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adjusting bills?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by oakhill2000, Mar 11, 2003.

  1. oakhill2000

    oakhill2000 Member
    Messages: 98

    Do any of you have customers that send a check back for less than the bill and say that you didn't earn what you were asking in the bill? I give a price for a drive ($40) and it is that much no matter what unless we get a signifacant snowfall of over 12 inches than I tell them I add no more than 10 dollars to the amount depending on how heavy the snow is and how much longer it takes me. I think this is a good deal since we rarely get snow over 12 inches around here. This year was an exception. Well anyway I sent a bill for that customer for 45. I sent someone else over to do it as I was busy with all the others. I payed him sent a bill to the customer. The person I sent over even shoveled around thier car outside the garage and it took him longer than usuall just plowing not including the shoveling. They sent me a check for 20! I was po'ed. I called and said I expect to see the rest of the amount in the mail soon as I explained the reasons for the extra amount, and if I didn't recieve the remainder of the amount they could find another person to plow. None of my other customers had a problem with this as I explain it when I give them a price in the fall anyway. I have had other customers with just regular landscaping that say "oh just do it I don't need a price" and then they send less saying I charged too much so now I always give it to them weather they want it or not.
  2. Arc Burn

    Arc Burn PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,141

    I had one this year,sent him a bill for $40,2 plowings at reg. price for 2 seperate events,and he sent me a check along with my invoice for $30!This guy has money and is known to be cheap so i stopped plowing right then and there,he came up a month later,couldn't get in his driveway called screaming and i calmly explained thats what happens when you screw the plow guy:D ,He didn't feel it was worth what i charged even though he agreed on the price in the fall,he has been thru all the other contractors and I'm pretty much the last one on the list so now he pays more and he pays on time,go figure........
  3. wyldman

    wyldman Member
    Messages: 3,265

    If it's stated in my contract that we plow for a xx dollars,and they just decide to send me less,I will call to remind them of what they agreed upon.If they do not agree,we cancel the contract.

    I usually tell them if they work all week,and expect to get a $500.00 paycheck,would they not be upset if they only got $250.00 ? They usually pay up.
  4. wxmn6

    wxmn6 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,037

    Similar thing happened to me a couple of months ago. It is a long story, but I will keep it short. It is a large residential account, which I do not do anymore. I am glad that I don't do that place anymore because I don't like the place. A very long and very steep driveway outside my plowing area on a small road. I sent the bill for nine plowing charge, and they deducted two of those charge. They said I never plowed on one date and said that the agreement was that I charge them by per push. The agreement was made last fall that I will be charging them by amount of snowfall. They said I am wrong - B/S. So I did not get the remaining balance of $320 that they owe. I was po'ed! But the agreement was made via emails last fall and I don't have the copy so I have no evidence to bring it up to the court. So I just let it drop and learn from it.

    Next year I will make some kind of agreement that the customers would have to sign and return to me. So I would not have this problem again, hopefully.
  5. DanG

    DanG Senior Member
    Messages: 240

    I have a few per push customers that've not paid up from the last couple of storms.

    I think they figure with all the money they've paid me already this winter that they shouldn't have to pay me for my service.
    And that they're going to get away with it because they think the winter is over for the most part.

    I hope we get at least one big storm still and when they call I'll say sure i'll plow it for you.:)

    But before I drop the plow you'll have to pay your past due balance and for this storm too:D

    And if it's during banking hours I might even make them wait to get it done till I get back from their bank to make sure their check is good before I do it.(Got burned once like that before)

  6. John Allin

    John Allin PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,327

    We have lots of customer calling wanting to "negotiate" the bills for February now.....

    Nope... not gonna happen.

