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The Family Rate

Discussion in 'Business Fundamentals' started by johntwist, Feb 3, 2005.

  1. johntwist

    johntwist Senior Member
    Messages: 415

    This is a good one, I thought I should share it.

    After the last storm we had my wife told me she'd been talking to her cousin on the phone, and she was complaining about how her and her husband "got screwed" by their plow guy. I guess before the big storm her husband found out his brother's wife's brother plowed and they called him up. "I'll give you the 'family rate' he says......twenty-five bucks." So they thought that was great, pretty cheap. Of course, they didn't discuss exactly what that meant and that's what caused the problem.

    The storm we had dropped 27 to 34 inches depending on where in South Eastern Mass you lived. So, this guy plowed with the storm and ended up making 4 passes, the last one being a clean up. They expected to pay $25, he wanted $100. So they paid him, but they were pi$$ed off about it. They were wrong in assuming it was $25 bucks for the whole storm and the plow guy was wrong for not specifying that it was $25 per push and that with such a big storm coming he'd probably have to hit it at least 3 or 4 times. So of course now they've vowed never to call him again for plowing.

    Personally, I think he milked it a little bit, he probably could have done it with 2 passes like I did for some of my customers with small driveways. But, I also think that they were wrong to assume any guy would come back more than once for $25. I'm just glad they live too far away for them to want to ask me to do it.

    So much for the "family rate" :rolleyes:
  2. DJL

    DJL Senior Member
    Messages: 343


    You bring up an interesting subject. Working for family...

    I do work for family, both immediate and extended family. I always explain to them if I'm taking the job that WE both need to understand that business is business and pleasure is pleasure. We need to BOTH comprehend that problems with the business/service remain between the business/service and will NOT get entangled with the personal side of things. If they are under agreement with this then I'll work for them, otherwise...see you at the next family function but find somebody else to do the work.
  3. justme-

    justme- 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,138

    Yeah- I only do work for family as a favor- never business. I remodeled my now inlaws bathrooms a couple of years ago for materials (which I made them buy so I couldn't be blamed for th pattern and such) and they insisted on paying me X amount (which amounted to like $10/hour).

    I flat refuse to plow more than 12" a pass and I will only do that if it's throu my own fault. It's too much work on the truck- bordering on flat out abuse with the wonderful normally wet New England snow. My passes are between 4 and 8 inches at my discression and I rarely have issues. Infact my only issues are from customers crying poor for one reason or another and it's the same 2 customers every year for 4 years running.

    All I can say is they'll be calling back the family member after the next heavy storm and they pay some unrelated plow guy substantially more for the same work. :D
  4. SkykingHD

    SkykingHD Senior Member
    Messages: 368


    Why would you want to pay family less than a stranger? If my family works for me I ask them how much they want and then pay them what they ask for. If the job is to expensive he is done working for me. I do want my family to survive and prosper so I pay them. I hire son in law to help me do bad jobs (clean ash pit 120 cu ft, split fire wood etc) how ever I do work for them and don't charge as I want them to make it.

    I have found out though.. don't hire family or friends as it can cause problems. If you do have an up front agreement that is understood first. Then you live up the the agreement. If they fail to honor agreement then you let them know one time and never bring it up again.

  5. mickman

    mickman Senior Member
    Messages: 118

    both parties should have split difference between them and he should have charged $50.00 after he explained that it's $25 a visit.
  6. Robhollar

    Robhollar Senior Member
    Messages: 766

    My family rate is FREE, imo theres no need to charge my family...Rob

    PS my situation may be diff then yours and Im in no way saying that you shouldnt charge your family.
  7. gt_racer50

    gt_racer50 Senior Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 484

    I do family for free, I'm in the neighborhood anyway. There is times that they help me with things. We have never paid each other anything unless its a part for somthing. My one brother-in-law is a heating and cooling man, if something breaks he get's me the parts at his cost, if I can't put them in he comes up and does it, I give him a beer or whatever. I couldn't hardly charge him to clean off his driveway. No money, no misunderstandings.
  8. DJL

    DJL Senior Member
    Messages: 343

    For those saying family is free...

    By family do you mean immediate..i.e. parents, mother/father in-law, brothers and sisters? Or does it extend to cousins, uncles etc?

    And by free, you mean no charge? ...not even an exchange of services or barter?

    I have to charge them to cover my expenses. I.e. fuel to drive there and back, materials, equipment wear/tear, etc. I don't make any money off of them (nor does the business). However, I make sure to cover the business' expenses. I give them the materials at my cost and charge them my basic operating cost. And there have been times when I loan them a piece of equipment at no charge.
  9. Robhollar

    Robhollar Senior Member
    Messages: 766

    Free means free. I limit it to my parents, sisters, and my mechanic. I would never dream on charging them one cent and if they even tried to pay me I would have to give them a piece of my mind. Recently Ive maid up my mind to pay it forward. Meaning if I was to see some old lady struggling to clear her drive then I feel I would have to open the end of her drive out for her. There has been a discussion on this very topic before and I feel its in my nature to do this for someone. No I don't care if the lady is loaded, I just know if I drove by later to see the paramedics loading her up in a meat wagon, I just couldn't live with that. Again Im not saying that other people should do the same thing, its just how Im built....Rob
  10. killed300ex

    killed300ex Senior Member
    Messages: 293

    i definitly dont charge family. They are family and would probably do anything for you if you asked so i think spending the extra 20 minutes each storm to plow them out is the least you can do because the next time you are in a bind i bet they will be the first ones there to bail you out. But thats just my thoughts
  11. b2driver

    b2driver Member
    from MD
    Messages: 89

    Working for family depends on the type of family you have. I don't even talk to my cousins or aunts and uncles, so they're not an issue. I take care of my parents and a sister for free. The others are too far, or don't really need plow service because of the short driveways they have. Some family members I wouldn't even bother because of how they are.
  12. snowinjoe

    snowinjoe Senior Member
    Messages: 180

    I do my wifes parents and grandparents for free. Well I don't do their whole driveway as the 9 1/2 ft. blade wont fit up the driveway. I open the driveway up and head down the road. I may not get paid but dinner is always free when we go there. And the father in laws heated shop is always open if I need it. So I guess maybe its more of a barter system. Twice this old lady was shoveling her driveway and I took the end away for her. Its now one of our regular jobs so sometimes being nice can pay off.
  13. Grn Mtn

    Grn Mtn PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,644

    I don't charge my family, but I also don't decline money offered. I have 3 boys and a mortgage. As far as pay it forward I believe in it, some people could just use a break.
  14. repo_man62

    repo_man62 Senior Member
    Messages: 502

    NO FAMILY RATE! Found out a long time ago...friends and family will screw you first!
  15. Being from a large family I have about 15 driveways I plow for "free".
    But I do get "paid".

    Homemade cookies
    Babysitting for my kids
    Treated to dinner at my favorite resturant
    Gift cards for Home Depot
    Tools that I have my eye on but haven't justified buying for myself
    Case of beer
    Invited in for a hot lunch

    Family ever complains, they are always grateful, and it makes me feel good helping out. :drinkup:
  16. Dwan

    Dwan Senior Member
    Messages: 879

    Family is family, everything I have is theres anything they need is theres, I make enough to take care of anyone in the family that is in need of help. That been said I moved over 1000 miles away so I do not have to deal with them on a daily bases, but if they called I would drop everything for them.
    I have a few people that live around me that I treat as family and they get anything they need if I can supply it. I love my Friends and family and there is nothing I would not do for them. Except for the ones that have knowingly taken advantage of me.
  17. Mark F

    Mark F Senior Member
    Messages: 101

    After you've lost everything, All you got is your family, freinds.
    After every storm, and I'm all done I go on, what I call my mercy mission. I do my mom & dad, all my freinds who don't own plows or sanders.
    I get paid to in one way or the other. Money isn't everything.
  18. SnoFarmer

    SnoFarmer PlowSite Fanatic
    from N,E. MN
    Messages: 9,883

    I plow my immediate family only my parents there in there mid 70's & my mom-in law, a sweat old Lady for free!! well, I don't charge them but when you need them they will be there for you, how can you charge the people who gave you life, for plowing there drive, how much does it really cost?
    Karma- what goes around comes around..
  19. Bad Luck

    Bad Luck Senior Member
    Messages: 741

    My family is free, as in no cash exchanges hands. In-laws, immediate's, uncle's, cousins, the whole bag of nuts. Everyone's situation is different. My family is pretty close and no one would hesitate to help another out. The hour it takes me to do all of their houses is a drop in the bucket compared to the 10-12 I spend with paying customers. Plus, My Brother, brother in-law, and I have an agreement on all family properties, I plow, they salt, shovel, blow....then, we drink :drinkup:
  20. glenspot

    glenspot Senior Member
    Messages: 255

    I do a couple of free driveways for people that I feel I owe. Family or friends who have "been there for me" when I needed it.

    Except for my Father in law, I don't do them EVERY time it snows, just if I'm passing by and see that they haven't gotten to it yet. Or if we've had an exceptionally heavy snow.

    This weekend I drove an hour to plow my ex-mother-in-law. For free. She offered to pay, but, NO WAY. She'd been there for me TOO MANY TIMES over the years for me to ask for money. I owed it to her.

    That said, I have cousins and relations all over the place I ignore. Just because we share blood doesn't mean it's free.