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Getting to a site after someone else already has been there

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Sno4U, Oct 31, 2008.

  1. Sno4U

    Sno4U Senior Member
    Messages: 480

    I know this has happened to few others on this site and knowing there will be alot more people chasing around w/ plows and nothing better to do this year I had a question.
    What happens if you get a call that someone wants to be plowed and you get there as soon as you can (after you've served your contracted customers) and you find out some else has already been there?
    Do U try to get a "visit fee" out of the person?
    Do U plow the snow back in their driveway?:jester:
    Do U make the (possible client) aware that there may be a service fee if some else gets hired? (this sounds like giving a bad vibe to the client b/f you've even done the work for them)
    How do U avoid the situation?
  2. hydro_37

    hydro_37 PlowSite Veteran
    from iowa
    Messages: 3,790

    It has happened to me too. I usually just call the customer and tell them it was plowed but if they need me in the future to call earlier. The price will be higher too.
  3. Mick

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

    This is what might have happened - Owner contacts several plow guys and pays the first one to show up. There are other scenarios, such as a neighbor plows as a favor not knowing you've been called.

    Contact the person who called. I'd say they owe whatever the charge would have been - you could have been on a paying job. No matter the reason, they still tied up your equipment and it cost fuel to get there. If it was an inadvertent, you MIGHT want to cut some slack, but they could have called to cancel in the situation like the neighbor plowing.
  4. mulcahy mowing

    mulcahy mowing Senior Member
    Messages: 718

    if its not on a contract i don't see how you can charge them without doing a service. you'll lose that one in small claims court. if it is under contract then sure charge them and when they argue about it point it out to them....
  5. LoneCowboy

    LoneCowboy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,760

    I'd bill 'em
    and go after them for payment

    You had a verbal contract, that's legally enforceable.

    There's no reason they couldn't call to cancel, esp if you said "i'll be there in approximately 4 hours" and you are there in about 4 hours.

    In my summer biz, you get one free cancelation, after that, it's $100 if you don't call me a few days beforehand (I can't fill the slot in less than a day)

    that's only fair.

    And that is also reason #38 why one timers have to pay A LOT more than regulars.
  6. onsight

    onsight Senior Member
    Messages: 160

    Talk to the customer and find out what happened. Decide from there whether to charge them or not. Also advise them that the other plower might be liable for any damages that could have been done. Don't call asking for my insurance info.:cool:
  7. mercer_me

    mercer_me PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,371

    If you don't charge them any thing the first time they mite hire you full time. But if it happens a second time I would charge them.
  8. bribrius

    bribrius PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,609

    Solve the problem by telling them when they ask you to plow that if you go there and its already plowed then they have to still pay part of the amount you would have charged. That way they understand and expect it and you may actually get some of the money. Or if you take credit cards bill it on the credit card and tell them your taking a deposit for the plowing.

    If you charge them after the fact without forwarning them, when someone else already plowed it, they may just tell you to go fly a kite. Good luck fighting that legal battle over your thirty dollar verbal contract :rolleyes: You can charge anyone anything but actually having them pay it is another matter entirely.
    Trying to make someone pay after the fact without forwarning them isnt good business reguardless, and i have doubts whether a court case would be worth the headache or if you could even win it since its he said/she said and the judge will ask you if you told them that they will be billed whether you did the work or not if it was already done.
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2008
  9. TCLA

    TCLA 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,707

    Your question is how do you avoid this.....that's easy. Don't service him without a contract, or else have him pre pay.

    This seems to be an odd scenario. Only a jerk would call several people and deal with who got there first. Most likely a communication problem. If this turns out to be the case (assuming you got there and it's plowed) bill him.....you had a verbal. If it pans out this way, learn your lesson.....you won't get paid.

    The most likely scenario is someone plowed it by mistake. In that case you still bill him. Not sure why you would be willing to service someone on a stand by basis without a contract or pre payment.
  10. Mick

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

    I agree but it happened all the time when I was driving a taxi.
  11. TCLA

    TCLA 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,707

    Quite a difference between the services...........but yea I can see that happening often for taxi's. It would suck to be run around needlessly like that. :dizzy:
  12. twodan

    twodan Member
    Messages: 41

    happens quite often to appliance repair people here in southern mass. not much they can do about it.
  13. 042500hd

    042500hd Senior Member
    Messages: 251

    If the customer has called several people out to plow, the should have the courtesy to call several people back and tell them its been plowed. Last season I had a woman do this to me I had gotten to her within 20 minutes of the call and her drive had already been plowed. She said after she had spoken to me she flagged down someone driving by. I asked for half of what I would charge $10. She said I was crazy. Her tune quickly changed when the end of her drive began filling with snow. Ignorance begets ignorance. But to avoid this don't service them without a contract.
  14. theplowmeister

    theplowmeister 2000 Club Member
    from MA
    Messages: 2,617

    How far out of your way are you going to service him? the next street over or the next State?

    If you want to know how to avoid it. If you are so upset that this happens.

    AAAA has anybody herd of a cell phone?
    WHEN YOU ARE READY TO GO SERVICE HIM PICK UP THE CELL PHONE AND CALL HIM "Are you plowed out yet?..no .. OK I'm coming over NOW":dizzy:

    If you get there and its plowed you can try to charge him, But he will NEVER call you again, even to sign up as a contract customer and he will bad mouth you to other possible customers.

  15. Mick

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

    I don't see much difference:

    Service provider is called and asked to come to customer's residence.

    Service provider responds and makes trip hoping to get paid for something (plowing or transporting).

    Service provider arrives to find he is no longer needed. He has expended time and resources (fuel).
  16. tjlands

    tjlands Senior Member
    Messages: 579

    Without a contract and a signature there is nothing you can do or charge.
    Couple of years ago one of my sites was plowed before my sub got there, I charged them for it since I was responsible(contracted ) for the site. My sub cleaned up the site salted it and they were charged the full plowing price and the salting price. Which they paid. The unlucky individual that plowed it just assumed he had the contract again.
  17. Sno4U

    Sno4U Senior Member
    Messages: 480

    Well, this is a little more of the scenario:
    Your getting towards the end of your regular customer route and the wife/office calls and says Mrs. So & so called and she would like to be plowed out. Here's her number. You call. Make the the arrangements (telling her a window of time when u can be there) and when you get done you go to the home to find someone else is doing it or has done it.
    The thing is, these are 1 time deals-no written contract-not worth the waste of time.
    I'm trying to HELP out 1 or 2 xtra people and spending my time (and xtra stress to get there as soon as I can) to find out I've wasted my time!
    There has to be a way to proffessionally head off these issues and still present yourself/business in a positive light no matter what happens.
  18. TCLA

    TCLA 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,707

    I agree similarities exist between these and other type of mobile services', but the services' themselves are quite different from each other.
  19. theplowmeister

    theplowmeister 2000 Club Member
    from MA
    Messages: 2,617

    99% cure is Call the customer when you are ready to head over.
    100% cure is Dont do non contract people
  20. TCLA

    TCLA 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,707

    I don't see a way of preventing this unless the customer has the consideration to call back to inform you that she doesn't need you any longer.

    I might call her when I got there and question why it is plowed and listen to the answer. Remind her you did your part by showing up.......at least let her know you came there on her request. Be very polite about it all....she might feel bad enough to make it up to you. Who knows, maybe not. If she has a conscience she will know she put you out.....not much else you can do unless you just go off on her. Don't go that route.