    We want paid.
  7. P&J Lawncare

    P&J Lawncare Member
    Messages: 57

    I would hate to see what you go through on a daily basis, with the size of your operation it has to be a fulltime job just trying to get paid.
  8. Arc Burn

    Arc Burn PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,141

    Not sure about the rest of the regions but here febuary easily topped the previous months in billing even with the big storms in december and january,there was just a lot of smaller snowfalls that added up quick,when i sat down to bill out and realized what people owed for the month i was a little worried because winter is coming to a close and people shelled out big bucks for this winter and i had to wonder if i was going to have to eat some of these invoices:confused: ,luckily i have real decent customers and the checks are coming in on the same time frame they have all winter so i guess i'll get that new truck after all:D
  9. wyldman

    wyldman Member
    Messages: 3,265

    It's amazing how quickly the bills add up.Salting has been huge this year around here,with lots of little dustings and icy conditions.Calling for more stuff this week,and a pretty busy March.I wouldn't be suprised if we get over 50 salt events this year.I feel sorry for the customers sometimes as it's something that's hard to budget for,as they never know what the salt bills will add up too each month.

    We haven't had any customers wanting to negotiate any bills,or any non-paying customers,but a few have asked that we cut way back on salt and only if neccesary.
  10. Whether it is check or cash they still owe you the full amount.

    Make sure you have a contract, Per season or per push, HAVE ONE, it will be spelled out and both parties know all the details. No mistakes or whittling prices down.

    Everything is there in black and white.

    I still have a lot of $$$$ out and they are all in contract with late fees if more than 30 days beyond service.

    Good Luck
  11. Mick

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

    oakhill2000, when I read your post I wondered if they had adjusted your bill thinking they could get away with it because you're young. After reading the other posts, adjusting seems to be more of a problem than I would have thought. I haven't had anyone adjust my bill but did have two non payers this year. One really surprised me. Main thing was that I wouldn't let the bill get very big so was only out about $100 combined. I've sent them both letters that I won't be plowing for them any more and why. Just stated facts and let it go at that. Not worth me getting worked up about it. Especially in this area, I'm surprised at anyone not paying a bill.

    I'd rather have them not pay at all than adjust the bill, though.
  12. oakhill2000

    oakhill2000 Member
    Messages: 98

    Alot of people around here do think they can take advantage of me and get a cheaper price because I am younger. I still take pride in my work and do a better job than some hacks that have been doing the same thing for years. I used to get pushed around when I first started and let people convince me into lowering my prices. I have toughened up and just tell them what they owe me and they don't like it to find someone else, I havn't had a real lot owed where I had to go to court or anything to get the $$ I just tell them that will be the last time I do work for them if they don't pay. They usually pay but they spite and send the remainder late with the next bill due or just take thier sweet time. I am at the point where this year for the landscaping I am going to dump a few customers that don't give me enough work. One customer who is a dentists office doesn't care about there place much they are cheap. They ask for a price to do this and that when I give it to them they complain and do it them selves. and thier crappy work reflects on me. Even last year they said they were doing the leaf cleanup them selves because they got a new tractor they wanted to try out. So this year they can do the whole thing themselves.
  13. KenP

    KenP Senior Member
    Messages: 197

    I had a Doctor who owned a five store strip mall. We had a signed contract and were servicing his account whenever it needed it. After the big storm here, the bills were getting high. He approached me to cut him a break on the bill, which I eventually did. Not with out a good debate of Doctors pricing. I simply asked him "Dr. Smith when we have an icy winter and you get a extra amount of slip and fall injuries do you adjust your rates"? He had no response, I did give him a discounted rate because he always paid me ASAP and he was going to refer me to the new owner of the building. So I'll give breaks to customers based on what the past history has been with them.
  14. flakesmeangreen

    flakesmeangreen Senior Member
    Messages: 217

    Had a customer a month or two ago like this. I sent an invoice for $80 and received a check for $40. I was like WTF?!? I copied the check for my records and stuffed an envelope with the check, another invoice and a letter. I received a check for $80 a week or two later.

    I was lucky though since it was for a call-in customer and there wasn't a written contract. I guess I took my chances on this one since I could have received nothing. I haven't heard from her since that time, even during the President's Day Storm. Although I did see 2 cars parked outside the driveway after that storm :D Maybe she didn't like the price? Got me.


