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Upset with U.S. Maintance

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Doctordo, Jan 16, 2003.

  1. Doctordo

    Doctordo Member
    Messages: 50

    I signed up with U.S. Maintance to do ther plowing at a local pizza hut . Well everything was going good when the manager of the store called to say that they need to have the snow removeal done, or pile the snow higher. This was because we just recieved between 20 to 24 inches of snow. Well instead of hauling the snow away , I thought we would save them money and pile it higher around ther property . It took about 10 hours to do this , after the job was complete they were happy. Well today I recieved a phone call. U.S. Maintance said that they were not going to pay for they hole 10 hours they were going to pay me for six. A loss off $400.00 the reason why was because I didn't get prior approval from U.S. Maintance . It clearly says in there contract that you must get prior approval before hauling it off sight . We didn't haul it off sight we kept it on sight . I figured that we may have saved the company about 1500.00 by doing this. Has anyone have any insight into dealing with this problem :realmad:
  2. SnowMatt13

    SnowMatt13 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,527

    It depends what your contract says. If the menager can give approval to snow removal or stacking then I would tell them they had better pay the bill. Tell them that you found it in their best interest to stack the snow and show them on paper. (i.e. the cost of stacking vs. the cost of removal) Gotta love the contracts. As I have found out the hard way.. sometime what you write and mean isn't the way some people understand it to be. Bottom line, if the manager has the right/power to approve stacking and/or removal and he/she said stack... then they should talk to their manager not you

    OBRYANMAINT PlowSite.com Veteran
    from ohio
    Messages: 534

    its too bad but you actually work for us maint. so you probably should,ve called them......of course i dont know how it was set up
  4. wyldman

    wyldman Member
    Messages: 3,265

    So basically US maintenance is hiring you as a subcontractor,correct ? I would think,you should have gotten prior approval from them,as they are the ones paying the bill.I am suprised they paid you at all.I think you will probably be SOL for the rest they owe you.Just my 2 cents.
  5. John Allin

    John Allin PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,327

    While I'm no fan of US Maintenance..... I can tell you that OUR agreements with our subs specifically state that they can take NO direction from onsite personnel - and that all requests/authorizations for additional service MUST come from SMG. This eliminates this sort of thing from happening - although it has happened once or twice - and we have had to force them to honor the agreement.

    Just my 2 cents too.
  6. Sno

    Sno Senior Member
    Messages: 320

    Just my 2 cents but by law a sub contractor is a sub contractor because he takes no orders from the contractor.

    He does the job that is required and bills acordingly.


    I thought a Contractor can not tell a sub how the job is to be performed. Otherwise, that is an employee...

    If that is the case, the job was needed and done and should be billed and paid.


    Isnt that the legalities of hiring a sub? VS an Employee?

    If you where hired to clear a lot, you did it. And it sounds like you used the most efficient and cost justifiable method.

    Unless there is strong wording, I dont think they have a leg to stand on. Even then, they are telling you how and when to do your job so that makes you an employee.. ???
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2003
  7. BRIMOW525

    BRIMOW525 Senior Member
    Messages: 259

    us maintenance

    I was approached by them and asked me for a bid for the local rite aid. They said they needed to fax the specifics and stuff. When I got the fax it told me what i was going to be paid and what not. Thats not a bid to me. On top of that the contract said that if rite aid didn't pay them I wasn't going to get paid and I couldn't take legal action against rite aid OR US maintenance. The prices were SO low that a high school kid with a garden tractor wouldn't do it. You really have to read that contract to find out where you stand. I would never do any work for them .
  8. wyldman

    wyldman Member
    Messages: 3,265

    I don't know the EXACT legalities of it,but my subs know that I call the shots,and everything goes through me first to be approved.I pay their invoices,so I want to know ahead of time,what I'm being charged for.

    Think of home construction.Most builders hire sub-contractors,or companies to build houses for them,based on the builders design,specifications,etc.If the subcontractor deems it neccesary to build the house differently,and goes ahead and does so,will the builder just cut him a check for all the extras ? I think not.

    The contractor makes the decisions ans call the shots,the subs just perform the work.
  9. Acorn

    Acorn Senior Member
    Messages: 103

    I do a parking lot and the managers of the parking were getting complaints about losing spaces. I simply asked the managers where they wanted me to put it. They didn't know so the complaints went up to the owner. He called me and gave me hell about not taking care of it. We have no written contract by the way (I know that's a mistake). I explained that he needs to haul it away. He said "well why didn't you do that?" I said "you didn't ask me to. Do you want me to?" The owner said "yes, add it to the bill".

    I wasn't about to spend $1500 of his dollars on a subcontractor to haul snow without his approval.

    The way I see it, I work for whoever signs the check.
    I've tried reading minds and trying to do what needs to be done but I got burnt and ended up paying for the work myself.

    Be careful
  10. wyldman

    wyldman Member
    Messages: 3,265

    If it's not explicitly stated in the contract,then we don't do anything until we have a signed work order in our hands.I have been burned because they requested we do something additional over the phone,or verbally in person,then refused to pay for the services when billed.
  11. elitelandscape

    elitelandscape Member
    Messages: 79

    I do business with US maintenance and they are the very best to us. I'm sure my contract is the same as yours or atleast the same format.
    It says specifcally that anything other than what they ask you to do MUST be approved by US maintenance. IE snow removal.

    What i don't understand is why in the world are you trying to save them money by doing what you did. (YOU ARE A SUB) It's not your contract it's theirs just do like what it says and REMOVE the snow not pile it up to save money.

    Your a company aren't you you like to make money and 10 hours to pile snow sounds crazy anyways.

    I removed 22 loads of snow off one of their properties in 2 hours with 3 tandems and i was paid within a week of doing so $2200.00. No questions asked because i called them and told them what i was doing.

    What you have to realize is that "snow removal off property" probly isn't US's contract with the pizza hut so they have to have approval from the pizza hut before you do anything. Thats what they have to do with the property here is have approval from the head offices of the other company.

    P.S if you have a sub and you ask them to clear a walkway and they plow the whole yard are you going to pay them. obvisiously not because they didn't ask you first.
  12. Sno

    Sno Senior Member
    Messages: 320

    But he didnt do it differently, he cleared the lot like he was supposed to.

    The builder can not expect a phone call for every 2 x 4 before it is placed.

    The only thing negotiable, is ... Is it to spec.

    Not how it was done or what methods where used.

    The lot is cleared and is in spec according to the lot owner..

    I would show it to the lot owner and blow off US maint.

    See who the lot owner wants to use next time.

    I dont see how you can hire a sub, then tie his hands so he can not perform the job that needs done efficiently.

    Seems US Maintenance only has to bill the customer who wanted it done anyway.

    Instead it chooses to rob its sub. Pocket the money itself?

    What gives?

    The customer wanted the service.
  13. Sno

    Sno Senior Member
    Messages: 320

    Ok, I give in.....

    Good point elitelandscape.


    Seems a few phone calls of explanation and a mention of the manager discussion would be able to get a check cut though.
  14. elitelandscape

    elitelandscape Member
    Messages: 79

    What you might not understand is it states i'm reading it right now US will not pay for loader work until approved
    I know here that if the manager wants something to be done i don't drop a plow blade, bring in a loader etc etc until i's all approved from US.
    Then US will call me and says everything is a GO lets get this done. Send us the bill. It takes about 10 minutes to do this so to save some headaches you might just tell the manager if they want something done then to call US first or else you call them
  15. Sno

    Sno Senior Member
    Messages: 320

    Put my foot in my mouth again!


    I just caught the part about being asked to do it, then denied payment.

    Didnt look at it from the other side.
  16. landscaper3

    landscaper3 Senior Member
    Messages: 309

    We also have US Maintenance contracted down below you (Dorctordo) We were asked also but told them we needed a contract signed for the same thing you were doing and no calls yet!
  17. SnoJob67

    SnoJob67 Senior Member
    Messages: 384

    If you have the same/similar contract to what I have seen from US Maint. then I understand their unwillingness to pay (on a technical level). I also understand that you did nothing underhanded, unethical, etc.

    You should be able to negotiate with them to bend the rules this one time with the agreement that you follow their procedures to the T in regard to pre approval. Personally, I'd approach things from that angle. If you find that US Maintenance is unwilling to "meet you half way" by paying although you misunderstood the necessary procedure, I'd consider carefully whether or not they are a good customer.

    Something many people do not consider when dealing with national companies:
    The more work you perform and charge for, the more the national contractor (and therefore your company) make (as long as it is part of the agreement or approved before the service is performed). Don't try doing anyone any favors of saving them money in the future. :) Put yourself in U.S Maintenance's shoes. You cut them out of money and now they have to go back and explain to the customer that their sub didn't follow procedures if they are going to get paid part of what they should earn in revenue for the hauling offsite.

    Although you made a mistake, it is not as if the service was not performed, or that you were trying anything underhanded. I hope you can convince them to bend the rules in light of those facts. Although I often play Devil's advocate in these situations, make no mistake, we are on the same team. Good luck!

  18. Doctordo

    Doctordo Member
    Messages: 50

    Thanks guys for the information, part of the aggreement with me is that the snow removeal is done on site (stacking) and the other is (hauling it away) when you can't stack any more on site then we would have to haul it away. I think there was the manager that didn't get it approved first . She just exspected my company to take care of it . which we did . I feel that I am left holding the bag . I guess we live and learn
  19. SnowGodFather

    SnowGodFather Member
    Messages: 330

    How come I don't see any threads saying "upset with SMG?"

    This short statment explains all.
  20. capital

    capital Senior Member
    Messages: 127

    dropping them

    We have done work in the past for US Maintance, but today we called and had our company dropped from their list. We have found them to be less than pleasant to get along with. We get a fax and ask for 24 hour turn around on bidding work, either landscaping or mowing services. Yet they will not have any turf or bed measurements. Plus we have found that the properties they claim to be working with have no idea who, or what they are. Since they have no presents in Des Moines told them today to find some one else. Today a bid on irrigation work and the ground is snow covered and frozen solid. Have the same problem with plowing, they faxed over 7 properties to make sure we could plow them, and only one of them was a location not in a mall, IE 6 properties did not require work. For us have decided better to deal with local companys than a national firm with no presence in the area