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to bill or not to bill?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by oakhill2000, Feb 20, 2003.

  1. oakhill2000

    oakhill2000 Member
    Messages: 98

    Hey guys I have a question, The last storm we got before this big one I put a small hole in a garage door at a customers house. The driveway was steep and I slid into it and the corner of the plow put a small hole. Anyway I emmediatly told her that I would pay whatever it was to repair or replace the door. So a few days later I got a call and she told me the amount. It was small enough so I wrote her a check right out and hand delivered it to her that same evening. I then billed her as usuall for the snow plowing that night since I had paid for the damages. I got the check and along with it a letter that she was shocked I sent her a bill after all that I did. Was I right to send her a bill for the plowing? I asked several friend and business men around here and they all said deffinatly bill her, and one was unsure what they would have done. Anyway I don't mind losing it it was just a small pain in the a!% account but I just wanted to get some other opinions on the subject. Let me know thanks
  2. dan deutekom

    dan deutekom Member
    Messages: 82

    Bill her. You did the job. You reimbursed her for damage without question. You held up your end of the deal. Some people just feel that if something goes wrong they should get everything free for "pain and suffering"
  3. drobson

    drobson Senior Member
    Messages: 112

    I suppose there are 2 ways to look at it, if she didn't try to soak you for a new door because "it just wouldn't be the same if it was just repaired" then I guess you could eat the snow service bill as payment for her aggrivation of needing to get it fixed. I'm sure she would rather have not had it happen and not need to schedule someone to come out and fix the door, even it your paying for the repair.

    On the other hand, if she is getting a good deal out of having it fixed or replaced by getting a much better door in the end, then by all means send her the bill. But you did say it was a reasonable amount, so she is most likely not looking to get any more out of you except the repair. So I would think that not billing her would just pay for her inconvenience of needing to get someone out to fix it and be there when they do it. It would also keep the customer happy. I suppose you wouldn't want her telling all her friends that not only did you damager her door, but then sent her a bill too!

    Like the old saying goes: A happy customer will tell a friend, but an unhappy customer will tell 10 friends.....
  4. Mick

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

    Technically, you made things right and provided a service for which you should get paid. However, I would not have billed as gesture of good will. This is assuming a regular customer, not a one-shot deal and the amount billed per push is not high. For example, I wouldn't waive a $300 payment for a $10 repair.
  5. John DiMartino

    John DiMartino PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 2,154

    You paid for the door to be fixed,bill her,your not a charity.
  6. ebaron

    ebaron Senior Member
    Messages: 110

    Keeping a customer is worth not billing for one trip. She does have the added aggravation of getting quotes, and sticking around for someone to come and fix it. That is assuming she is a customer worth keeping. Usually, these customers will pay you back many times over, through referrals.

    Now if she is one of those customers that is never happy, run..... before you know it, she'll want you to own the garage door.
  7. cat320

    cat320 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,222

    I agree with every one you paid for the damages and atleat owned up to it .You should have no problem collecting for work that you did.Wspecially when you made it apoint to cut her a check right away and hand deliver it .
  8. digger242j

    digger242j Senior Member
    Messages: 672

    I'd have told her specifically that she wouldn't be getting billed for that trip. Paying for the damage says "yes, I am responsible". Eating the charge says, "and I'm sincerely sorry about the aggravation it's caused you".
  9. fordman

    fordman Senior Member
    Messages: 327

    I would have billed her as well. You paid for the damages to the door so she should pay you for plowing. The only thing that would have kept me from billing her would be if it's a very small drive that took like 5 minutes to plow.
  10. roblandscape

    roblandscape Senior Member
    from Phila
    Messages: 187

    I would have did what you did, It seems some people think we are out to do favors, They don't have a clue about how we rush around like maniacs to get everybody done and make them happy, and the brutal beating our equip. takes.
    Sometimes I just want to tell them to :realmad:
  11. oakhill2000

    oakhill2000 Member
    Messages: 98

    Well its in the past now, I billed her and she was shocked that I did. It was a medium size drive that takes more than 5 minutes but it isn't one of my largest ones. I guess you could go either way depending on how you feel. But she also made me mad cause she, just likemost other people have no idea what it is like to do what we do and stay out all hours of the night. She never called me to tell me she was finding someone alse to plow and when I got to her house it was done!:realmad: She could have had the courtesy to call and let me know. At 3 in the afternoon after I have been out all day and night before it doesn't set well with me. So that made me feel a little better about billing her. I guess in a way it was a payback from her for causing her aggrevation she would do the same by not telling me she found someone else. Oh well I really don't care anyway it wasn't a big customer and I have too many residential accounts now anyway. Just wanted some other opinions on it. Thanks
  12. John DiMartino

    John DiMartino PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 2,154

    oakhill,id bill her again anyway,if you had to show up,thats 1/2 the cost of doing a driveway.I guess she dropped you? She didnt have the courtesy to call you.Its a shame what you get for doing right by a customer.
  13. OffRoadPlow

