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Customer Claims that I have "FUNNY MATH" for invoiving...

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Allor Outdoor, Jan 3, 2009.

  1. Allor Outdoor

    Allor Outdoor Senior Member
    Messages: 438

    Hey Everyone,
    Sorry in advance for my complaining on here, I just need somewhere to vent, and my wife is sick of listening to me...

    So I had a larger landscape company in my area contact me at the beginning of the snow season asking me if I would be interested in sub-contracting for a apt. complex of theirs.
    I go and take a look at it, we agree on the numbers, and the work to be done...we sign the contract. The contract was set up as a flat rate for plowing, sidewalk shoveling, and ice melt on the sidewalks, and a per application rate for salting/de-icing of the lot.
    (at the time we signed this contract, the company told me that the contract they had with the apt complex was 100% all inclusive...one flat rate for EVERYTHING). (With the salt shortage that is going on, I never agree to an all inclusive salt price)

    Anyways, my company clears the complex 5-6 times and the owner of the company calls me and says that we are doing a great job, and that everything looks great. So I tell my guys they are doing good, and to keep things up!!
    Then out of know where a month into the contract, the owner calls me and is screaming at me, telling me how I am now shoveling the walkways the right way and that I am plowing everything wrong, and that everything I am doing is incorrect, and that I better get some guys out to the complex to "clean things up".
    Obviously I was caught off guard, but nevertheless I get my crew together, and we head out to the site, just as he asked.
    So once we get out to the site (4 hours from his phone call), I see that he (the other company) as about 6 of his guys out there doing some work, and cleaning up the walkways. This REALLY pissed me off, because if he asked/told me to get the site "cleaned up" then that is what I am going to do...there is no need for him to send his crew out there as well.
    The big complaint of his was that the sidewalks were not cleared 100% from side to side, yet he seemed to forget that when he asked me to bid it out, he told me that all that is needed is a 36" path through the sidewalks, and that there is no need for them to be cleared completely.
    I find it kind of stranger that for a MONTH, we were doing a great job, and there were no complaints, and now all of a sudden we are being "lazy" and not going the job correctly.
    So after a few very heated discussions I tell them that there are 2 options:
    1) we re negotiate the contract to include the walks being cleared 100%
    2) as of Jan 1 we will void the contract and he can find someone else to do it
    (this discussion took place on Dec 23, so I didn't just leave his high and dry, I gave him plenty of time to find someone else)

    He opts for #2, which I am fine with! So then on Dec 30, about 4 hours before another snow storm, he calls me and says "we have found someone else to take care of it, don't worry about it" and also asks me to fax over to him a final invoice so we can get all paid up and part ways with no hard feelings.

    So I fax over to him his final invoice, the next day I get an "invoice" back from him, with what he feels he owes me!! (he cut it in 1/2) I call him immediately, and he say's that the contract was signed on a monthly basis and that he has already paid me for a month, therefore he only owes for the few extra days that I did the work.

    The way I see it, is that FOR EXAMPLE if we signed an agreement from Nov 25- April 1 for $10,000 then the only way to figure out what is owed to me is to figure out the number of days there are between Nov 25-April 1 (which is 127) and then figure out the number of days I worked (Nov 25-Dec 30) (35 days).
    Then take 127 divided by $10,000 and that will give you your daily rate ($78.74) and then multiply that by the days I worked
    35 x 78.74 = 2755.90.

    This is the only thing that seems fair to me, yet he is now claiming that I have funny math and that I am being absurd! He also told me that he is VERY up-side-down in his contract with the apt complex, because he decided to do a 100% all inclusive contract, yet the contract he signed with me with flat rate for plowing and shoveling, and per application for salt. Because of this, and the rough winter we are having, he is taking a complete bath on this.
    But I tell him, that it is not my problem if he is losing money on his contract and he says "if we weren't losing our A** on this, I might be able to entertain your funny math, but since we are losing so much, I am not going to listen to your calculation"

    His math is basically...You worked for 1 month, therefore I will pay you for 1/5 of the contact...which is $2000
    Sure his math seems simple enough, but as you can see, there is a different of approx. $750.00.

