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probably not getting paid, learning a lesson about verbal contracts!

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Mistel, Mar 23, 2009.

  1. Mistel

    Mistel Member
    Messages: 48

    I should know better. I'm not a kid anymore and I should know enough by now to get something in writing. Maybe others will learn from my experiance.

    I only plow a couple of lots for the family business. I don't do it commercially, so I am not set up with contracts ready to go.

    So last Decemeber the Veteranian next door calls me and says "plow the lot, and tell me what we owe you". Ok, I thought I should get something in writing, but I am an honest guy, it was easy to plow both lots at the same time, so I figured I would do it and send them a cheap bill and they would be happy. Middle of February I send them an invoice for $1,000 (this is in Canada) saying I would like $500 now and $500 at the end of the season. The lot has about a 100' double driveway which is easy, but they don't have a lot of parking so they want me to plow the grass in the backyard which is a real pain. They want about 10 spots for cars in the backyard. We got a lot of snow, I plowed maybe 15 times.

    So a month after leaving the bill, and many phone calls, I finally talk to one of the 5 Doctors that are working in the clinic. He says I talked to you in October and you said you would do it for $10 (TEN!) a snowfall. I had never even talked to this doctor, it was another guy who said I should do the plowing. So I am just stumped. They are the neigbouring commercial property to us, so I don't want to cause a real stink about it. It may be an honest mistake on thier part, but they could also just be trying to get out of the bill. At one point when I was talking to him I said in frustration "well just pay me what you think you should pay me". He said he would talk to the other Vet, and get back to me.

    I am thinking I should just chaulk it up to experiance and try and get as much as I can out of him. I will say again he should just pay me what he thinks and try to guilt him into paying me, but I doubt that will work.

    I don't want to be an *******, but at some point I will have to mention about all thier customers parking in our lot
  2. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    Don't you have the name of the other doctor? Or pull one of the names of the sign and say this is the one who called.
  3. exmark1

    exmark1 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,321

    I would just try to remember the name of who you talked to and tell him, maybe it would be enough to get them to pay you in full. Or just hope for the best that maybe they will pay you
  4. oldmankent

    oldmankent PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,322

    You're screwed. You should have gone in and at least set up a verbal confirmation of the price. Per push or seasonal. When someone says just plow it and bill us without discussing an amount you know it isn't going to end well.
  5. Mistel

    Mistel Member
    Messages: 48

    Yea, I know exactly who I talked to, that is the only name I know from the clinic. That is also why I know I never talked with the ****** today, wrong name. Every time I call I ask to speak to the same guy, but he never takes or returns my calls.
  6. JDiepstra

    JDiepstra PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,780

    That is the problem with you being an honest person... you think other people are honest, which is not always the case.

    Make sure you talk to the original Dr, and good luck!
  7. Gr8WhiteNorth

    Gr8WhiteNorth Senior Member
    Messages: 227

    I'll second that...you're screwed. I think you are being a pushover and need to argue your case with them. Find out who it was you originally spoke with and corner him. Don't let them get away with this, you will be reminded on everytime you arrive at work.

    Furthermore, never enter an agreement without stating basic terms like a description of the work to be performed and how much you require in $$$ to do it. Having the name of your contact is essential. Also track the time and dates as this helps your argument. Your terms should eventually evolve over time to become more specific & detailed. Before you know it you won't do anything without a signed contract! This is when you have crossed the bridge from being a hobbiest to a professional!!!

    Thats just my $0.02 (cdn).

    PS. Get signs that say "xxxxxxx" parking only. Tow away enforced. You will get some serious satisfaction everytime you get one of their customer's cars towed.
  8. Camden

    Camden PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,604

    Sorry about your luck. Another nice guy finishing last :angry:
  9. Mistel

    Mistel Member
    Messages: 48


    I was concerned from the start about not having something in writing, that is why I made sure to send an invoice before the end of the season in February. Of course they ignore it and now that the season is over, they arn't very interested in snowplowing. I will take the high road and get what I can from them, but I will make sure to let the 5 Doctors know they are very cheap. Thanks for the kind words, I'm a little bummed, but luckily it won't make or break me.
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2009
  10. JDiepstra

    JDiepstra PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,780

    Actually you might as well send them to collections as they would do to any of their customers who did not pay in full. Doctors are some of the most stingy people on earth!
  11. hickslawns

    hickslawns Senior Member
    Messages: 627

    Tough one there. Neighbors you don't want to upset, but you performed service and have earned your fair compensation. Even if it is small, we have a minimum fee to show up and plow. 15 trips adds up even at your minimum rates. Collections is a good idea, but might not sit well with them being neighbors. If you don't care what they think send them to collections. Better yet, put a sign in your lawn right next to their property with an arrow pointing at their business stating something like "They don't pay their bills!" I wouldn't do this myself, but there are people that would. In the end, by taking the high road as you mentioned, you will be better off for it. You have learned a tough lesson, and karma has it's way of making it back around. For the good or the bad.
  12. nicksplowing

    nicksplowing PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,226

    for a small fee i willcome up and persuade them to pay you:D
  13. A Man

    A Man Senior Member
    Messages: 338

    LOL, I have a few guys that work for me that will do it for fun...........but honestly try writing a few strong worded letters, to all the doctors and BBB. Might not be a bad idea to inform them that you will be sending a letter to The College of Veterinarians of Ontario as well. Nobody with any common sense will believe you agreed to plow the property for 10 dollars. 1000 for the season sounds like you gave them a great deal anyway. Good luck and be persitant.
  14. theplowmeister

    theplowmeister 2000 Club Member
    from MA
    Messages: 2,617

    That su*&:angry: like whats been said talk to the guy you spoke with at the start.

    AAAA.... getting payd makes it commerciall.
  15. JohnnyRoyale

    JohnnyRoyale 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,935

    If he doesnt pay you this year, wait till next and bring double the snow back to him.
  16. Longae29

    Longae29 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,953

    If you are right next to them I absolutely love the idea of putting up a sign. "These ****** bags didnt pay me for snow plowing ----------> " might change their mind about paying.
  17. JD Dave

    JD Dave PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,194

    Vets are stupid expensive and they are insulting you by saying you said $10. Go talk to another doctor or get your dad to go over there. Some older people like to take advantage of younger guys (under 25) because they are bullies. I'm sure if you talk to the right doctor it will all be settled fairly. Make sure when you go to talk to them you have a detailed bill with you. The neighbour thing works both ways, remember that. Good Luck.:drinkup:

    On edit I see your 34, maybe don't send your dad. LOL

    THEGOLDPRO PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,136

    lol yea def send your dad.
  19. TCLA

    TCLA 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,707

    I agree with A Man. A strongly worded letter with the intention of turning this over to collections may go a long way with them. Cc the BBB also.

    Don't fold like a cheap tent. Stand your ground. No need to get emotional but don't just let it go. You do need to get paid for servicing their property.

    You gave them a great option to pay you what they think they should pay. In turn they slapped you in the face. I can see making concessions to a large customer for relationship purposes, but not this guy.

    "Love thy neighbor" can be overrated.

    Most importantly learn from it.
  20. Sno4U

    Sno4U Senior Member
    Messages: 480

    Do U know when the dr. you spoke to is on his shift there/ I'd go there when I know he is there and talk to him. He HAS to show up @ the front counter at sometime to take in his next patient. At that point be agreesive and interupt if u have to so u can speak to him about their outstanding balance. If possible make sure there waiting room is full. I'm sure they wwouldn't want their clients to hear about how they're trying to rip u off.:nono: