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Who's responsibility are plow blade marks on a sealed blacktop driveway/lot???

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Simplex, Apr 26, 2010.

  1. Simplex

    Simplex Junior Member
    Messages: 4

    I have recently ran into an issue with a long standing customer of ours. He returned home after the snow plowing season and noticed plow blade marks on his driveway/parking area. He recently had his driveway sealed this past fall. The customer wants us to pay for his driveway to be re-sealed. Is this our responsibility?

    I took a sealer to his property and showed him the driveway and the issues at hand, his view on it was that the driveway was not sealed properly and that unfortunately this kind of thing happens. Our customer is telling us we either fix it or never do work for him again. I hate to lose a customer, however I don't feel that this is something that myself or any of my employees could have avoided.

    The only thing I came up with for him was that I would split the cost of the re-sealing of his driveway with him, however I could not guarantee him that it won't happen again and would not pay for the re-sealing of his driveway any time a plow mark was found after this season. He will not except that as a solution and wants me to tell him that it will never happen again or, if it does again in the future, we will pay for it.

    Looking for what you all think about this situation and/or how you would handle. I would appreciate the support on this one so I don't make the wrong move. Thanks.
  2. RichG53

    RichG53 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,135

    Most drive by and stop driveway sealers can not be trusted ...( I think they use some kind of Paint)

    It looks good for a couple of months...

    Then turns to Garbage ...

    I would find out who did the job ..(Customers drive)..Call and find out what kind of warranty they proclaim.. (in writing,if they will)

    Then you have some leverage in your argument ..
    Keep us posted..
    Good Luck !!!
  3. theplowmeister

    theplowmeister 2000 Club Member
    from MA
    Messages: 2,515

    You can use a poly cutting edge. Tell him it wont clean the snow off the drive after its been driven on.

    Its not reasonable to think you can drag a 700# or 800# steel anything across a driveway and not have it leave marks.
  4. Longae29

    Longae29 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,954

    I read an article in a landscape magazine this morning about service calls....one part of the article that sticks in my head is "....the other percent just can't be pleased....." what did he expect? you know in the future you are going to leave marks, jmo, but move on.
  5. Mr.Markus

    Mr.Markus PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,107

    I work with a driveway sealer who services several of my customers on a yearly recuring basis. Sealed driveways require yearly applications to look their best. I would team up with one that gives you a percentage of work that you refer him too... works great for me. His sealer should have gone over this with him. Easy fix (be glad it's not stamped concrete or unistone)
  6. rich414

    rich414 Senior Member
    Messages: 294

    As long as you have a good blade in good shape, Its the home owners problem, if your blade is tweeked, you hould probably fix his driveway. I dont get people like this, they want the snow gone, but dont want you to place the blade on the driveway. what about snow chain marks???

    Thank god summer is here, we are 99% melted
  7. cubicinches

    cubicinches PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,412

    If you're doing a lot of residential, your contract should address it. Our contract clearly states that it can happen and we are not responsible. We cover a ton of details such as that in our contract... Then there's no arguing about it.

    I tell them to refer to their contract... and have a nice summer. :salute:

    Like someone already said... It's not reasonable to think that you can drag an 800 lb. steel snowplow across blacktop and not have some scratches.
  8. Simplex

    Simplex Junior Member
    Messages: 4

    I appreciate all the help here. Unfortunately there is no pleasing this homeowner. In our contract it clearly states that damage to driveways and lawn areas is not our responsability. Unfortunately my feeling is that its a "casualty of war." I hate to lose a good customer, however, I refuse to guarentee that this won't happen again, its just impossible to do so. I'm sure that I am going to lose him as a constumer if I take this stand.
  9. cubicinches

    cubicinches PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,412

    I don't lose much sleep over losing a customer that you can't make happy no matter what you do... they come and they go. Let them go be a pain in someone else's a$$.
  10. Simplex

    Simplex Junior Member
    Messages: 4

    His other problem is he's, "never in 25 years of having this driveway and having it plowed...." has had this issue. Do I believe this? Not 100% I believe he hasn't noticed them before, and I also believe they may be worse than ever this year. But the fact of the matter is, it was a rough winter here in the pocono's and like everyone is saying, there is no gaurentee that this won't happen. I guess maybe he should be happy that in 25 years this is the first time he has had the issue, he's been lucky.
  11. cubicinches

    cubicinches PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,412

    Yeah yeah... customers love to be dramatic. Of course I don't believe it, I believe very little that customers like that have to say.

