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dont salt anymore!

Discussion in 'Business Fundamentals' started by Burkartsplow, Jan 22, 2009.

  1. Burkartsplow

    Burkartsplow PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,246

    I invoice in the middle of the month and and client that pays $800 a month for snow plowing plus an extra $70 per application for salting called and told me not to salt anymore. this my second year doing this property and they get great service. the lot is a bit$! to navigate and last year they got a great deal. I wqs going to raise the price per month to include salt but I decide I would keep the same per month and add on the salt charge per application. they all looked over the contract and agreed. I only had to bill them once last month for salt and they did not say a thing. 10 this month and there all in a tizzy. I go to this place the most in a strom since they are on the lake and there is drifting and they have a few ramps that need to be kept up so cars don't crash. I am always there within an hour if they need a cleanup and I go back even a couple of days after the storm and clean up spots that I could not get 2 days earlier. thay are even one of my references I put down and give me high marks to other clients. what should I do. I was depending on the extra money from salting and it is stated clearly in the contract that there maintenance guy look at and there manager. should I raise my per month price and make it include salt so they have no surprises or should I stick to my guns and tell them they signed the contract and knew what they were getting with my service. thanks guys
  2. JDiepstra

    JDiepstra PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,780

    Maybe they can not afford the salt any longer. You may salt, but they may not pay! Try telling them that without salting, you will have to do more work than expected plowing, so you will have to raise the plowing price. Not to mention the added liability of the packed down snow, getting slippery, turning to ice. If they want to change the contract, so can you. Although, they always have that option of not paying. Costs you a lot of time to collect!
  3. Burkartsplow

    Burkartsplow PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,246

    the thing is I already purchased the salt for this account and I will have surplus and that is not what I want to have come the end of the season. I don't want to pay to store it through the summer and I plan on running bulk for sure next year and I don't need bagged past this year. I called them back and left a message and waiting for a return call. I salt the ramps I the middle of the night and they don't have somewhere to do it, because they have called me at 3 am to stop by and salt when a resident calls and tells them it needs it. it is apt building and I know they have the money. the apts are not that big and they pay over 2000 a month for rent. the thing was last year that salt was included and they took advantage of the unlimited salt last year and I did not make as much money as I should have for all the work I did there last year. I needed the account last year and it was my first year pricing by myself and the manager seem to take advantage of me. they had the contract for 3 weeks before they signed it and the board looked at it also and had a budget to fullfil the contract.
  4. iceyman

    iceyman 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,925

    make sure your not gonna be liable if someone slips and busts there ass because they didnt want to pay you to salt.... and i would keep it seperate... like you said you can go once in a month or ten times a month....
  5. augerandblade

    augerandblade PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,054

    Yup you need them to sign a document releasing you from liability. That may help you to change their minds. Sounds like they can payussmileyflagtymusic:gunsfiring:
  6. Kunker

    Kunker Member
    Messages: 96

    It's their option to cancel any salt applications, depending on how the contract is written. I would tell them that the contract that includes salt is null and void and have them sign a new one, though, that way if someone does slip and fall, you've covered your own ass (you told them they need salt, they refuse and take the liability).
  7. coldcoffee

    coldcoffee Senior Member
    Messages: 776

    Honestly, I would stick to my guns and just reiterate to them the deal that they signed. I'm all too familiar with these scenarios, and I know usury when I see it. Truth is, they could care less about you because your just a pawn to them. Sure they probably gave you a couple of thumbs up when you used them as a reference...but so what? Think about everything that you have done or given them...think they really noticed? "Life law"...nobody and I mean NOBODY does anything for anyone without first asking themselves "What's in it for me?" You included salt the first year and I'm sure they made you feel real good about the job you were doing and for that you probably tried even harder and probably gave a little more than you should have...right?
    The problem now is the owner is going to see the numbers and go back on them and say WTF. Now the chief engineer or management has to crawl into his office w/ their tail between their legs and suck his @ss...which now means they come back on you (to save their own @ss), and will do and say anything to put the numbers back in check w/ where they were last year and the years before when they were manipulating someone else...before they left and you got the deal.
    Chances are at this point, your done with them anyhow, unless you go back to your original deal where they could work you over and get something for nothing. IMP, these types of deals take their course and seldom get any better. They will even try to promise the world to you, as long as you do____? Next year, they will start over and do it to someone else...because they know they can.
    Get your money, hold them to the deal and make them respect it and you! Plan on replacing them next year for a better account, shouldn't be too hard to do. These kind of manipulators prey on young contractors and know that they are a dime a dozen. It worked for you up till now, but sometimes you have to know when to cut THEM loose. I'd still give them a bid for next year, just plan on not getting it back. Good luck!!
  8. augerandblade

