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Another "how would you handle this situation"??

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by LwnmwrMan22, Jan 6, 2008.

  1. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 28,362

    I've got a YMCA that I'm plowing this year. First winter season it's been plowed.

    The other YMCAs in the Twin Cities have a larger company plowing for them, which came in at 70% of my fee for the season, however, the bank that this YMCA deals with, I also do, and got such good recommendations from the bank that I've been servicing for years now, that I was awarded the contract.

    I don't know if it's the first year the person running the "Y" has been in charge, or if they've been in charge of other "Y"s.

    Anyways, I'm always told that the spouse has been in the lawn care / snow removal business for 15 years, until about 5 years ago, the life journeys took them a different route.

    Well, I got a call the other day to move the snow piles back. I'm one of the plowers that doesn't curb hop, I use parking spaces, until they want to pay me to move the snow back.

    If there's not enough snow to worry about parking spaces, then it can melt on the parking lot in the spring, with less damage to turf areas.

    Anyways, I tell them I figure it would be about an hours' worth of work, $100.

    The maintenance guy says go ahead. Then about an hour later, he calls back and the person that runs the "Y" said that someone from another "Y" will do it for free, so I'm not authorized to move the snow any longer, which is fine by me.

    Would you go to the office and have the person running the "Y" sign off that you're not responsible for any damage to property, since there's about 10-15" of snow on the ground, so they had no real idea where curbs, plants, turf, sprinkler heads were??

    Also, would you persue who it was that did the service "for free", to see if it was the other company that was cheaper to begin with, to try to win the new service??

    I know what I'm going to do, but wanted to see what other opinions were.....

    I also did the lawn care this year, and they've already been through one maintenance person. What if before next spring they get a new person running the location, and when the snow melts, they start to hold me responsible for the aforementioned problems, if any??
  2. StoneDevil

    StoneDevil Senior Member
    Messages: 516

    well i would have them sign off on it releasing u from his damages
  3. Sharp Charge

    Sharp Charge Member
    Messages: 38

    I'm not yet in the biz here, and still learning myself, but I'd say CYA. From an outsiders perspective I would absolutely have someone sign of the contract and retain names of those people for your records. As for asking about the other contractor, the worst they can say is No...

    Good Luck!
  4. SnoFarmer

    SnoFarmer PlowSite Fanatic
    from N,E. MN
    Messages: 9,883

    All curb hopping aside:rolleyes:

    If you feel the need to CYA then their must be a reason.
    You answered your own Q I beleve...
  5. kipcom

    kipcom Senior Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 455

    Contract ?

    Verbal or written ?

    Written ::: does it have a cancel clause ? damage release clause ? did you photo the property and note hazards etc ?
  6. QuadPlower

    QuadPlower PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,056

    I understand why you didn't push the snow onto the grass in the first place. Damage to property, etc.

    You said, "I'm one of the plowers that doesn't curb hop, I use parking spaces, until they want to pay me to move the snow back."

    If you put the snow in the way of parking areas then why would you charge to move the piles when the customer wants their parking areas back?

    It would not be emergency service. You could do it at your own pace. You could protect the truf, as best you could with 10" - 15" of snow on the ground. You would not be letting another snow removal company in the door to do work for free that you want to charge for.

    You (your company) is responsible for snow removal. Does your contract state that additional snow removal is $100.00 per hour or does it say that to clear the parking area is $XXX.xx or both? My $.02 is that you didn't clear the parking area. Therefore you should not have tried to charged to finish the job.

