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fixing damage from plowing?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Mary of Snow, Apr 12, 2007.

  1. Mary of Snow

    Mary of Snow Junior Member
    from MA
    Messages: 4

    I was wondering how do you guys deal with plowing damages with your customers? We usually take care of it when snow melts completely and we do some reseeding if there any lawn damage.
    We got a customer that called us in the middle of the winter season to get our services because he was unhappy with the previous plowing service. We could not inspect the property before start plowing since there was snow already. He called in few weeks a go to let us know that his fence was damaged and a couple of bushes and he wanted us to replace them. ??????? He owe us only 100 bucks!!! and we know that there was not such a damage ! how would you handle this situation? I’d love to hear your advice. (He will withhold payment from February until damages are fixed.)
  2. troy28282

    troy28282 Senior Member
    Messages: 178

    Personally, If we take over a property mid-season from another contractor, we don't accept responsibility for any damage that could be pre-existing. I'll fix what ever is damaged but expect to be paid for it. If it is one our customers, we explain how damage will be handled in the contracts. Visit the site and talk to the customer and work things out.
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2007
  3. YardMedic

    YardMedic PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,266

    What you said prior to this was aggravating enough, but this here is more than I would tolerate. Maybe your contracts don't read that damage will be fixed at the conclusion of winter, and that you cannot be responsible for things not seen prior to your first plow (as in your situation with taking him mid-season).

    I am not in favor of dumping customers immediately, but this one could be a candidate for doing just that. If you're in this for the long haul with him, fix the items you're responsible for and maybe a little more, but don't take the blame for anything you didn't do. If you have multiple drivers doing your plow route, ask the one(s) that were at THIS customer's house about damage to see exactly what was broken or dug up. Perhaps even say outright to this guy, you're in business to keep people safe & happy, but that you're not going to be taken advantage of for someone else's damage. You want him as a customer, but there has to be a good working relationship. Be sure to get situations like this spelled out in the contracts for next year, and pad your bid for this guy (you know he can be troublesome, so make it worth your while).

    Good luck!

  4. murray83

    murray83 Senior Member
    Messages: 420

    This is probably the major reason many take photos of possible visible damage of each lot with a camera for references so threats from customers like this can be eliminated.

    Hope it works out for you.
  5. GL&M

    GL&M Senior Member
    from PA
    Messages: 223

    I fix the damage that I cause, which is usually minimal. Some topsoil and seed and I'm good to go. I do have a commercial lawn account that someone else plows. The damage they cause I fix before mowing season, but the company pays me to do it. I don't know why they don't make the plow guy fix it. I get a few hundred to repair it every year.
  6. Mary of Snow

    Mary of Snow Junior Member
    from MA
    Messages: 4

    thanks everybody! I'm the one who deals with customers my husband and his guys don't need to worry about these things!
    (I should talk to this client right away... ) Thanking you again, Mary
  7. Sno4U

    Sno4U Senior Member
    Messages: 480

    Simply point out to him that you did take on the property mid way thru the season and cannot NOT be held responsible for any pre existing damages. Also we stake our properties and when we take on new accts. we make it a point to tell the customer that we did not have adequate time to look at the property and place stakes prior to the season. Therefore we cannot be held responsible for minor damges.
  8. Mary of Snow

    Mary of Snow Junior Member
    from MA
    Messages: 4

    yea... that sounds reasonable u're right. We mark our properties and with this guy we could not even mark it, (I feel bad with my self cause we do his neighbors and we were kind of booked out when first time called I said ok we will do your driway and now ...the results!) i shoud think twice next time.This is the type of customer who does not want to pay for plowing service and call when a big storm is coming (it's not worthy .. he owe us 100 and what he want me to pay it would be around 3 0r 400 hundred...)
  9. Jay brown

    Jay brown PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,783

    sounds like this is not your fault, but with my experience some residential customers expect too much!!! 95% of our business is commercial and here are a few examples from this past season why i will have less residential next season...customer 1.. the ground had thawed and our plow took off her chip and seal driveway and left it in a pile at the end, she was pissed, but it's not our fault, the way i see it is a substandard drive IMO and should only be plowed with a shovel or snow blower customer 2 was mad because we had some tire tracks in her yard during a wet snow, IMO she should expect this because she has a tight semicircle drive and we were using a extended cab pickup.....customer 3 was mad because his driveway approach is asphalt and after the thaw, the asphalt was like loose mud and our truck plowed about 200 lbs of asphalt up on his concrete drive,IMO this is his fault because his drive approach couldn't support a snow plow, i should be mad at him for being hard on our snow plow. anyway i guess what i am saying is that residential customers are a PITA and we should be after them for their drive tearing up our plow and not them mad at us because we were hard on their lawn/drive... afterall it was winter that was hard on thier lawn/drive not the snow plow.
  10. Ole Tower

    Ole Tower Senior Member
    from MAINE
    Messages: 210

    Fixing damage from Plowing??

    Mary from your Article as He called in Md Snow season --was NOT satisfied w/ previous Plower?-I*D say it was the other way around!--previous Plower got Sick of his Complaints--I*D Dump HIM & take My Licks!--as I don*t Think? He would be HAPPY? NO! matter what You Do?--as Hes complaining!! My Bush? & My lawns Edge? Paint My House? & Mow my Lawn for FREE? --I*D say BYE BYE! & Bite the Bullet on the $100 He Owes You!--as WE both Know! Hes never going to be SATISFIED!--OleTower--
  11. streetsurfin'

    streetsurfin' Senior Member
    Messages: 770

    Could you find out who it was and get in contact with the previous contractor? Maybe ask if he ever had any trouble collecting from the customer. He might volunteer information that will help. Possibly the man already accused him of the damage.
  12. Sno4U

    Sno4U Senior Member
    Messages: 480

    Another thing i mite suggest is to talk to the neighbor who U take care of and, #1 see if he's talking bad about you and clue him into the facts if need be, and #2 maybe that neighbor knows who he had plowing for him and mite even know some additional info. Alot of this depends upon how good your repore is w/ "the neighbor".