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customer problem

Discussion in 'Business Fundamentals' started by MIDTOWNPC, Mar 31, 2007.


    MIDTOWNPC PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 4,555

    we have one customer who called us late in the season and asked us to price the job. we had about 1 snow fall and he had tried to do his plaza with a tractor that he had and a back blade. he just bought the plaza last year and the tractor was included so he figured he could do it. we give him a price for plowing per hour, salt/sand mix and sidewalks. he agreed and we did it. it snowed alot this season and we submitted our bills, however i must say the first one was not right away. we have no signed contract with this guy, we gave a contract to his wife and we never got it back the next day is snowed like crazy he called us and told us to just to it for the season. we never followed up on the contract. now the final bill is out and he owes us about $4500 and is saying, that his budget when he bought the building states he only paid out $1500 last year. that we used too much sand. I have said ok I will review everything all my numbers and triple check everything but i didnt think I was out of line. I went and got the survey of his place, used an online calculator and figured out the times and sand amounts and I am bang on. sure his lot has some sand on it still left over, but most of the other lots we usually sweep at the end of the season anyways. if anything to solve this problem i would take a few hundred off but i am wondering what to do when i meet him on monday to talk about it. remember i have no written contract but do have a verbal and all my notes times everything. I would even consider something knowing that i can have the contract next year. its just frustrating cause i broke my own rules not getting a paper signed and now im owed money. all my other places are fine and the cheques are rolling in. the guy that owes never complained once about everything and said the ambulance place that rents from him said we were doing a great job. what do i do.....
  2. payton

    payton Senior Member
    Messages: 470

    stand by your price. if your dead on with your pricing why budge cause someones not happy. honestly you screwed up not gettin the contract signed first. i also did this my self this year. to the tune of 6k. and it took me a while to get paid. but i did finally get paid. there are still some on this very board who have not been paid by this person. but the bottom line is stick to your guns.did he call you bussiness or your cell? phone records would be helpfull if you have to go to court.

  3. YardMedic

    YardMedic PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,266

    Yeah, your situation stinks for sure, but since you've honored your end of things & priced it all out flawlessly, you owe them nothing in reductions. You bailed him out at the agreed price. If he's complaining now about the price, you're sorry that it snowed so much but that's what the agreement was. Too much sand?? Are you serious? I haven't done that aspect of the job, but you have to be kidding that someone complains about TOO much product instead of not enough! You're not new to the biz, and you got this job by knowing what you're doing. You're not telling him how to run his business, so maybe he can let you run yours without HIM getting in the way?!? The contract thing is sticky, but verbal is verbal, and it's binding in my book regardless of legality. IF you should decide to keep them next year, I know you'll get it in writing. Hope you get the $$$ soon! Good luck

  4. Mick

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

    I would not back down either. If you start, where does it end? Unless you made an error in calculations, etc - he agreed with your pricing in the beginning. If he indicates that you won't get his business next year unless you knock some off, consider that a good thing. Again, once it starts, it'll never end. As far as the sand issue, he is not the judge of what is too much or too little. You used your best judgement and used what you felt was appropriate. If he does not agree, then it would be better if he took his business to someone who will let him be the boss. On asphalt or concrete, there SHOULD be sand to clean up in the Spring - one sure sign that not enough was used is not having anything to clean up in the Spring.

    You're the professional. It's your neck on the line here for liability. If he doesn't agree with that, then it's better that you both moved on.

    MIDTOWNPC PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 4,555


    Its reassuring that I am not alone on this one. I feel the same way stick to the guns go for all the money, if I dont get the business next year I don't think many will take it cause we are pretty well known in town. I own a computer store, a coffee shop and a 6unit stip plaza. I plow commercially with my dad and we buy and renovate powerof sale houses and flip them. I will let you guys know how it goes. Think we are meeting with him tomorrow.

    MIDTOWNPC PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 4,555


    after many talks with this guy we say that we will look over the billing one more time and prepare a contract for next year for him to review. we have stated many times however that we are acurate on the timing and billing. we also said we would print out a chart with the snow fall dates and amounts. in the mean time we get a cheque for what he has always offered to settle. $3000 out of the $4500+ that he owes us. I plan on cashing the cheque and sending him an updated statement showing the $3000 applied to his account and the balance due. I am basically out $1500 now but my concern is that it looks like this customer will not be on our list for next year. should I offer to eat the $1500 or part of it if I have a contract for next year in writing with my exact rates. ideas?
  7. YardMedic

