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What if a contracted customer jumps?

Discussion in '<a href=http://www.plowsite.com target=_blank ?>Sn' started by plowjockey, Jan 30, 2001.

  1. plowjockey

    plowjockey LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 332

    No this hasn't happened to me but... looking at the thread about FBN's I got to thinking what do you do if a customer is contracted to you but when you get there (on time) he has had someone else do the job. Do you have legal rights to still collect for the snow event?

    Maybe dumb or odd question i don't know
  2. Guido

    Guido LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,085

    If your contract is written correctly (in a lawyers eyes) you should have no problem charging them. Getting paid is another story. There were some really good threads on this last year in the lawn section, about slapping leins on customers property and the legal limits of ripping out installed services and products, i.e. plowing snow back into a driveway, ripping out installed shrubs, etc.

    I guess the key is to check with a lawyer about your contract and its limits to stay on the safe side.
  3. plowjockey

    plowjockey LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 332

    Thanks Guido. I didn't know if this was something that happens occasionally or if it is pretty rare. Just throwing out some chum for thought.
  4. CMerLand

    CMerLand LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 393

    Follow up questions that came to me during the last snowstorm. Possible new ideas for next years clients:

    Heres the hypothetical, you have a contracted snow client thats not paid their bill for services rendered. We have a clause to discontinue services in the event invoices go past 15 days from the invoice date, due to lack of payment. We discontinue services and miss out on plowing those properties for the remainder of the season.

    Now the question, does anyone use an early termination fee or something of the sort to recoup the lost time that you budgeted this property into the route. By this point in the snow season you have limited possibility of finding a replacement client to fill that hole in your route. To continue plowing would be foolish since they may never pay you, but losing out on potential income during a limited season sucks also.

    Either way you may have to end up collecting in court. Anyone doing this termination fee?? Anyone thinking of doing it now???

  5. SlimJim Z71

    SlimJim Z71 LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 691

    The early termination fee sounds like a really good idea. These things tend to arise when the property owner has a friend who gets a plow, or a relative in the area comes by and does it. Then, since they feel they can get it done cheaper, or for free, they can just bail on their contracts with us. I'm going to be re-writing my contracts soon, and I'm definately going to include a termination fee.

  6. BRL

    BRL LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,211

    I just had exactly that situation. Friend of the manager offered to do it free or real cheap (my price is pretty low for it, in my opinion). This particular winter I was happy to have them bail, as it is kind of a pain in the butt property to plow, and I even told them they didn't have to wait for the 30 days as stated in the contract. I know that this company is having some finacial problems due to some foreign market troubles & they've been a good customer for years. I'll probably keep doing their lawn maintenance so in this case it was a good customer jump. If it was a big money, profitable customer I would think an early termination clause is a good idea. Good luck actually getting the money though.

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