    DYNA PLOW Senior Member
    Messages: 295

    i recieved a call from the district manager of a big grocerie store chain of which i handle one location for them. it seems i was doing to good of a job for them as i have prices for shoveling the sidewalk when we only recieve less than an inch of snow, i was pretreating with salt when we had snow during business hours so i could scrape it clean when the business closed.
    anyhow he went on to say that they are extremely pleased with my service but his boss has issue's with my billing as they were adding up (wait till we get a normal season again). what the conversation amounted to was that i can only salt when he tells me i can and not to shovel anymore, their people will handle it.
    my response was....thats the level of service i provide.
    i can handle the salting when you feel it needs it as well as understand that your people will do the shoveling, but your company will have to assume 100% of the liability as i will not be responsible for something i have no control over.
    he acknowledged that they will assume 100% of the liability, i stated that if they are interested in my services next season that it will be written in the contract that way.
    what really blows me away is the fact that this is a multimillion $ company trying to shave corners on a big liability issue such as this. it also bugs me that i can't salt when it should be done as i had it figured to turn a nice profit on it.
  16. Mick

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

    DYNA PLOW, I had the opposite problem. I'd gone out early in the morning and checked a private road I do. Hadn't snowed, but was checking for ice. I stayed in 2wd, stopped on the hills and backed up the hills with the plow on. This was to check traction. Seemed good to me so I emailed him that I'd been there, that he still might want to use his 4wd "just in case" and went on to my regular job. Later the homeowner comes out and took his 2wd anyway, decided it neede sanding so called someone else when he couldn't get ahold of me :realmad: . Turned out ok, he's still happy with me and the guy he contacted had referred him to me in the first place. I told them I'd pay the charge for that sanding to make it right.

    More than anything I'm mad at myself for making the wrong call.:realmad: :realmad:
  17. OffRoadPlow

    OffRoadPlow Senior Member
    Messages: 247

    Hate those, non paying, complaining, lower payment, I can get someone for cheaper so I want to break the contract -- types... I learned a big lesson this year, Don't plow for the people you work with (Day-Job:rolleyes: ). I plowed for a few just to see how it would go, one of the really nice ladies to work with, always paid me at work the next week. So from 3 events ago, including today, nothing, I figure I did her for the last time today, and if she does not pay when I send her a bill this year, thats it for good. Actually, she can clear the bill, but today was it. Another lady at work gives me a story about her husband's heart condition and what would I charge, so I give her a good rate, she has the nerve to say "the guy across the street will do it for $20 with a snowblower, will you with your plow?" You guessed it, the "guy" across the street did it today... I told her you get what you pay for, and I could buy 10 of his snowblowers for what a good plow cost...

    You have to laugh, getting mad just makes them think they are winning..... :drinkup:
  18. L.I.Mike

    L.I.Mike Senior Member
    Messages: 370

    I have a customer on the north shore of Long Island in a "money" neighborhood. I plow both his neighbors because I have the contract for their businesses. I charged him for 2 pushes for the blizzard because I was their twice. He pays me for one, He feels I only had to plow once. I cancelled his contract and notified him why.
    Well at the last storm I passed by and did my 2 accounts about 9pm, his wife was out shoveling the driveay and stopped me wondering why I did not stop. When I explained the problem she went in, got a $100 bill and paid me on the spot. Needless to say her driveway was done.
    She told she would pay the sno bill from then on. Husbands a doctor, go figure.
  19. Mick

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

    L.I.Mike, I think I'd have liked to hear the conversation between them about that one. Something tells me she talked while he listened :D .

    I had one like that where the guy almost screwed things up. She called me and said I'd be dealing strictly with her from then on. That was last year and now one of my best customers.
  20. jspivxl102

    jspivxl102 Member
    Messages: 46

    It sounds absurd to me that someone would agree to pay a certain amount and give you less than the agreement. Not only is what they are doing wrong, it's downright illegal.
    Wyldman was right in saying that you should remind them that they agreed to the price. Cancelling the contract also seems like a good idea. Some of you guys live in areas where snow falls daily. Cancelling their contract will hurt them more than you. Give them a few years to come around...
    Legal action is a possibility, but not over a $10 argument...