    Any time you let someone else come in and have a chance to do your work and to possible show you up or do it for less, you are asking for trouble.
  7. TaylorMade

    TaylorMade Junior Member
    from MPLS
    Messages: 13

    If they canceled the contract they become responsible for any damage Including damage you may have caused. It will become a matter of he said she said and in court there is know way to prove who did it. Let it go its not worth you time when you can spend the same and get a better contract for spring Good Luck
  8. Scottscape

    Scottscape Senior Member
    Messages: 662

    This curb hopping stuff irritates me. We all know that we are not suppose to be driving our trucks over curbs and those that due better consider ball joints and tie rods into there bids, plows are hard enough on trucks as it is. I believe pushing it over the curb until your tires touch but you can only push it so far until you need a loader. There should be enough parking spots that you can stack snow, its a naturally occuring condition. If they don't like it then they can pay for "SNOW REMOVAL" service and hauling which I'd say 9 out of 10 wont and don't have a budget for it and I'm sure as hell not going to do it on my expense just because they want more parking spots. You're providing a snow plowing service. If your contractual agreement states your are "Plowing" then that is what you are paid to do and nothing else. If they want other services beyond that then it's going to cost them.

    If these people found someone else to do it for free, then great but I would also remind them you are not liable for any damages beyond the curb. Free has no value, I'll do things at no cost to help people but it will be something that isn't going to cost me a significant amount of money. When you use the word free it holds no value. We have a business to run not a charity service. This is the YMCA which I would consider helping and go out of my way within reason farther than other accounts due to the orginization they are but I'm not going to do it because they are being picky (it will be obvious when they are).

    My advice to you would touch base with the person who signed on the dotted line and talk it over with them of course you've gotta make other behind them happy but you can only go so far. If they TRY to hold you responsible it won't hold up in court. That is why we have attorneys and judges
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2008
  9. plowking35

    plowking35 2000 Club Member
    from SE CT
    Messages: 2,923

    Its not like I am hitting the curb at 20 mph. Its drive up till the plow near the curb, lift plow pull ahead slow till tires contact curb, ease the throttle till truck gets on top of curb and push ahead 2-3 feet. Back slowly till tires find curb again and ease down till truck is back on pavement. By doing so I can make room for 3-4X as many storms as just leaving at the curb will. I dont do this at every pass. I stack snow at the curb, and then after the event at final clan up I push the piles back if its powder. If its heavy wet snow it stays at the curb.
    Common sense dictates appropiate actions, but to say never push back over curbs is really a disservice to your customers, unless the landscaping is such that driving onto the turf would do more harm than good.
    Also the type of curbing is of note. In the NE we have alot of tapered asphalt curbs no more than 6", that make climbing them real easy. If we are talking 8" granite then no way would I push over them.
    Again just common sense.
  10. DJ Contracting

    DJ Contracting PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,392

    Last edited: Jan 6, 2008
  11. Runner

    Runner Senior Member
    Messages: 957

    I agree with the above post. I can do a lot and slam my truck up over stuff and be rough on it, or,...I can use my experience and good sense to build up an area, and always know that I am going to have a complete job done, and satisfied clientelle.
    the comment that was made earlier about the cost of the ball joints and such having to be put into the price of the contract, - you're dog gone RIGHT it does! lol When you plow, your truck is a piece of equipment, and it's going to undergo alot more wear and tear than typical work use.
    Now,...for this contract deal,...Go take pictures first, then make arrangements to see the person who you dealt with on the contract. You may still be able to revive the contract.
    On the other hand,...who knows...it may NOT be this other guy...it may just be someone who does something else for them, and they might make it up later in other work or something.
  12. NBI Lawn

    NBI Lawn PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,797

    Which "Y" is it? I do mowing for two of the "Y"s in the Twin Cities . I would have something in writing for sure.
    If someone else messes up and is able to cover it up untill spring, they will assume it was you. It would be nice to be able to say you are no longer able to fix the damage as they had mulitple plowers in there and there is no way to prove who caused the damage.

    my .02
  13. Scottscape

    Scottscape Senior Member
    Messages: 662

  14. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 28,362

    Here's the situation so far.

    This fall I took about 30 pictures of the property, to be able set up a book so if other of my guys were in there, or I was unable to perform the service, that others could see where plants and such were.

    At the beginning of the season, I told the people at the "Y" that I would be pushing snow and using the parking spaces away from the property. So far I'd used 10 parking spots, in a parking lot of about 150 spaces. All of these spaces were in the "employee" section of the parking lot.

    In my service agreements, it states that I will push snow as far as possible, without turf damage. This means I'll push until the tires hit, and that's it. I don't automatically leave snow in parking spaces if I can at all help it. If I DO have to leave snow in parking spaces, I make sure it's all in once "stall", not filling up multiple stalls 1/4 or 1/2 way, leaving the rest unusable, or cars sticking way out in the lot, if they try to use it.

    When I personally REMOVE the snow, I have a 45 hp tractor with a 6' snowblower on the back. I will blow the snow off of the parking lot onto the surrounding areas.

    My biggest concern is when you're driving over sprinkler heads and / or pushing loaders into curbs. Most of our curbs are 6" concrete, but in this area, which is still being developed, there's alot of approx. 4" asphalt curbs that I can push over with my truck, let alone a loader if someone doesn't know where in the pile they are.

    Also, on the north side, there was a row of approx. 40 junipers that the loader guy has pushed snow across. When I stopped by there the other night, it was dark, so I couldn't see if he pushed the bushes or not as well.

    Again, I don't know if it was the other contractor that was trying to get the bid, if it was "NBI Lawns :eek:" or if the "Y"s in the area have their own loader at different areas.

    Right now, the building maintenace guy "lead janitor" is covering 3-4 different locations, because the maintenance guy here is no longer with the "Y".

    So, I have to babysit tomorrow, but Tuesday I'll be driving down there. In fact, I've got to make a run to Home Depot, and I may just run by there today, since it's 41 degrees and I can see if there's much turf damage right along the edge. It's suppose to snow Monday night, so if there is, I'd better get pics today.

    Also, this is a seasonal contract. I only said $100 at first to cover my butt. It's listed in my service agreement... "Any other services, including but not limited to, scraping of slush, spreading salt, moving piles of snow, etc., are charged at a rate of $90 / man hour plus the cost of supplies".

    A previous poster is right. I don't charge top dollar for these services because they can be done at a slow time, when I'm not doing anything else. Alot of guys around here charge $60-70 / hour for plowing, but then charge $150-200 / hour for a loader.

    I was already donating a bunch of salting I did, plus I donated a $700 check earlier this season with a note of thanks for the contract. I'm one that completely agrees with helping out community properties such as a "Y", township parks, schools, etc. Most likely, I would have ended up donating this service as well.

    Maybe I'll post some pics when I get back....
  15. powerjoke

    powerjoke PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,341

    this has kinda split into 2 q's the first one is a no-brainer:

    you better stick it to them this year 'cause you done lost the contract for next year...... if i go and clean up behind someone you can bet your a$$ i am getting a contract for the next year and i pick up several each year that way.

    you was contracted for snow and ice managment and if youre client is not happy you have not done you're job regardless weather or not you think you have, sometimes you need to go above and beyond or sometimes you have just not done enough.

    the curb hopping:

    Scottscape: alot of being a good operator is, operating equipment outside of it's intended realm without damage or destruction and that includes plow-trucks......sure if you take a tiger to a ***** cat fight the tiger will win every time, but sometimes you got-to make do with what you have at hand.
  16. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 28,362

    I was not contracted for snow removal. In our area, that's an additional charge. I had already pushed onto the turf as far as the trucks would push without driving over the curbs, per service agreement.

    We have had about 20" of snow with zero melt, and the entire parking lot was pushed to approximately 10 parking stalls, which were stacked full.
  17. powerjoke

    powerjoke PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,341


    i took a while to type and i seen that you made a post right before mine and i understand now, sorry about that

    i don't know what to tell you but hope all goes well and i hope the other guy don't "muscle"you out
  18. DJ Contracting

    DJ Contracting PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,392

  19. FordFisherman

    FordFisherman PlowSite.com Addict
    from 06611
    Messages: 1,613

    I would add a clause to your contract stating any and all operations pertaining to snow plowing/ salting/ snow removal are to be performed and supervised by your company for the duration of the contract. YOU must have control all aspects of your business. Customers have no loyalty these days.
  20. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 28,362

    I am back, I have pictures....

    After dinner there'll be a new thread with "Update" in the title that'll show pics...