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What would you do in this situation??

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by J&R Landscaping, Feb 21, 2006.

  1. J&R Landscaping

    J&R Landscaping PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,202

    I had this happen to me with the nor-easter a couple of weeks back...I cleared this ladys driveway (whom I contracted to do for a fee of $25-$55 bucks depending on amount) We got 17" from that storm... anyway, I clear the driveway, sidewalk, in front of the mailbox and all that good stuff and when I go to collect money, She don't ask how much is it going to cost...She says shes giving me $5 bucks extra for it taking a while.(I am planning on charging her $40) She hands me a $20 and a $5 and says 'thanks'...:confused: I was ticked to say the least but since I am tring to land her and a few neighboors for landscaping work, I figured I should just keep my mouth shut for the sake of not landing future work! It only took about a 1/2 hour so it wasnt that big of a deal but I'm still ticked.....:dizzy:

    What would you have done???
  2. Mick

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

    First things first: What exactly did the contract state - assuming it was written. You said "...$25-$55 bucks depending on amount". How was this to be determined?
  3. pools&plowingct

    pools&plowingct Member
    Messages: 73

    whats keepin her from telling you how much a landscaping job is gonna cost. sorry but she set her price which isn't good. she beat you out of 15 bucks next time it might be a greater amount.

    me i would said excuse mam the bill is 40$ not 25$
  4. streetsurfin'

    streetsurfin' Senior Member
    Messages: 770

    Not a good practice at all to allow that from a customer. Imagine having a home inspection done or a furnace repaired and telling the inspector or technician that you will pay x amount for the work after it was done, especially when the agreed upon price was x plus y. It wouldn't happen. Why should it happen with you. She is treating you like the neighbor boy who picks the paper off the lawn and collects the mail while she is on vacation.
  5. almostbk1stday

    almostbk1stday Member
    from ontario
    Messages: 33


    Great point. I have had this happen to me also and it is a pain in the butt. I "used" to keep my mouth shut in these situations due to being new to the biz and wanting to keep people happy. I have learned that when I acted in this manner, I was looked at as being UNPROFESSIONAL and a newbie. People are quik to take advantage of people like that.

    Now, if I am plowing, I pull up to the house and knock on the door. I state what the fee is and also state that the company requires me to collect for services upfront. If there is even an ounce of discussion, I am out of there.
    By doing it this way, no one knows I am the owner cuz I put it on someone else but I notice when I do it this way, the customer will watch over me like a hawk and expect a LITTLE extra work (which I would expect if I were in their shoes).

    Last snow fall, a guy pulls up in his car and asks how much...I told him $30, he says $25, I then said $35 (I swear to god), he says, OH I get it...and gave me the amount without further discussion. Just remember, they need YOU more than you need THEM....bottom line. If I were you, I would not have asked for more but in the future, try it the way I do it...upfront and right away. :salute:
  6. mike33

    mike33 Senior Member
    Messages: 335


    How old was she? If she was a senior citizen of some age now and im saying this reffering to my parents she probably thought she done right. My parents 77 and 80 have money and if they would pay 20.00 for a plow service they would think in there heart they did right. I would bite the bullet this time and explain to her before the next snow what it will be. Also,communication is always very important.
  7. NEPSJay

    NEPSJay Senior Member
    Messages: 270

    Bite your toungue andd keep quiet. In the summer, figure in that $30.00 + another $50.00 for aggravation and just tack it on somewhere.:D
  8. streetsurfin'

    streetsurfin' Senior Member
    Messages: 770

    I bet she comes out in the summer and tries to manage your work for you. I know the type...

    "The back doesn't really need cutting this week, can you instead just weed the bed over by the fence, mow up to the sidewalk in front, it's only crabgrass on the parkway and that is the cities anyway, and bring my tomatoe cages out of the cellar? Put them by the garden if you don't mind sweety, thanks you're such a good boy. Oh and I am short this month so no need to come next week. Just skip it till the last week of the month and then I can pay you 1/2 then and 1/2 the following week. My son said he would fertilize so no need to keep billing me for that service. Oh and about the gutters we agreed upon...I found a boy that will do them for $50 instead of the $75 you want to charge. At least I think he said $50, I had a hard time understanding his (insert your favorite foreign language here). Either way I told him he could do them because he looked like he needed the money more than you. You're such a good lad. See you at the end of the month then?"

