Need advice/suggestions

Discussion in '<a href= target=_blank ?>Sn' started by DaveO, Jan 22, 2001.

  1. DaveO

    DaveO LawnSite Member
    Messages: 238

    Ok guys. I could use some advice on how to handle this problem.

    I picked up a new account last season. It's a coffee shop/restaurant. Get paid by push, cash. This year the owner bought a plow truck, to do it himself. He(owner) goes away every weekend, and asked me to maintain the lot when he is gone. So far this season had to do it once.

    This last storm I stop by @ 5am to do 1st push. Shop open @ 6am-12 Sundays. I can see marks it was pushed the night before, figured the owner did it. Anyways there is 3-5" on the ground and I clean it. Come back @ 10am(snowin heavy) and make another pass. Decide to come back after closing and clean up.

    Take care of other customers. Storm ended around noon. Go back to clean it up around 2:30pm, and the lot is already done. Obviously now I am not happy...

    Stop in this am and ask for the owner. He's not back yet from N.H. I leave a message with his employee. She tells me she just had a customer in. Claims he was by yesterday with time to kill, and plowed the lot as a favor to the owner.

    How would you guys handle this. I have my own thoughts, but would appreciate idea's from you guys.

  2. Deere John

    Deere John LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 327

    The owner wants to have time off, so he binds your time. That time should come with a price, so make him a contract for weekend service stipulating the hours of service, covering the whole winter.

    My first thought was to tell him to have fun and enjoy his weekends, and to just relax because his property will be taken care of ...., just as soon as you do your other 100 regular customers. But then I though of a way to salvage the $$$ out of it, and remove the per-push/good samaritan problem.

    My thoughts, John
  3. diggerman

    diggerman LawnSite Senior Member
    from Iowa
    Messages: 702

    Charge for the time you went and it was done,or at least charge for your time to go there and come back.
  4. John Allin

    John Allin LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,489

    Learn lesson about doing favors without written contract.
  5. CMerLand

    CMerLand LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 393

    If I read your post right you said you do it per push. If this is the case you "pushed" the propery twice and thats what you should ask to be paid for. Someone else does the last push be it the owner, a friend or santa claus it doesnt really matter to you.

    The big problem will show up when theres a slip and fall accident and then everyones pointing the finger on whos going to be sued. And guess what??? You all will be till someone is found with the deep pockets. "Oh not me I was never there, no paper trail cause I got paid cash!!!" Like that would be hard to prove in court since im sure nobody noticed your truck pushing snow.

    Like John said about favors, get it in writing and know your just asking for liabilty every time you drop that blade.

    C Mer Land
  6. diggerman

    diggerman LawnSite Senior Member
    from Iowa
    Messages: 702

    I don't care if you pushed it or not if you went there you should get paid for your time,just bill him by the hour for that snow.
  7. Frank

    Frank LawnSite Member
    Messages: 37

    my thought on this, if you went out of your way to plow his place, charge full or time loss. you really don't know what the other guys reason for plowing is, he mite be looking for more work so he throws in a free one to pick up the account. just remember the owner TOLD YOU to do the lot. the next time you see the owner talk to him nicely and see where you stand. also next time try and get him to sign a contract.
  8. Skookum

    Skookum LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 675

    I agree with Deere John,

    The owner buys a plow, but only wants to plow when it is convienient for him through the week. I would charge a higher rate to do it just on weekends. Maybe 25% more per push.

    As for time lost issue by owners friend pushing lot, I think I would skip this one, this time. But, I would talk to owner and let him know that next time you will charge a minimum charge for time lost. You know this will end up happening again, only next time it will be the owner when he does not go away for the weekend and decides to save a few dollars, hence why own a plow. Are you sure it was not him anyway and the employee was just telling you what the owner told them to tell you if you inquired.

    Something to think about.
  9. GeoffDiamond

    GeoffDiamond LawnSite Bronze Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 1,651

    If it was me I would want the Job 24/7 365. I am sure you could find another lot that would want your service all the time.

    Look at it this way, if you have all the plowing you have 100 % of all snow events, if you only plow on the weekend you only have 2/7 of the plowing. Some years you might not plow there at all. One winter it never snowed on the weekend, the next winter it snowed like every weekend. Either way your time could be better spent on another account.

    Drop him now, or in the spring.

  10. DaveO

    DaveO LawnSite Member
    Messages: 238

    I am going to charge him for the two "pushes" that I made. I took the lot because it is 1/8 mile away from another commercial, trying to keep customers localized.

    Tried to get a signed contract, but the owner has the "pay cash" mentality to everyone. I did a little background on him before deciding to take the lot. Pays ALL his vendors(food industry) CASH. Makes me wonder....

    Don't think he plowed it since his plowtruck is still snowed in. Doesn't mean he didn't ask his "friend" to take care of it though.

    I agree with the time binding concept. We are bound to provide a service anytime, not at our convenience, and will convey this to the owner.

    Meanwhile I have learned another lesson in the classroom of life. This lesson will prompt me to look for a replacement for this account.

    This was the 1st "real" storm we have had in 5 years and I learned a couple of lesson's from this one.


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