    Sorry, I am REALLY ticked off about this, it kind of sucks cuz he is the one that owes me the money therefore he holds the power, unless I take him to small claims!

    Ok, sorry again this is so long, I just needed to vent!
  2. cretebaby

    cretebaby PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 4,162

    Your math sounds good to me
  3. Alpha Property

    Alpha Property Senior Member
    Messages: 668

    your math seams like the fairest way to me also
  4. Dstosh

    Dstosh Senior Member
    Messages: 534

    I think you guys both have a point. Why dont you just have him pay you the extra 300-400 for the 5 days and then you are somewhere in the middle. That way it doenst hurt both of you quite so much. You might want to get some money from him before this turns ugly and you don't get anything.
  5. kootoomootoo

    kootoomootoo Senior Member
    Messages: 144

    You said he cut your invoice in half.

    Not exactly the truth...
  6. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    I see Nov 25th to Dec.25th plus 5 days is what he owes you.That's the way I see it.
  7. DuramaxPowered

    DuramaxPowered Member
    Messages: 86

    I think i would just see if he would split the $750 with you and call it close enough. Might be easier to get your money that way and alot faster.
  8. russ130

    russ130 Senior Member
    Messages: 204

    Go to small claims court and get what is yours.

    Oh yeah and the judge will use the exact same method you used to determine what amounts are owed. Judges don't round numbers too often.
  9. fulltiltwill

    fulltiltwill Senior Member
    Messages: 204

    Per Day

    In the mortgage world, things are broken down to the number of days. This is very common.
  10. 6feetdeep

    6feetdeep Senior Member
    Messages: 141

    Another vote for number of days. Hmmm, last time I checked, my credit card co. didn't 'round' to the nearest month, everything is calculated to the DAY.
  11. MSS Mow

    MSS Mow Senior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 983

    lol. Simple enough? Yeah, IF you only worked a month. However, you provided your service for a month plus 5 days. Get what you deserve. Don't let him bully you around. Don't settle for anything less than what he owes you.

    Perhaps, since he's in the "rounding" mood, you could round your invoice UP to $3000.
  12. JeepTJ

    JeepTJ Senior Member
    Messages: 225

    Since I have a Masters in Mathematics Education, maybe I can help with HIS math: Yes, your contract is for 127 days. Since there are approximately 30 days per month and if you divide 127 by 30, you would have worked for 4.23 months (about 4 1/4). HE should be dividing the $10,000 by 4.23 (or 1/4.23 of the contract and not the 1/5 stated) to get your monthly basis of about $2,364. He owes you at least this amount. As for the 5 extra days (5 times $78.74 = $393.70), I feel he owes it to you. Getting it from him may be a battle. I think YOUR math is correct!!

    Last edited: Jan 4, 2009
  13. russ130

    russ130 Senior Member
    Messages: 204

    JeepTJ while you may have a masters in mathematics education the equation you provide still uses a rounding technique. "Since there are approximately 30 days per month and if you divide 127 by 30" Though in this case there are exactly 30 days in the month mentioned 'Nov' you are still doing three seperate equations when you only need one. You are solving for 30 and then you are solving for 5 and then you have to add the two, why not just solve for 35? How good would your method work if say it were Dec 5 - Jan 9?
  14. unit28

    unit28 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,634

    Only way to go is court to stop him from xcrewing another one.
    how could you loose a signed agreement?
    obviously he had no right to send out his guys unless you refused.

    You'll get exactly the fair amount you asked of him plus court cost.
  15. Cassy

    Cassy Senior Member
    Messages: 180

    your math seems right.

    the problem i see in his month is that he's figuring 5 months, and it not, its acutally 4 months + some number of days. Your 127 days is more accurate. If you worked 35 days out of 127, that's 27%, and 27% of 10,000 is $2700.

    I'd go to court with numbers like that.
  16. elite1msmith

    elite1msmith 2000 Club Member
    from chicago
    Messages: 2,762

    lol... id agree with yoru math , and it seems correct

    id tell him look , im not gonna argue, about it... either pay the bill in full, or we will be seeing you in small claims court

    and if i do , not only will you pay my lawyers fees... but im gonna say that our agreement was be the calendarmonth ... so he owes you for nov and dec -- so 4,000

    really we all know thats not true,,... but threaten him alittle and make sure he knows things can get alot worst

    and i dont know about you, but im about done dealing with ppl , that dont want a 100% job... just like my apartment complexe not wanting hauling and relocation...so it makes my jobeven harder

    i would rearly agree to only clear a 48 inch sidewalk 36 wide. i have specs that a 48 will be cleared to with in 4 inches.... so 44

    36 really makes you look like a losy contractor even if , thats what you were told.... (im finding it out the hard way)
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2009
  17. Allor Outdoor

    Allor Outdoor Senior Member
    Messages: 438

    The reason I said that he cut 1/2 of my invoice is because of the way he figured his math out, and also he is trying to back charge me for time time and material of his laborers when he decided to send his own guys to the site.

    This is obviously just another battle that I am having with this guy! I don't think it is ethical of this guy to send out his own crew to do work that he asked me to do, and then back charge me on it!!
    It would be a different story if I refused to do the additional work, but when I told him that I would get my crew together and take care of it, and then he decides to send his crew out there as well...it just isn't right!

    So all in all...he is "averaging" the number of days that are worked, and then is back charging me for the labor hours of his crew. Which is the WRONG way to do things...how can he justify back charging me to do work that he asked me to do, and that WE DID!

    So when I said that he cut my invoice in 1/2...He did, by "averaging" days and also back charging me for his crew labor.
  18. JD Dave

    JD Dave PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,194

    So you go to court and he'll say you did a bad job and you'll say you did a good job. He'll say he had to send 6 guys over to clean up your mess. Right or wrong I can't see you getting anything more, IMO when someone told me to clean a 48" sidewalk only 36", I would have walked right then. Was this 36" in writing? If not you have 0 chance in court. Not trying to upset you, just stating facts.
  19. procut1

    procut1 Senior Member
    Messages: 380

    You said it took four hours to get your crew there from the time he called.

    How it would work in my case with a sub.

    6 guys at 4 hours (it was probably more than four hours if they stayed after you got there)

    6 at 4 hours is billed at 300 per hour

    So I would back charge the sub at least $1200. Plus any other expenses.

    Im not saying you were right or wrong....But 4 hours to get to site after the call is crazy.

    I have been both a primary and a sub many times and every contract I have ever seen calls for a MAXIMUM of one hour to arrive at the site after being called.

    Some are 30 minutes.

    Im just saying to be careful. He may have a good case in front of a judge regardless of what the contract says.

    I had almost the exact same situation.

    I was the primary contractor and got sued by a sub after he did not perform. i sent my own crew to finish the job.

    He sued my company for the unpaid invoice. I countersued for my expenses and labor.

    Instead of taking my offer from the beginning and "calling it even" he ended up paying me $2400 plus another $2200 for my attorney.

    He was trying to collect $1800 from me.

    So his attempt to collect $1800 from me cost him $4600.

    I know from, his threats and letters to me he figured he had a great case, quoting paragraphs in my contract, and such.

    All I did was show the judge pictures of the property, my call log showing he didnt arrive in a reasonable time, and 3 statements from the condo complex stating the job was not satisfactory.

    Not saying any of this is the case in your situation....But just make sure you have your ducks in a row before you go to court.
  20. big acres

    big acres Senior Member
    Messages: 653

    It'll probably come down to number of days in court, which is the only sure way to break it down pro-rata, but realistically you cannot forgot that your time of service covered what is likely the snowiest month of the season... therefore you probably worked more than the "per day" method.
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2009