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Billing the customer when stuck?

Discussion in 'Skid Steers' started by Timark80, Mar 1, 2009.

  1. Timark80

    Timark80 Well-Known Member

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    If you are charging a job by the hour and happen to get stuck in the mud for maybe 30 mins. to an hour what do you do?
    Give them a little extra time or not?
     
  2. td25c

    td25c Senior Member

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    I dont charge any extra if I get stuck.Its part of the job,once in awile youre going to get stuck.I am refuring to general work ,Grubing,clering trees,ect.On some job's I might bill the custamer ,It depends on why you are thier and what they have hired you to do.
     
  3. Timark80

    Timark80 Well-Known Member

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    I was referring to, working an extra 30-60 mins. because of getting stuck.
    In my case(tree mulching) sometimes you can get pretty deep into the woods.
    So far I've not been stuck, but it's just a matter of time before it happens.
     
  4. td25c

    td25c Senior Member

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    I see.30 to 60 mins youre not stuck to bad.I would work the extra time,most people will appreciate it.
     
  5. HeyUvaVT

    HeyUvaVT Senior Member

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    yea dont charge for that unless you get stuck because of something they have told you directly they want you to do..."I want this tree next to my pond mulched" for example
     
  6. lgammon

    lgammon Senior Member

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    unless i backed off the side of a road or some other dumb move on my part. i charge
     
  7. Squizzy246B

    Squizzy246B Administrator

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    If you drove in the woods and staked a tyre, would you expect the client to pay for your new rubber???.
     
  8. lgammon

    lgammon Senior Member

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    it depends
    a normal break down no
    but now if i am working in a really bad place that is known that i may have problems cause of the terrain yes i would charge him


    i do alot of work that others run from, when every one else is running a way i find a way to get it done and they have to pay for that
     
  9. Squizzy246B

    Squizzy246B Administrator

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    I'll see if I can answer your original questionn with good business advice, but yours is a little tricky because you are coming from an hourly hire situation.

    if i am working in a really bad place that is known that i may have problems cause of the terrain yes i would charge him

    There is two ways of looking at this. First of all the clients view. "The contractor under-quoted, got bogged (Read screwed up - from clients eyes)and now he expects me to foot the bill..."

    I have to ask you how many referrals and how much good reputation you are going to get from that scenario:

    The second way of going about it is to identify the problems beforehand, inform the client of the variables and Min/Max costs they may pay. This involves some extra work but in the long run your reputation is intact and I can tell you it avoids a whole heap of hassles like clients refusing to pay. It could be as simple as telling the client that any machine operating in the area stands a chance of getting bogged, and what you will be doing if this occurs, is the meter running etc.

    If the terrain is terrible then your cost will reflect this in the first place.

    I think if you bogged your machine on my property and tried to make me pay then I would hand you a bill for damages and remediation. Getting bogged is part of the game. If you may need special recovery the cost for this should be identified beforehand.

    I know plenty of people want to submit a competitive price and just get on with the job, however, taking the time to plan contingencies and keep the client well informed will always enhance your reputation. On very hazardous jobs I have even had the client contract to cover my insurance excess. They have been more than happy to accept this protection and pay my higher price than the other cowboys who had not identified the problems nor had an answer for the client other than "you will pay if it goes wrong".

    We all don't have X-ray vision and we can't forsee everything but an ounce of prevention might be more than a few pounds of cure.

    When you go to the client with a "better plan" he sees straight away you are on the ball and heads above the competition.
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2009
  10. lgammon

    lgammon Senior Member

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    what i am saying is that if i do somthing stupid, that could be avoided by better judgement then it is my baby. if i am some place that no matter who was there they would be stuck also, well then that is the people wanting it done's problem. if i go on a job and run over a rebar stake well that is part of the risk i assume. if i go to a place where some one took a chain saw and cut down 300 trees that were 2 inches across 4 inches off the ground and i poke a tire well i would fuss about this first, then they would pay for the tire. if you hire us to clean out your pond, well there is a good likley hood that we will be stuck a few times and you will have to pay me to get it out or pay me time while it is on your property. if you hired a guy to clean out bee's nest on you property would you dock him while he put medicine on his wounds? or the time it took for him to let the bee's calm down....bet you couldn't get to many to help you
     