    OffRoadPlow Senior Member
    Messages: 247

    Sorry to hear you lost that one, but it does not sound like you wanted it, so I guess it works for you. I think you did the right thing to bill her, I may have offered to arrange for the repairs so she did not have handle it, or offer a discounted rate for that run for her inconvenience. JMO

    On another note, not to steal the thread but related, this brought up the reminder to take good pre-plowing pics. I had someone claim that I damaged a door on one account, and I never even came close to the door. Pre-plowing pick showed the existing damage to door was there in the spring so I was not liable.. The owner was embarrassed, but apologized by dumping the account. Some people are never happy.... I know you stated that you did do the damage, but there are those who will use your services to get repairs later.. CYA
  14. mike9497

    mike9497 Senior Member
    Messages: 466

    i had something like that happen before.you did the right thing.your not at fault.the truck slid into the door.you didn't drive into it you slid into it.you plowed again and billed her.i would have done the same thing
  15. KatWalk

    KatWalk Member
    Messages: 83

    Stuff happens!!!

    You were probably as disappointed if not more disappointed than the homeowner knowing that you try your best everywhere. You made the right choice in contacting her immediately AND you didn't drag your feet in getting her a check for the damage. She should pay the plow bill. I was installing a patio for a couple..they had a large dirt circular drive....wide open area with a charcoal type grill directly in the center. One of my guys backed over the grill and bent it up a little. We picked up the grill, tweaked the legs and cover alittle and it looked pretty good. I told the lady we hit the grill and I would be more than happy to pay for it. She said "Oh, don' t worry about it....no big deal." I sent the invoice for final payment and got a check and a note with $100 subtracted for grill. (New grill at sears was $100) I called and said ....jeez....I thought you said no problem. I would have gladly replaced your grill with a brand new one and I would have taken the fully functional "damaged" grill for myself. I wish you didn't just take the $100 off the invoice. Sorry so long...she almost started crying saying that she couldn't believe that I would call her after I "CRUSHED" her grill. Oh yeah....send her a plow bill.:drinkup: :drinkup: :drinkup:
  16. oakhill2000

    oakhill2000 Member
    Messages: 98

    that makes me feel better. Some people just have no concern for us and what we do. Even when we try to be nice. Since we are the service men and woman and not the 9 to 5 pencil pushers than we are lower than them. That is how they look at things and they treat us like crap and think everything revolves around them and everything is our fault. Thats of course until they need us badly cause they can't go to work unless we show up to plow or they can't throw thier big party unless we Cut thier lawn by Friday etc. Very few know who have been in our shoes or just plain understand. I am not complaining, as I love what I do but I just can't stand people sometimes, there attitude sucks. The lady I was dealing with is an electrical engineer who makes over a 100 grand a year and can go to work whenever she wants at any time she wants as long as she puts a certain number of hours in, in a weeks time. But I caused her so much aggrevation, Ya right, and I had no aggrevation that week. I had aggrevation all that night and then I had this broken door weighing on my mind all week. Oh well sorry for rambling just venting:realmad: !
  17. drobson

    drobson Senior Member
    Messages: 112

    In my opinion, as I stated earlier, I would not have billed her. She very easily could have asked to be reimbursed for her time as well as the damage to the door. I think the customer ( in this case ) was being nice as well as the contractor. We all know some are not this nice.

    I believe in treating each customer as a complete seperate entity from my other customers. Just because I am having a busy and frustrating day with some of them, does not mean that I should treat another customer any differenty than I would on a day where everything went perfectly (not that this happens often).

    There are many different scenarios to compare this to, so here is just one. If I brought a jacket to the dry cleaners and they tore the pocket and then had to repair it, taking an extra day to two, I certainly would not expect to pay the bill for the cleaning, unless they wanted to pay the rental bill for another jacket.

    Of course you have to weigh all the facts here too. Is this a customer that always pays on time? Do you want to have this customer again next year? Have they given you referrals? Do they know any of your other customers? All things to think about. The money is probably not a big deal for one driveway, but their perception of you is worth a lot more.

    Think of it as spending that money on some great advertising, pretty inexpensive to get a customer speaking highly of you, in my opinion of course.
  18. BWhite

    BWhite Senior Member
    Messages: 496


    And if you found a fly in your soup would you pay for the salad ??
  19. Mike 97 SS

    Mike 97 SS Banned
    from U.S.A.
    Messages: 1,106

    That all depends on how much of the soup the fly plans on eating. Mike
  20. Mick

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

    Interesting in that you brought up the "fly in the soup" scenario. (In think you meant would you pay for the soup, not salad). I had that happen in a restaurant in Des Moines about 20 years ago. I found a cockroach actually cooked into my eggs. Showed the waitress, who asked me if I still wanted to eat (I did) so she brought a whole new breakfast (pancakes, eggs, bacon, toast and hash browns). When I went to pay, the manager told me "No charge, I'm just glad you were quiet about it; you could have got me shut down". Now my point was - I shouldn't have to pay for what I ate of the first meal, but I ate the second and owed for it. The manager's point was keeping good will.

    So, I guess it depends on your outlook on the situation.