    YardMedic PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,266

    Wow.... I know I'm small business around here, but $1500 is a lot of dough. $25 or $50 wiped from an account, or even $100 for a commercial because of opinion differences maybe, but $1500?? You certainly would be the better person by handling it as you wrote -- $3000 credit & balance due, but what are you showing the customer with that? He can cry poverty after the fact & wipe 1/3 off his plow bill? I don't know what you have for equipment or hourly charges, but for me that loss equals a 10-hour day of solid work for my truck & me. If it's likely you're gonna lose them next year anyway, your $1500 loss right now doesn't even serve as a long-term investment in a business relationship with them. Is he just out of money for the winter, or is he a ***** because he's trying to micromanage your work? Money trouble can be handled with payment arrangements -- I've done that with much smaller amounts for people, spreading out large invoices over a few months. I don't make a habit of it, but being reasonable & working with people I can make that accommodation. I still say, though, that if he's complaining about something AFTER it's been agreed upon, he's wrong. Either way you slice it, he owes you the money and it's just a case of how you want to pursue it.

    MIDTOWNPC PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 4,555


    I will apply the money to the invoices and hand him the list of the unpaids. I will even offer that I am open for some payment arrangements. If he says he wont pay, then I will have to call my laywer. Good point I do have good equipment. S300 bobcat with 800hrs, Western Tornado Sander (new) Dodge 2500 CTD (99, 01 03) 01 has a western, 99 needs a plow and the 03 I use for sidewalks. Thanks YardMedic.
  9. streetsurfin'

    streetsurfin' Senior Member
    Messages: 770

    I would maybe go as far as writing on the check when you cash it also, "balance due $1500". So he cant say that it was supposed to be "Paid in Full" / not sure if that would carry any weight or not.
  10. Italiano67

    Italiano67 Senior Member
    Messages: 645

    That 1500.00 was the profit from that job. If you dont get it you did the job for free. And your equipment depreciated for nothing. Don't settle.
  11. Donny O.

    Donny O. Senior Member
    Messages: 410

    so did he ever pay up???
  12. GL&M

    GL&M Senior Member
    from PA
    Messages: 223

    If he didn't pay up for the balance and you "Really" want the account, factor in the 1500.00 into the new contract for the upcoming year. If he doesn't sign the contract let him go elsewhere. Its not worth the headache. Hopefully you get what you are owed.
  13. Ole Tower

    Ole Tower Senior Member
    from MAINE
    Messages: 210

    Gee I read the Problem & the Replies & it was Back in Febuary--w/ No update on the final Outcome?? I*D solve this ONE!--By Stopping By after Every STORM & Handing HIM My BILL & COLLECTING right There & THEN I really Got a Kick out His Comment??--Too Much SAND!--especially Due to the Ambalance Service that Has to Use the Area! Too Much Sand? for Them??--Sorry as I had to LAUGH!-- I Dono? but I assume? Hes a Nit Picker? wants? the BEST JOB at HIS?? PRICE!--Order a 100 of His PIZZAS & Hand Him Money enough for say 30?--I*LL Bet He wouldn*t like that?--You in the Plowing Business & Hes Selling PIZZAS--DON*T Back Down!-Give HIM Your BILL--[the $4500] & also the phone number of Your ATTORNEY!! --OleTower--END of Customer PROBLEM!!
  14. bigearl

    bigearl Senior Member
    Messages: 393

    I had a similar problem this spring with a nation franchise they wanted to nickel and dime me So I said to the General Manager " I still pay $8.00 for a sundae you do not see me coming in here telling you what I'm going to pay for a Ice Cream." And as far as too much sand? Bill him for salt next time.

    MIDTOWNPC PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 4,555

    Never Paid

    Never paid. We sent him final bills many times. Doesnt return calls. Ill send a letter next week with a slight settlement and a price for the next year with a upfront retainer fee and a contract. I hate to use a lawyer but if I dont have a solution after this letter I will. I did a little leg work and found out this guy bought the property and numbers he got on operating the property were totally out of line. Still no reason to not pay me for my work however. Ill update, sorry been workin on a house and plaza reno.
  16. Donny O.

    Donny O. Senior Member
    Messages: 410

    mind if i share a similar story? by me there is a bar and reasturant next door. well the owners of the 2 places don't get along due to some BS that happened. anyway one winter the bar gets plowed but he never paid(along with most of his bills....remember the BS i mentioned earlier). the guy finaly gave up trying to get money out of the guy.....so the next winter comes and he goes to plow the reasturant and piled it all up in front of the front door to the bar....they have joined parking lots. pay back is a...you know what!!!

    BTW the owner of the reasturant said to the bar owner 'I don't know who did it cuz it was plowed when I got here this morning and I didn't hire anyone to plow'.....LOL she knew all along though.