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Neighbor clears your customers driveway~what do you do?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by whitewash, Dec 1, 2011.

  1. whitewash

    whitewash Junior Member
    from Mn
    Messages: 12

    I've had this happen before where a neighbor blows out my customers driveway for free before I get there.

    My question is what do you do?

    My thoughts is that my customer still has to pay me for the removal, no different if I had a hired hand do it etc... The neighborly neighbor did my work for me for free but I still should get compensated regardless imho.

    But I'm wondering what do you tell/explain to the customer about paying when they think they just saved X amount of money because their neighbor did it?

  2. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    If its a seasonal contract and he's doing a good job ,nothing!
  3. whitewash

    whitewash Junior Member
    from Mn
    Messages: 12

    I understand that but this is not a seasonal contract, its pay per removal...
  4. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    Stop by and talk to the neighbor and tell them you are contracted by them.
  5. Brian Young

    Brian Young PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,394

    I would be interested in what other guys do as well. I've had this happen a couple of times. One was some old guy who had nothing better to do I guess. I actually stopped at his house one night and was very nice and just explained that they contracted us to do it and we won't get paid if he keeps doing it, I then told him I would give him 10 bucks if he kept doing it,lol he said ok,lol
  6. Pioneer277

    Pioneer277 Junior Member
    Messages: 5

    Talk to the neighbor and get it resolved, if you do nothing and continue to bill you either won't get paid or paid because of the contract and fired the following season because you weren't flexible and got payment for doing nothing. Contract or not getting paid for not working doesn't sit well.
  7. whitewash

    whitewash Junior Member
    from Mn
    Messages: 12

    I have contacted the neighbor before when its happened and that solved that part of course. That I don't have an issue with. But afterwards do you still ask for compensation from the customer that has agreed to your services? and if so, how do you explain it to the customer that it's money you need to operate so you can continue to take care of their removal services etc...
  8. pohouse

    pohouse Senior Member
    Messages: 322

    I do not charge the customer, but I do document it on my log. I find it's usually a neighbor who bought a new snowblower and doesn't want to stop after he's done with his own drive. I've never had someone do it the whole winter.

    Sometimes an old guy will snowblow the public sidewalk for the entire block. If I do the drive, I bill full price, even though the sidewalk is done.
  9. BossPlow2010

    BossPlow2010 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,069

    This year I put it in my contract that if we show up and the driveway is done, you still get to pay, but it's a fraction of the original cost. Hey, it's better than nothing.
  10. leolkfrm

    leolkfrm PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,978

    talk to the customer and ask what he wants to do.....offer him a travel charge if it is done when you get there
  11. White Gardens

    White Gardens 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,665

    Happened last year for a couple of my clients.

    It was after the blizzard, and anyone in the neighborhood started clearing other drives around them because they were bored.

    That and I couldn't get down most of the streets for long time after the storm was over.

  12. whitewash

    whitewash Junior Member
    from Mn
    Messages: 12

    That's a good idea & the other previous comment on a reduced rate as well...

    I appreciate all the input so far, many thanks!!
  13. csi.northcoast

    csi.northcoast Senior Member
    Messages: 320

    under normal circumstances i would not charge. ( not an attorney but you are charging for work that you did not do).. what if the neighbor damaged part of the house/yard, you sent the customer a bill and then they noticed the damage..... how do you explain that you did not do it when they have an invoice that said you did....just my opinion
  14. whitewash

    whitewash Junior Member
    from Mn
    Messages: 12

    I understand that its work I personally didn't do. But I'm just looking at it at the angle of, I was hired to do this service. I took on this customer because they agreed to pay me for this service as needed. That's money I count on and need to operate & provide the service. Neighbor essentially took money out of my pocket & I still showed up. The work is done by the neighbor which he basically did my work for me in that sense. As if by a hired hand for example.

    I also always have a camera with & I document any thing I see that I could be potentially blamed for. But also I do my own invoices and now that you mention that, I would document that It was at a reduced rate or a show up charge per that particular "explained" situation.

    But the season hasn't exactly started here yet. So I'm going to go back and communicate with my existing customers the circumstances and my expectations that way so there aren't any gray areas.

    It happened several times last year and I can't afford to continually lose that money because of a neighborly neighbors. I feel that I should be compensated either at a reduced rate or a show up charge...
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2011
  15. jklawn&Plow

    jklawn&Plow Senior Member
    Messages: 469

    The work done includes the drive there, gas, time. I would let one go but explain to the customer. Do I need to drive by and check?, and give them a rate for it. If your really busy and drive that way anyway, no big deal get to the next job. Otherwise they should pay the insurance fee.
  16. csi.northcoast

    csi.northcoast Senior Member
    Messages: 320

    then i would put that in your contract that if we show up and it is done or can't be done because of whatever reason beyond our control, a trip charge of xx dollars will be assessed. that way there would be no dis agreement. i agree with you that you should be compensated for the time and effort.
  17. whitewash

    whitewash Junior Member
    from Mn
    Messages: 12

    good idea ;)
  18. 7_below

    7_below Senior Member
    Messages: 245

    Talk with the customer and let them know whats up. If its not to far out of the way, and they are a good paying client, let them know you'll let it slide this one time but if it happens again you will be billed a trip charge. Its happened to me before. I literally drove by and then called the customer later in the day. No biggie.
  19. bhmjwp

    bhmjwp Senior Member
    from kcmo
    Messages: 309

    We state in our service agreement if we are notified before we arrive that service is not required-no charge. If we arrive and no phone call and it has been done, we clean up, chemical and do agreed walks-full charge.

    If they complain about payment-off the list and on to the next!
  20. MLG

    MLG Senior Member
    from WI
    Messages: 187

    As a neighborly neighbor, I intentionally did NOT plow out my neighbor's long driveway last year even though I could have (and wanted to) because they pay a guy to come an plow it out when it snows. However, during one particularly nasty storm, when his plow guy didn't make for quite a while, I did clear out the front of his drive so they could get out in case of an emergency.