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Current customer complains about bill

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by 90plow, Feb 6, 2015.

  1. 90plow

    90plow Senior Member
    Messages: 739

    Forgive me but this is a long story.
    I took on a church/daycare parking lot last year in the beginning of january. The previous plow guy was not insured, did not salt very well, and was always late. He didnt even own a salter. The owner of the day care was sick of having people sliding in and out of the steep entrances and complaining. Last year was a bad winter but after january we did not get much snow maybe one event which meant they had a relatively low bill. They signed with me this year same pricing same service. I sent an invoice for november 1-jan 28. It was a big number but it was three months.
    I got a call from the daycare owner who pays 50% of each bill saying they board members of the church are mad and want to get a new plow co. and don't think my bill is fair. My bills are dated, timed, and give weather and temperature conditions for each salt application and or plowing. Hes telling me to let the small storms go and just do storms that may be "dangerous" Simply told him I cannot do this with my insurance etc. and to have the head of the board contact me to discuss this. He doesnt want me to say anything to them because hes afraid they will be mad. I was proud of myself for staying calm and sticking to the facts about times plowing vs. salting and how the salting rate is double the plowing (they're pricing structure) and we've had many rain storms that turn to ice and cold ground temperatures.
    I dont know what to do. This call came in on monday during a storm. I recieved one extra request for service from the day care on wednesday and again reminded him to have them call me. Still have not heard from them. I dont know if the guy is full of it or they really are not paying the bill/firing me. Should I call the head guy and confront the situation? I cannot simply stop servicing them or do less saltings because I still am under contract.
  2. lawnlandscape

    lawnlandscape Senior Member
    Messages: 374

    First of all I don't know why you sent a bill for 3 months of service. We send monthly bills and many company's in our area send snow removal invoices every 15 days. Snow removal is an expensive service, but customers do not get as shocked with invoices if they are billed more regularly. I would strongly suggest you change the way you are billing your customers and stay more on top of your billing. January 28th is a really weird day to end a billing cycle regardless of how often your billing.

    Also, when you bill for 3 complete months there is no way the customer has any chance of remembering how the exact weather conditions were over that period of time. Do you have anyway you can prove your service beyond what you wrote down on your records? Example: All of our trucks in our fleet have GPS tracking, so when visits are questioned, we simply forward the customer the GPS tracking data of our visit. However, there has been a few times where we have made mistakes on our invoices, and our GPS data also confirmed those mistakes.

    What do you mean you can not give the customer what they want because of your insurance? Sure you can. If they want to change the level of service, you understand what they want, and write up a change in contract and have them sign it. You can put whatever you and the customer agree upon on a contract. If they want to reduce the level of service to a point you do not feel is safe, you simply tell them this verbally as well as put a line on the contract that waves your liability on the property.

    If you have any desire to retain this property in future years, talk to who you need to talk to and give the customer the level of service they desire. If you feel that level of service is irresponsible, put text in your modified contract that waves any and all liability other then your vehicle actually hitting something on the property.

    1) Your customer determines the level of service they will receive on their property, not you.
    2) Bill your customers more regularly and professionally
    3) Consider investing in GPS in your trucks to prove your visits with something that is flawless. GPS does not lie. It costs us $24.00 per truck a month for GPS in each truck and pays for itself 10 fold.
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2015
  3. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    I'm going to edit your post.

    If you would of billed them monthly you wouldn't of had this problem.Lean from that mistake.
  4. lawnlandscape

    lawnlandscape Senior Member
    Messages: 374

    How did you edit it? lol...

    Spelling/Grammer, or what?
  5. JD Dave

    JD Dave PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,194

    Why would salting cost double of plowing? I can see salting equal to plowing but I've never heard of charging double.
  6. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    OK,condensed your post:drinkup:
  7. all ferris

    all ferris Senior Member
    Messages: 123

    to heck with monthly or even 15 day billing. I send invoices the day after the event. This way the customer will remember the weather and why service was needed.
  8. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,257

    Must be a Jersey thing.
  9. framer1901

    framer1901 Senior Member
    Messages: 852

    Per event billing is for companies in Atlanta. 30 day billing is the norm............

    I'd hate to pay the pepsi bill for three months worth, an 8 pack or three at a time is less painful.
  10. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,257

    My customers would fire me if I invoiced after every event.

    They'd love 20 invoices a month.
  11. BMWSTUD25

    BMWSTUD25 Senior Member
    Messages: 631

    This doesn't work very well when you have dozens of clients and perform services many days per month. It creates a lot of extra paperwork, office time, and leads to many invoices being created for each client per month. We do monthly billing. I would probably enjoy the cash flow created by increasing my billing to every 15 days, but myself and my customers really enjoy, and can easily follow the once a month billing.
  12. mkwl

    mkwl 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,362

    Yup once a month billing here as well… already getting calls from people complaining about the de-icing bills though as we de-iced 8X for january and this week's storm…. somehow people think even though they signed a contract and received the service we should "work something out" on the price… right... (roll eyes)
  13. lawnlandscape

    lawnlandscape Senior Member
    Messages: 374

    Oh... ya.. I got a little carried away.
  14. lawnlandscape

    lawnlandscape Senior Member
    Messages: 374

    Not a bad idea... But.. I don't want the post office to love me that much. ussmileyflag

    And.. My customers would be annoyed beyond belief.
  15. JimMarshall

    JimMarshall Senior Member
    from NW PA
    Messages: 786

    Every event? That's ridiculous. How many clients do you have?

    Count me in the last day of the month club
  16. CashinH&P

    CashinH&P Senior Member
    Messages: 448

    We bill biweekly now. Still a small enough window to remember why service was preformed and long enough to not piss people off with a bill every other day. I agree if you would have sent a bill at the end of each month they wouldn't have had a problem with them, let alone your own cash flow.
  17. Buswell Forest

    Buswell Forest PlowSite.com Addict
    from NH
    Messages: 1,668

    I try for monthly billing. A bit longer intervals if the weather doesn't cooperate. Generally 4 or 5 events per billing cycle. Date, type of event, depth, and any sanding listed for each service. Weather almanacs are easy enough to find online if customers wonder.
  18. JimMarshall

    JimMarshall Senior Member
    from NW PA
    Messages: 786

    I assume when you say biweekly you mean every other week and not twice a week?
  19. lawnlandscape

    lawnlandscape Senior Member
    Messages: 374

    That is what biweekly means.... lol
  20. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,257

    Actually, it could mean either if you check a dictionary.