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I Got Ripped Off

Discussion in 'Business Fundamentals' started by andrewlawnrangr, Feb 2, 2005.

  1. andrewlawnrangr

    andrewlawnrangr Senior Member
    Messages: 339

    this is my first year plowing and after we had 15+ inches of snow a young adult calls my house asking if they can get plowed bec the parents are away on vacation. i get the message from my mom head over there at 4:45am.i plow the drive out and push the snow out of the drive across the street(which i know is illegal) and in the drive bec it is a drive that it a decient size and the garage is off to the side.. long story short the lady calls bitching about where i put the snow and that shes not goin to pay bec it prolly killed all of the shrubs where i piled the snow. she told me that i should have thought about drainage when i was plowing bec she doesnt want the water in her basement. i said i didnt know that there was a bed there and this is the way i plow. also she said that i shold have walked the property before.... ok understandable.she is not paying bec i piled the snow on her bushes. when i shoveled ( had a buddy working for me that night) he threw the snow towards the house.. and then covered up some nnore bushes. she kep complaining about her DAM bushes.........

    im just pissed ..had to vent
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2005
  2. Hawkc01

    Hawkc01 Member
    Messages: 49

    More reason not to be doing residential.

    You can go at it a couple of ways. If don't need this account...forget about it...YOU screwed up, learn from it and move on. If you DO need the account, set up a time to go over there and tell her that what happened is not normal for how you operate your business. Tell her you are not going to charge her for the previous service, and if she agrees, that you will plow her driveway the next time, EXACTLY the way she wants it, for free as well. If she asks why, tell her because you are so confident that she will be 100% satisfied with the service that you are willing to do that for her. Tell her that you want to EARN their business. If she excepts, get what exactly she wants in writing and have her sign it. Good Luck.
  3. PLM-1

    PLM-1 Senior Member
    Messages: 424

    I'd say "screw you. You should have told me where to put the snow. It's your fault!" Sounds like she was being vague in the first place by having her son call and not give any specifics. She just wanted a free plow!
  4. andrewlawnrangr

    andrewlawnrangr Senior Member
    Messages: 339

    thanks guys. i dont need this acount at all ... bec i dont need the agravation. i have been working on finding commerical accounts but i havent been lucky with getting any. well thanks again
    btw the son is like 24 out of college with a good job. i think he could have paid me too when i went to the house whith the invoice.
    she also said i cant beleive that u havent had anyother peolpe complaining... thats when i wanted to jump through the phone and punch the bitach

    good luck to all
  5. landcare pa

    landcare pa Member
    Messages: 98

    remember the customer is always right even when there wrong, i would try and be more professional and try and talk to her, remember the ass you kick today maybe the ass you kiss tommorrow :nono:
  6. Mick

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

    I take it you've never paid for bushes and to have them planted. Then replaced when they died. I have more money in bushes in the front of my house in the past two years than I'd pay for a season's worth of plowing.

    Standard practise is to not plow against a building or throw snow against a building. Also, to consider spring melting/drainage when planning the plowing.
  7. cja1987

    cja1987 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,407

    The way I understand it, you did not know the property, this was just a "random" call during a storm from someone you have never plowed for before? When iam in that situation either a flag down or just a new person or a "one timer" (plow the drive once during a big strom for an aquaintance for example) whose drive I don't know, I inform them that I may damage something thats buried in snow if iam not told its there. I make sure my butt is covered, i even have a waiver that i have some flag downs sign if i think it could be a problem. Most of the time I trust myself and just "wave the waiver" just me though, iam not suggesting it. If i screw something up and the customer does not want to pay because of it, fine, as long as its reasonable and i can "see" or understand that what i did was actually "wrong".