    Broom him... ASAP. :waving:
  12. My bowtie

    My bowtie Senior Member
    Messages: 279

    Ok and what if he drops you after you pay to have the drive resealed?? Then you are out the $$ and a customer.
  13. Simplex

    Simplex Junior Member
    Messages: 4

    very true! There is nothing saying that he won't. My biggest fear is that I decide to be a nice guy, pay for it and then it happens again next year and we are in the same boat. I guess it is what it is. I don't really have much choice but to do nothing if this is the approach they are going to take. Obviously the sealer isn't going to pay for it to be repaired. I actually got two other quotes on it from people I have worked with in the past and the closest I got to what he paid for it last year was still $500 over. This also tells me the guys underbid it and couldn't use the amount of material they were supposed to use.
  14. swtiih

    swtiih PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,179

    Sounds like whatever you do will either be a lost customer or paying for sealing this year & next year
  15. JoeCool

    JoeCool Senior Member
    from Canada
    Messages: 214

    Refer to the contract, you have already offered 1/2 but not for future damage. Stick to it. You may now be paying for 1/2 and not getting the contract anyway (unless you tie that into signing for another year). If he sticks to his position I would walk.
  16. SnowMatt13

    SnowMatt13 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,527

    Is it worth the sealer to keep him?
    If you spend lets say $200 to get the driveway done for him, will you make that back in providing other services for him?
    Is he a seasonal or a year-round customer?
    If I had this situation and the customer was a profitable account I would do it.....right after he signed a 2 year contract with me for whatever services I'm providing for him.
    You are making a good faith gesture on sealing the drive, he should make one by signing a long term contract with you.....
    Otherwise, stick to your contract. If he can't then too bad.
  17. elite1msmith

    elite1msmith 2000 Club Member
    from chicago
    Messages: 2,762

    this reminds me of my old neihbor i use to mow, and the other neihbor would do the snow with the snow blower for her....

    she come to me in july one day and asks if my mower was leaving marks on her drive way...so i took a look at it.... truth be told i had turned around on her ashphault drive way, with new tires on the mower, and you all know that slight rubber mark that cna be left behind... easy to spot on contrete sure, but asphault you have to look pretty hard at it..... so i called her told her yes i had leaft a few tire marks , that they will go away in a short amount of time, probally afte ra rain storm or after she drives on it with her car... Well she calls up to cancel service...turns out shes talking abotu marks that run up and down her drive way , and then in addition run 90 degrees opposite parrelle to the garage door. for 3 passes.....they were in V shapes... only thing i ever thought of was the auger on the snow blower
  18. hydro_37

    hydro_37 PlowSite Veteran
    from iowa
    Messages: 3,790

    Drop that customer......and fast
    I wouldn't worry about marks....they disappear very quickly
  19. salopez

    salopez Senior Member
    Messages: 873

    my question is how late in the season did he get it sealed? I would think it didnt cure. shoot we emptied our tank on my drive later then we should and its 90% gone after our rough winter!

    Get yourself some sealer and a paint brush and apply it to the scratched parts. should cost you 15 bucks and some time. then make sure he doesnt drive on the driveway for 4 full days. but also let him know it will happen again unless you use a sweeper which you are happy to do so but its going to cost 4x as much for that garuntee!
  20. lumps

    lumps Senior Member
    Messages: 365

    I'd say it's definitely the blower. I had the same issue, noticed these weird v-shaped markings as I snow blowed. Turns out, my older Toro has a trip edge on the snow blower (pretty cool idea in concept), and the shoes were worn down to the point where it would stay tripped, and the auger would actually scrape across the ground.

    Make sure she knows that you were accepting fault for the tire marks, not the v-marks, and explain what probably happened.