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Just Double Checking My Thought Process On This One....

Discussion in 'Business Fundamentals' started by MikeRi24, Dec 2, 2011.

  1. MikeRi24

    MikeRi24 Senior Member
    Messages: 562

    I send my plowing/leaf cleanup letters out with my Lawn Maint. bills Sept 1st. I do it so early because by the time everything trickles in for plowing, its around November and we're all set to go for winter. One of my customers, who owns the home here in NY but lives in GA (no one lives there, not sure why he owns it), sends me the signed plow contract and a check for it like RIGHT AWAY. That was the week of Sept 20th, which was 12 weeks ago. Today, he sends me payment for the last bill of the year for lawn maint, with a note that says "I made a mistake sending you the money for plowing, I had already contracted with someone else. Please send me a refund or use the money towards other services I'd like done on the grounds as listed below" and that list was basically hack down an enormous hedge row, weed all the beds, trim the shrubs and do it like now. I call the guy and explain that A) we have pretty much wrapped up all landscaping operations like a month ago besides doing leaves, and B) the contract that he signed clearly says (in big bold betters) that there are absolutely NO refunds on any plowing services after the contract start date which is Nov. 1st. Had he said something to me sooner, or really any time up until Nov 1st, I would have been a little more lenient, and MAYBE given him a refund or at least tried to get some of that work done. But this is 12 weeks after he originally signed the contract and sent me a check. He thinks I am being unreasonable, I think I'm playing by the rules. I mean, at this point, realistically, we COULD have plowed already (we didnt, but it would be possible). Oh, I've had my stakes at the place for over 3 weeks now too. But he's never there, so he wouldnt have seen that.

    Anyone else feel I'm being unreasonable here? He signed the contract, therefore theoretically agreeing to its contents, and my contract is NOT that complicated. I don't really see this going to legal action, probably will end up as nothing more than a "well I already have someone else lined up to plow, and I'm gonna get someone else to do the lawn next year so screw you" kind of thing. Opinions?
  2. thelettuceman

    thelettuceman PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,216

    I would use the money toward the list he gave you. Nothing like customer "goodwill" You may hav wrapped up your landscaping a month ago but how hard is it to get your tools out?
    Not bustin' on you but you did ask for thoughts on this.
  3. jklawn&Plow

    jklawn&Plow Senior Member
    Messages: 469

    I wouldn't take any tools out, weekend is here and snow on the way next week. He didn't contract with anyone else yet. Tell him you don't have the time to go "Marketing" for new customer this late in the season. Get proof he has already signed with someone else and if so do some work in the spring , but I wouldn't sent any money back at this point.
  4. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    Just send it back,Not like we plowed or anything.
  5. 7_below

    7_below Senior Member
    Messages: 245

    Bummer you lost the account and there is a little inconvenience. Come the first snowfall you'll pick up a few more. I dont know what you charged him for the season, but he's basically giving you money to do more work. Lets say its $375. Grab a chainsaw and head over to grab your plow stakes and do $375 worth of work on that hedge row. Whats the problem here? Its going to be in the 50's here this weekend and has to almost the same in Amherst. I save alot of tree work and shrub removals for this time of year. Then in the spring they hire me back for more plantings. Its a win win situation! Now, with that said, you could be a real pr!ck (so to speak) and not refund the money. But this can always leed to more problems. I would go do some of the work he had asked for and then be done with it. Good luck. Hope it works out.
  6. deicepro

    deicepro PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,124

    That sucks, but I would do some work and wash your hands of him.
  7. MikeRi24

    MikeRi24 Senior Member
    Messages: 562

    Its not that I don't want to do the work, the point is that they paid 12 weeks ago and I've been turning down new customers for almost 3 weeks now because I am at capacity where I'm able to service everyone in a timely fashion and reliably. Had I known they were going want to cancel, I could have taken on more customers at an earlier date. The driveway isn't even that big, so really I turned down a bigger driveway that I could have done if I lost this one but knew about it earlier.
  8. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    It is only one driveway.I'm still getting calls for them and I turn them down.
  9. MikeRi24

    MikeRi24 Senior Member
    Messages: 562

    And I understand ***** happens too. Like I had a customer pay me for plowing back in september, and 2 weeks later she died and by mid-october the house was sold so they wanted their money back, and I gave it to them no problems cuz of the unforeseen circumstances. But this other guy, I'm not sure what his deal is. I guess I'm just hung up on the principal of it...
  10. terrapro

    terrapro PlowSite Veteran
    from MI
    Messages: 3,868

    Did I miss something? The guy said you could do the same amount of work for the same price and you want to say no?! Work is work! Money is money do it cash the check find another driveway and be done.
  11. TCLA

    TCLA 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,696

    The customer request is very reasonable. You're being outrageous with lame and whiney excuses.

    Get off your butt and perform other work for him, or give the man the refund he deserves.
  12. MikeRi24

    MikeRi24 Senior Member
    Messages: 562

    I get up this morning, go into my office and have a voicemail from the guy that says just plow the driveway but now he wants to add sidewalk service...fine by me, I'm going to send out a new contract that includes the terms and conditions of my sidewalk service, a bill for the difference, AND a written estimate for the landscape work he wants done. Hopefully he doesnt change his mind again!
  13. Stuffdeer

    Stuffdeer Senior Member
    Messages: 606

    You'll be lucky to get the landscaping work after he saw how he was treated as a customer when problems arose.
  14. MikeRi24

    MikeRi24 Senior Member
    Messages: 562

    I honestly don't really expect to. If you saw the property, that small amount of landscaping really isnt going to do much for it. My contract clearly explains the refund policy (which as I said, is basically no refunds or applied credits after the contract start date), so it is what it is.
  15. jklawn&Plow

    jklawn&Plow Senior Member
    Messages: 469

    How do you handle/ charge for sidewalk service?
  16. MikeRi24

    MikeRi24 Senior Member
    Messages: 562

    Usually its just a flat seasonal rate thats added on top of plowing.
  17. mike thunder

    mike thunder Senior Member
    Messages: 110

    No refunds means no refunds, period. It doesn't mean credit for later use either. Why should you be the one who loses? Even if you did give him a credit as he requested, you would still lose money by having to replace his lost income on the snow end. From his perspective he's not losing money either. He could simply use the other guy for the landscape work and leave you to the contract he agreed too. And I wouldn't worry about making him happy either, he's already made it clear he isn't loyal to you and shops for other service providers.
  18. PenfieldProp

    PenfieldProp Junior Member
    from 06880
    Messages: 12

    Imo I don't get refunds for cell phones or trucks or material but we are always supposed to just jump to a customer let someone else pay for once just my opinion.
  19. icudoucme

    icudoucme Senior Member
    Messages: 349

    What will make you sleep well at night?
  20. DuraBird02

    DuraBird02 Member
    Messages: 76

    I may have missed it when I was reading through the posts but did he pay a flat fee for the whole season? Maybe he felt like he was getting screwed since there hasn't been any snow to plow and he was looking for a way to get it back by saying "he had a contract for snow removal from someone else". Sounds to me like he was just trying to get some money back since there hasn't been any snow. Just speculation and my $0.02.