    To echo what Mick said, I, to the best of my ability, try keep snow away from buildings in all situations. I would not stack on shrubs and other vegetation, just find a clear area. Same goes for shoveling, sometimes there is alot of snow and its unavoidable, but generally keep the snow piles away from the house. Its an easy mistake to make, we all learn the hard way, I know I did.
  8. cet

    cet PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,257

    Something people might not be aware of. If you push snow against bricks and the snow melts and water seeps into the mortar joints and then refreezes you will blow the bricks apart. That is an expensive fix!
  9. DJL

    DJL Senior Member
    Messages: 343

    Going off of your post it sounds to me you need to be a little more professional in responses. After all, the lady does make some good points and has some legit complaints. To just say "this is the way I plow" IMO you are not going to get many referrals that way.

    Maybe you are not aware but some flower/plant beds can have anywhere from a 100 to 1000 bucks worth of plants. I'd be pretty upset also if someone ruined them. However, in your defense if it was that important she should have mentioned this to you BEFORE you started. Hey, look at it as a learning experience.
  10. johntwist

    johntwist Senior Member
    Messages: 415

    Another great example of why a few minutes of communication up front is so important.

    We all hate going into a job "blind", which is what I call it when you're seeing the job for the first time completely covered in snow. That in itself is bad enough, but not finding out anything by speaking to the property owner before plowing is worse . This is something I actually learned by reading posts here before I started plowing and I am so glad I did, it's saved me alot of potential problems.

    I always take a few minutes to speak with the customer about the layout. Are there any obstacles I need to know about? Flower beds, sprinkler heads, outside lights, tree stumps, well pipes, railroad ties, old car frames, ditches, leeching fields, rock walls, whatever. I always try to run down the list, that seems to jog people's memories. If you just ask generally, they always say "no" but when you start naming obstacles, all of a sudden they'll say, "Oh, yeah, there is a little stump over there" or whatever. Then I get us both on the same page about where the snow will be piled and only then will I begin the work. So far, I've had good luck doing it this way.
  11. Mower For Less

    Mower For Less Senior Member
    Messages: 108

    How did the snow get stacked in the beds when you pushed it across the street? Guess I'm confused by that one. Although pushing across the street is technically illegal here, everybody that does residential drives does it becuase there is really no other place to put it. Havent had a problem yet with any neighbor complaints, and 95% of my route is residential. I find the homeowner usually likes it that way too becuase the street in front of his house gets a bonus cleaning too. I make sure to clean up anything I put in the street.

  12. 1BadHawk

    1BadHawk Member
    Messages: 68

    Tell her not to wory about the bushes. Give her your card and tell her you do lawncare also and will give her a deal on some replacement shrubs in the Spring. :gunsfiring:

    Job security
  13. justme-

    justme- 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,138

    Well, it sounds like you were plowing blind, wether you knew you had them as a customer or not- that was mistake #1 NEVER plow blind. I always check my customers every season before the snow flies to make sure they havn;t changed the yard layout, added sprinklers, shrubs, etc. They always forget to tell you.

    Mistake #2 was your plowing method- it's been covered enough, experiance will make it automatic figuring out where to put the snow and always inform the customer BEFORE the first storm where you will be putting it and the possible consiquences. I have customers the may get water in the basement from the snow come spring but they were told about it before the snow and told of any alturnatives I may have had. Either there was no choice and it was thier decision to either use me and get that thance or find someone else.

    Mistake #3 appears you have nothing in writing for your customers- write up something detailing your liabilities and liability exclusions, I also have my payment terms in it and I require all customers to read, sign and return it to me ( I will give them a copy for themselve if they want)- no signed form no plowing. It's my liability release.

    Common simple mistakes. Oh, and offering a discounted rate on bushes in the spring won;t win her back- it'll only make her irritated. Phsycology. He killed them and now he'll sell me replacements.... he should be replacing them at his expense... how dare he....
  14. andrewlawnrangr

    andrewlawnrangr Senior Member
    Messages: 339

    thanks guys i guess i will learn from my mistakes and also ihave learned alot from this site. thanks alot to all


    go eagles!!!!!!