then refreezes at night??? Can you say ice? I would not want to deal with it.

    Get the contract signed and get paid for your work.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2002
  18. PINEISLAND1

    PINEISLAND1 PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 664

    unless I preapply Magic, my accounts would be a mess if I let people drive over even a couple inches. The snow pack wouldnt come up even if it did get to 40 degrees for a while each afternoon. I woudnt even agree to a 4 inch trigger around here.
     
  19. Pelican

    Pelican 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,075

    I have an elderly woman who occassionaly calls to say her driveway didn't need plowed, hinting at she didn't want to pay for that job. Her house is at the top of a steep hill and she lives alone. I always explain that I have her best interests in mind, not that I'm looking to take her money. Even though she has no plans to go out, she may be in need of emergency services and they will need access as John mentioned. If she gets persistant, I politely suggest that if she is not happy with my service that she consider hiring another contractor. I'm still plowing there after 22 years.

    My point is you had your customer's best interests in mind and should be paid for your service. We aren't talking about a $20 driveway here. If you are concerned about charging full price, perhaps a compromise could be met as the other have suggested, but you should at least get your expenses out of it.
     
  20. Dockboy

    Dockboy Guest
    Messages: 0

    Thanks for all the replies guy's:D

    My wife(Kim) is sitting here reading all your post's and agreeing with everyone of you!!! She 's saying "cut their a$$ loose and have a nice winter" LOL

    I'll see where this leads.

    Rob, yes this was the first billable snow fall of the year.

    little green guy, The official snowfall for the area was 5.1"

    PAPS Landscape, They originaly didn't want to be plowed untill 6". I explained to them I would only do a 4" min. trigger.


    PINEISLAND1, My wife agree's with you 100%

    Thanks again for all your support and opinions. It's one of the many reasons I enjoy this site :D

    Greg