    augerandblade PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,054

    Ya you got it right Cold Coffee seems to be par for the course with some clients,
  9. carl b

    carl b PlowSite.com Addict
    from Ohio
    Messages: 1,330

    Hello my names cold coffee what can you do for me . LOL

    his on it . If your truck was down would they care or would they hire some one else ?
  10. Burkartsplow

    Burkartsplow PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,246

    I have talked to a few other contractors today and I am going to stay the course. This same place promised me the lawn maintenance last summer if i cut them a deal on the snow plowing and salting last year. and guess what I did not get it. So why should I bend over backwards now for a client and the chief engineer who promised me more work and ended up giving it to the old company that did snow plowing before me. The odl company was on the east side of cleveland and never showed up until real late. that is why they hired me. I have given them impeckable service and i am local. Coldcoffe is right that they are trying to cover there asses now and I already payed for salt for this property and I plan on making money off it for the rest of the season.they are educated people and can read and understand contracts and terms of contracts. I am going to hold them to the contract and if they are upset then I will hand it over to my lawyer. i will bid it again next year, and maybe i will get it or maybe i wont but that is business. I dont ask them for more money if i break a $500 piece of equipment on there porperty or if I get hit with over 100 inches of snow and they have an unlimited snow plowing contract. They dont complain or B%T$H when thay are saving money or got a great deal. And i dont complain when i have to fix something that broke. I pay for it and move on. Sorry for the rant, I am just getting worked up about it and they still have not called me back from earlier to discuss it more and it has been over 4 hours. maybe they finally realized that they are wrong. i have no problem sending them another copy of the contract for them to read.ussmileyflag
  11. Joe D

    Joe D Senior Member
    Messages: 605

    I think the only thing you can do is get a liability release from them as they don't want you salting the property. It sucks but don't throw out the plowing income for this. You could hire a lwayer and what not but in the end it will cost you money.
    With all the salt shortages I read about you should be able to sell it off if you can't use it on other jobs.
    I hope you didn't lower your price based off them giving you the mowing. Thats the oldest game out there. I get that all the time from customers, take care of me on this and I will give you more work. I tell them to over pay me on this job and I will give them a break on the next one.
  12. Burkartsplow

    Burkartsplow PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,246

    I wont make the money i would on the salt selling it off and I am paying to store it also. So i am losing money if I try and sell it to other contractors in the future. I have a lawyer if it did go to court and I would add his fees into the lawsuit for breach of contract. I dont want to lose the plowing income, but they are grown ups and can read a contract. They did not complain last month when I only had to salt 3 times and charged them. they paid and did not say a thing. So they cant say they did not know what they were signing. I depend on this income and I buy accordingly with my supplies in conjunction with my contract specifications. The contract called for salt and I bought, loaded, unloaded and stored this salt. It is the middle of the season and I am not going to let some company get the best of me. We all work hard doing this and put a lot of money into our equipment and maintenance of vehicles. If they dont want me next year then I will deal with that and find another account, but I have made a commitment to them by signing the contract and I am going to uphold my side. if they dont want to uphold theres I have no problem going to court. I have been sued before and I have excellent documentation of all the work I do and I have all my contracts notarized once they are signed. best $10 I spend.
  13. coldcoffee

    coldcoffee Senior Member
    Messages: 776

    True Dat... It really doesn't matter whether it's snow plowing or any of my other services. While the other party is trying to size me up and qualifying me...I'm qualifying them just the same. I know the value of my time and equipment, and the process of "qualifying" will determine the future of whom I choose to conduct business w/ as they will w/ me. Not everyone is meant to be my client, as they could say the same about me. :nod:

    Burk, I have a tendency to be very direct sometimes, which some could interpret as being abrasive or hard nosed. That isn't my goal (most of the time :D )...just sharing some of what I have learned over the years, in some cases the hard way. I know your an intelligent guy and I'm sure you will be fine as long as you hold your ground. They may end up respecting you for that, but either way they just can't have the idea that they can walk on you when they figure out things didn't go as they planned...it's their problem, not yours. When I was in my early twenty's just starting out, I dealt w/ a lot of that BS. Salt was always something that companies liked to argue about, but one of my favorites was when they would try and jump back and forth between the month and push rate, pending which month was heavier or lighter. After getting kicked in the head enough times, I eventually learned how to structure things better w/ my deals and learned that if someone was going to try to work me over, I'd bite them back like a pit bull. It's not an easy business, but I think I've learned it well enough to let them know, that I know it better than they do and when necessary they will understand that they will be much further ahead if they just honor the agreement that "THEY" signed. In the long run it may save them their jobs and a whole lot of embarrassment and probably some money as well. One way or another "they" will see my point...or feel it. :D
  14. mullis56

    mullis56 Senior Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 824

    **** em they will find someone else next year your best bet get the billings as high as possible and that will be more to collect back stabbers, cheap mofo's!
  15. M&M

    M&M Senior Member
    Messages: 312

    I have adopted the "firm but fair" policy in all aspects of my business. Summer work, winter work, dealing with tennants in my buildings, etc. I have been bitten many times and I think I have it under control now. I speak to everyone politely. I don't get worked up. And it stick to what the contracts state. I will also scratch someones back if they scratch mine. I feel that is building good relationships. I agree with your stance, Burk, stick to it but there is one things that people (myself included) factor into things when it clearly shouldn't be. That is how wealthy we perceive people to be. Just because it looks like they have the cash to pay 1) doesn't mean they really do and 2) doesn't mean they are obligated to pay. The contract says it all. Written or verbal.

    Someone said it in another post...Don't get mad at me because it snowed 10 times last month. I'm just following the contract.
  16. Burkartsplow

    Burkartsplow PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,246

    I work with my customers if they cant pay and set a payment schedule and get paid in the end. I add a finance fee and have it written up by my lawyer and we all sign it. I get my money in the end. If they want to change the contract and group salting in I can do that, I was also thinking if I change the contract for them I will only do it if they sign a 3 year contract extension with yearly inflation rates included for the next 3 years. I make them happy by changing the contract and I get a 3 year guarantee contract. I think it is fair and what do you think a fair inflation rate would be for each year. thanks
  17. M&M

    M&M Senior Member
    Messages: 312

    Well, technically we are in a deflationary period i.e. recession so it's a hard one to sell this year. But typical annual inflation rates for the country are 2-3%. You would have to extrapolate your own cost of doing business increase per year to set your own "inflation rate." Does that help? I do like your idea of selling a long-term contract when they want to change the current one because the only reason they want to change it is to benefit themselves. It's all about the bottom line for 99% of people in this country whether they know it/admit it or not.
  18. JDiepstra

    JDiepstra PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,780

    In Michigan (where I am a notary) the document must be notarized in the presence of the people signing. Do you have a notary come with you or are the laws different in your state? If the laws are the same as in MI and yo are bringing the contract to a notary afterword, it is just wasting $10. Not flaming, just looking for info!
  19. JDiepstra

    JDiepstra PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,780

    Just be careful what terms you use in the 3 year contract... What if gas prices and salt prices triple? OUCH!
  20. Lux Lawn

    Lux Lawn PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,137

    I would just remind them of how important the salt is. Tell them being by the lake the get the drifting, and the ramps need salt. The reason there has been NO problems on the ramps so far is because you throw a little extra there to avoid problems.