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Question Regarding Season Long Contract

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by holstonsnow, Jan 19, 2012.

  1. holstonsnow

    holstonsnow Junior Member
    Messages: 4

    As I have stated in a previous post, this is my first year plowing commercially, so I am wondering how to handle a contract issue. I have a particular customer who signed a contract back on Nov 12 for plowing service at their residence through May 1st. She chose a payment plan that I offer to pay the first payment of the season price at the time of the contract signing(which covered her from the signing of the contract until the 1st of Jan.), and the second half would be due by the 10th of Jan(which she has payed, and covers services for the remainder of the season). Because of a different job that I work, I gave all my customers a choice of their preferred time to be plowed...either in the mornings before 10, or in the evenings after 6. This particular customer asked to be plowed before 10 each morning, and the contract was for every 4' of snow. As of 10am this morning, we had accumulated 2' of snow since the last time I plowed. She is now telling me that she had an appointment to be at this afternoon and had to shovel her driveway to get out to it because there was now approx 5" of snow accumulated. I explained to her that she chose to be plowed in the mornings, and at 10am this morning there was not enough snow to plow. Well she seems to think that I am responsible for her having to shovel and have now broken the contract with her. She informed that she wanted to end our agreement, which I was okay with, as long as it was on my terms. I offered to return her second payment to her, minus the cost of the three times that I have plowed since Jan 1st. She was not happy with that and stated that she wanted to get more money back. At this point, I would not be upset if the contract was ended because she is now an unhappy customer who will be impossible to please, but I need to know what you guys who have more experience would offer as the terms for the ending of the contract. If you don't agree with what I offered, please let me know so I can learn what it fair for both parties. Any feedback would be appreciated.
     
  2. thelettuceman

    thelettuceman PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,216

    Welcome to the forums. Welcome to the snow plow world. Ask her how much she wants back and to justify her price and math and good luck.
     
  3. framer1901

    framer1901 Senior Member
    Messages: 812

    Northern Mi and couldn't get out the driveway thru 2" of snow??

    I'd just give her the money back, walk away with a lesson learned, or a few lessons.

    Snowplowing is or can be a full time job - if only we could choose to plow when we wanted.

    Resi's can be high margin but they are high maintenance

    Trigger depths away from the norm or pricing by depth can and will at some point lead to a disagreement, and you never win

    Solutions IMO

    Plow part time for a very few select customers, avoid potential conflict

    Price resi's to allow for service

    Service below the trigger depth, it's seasonal, you priced it that way and avoid the conflict.

    We have I think two accounts that are weird trigger depths, they are per push not seasonal, so we error the oppisite on those accounts - we service them less because they obviously want to save money......

    Sorry, the couch is calling
     
  4. Mr.Markus

    Mr.Markus PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,157

    The way you have it set up for service is less than ideal. I myself don't offer service times due to the nature of the business. That being said...you should consider a cancelation clause of 30 days in your contract and offer to continue service until they find another contractor that way if things go sour they can never bite back in court that you left them high and dry scrambling. If they fire you they forfeit their payment. That's what prepay is about, and regardless they are going to tarnish your name, so get something for it.JMO
     
  5. Canplow

    Canplow Senior Member
    Messages: 289

    I would tell her that if she needed out for the afternoon she should have called to let you know. she didnt have to shovel she needed to pick up the phone and be a responsable customer! at that point you would have known to get over there and all would be good! did you drive by and see it finished and if so what time ? a lost customer is lost money try to make her happy if not possible see ya later Bi*ch
     
  6. mpgall26

    mpgall26 Senior Member
    Messages: 228

    Seems to bad but there was no avoiding it. I don't understand why she would agree to contract with an understanding between 10-6 the contractor would be unavailable. I assume she just moved to Mi from Mexico. Just give her 2nd half of the season back and eat the couple plows you did. The few bucks isn't worth the bad wrap.
     
  7. dooleycorp

    dooleycorp Senior Member
    Messages: 121

    sometimes you get customers that are never happy whatever you do return last payment and move on i would just change times that you plow you can never tell how weather can change good luck