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Question on plowing gravel driveway

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by LoriK, Apr 15, 2008.

  1. LoriK

    LoriK Junior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 1

    This is bothering me so I'm hoping that someone might be able to help. My husband has been plowing for years and is fully insured. He knows to lift his plow a certain distance on gravel driveways. However, he has this new residential customer that has this horendous downhill driveway with stuff all over the place. My husband has dented his truck (fairly new truck) twice in this driveway because of the clutter and trees are an issue also. I guess there are piles of mulch and things all around this narrow driveway that makes it difficult to manuever in. Now after sending a bill to this customer, he says that my husband has to fix the driveway, and obviously if he doesn't fix it this means he will not pay him. We are unfortunately willing to go to small claims court regarding this, but who wants to go through that. Does anyone know about our rights because this is troublesome.
  2. Indy

    Indy Senior Member
    Messages: 704

    What's the customers demands, what has to be corrected (per the customer) or what damage was done at the customers site??
  3. Indy

    Indy Senior Member
    Messages: 704

    After further thinking on this it sounds (maybe) that you think the damage to your nearly new truck has some impact on the damage that has been done to the customers property.

    My .02 on this thinking would be that your husbands damage to his true is His responsibility AND likely any damage to the customers property is also His AND any correction of the stone on the drive should also be in his agreement to plow on a stone drive, and if it's not and it sounds like it isn't......welcome the snow plowing.

    Plowing insurance in a must and clear agreements are the other and emotions about the newness of equipment has litte to nothing to do with it.

    HOWEVER, you may have information I don't have, but based on your obsticals, newness of the truck and the customers complaint.......sound like the burden is on your side.

    Again, no harm just my .02
  4. MnDLawn

    MnDLawn Senior Member
    Messages: 213

    We deal with that all the time, we offer free "rake back" in the spring. It keeps everyone happy.
  5. Mick

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

    1. The damage to the truck is not the customer's responsibility.

    2. The issue of payment to you is not related to the damage to the driveway. The customer may pusue compensation for damages, but the two are separate issues. You didn't say what the damage to the customer's property is nor how extensive. That's the first thing to discuss with the customer.

    3. Do you have a written/verbal contract with customer? Before you head to any type of court, have something to show the judge to justify why this person owes you what you claim. For his part, photos would suffice - what do you have?
  6. TCLA

    TCLA 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,697

    The issue of payment to you most certainly is related to disturbing the gravel on this driveway. It's the customers' only recourse he/she has to get their driveway back to the condition it was before it was plowed. That would be a basic requirement taking on a gravel push.

    I would not bring up the fact that your husband also damaged his truck while plowing the driveway. Unfortunately for you it does show carelessness on his part. It is not a workmanship or neglect issue disturbing the gravel to some degree. This is going to happen while plowing snow from gravel.

    You need to do the right thing and rake it back to their satisfaction now.

    To learn from this and eliminate it from happening again, try to keep the pile or snow ridge somewhere on the gravel. Don't treat it like pavement and push the snow off the gravel. You won't be able to help not getting the gravel where it doesn't belong, and that will make the clean up easier. If they want (or need) the pile off the driveway either give them a disclaimer, or add $$$ to the push knowing time will need to be spent doing the required restoration, therefore eliminating confrontation.
  7. MickiRig1

    MickiRig1 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,617

    One way to keep the movement of gravel around is to use shoes on the plow. Most of us throw them in the corner of the shop when we get a new plow. Another way is to keep adjusting the level of the plow as you do the push. I prefer to just back drag gravel drives with the plow angled. You have to take your time and remember where the obstacles are.
    Some drives are just not worth the money to do with all the issues you face each event. The Home Owner still whines!
  8. elite1msmith

    elite1msmith 2000 Club Member
    from chicago
    Messages: 2,762

    my 2 cents-

    if the driveway is that tight, ask urself , "is this account worth it" , is its futcher dollars with the company worth it?

    if its that tight, and you already damaged ur truck, pain the butt customer.......just insist that he pays up, or we will be liable for interest and late fees...explain the plowing a gravel drieway moves stones around and the spring cleanup with his landscaper should take care of it, but you simply plow snow...go from there, remember that even if you dont want his buisness again...you can spent 1/2 ur day in the court room fighting, or u can spend 2 hrs of ur own time raking....at least he will not bad moulth you if u clean it up, around here people talk

    if he is worth keeping....then do the math, and just clean it up...explain to him , nicely , that you will do it this time free of charge, but normally this is not included in the plowing price....try to get him to pay you in person , upon full completion of the clean up
  9. Blazin

    Blazin Senior Member
    Messages: 185

    I have 36 driveways, 2 of which are paved. I always explain to the customer that it is unavoidable to get some gravel on the grass etc. If that is all that his claim is gravel on the lawn, I would take him to court. If he brings it up explain to the judge that it happens in the fall and spring. the ground gets soft and sometimes the plow digs in a bit. You were hired to plow the snow, thats what you did. I use the line. You get paid when you go to work, he ( the customer ) gets paid when he goes to work, I too should get paid when I go to work. If you have a verbal contract explain to the Judge that the customer never said anything to you about a little gravel on the grass as unacceptable. If you have a written one and it is not in there that it is not acceptable I would think the Judge would tell him it not relivant to the payment issue. I speak from experience. had a customer use this as an excuse in court once. He had pictures of about a half a wheel barrow full of gravel in two separate spot on the grass, and in the wheel barrow. He explained to the Judge, look how much I had to pickup off my lawn. The Judge asked him if he would like to trade, he will come pick his up and he can come to his house and clean his lawn up in the spring. The guy didn't know what to say after that accept to complain some more. The Judge told him to stop whining and pay his bill, I find in the favor of the plaintiff, case closed!