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Question on billing Blizzard

Discussion in 'Business Fundamentals' started by ducaticorse, Feb 12, 2013.

  1. ducaticorse

    ducaticorse PlowSite.com Addict
    from we
    Messages: 1,426

    I had three accounts on managed properties that had shoveled out their door steps and walk ways before we were able to get out there. The people shoveling were most likely the tenants, and absolutely not the management company or the owners of the building itself.

    I sent notices out to all my PM's prior to the storm that all though we added additional staff and equipment, this process was going to take much longer than usual.

    My question is, do I bill out the three accounts that I am under contract to service? We did send staff to these locations throughout the weather, even though most of the work was already done.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. linckeil

    linckeil PlowSite.com Addict
    from CT
    Messages: 1,265

    in this circumstance i would say no. people recognize this was an unusual storm and that it would take you much, much longer to get there. and in the event of a fire or emergency, they had to be able to get out of the building. leaving themselves with no exit for an extended period of time would have put them at risk. i would certainly not charge, but i'm sure some would. thats how i'm handling it on my accounts.
     
  3. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    Just bill them. In confusion ,there is profit!
     
  4. ducaticorse

    ducaticorse PlowSite.com Addict
    from we
    Messages: 1,426

    This is not how you really feel. Im thinking its more of a contractual issue. Just getting to these accounts was a chore, let alone digging them out. I'm torn.
     
  5. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    So you bill them just for shoveling or is it part of the package?
     
  6. ducaticorse

    ducaticorse PlowSite.com Addict
    from we
    Messages: 1,426

    Flat rate per visit
     
  7. bln

    bln Senior Member
    Messages: 767

    We used to do several condo's and no matter what time in the wee hours of the morning we showed up, someone always shoveled. Not the whole thing, but a considerable amount. Did the property manager ever know? No, did we ever reflect it on the bill? No, did we give the person that did the shoveling a $25 gift certificate? Yes. EVERYBODY happy.
     
  8. TCLA

    TCLA 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,699

    No you do not, you did not perform the service. Why consider erroneously billing them? :confused:
     
  9. Antlerart06

    Antlerart06 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,437

    Someone slip and fall on the walks you didnt clean are you still covering that on your Insurance
    Myself I would still charge a visit price unless they called to cancel the service since it was allready done
     
  10. shovelracer

    shovelracer Senior Member
    Messages: 525

    Does your flat rate include any other services or did you have to do anything? The way I see it the actual shoveling is the minority of the cost of service. Getting there, insurance, paperwork, general overhead are all part and need to be recovered. The only way I could see there being no charge would be if there was absolutely nothing to do and maybe even perhaps was given notice to turn away arriving workers. That would be a personal choice. Most good contracts would charge for self service or service by others. I'm not talking about pulling it over anyone's eye's here. Odds are you incurred an expense of $60-70 per $100 to not work. That should be recovered. It really depends on your contract wording and if this type of issue is specifically addressed. Mine would be billable, and perhaps I would cut a small discount with thank you on the line item since they are already getting hammered this month. If it happened regularly I would likely either drop them or make it very clear that we would bill regardless. You are not getting extra when it is doubly tough right?
     
  11. TCLA

    TCLA 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,699

    If it was another contractor who was confused and serviced your site accidentally...I would take the advantage and bill it.

    But since it was the tenants who did your job...you shouldn't touch that with a 20' pusher.

    Gotta suck it up.
     
  12. shovelracer

    shovelracer Senior Member
    Messages: 525

    This is a good point, and I'll add that almost never does someone do the job you would. Maybe it wasn't pushed back enough, shoveled to the edge far enough, left a crust, etc. I would think that at the least the work needed to be inspected. Additionally my likelyhood of full rate charge would be related to our response time. Showing 3 days late likely not a charge.
     
  13. ducaticorse

    ducaticorse PlowSite.com Addict
    from we
    Messages: 1,426

    Everyone here is making great points pro and con. Yes, I understand things were a little slow this time, but there is also no way of telling when the shoveling was actually done. And yes, My liability is still on the line, I have contracts with all properties. I did send personnel to the locations, and they did have to take time to do so, where they could have been used elsewhere. I don't like the idea of billing for work not done, but there were expenses involved on my part, and the ultimate liability issue. And this just sounds lke an excuse, but these buildings are all commercial, the snow removal billing is a total write off.
     
  14. TCLA

    TCLA 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,699

    Bla bla bla. So they drove there, big whoop. That just means they got to their next location quicker since they didn't have to spend time at the site that was already done for you.
     
  15. ducaticorse

    ducaticorse PlowSite.com Addict
    from we
    Messages: 1,426

    Point taken. No need for the blah blah blah though. This is turning out to be a pretty even discussion.
     
  16. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    I do a bank and have to shovel the walk,but I also dropped off a shovel and some salt. If they go out and clean it up before I get there I'm not giving a credit. So same thing, I show up and step on that walk way I'm charging them for it.
     
  17. jasonv

    jasonv PlowSite.com Addict
    from kannada
    Messages: 1,114

    The insurance thing is a big one. Because of just the insurance, you should bill them at least something. And a major problem with NOT billing them is that it sets a precedent of IF they or someone else shovels before you get there, then they may expect not to have to pay you as they are obligated to by the contract. Very often, precedent supersedes paperwork. Further, it provides an opportunity for your competitors to move in and take over your contracts, since it basically becomes a race to see who gets there first. They can do the work, and undercut you by 20%, you don't charge, the building owner is happy, you're out your revenue.

    Edit: who did the shovelling makes a difference in this case. If its a tenant, bill them as full. If its the building maintenance staff, you need to take it up with them and NEGOTIATE for the best way to handle this "special circumstances one-off event". You can explain to them that according to your contract, you are entitled to full payment for the work, regardless of who actually did it, but that you are willing to offer a (some, but certainly not full) discount for the special circumstances, but still have to charge because it costs you INSURANCE, and you still have to attend site *with the expectation of clearing snow*, and still have to inspect and fix up the job to your satisfaction. They'll be happy that you're offering a discount, you'll be happy that you aren't ripping them off.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2013
  18. Herm Witte

    Herm Witte Senior Member
    Messages: 553

    IMO, This is business ethics 101. You arranged a flat rate the work in question. You did not perform the work, how can you even think about charging for it? Would you consider charging for other services not performed such as a per trip plowing or a per occasion salting?
     
  19. Herm Witte

    Herm Witte Senior Member
    Messages: 553

    IMO, This is business ethics 101. You arranged a flat rate for the work in question. You did not perform the work, how can you even think about charging for it? Would you consider charging for other services not performed such as a per trip plowing or a per occasion salting? I am surprised and dissapointed that insurance and / or liability would even be considered as a factor in whether to charge or not in this instance in this discussion.
     
  20. ducaticorse

    ducaticorse PlowSite.com Addict
    from we
    Messages: 1,426

    No I wouldn't but at the same time, I wouldn't go out to with the intentions of salting, and then not salt once I got to the location.... I know plenty of businesses that charge clients for being no shows. Why? because it is a waste of the service providers time if you don't show up. Some people have unrealistic expectations. I'm not saying this was the case here, just throwing the idea out there.