  11. TALLRICK

    TALLRICK Well-Known Member

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    Although I do not do this for a living, the few times I worked a job for someone I only charged for the time when the hour meter was running, or I had to wait for a truck or dumpster. If I get stuck I will not charge the customer. Most of the time I am repairing equipment not running it, and I only charge for reasonable time when doing repairs. Many times I have lost a part and had to take time to find it, or dropped dirt in hydraulic pump or motor and had to take time to clean or disassemble it. If a job is risky I explain it to the customer and agree beforehand as to what will be charged or not. Worst of all was when I lost a plunger and barrel assembly from an injection pump on a Cat loader and would have had to spend a small fortune to rebuild the whole pump. I did spend 2 hours that night on the lathe and grinder as well as hardening to make a new one. Told the customer but charged nothing. Frustratingly I found the part 6 months later rusting in the dirt no more than 20 feet from where I was working.
     
  12. td25c

    td25c Senior Member

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    In my opinion the responsability belongs to the operater.After all we are presenting ourselves as professionals.You look at the job,give the customer your opinion,if you can do the job then you give the customer an estimate or agree on a price.Once this is done I would feel foollish bothering them when I get stuck.In the heavy equipment buisnes bad things will happen.Engines blow,final drives go out,the loboy breaks in two,and we get stuck.In the end the customer pays for all of this.Everything has a cost,but it should begin in the estimate because we are professionals with experince and have a good idea of what we are getting in to.
     
  13. Timark80

    Timark80 Well-Known Member

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    That was a lot of great advice from everyone!
    I believe that the reason we,as professional operators charge certain rates are to cover whatever good,bad,and ugly situations may occur during the workday.
    Therefore some days we make out a little better or worse than others.
    In order to get repeat business in my opinion a good reputation is most important.
    If I get stuck for a little while on one job, I'll make up for it on the next job when everything goes smoother than expected.
     
  14. thejdman04

    thejdman04 Senior Member

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    I wouldnt charge a customer. You are supposed to be the professional, know your machine and scout the terrain before you get started. IF its too wet AND you tell the customer hey its too wet, and they still want it done that day then yeah id bill them.
     
  15. daugherty102

    daugherty102 Well-Known Member

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    i agree with thejdman04 because if you tell them it's TOO wet for your machine and they tell you to go in anyways THEY pay either extra or they pick up the tow bill if there is one.
     
  16. td25c

    td25c Senior Member

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    You are correct Timark80.Some day's are better than others.We have to figure in the problems on any job site.I may not be the low dollar bid,but I dont go back and bother the customer with additional charges.
     
  17. Lobell355

    Lobell355 Member

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    From a customers point of view, look at the bigger picture. If its a one time deal and dont ever expect business from them again then nail them. Such as life. If you plan on doing business with them and maintaining a working relationship is it worth them feeling like your squeezing every penny from them in the long run?
     
  18. Hendrik

    Hendrik Senior Member

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    I think a general rule of thumb is that you charge when you are doing the job you are there to do, do you charge whilst you are having a break?
    However there are grey areas, such as phone calls and even though the hour meter is ticking there is no work produced.
    I feel that unless you specify before starting the job (preferably in writing) that due to the ground conditions you will have to charge for events such as bogging the machine, you are going to have to wear the time it takes to free the machine.
    Same with excavating I think, what happens if you damage a sewer pipe and it takes half a day to fix? Who is going to pay for repairs? If you specify beforehand that any costs associated with unforeseen obstacles will be carried by the customer then you know where you at.
    There is a bit of a discussion going on about cable locators and how they won't stand by their work, so who is liable when an unmarked service is damaged?
    Anyway another thing to consider is horses for courses, taking a wheeled skiddy into soft terrain is a bit wonky but hiring/buying a tracked skiddy or buying tracks to go over tires is not nickel and dime stuff either.
     
  19. Hendrik

    Hendrik Senior Member

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    You can do this within limits I reckon but there is a fine line between fair charging and ripping off. A business is build on reputation, particularly in a relatively small community such as earthmoving contractors. For all you know you could be ripping off the person responsible for approving tenders at the local council. You'd feel mighty stupid if you submit a tender and find your bunnies name on the tender decline document.
    Australia was build on a principle of fairness, which has been eroded in the name of the almighty dollar, but to me fairness is the aim of the game.
    Nobody likes getting ripped off and if you make a habit of it, you may well find that it hurts you in the long run.
     
  20. td25c

    td25c Senior Member

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    When I puchase stone or have concrete deliverd ,on the back of the receipt ticket they explane how they are not responsible for any property damages and if they get stuck you will be paying for the recovery service.And I can understand there position.