    But then again it may work out for you. Forewarned is forearmed. What would I have done? I'd tell her my price is not negotiable, then find another customer to replace her if it doesn't set well with her.
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2006
  9. Fordistough

    Fordistough Senior Member
    from USA
    Messages: 394

    It depends on her age. If she is really old, then let it go this time, but definately be clear on the price. You should make a generic format on the computer and print them off every storm and fill them out in the truck. Hand the person the bill before they can whip out their wallet.

  10. Daner

    Daner PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,187

    stick to the agreed price

    Just remember why your in the bizzzz......To make you money...not to save them money...some times the old if thats the case here can be real smart more then you may think...at this point of time since you already took the 25 bucks...Ding her in the summer and keep your antenna up when you or if get the lawn contract
    Is it just me or is it that the women are always the toughest to deal with??payup
  11. mkwl

    mkwl 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,362

    First of all, your clients should know how much you charge for each plowing. Second, I bill them after the job is totally done, with the amount due on the bill. And third, sounds like you got shafted on this one!:nono:

    CARDOCTOR PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,312

    when i did drives i clearly stated in my contract $30.00 every 6"
    with the 18 we got id charge $90

  13. Mowerpan

    Mowerpan Senior Member
    Messages: 305

    Ya I belive it's called an invoice. I even make out an invoice for my dad's buisness. Amount of snow, date, times plowed, price. No debating that way.
  14. J&R Landscaping

    J&R Landscaping PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,202

    Ok...I think I get the picture...I got screwed as I already knew:realmad:

    For the record, the customer is middle aged I'd say... She aint a senior citizen but she aint a spring chicken either. My guess would be about 40ish or so. I will definitly invoice her from now on! If we do happen to get anymore snow..........
  15. J&R Landscaping

    J&R Landscaping PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,202

    Since the snow around my way is either hit or miss, I usually determined it based on the amount and the type, and how long to property took to clear.

    I didn't have it all mapped out and completly written down, It was mainly in my head but it was the same way for all my customers! I am now working on a base to use for next season......
  16. Mick

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

    :waving: That's what I do. I don't have contracts, in the sense that they don't sign it, but I do have an "agreement" that I make out and mail to any potential customer. Spells out what I charge for any situation. I don't care that they don't sign it, but I did give it to them. I tell people about it when I first talk to them and that it will include everything we discussed. If they have any questions on it to please call me.
  17. cet

    cet PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,257

    Well, 40ish isn't old. When I first started reading I thought you were going to say 70. I am pretty sure she thought this is how much I am going to pay and lets see if he says something.

    Loosing $15. is a cheap day at school. Leason learned and a small growing pain.

    This is what I was taught about billing. If you give them the bill and the just pay it you are too cheap, if they complain and them listen to your reasoning then you are good and if they complain after the explanation then you are too expensive.

    I am not to fast to collect and I don't go to the door. Everything is by mail with an invoice. I know there is no cash but I don't want to go to everyones house just to get a few bucks. If they don't like the bill they can phone and it says that right on the invoice.
  18. jhook

    jhook Senior Member
    Messages: 375

    Ya, I mail an invoice for everything. Couple reasons:

    1. I don't get paid extra to stand at their door waiting for them to find their money. I can have another driveway done in that amount of time

    2. Looks professional

    3. Fewer arguments. I find that if I try to talk to someone, I usually end up doing the job cheaper than I should. People are far less likely to call a company who sent a proper invoice than they are to argue with some guy asking for money.
  19. mikelawtown

    mikelawtown Senior Member
    from Mass
    Messages: 429

    Even 40 bucks is not much for a half an hour.
  20. basher

    basher PlowSite Fanatic
    from 19707
    Messages: 8,993

    Right on Mick, Contracts are a necessity, even for driveways. Ours is a one page document that clearly spells out the limits of service, the cost, and the limits of liability. The customer also must provide a credit card number to bill against. No knocking on doors to collect our money, no arguing over cost. In the event of a disagreement over service or cost, a copy of the contract with the significant parts highlighted normally solves the problem. If the customer want s to pay in any way but the credit card, they have to give us a deposit. the 3 bucks a 100 the card costs is cheap, there's far to much profitable work out there to be driving around or on the phone trying to collect what really isn't a lot of money. Drivers carry blank contracts that only take a second to fill out. If a potential new customer doesn't want to sign it then they never become a customer, I worry as much about the liability as the cash.