In order to make some more money this winter, I decided to start my own small business doing snow removal. I have no history in this business and am doing it on my own. I also got this going last minute and had trouble finding anyone who was both interested and that met my requirements (I don't have a plow so I can only do driveways, sidwalks, walkways, etc but no parking lots).
I approached an apartment management company and was given charge of shoveling for 4 buildings that didn't have caretakers. Because I don't have any professional experience and because they usually have someone do a wide range of caretaker responsibilities for $50 - $100 off rent, not just shoveling, I settled for very low pay: the first 5 snowfalls I do for free and the rest at $20 per building, snow to be removed by 7 at the latest in the am or 8 pm in the evening.
I got food poisoning this last week and wasn't able to go out and remove the snow we had. I called their office and left a message saying that I wasn't able to come out and apologized. Today, I got a bill - they hired someone else to remove the snow that day. The people they hired were not cheap and charged an additional free for coming out on emergency, without contract.
Do I pay the bill? Do I say screw them? Am I obligated and if not, do I pay anyways since I left them in a spot by not doing what I agreed to do? The bill is for $312.
Dont pay it.
Send them a letter back with the invoice and say you are disputing it.
If you didnt sign a contract with them then they cant do shit.
Disclaimer: im not a lawyer, but it's what i would do in this situation.
>If you didnt sign a contract with them then they cant do shit.
You don't owe them shit, but it looks like you lost a lot of future business because you're a giant fucking pansy.
I am under contract.
I agreed to do the first several for free with the understanding that they were expecting me to do them and that it needed to get done. As far as the $20 per building per snowfall, I can get the buildings each done in less than an hour so it's not less than minimum wage.
>Am I obligated
Yes. I'm not going to tell you what to do because I'm not your lawyer, but you're absolutely liable for their damages including the reasonable cost of them hiring a replacement service. And that'll apply going forward too.
>If you didnt sign a contract with them then they cant do shit
He did sign a contract, and it wouldn't matter anyway. Oral contracts like this are binding too.
>Disclaimer: im not a lawyer
Then don't respond to threads asking for legal advice.
>I think you can actually sue them for paying you less than minimum wage/hiring you without proper documentation
Nice troll post, or were you being serious? What do wage laws have to do with the service contract he signed? He's not their employee.
>Send them a bill for 312$ to cover the harm they gave you from food poisoning
Best post in the thread, including my own.
Yeah, I think I'm going to call, apologize for the inconvenience, and pay the bill. It sucks because I'll spend much of the winter making back what I'm paying them in the first place.
I would still just not pay it. I have been in similar situations in the past and have got away with not paying and disputing the invoice.
I mean what are they gonna do? Take him to small claims over £200?
Take it from a fellow small businessman. Just dont pay it. They cant sur you for money you dont have.
The worst thing they can literally do is take you to small claims and the judge makes you pay it back $20 a week.
Dont listen to ihaz hes not in the same game as us.
>Dont listen to ihaz
Look dumbass, I never told him what to do or not to do. In fact, I specifically said that I couldn't give him strategy advice because I'm not his lawyer. I simply answered the question whether he's liable or not, and left it to him to make his own decision.
You're a weird little spazz.
If you seriously think these twats will bother taking you to court over $300 you're not thinking straight.
If i recieved that invoice it would be going straight in the bin. And then id call them and literally tell them to fuck off.
You don't think that the management of a bunch of apartment buildings wouldn't follow through? I feel like they probably don't have a problem going to court with anyone. Imagine someone not paying amonths rent and always being behind. They'd probably sue for that.
>I couldn't give him strategy advice because I'm not his lawyer.
Why do lawyers always use this hedge? I mean, it's implied or understood you're not his lawyer, especially to the person you're talking to. I have an acquaintance who has said something like this to me and was confused; it sounded like something you'd say to a potential client, not someone you've had beers with and whose wives are friends.
Bridge? Lol sometimes as a small business you have to tell people to fuck off with that kind of bs.
No one in their right mind is going to take some snow shovelling guy to court over $300 the judge will look dimly upon it and also take into account the defendants ability to pay. So good luck to them.
Because you can sue someone for giving you bad legal or financial advice if they represent themselves as qualified to do so
It costs nothing to type a quick disclaimer, and the potential cost of not doing so is massive
Please leave me out of your homosexual fantasies.
but also, did they make any reasonable attempt to get multiple quotes? I mean that sounds like a lot more than what you were getting paid. They have to be fair, they can'l lump you with an expensive snow shovel service just cause its was the first one.
I would pay it, but at an amount deemed more appropraite.
Secondly, sounds like you should be charging more man.
It didn't look like I was going to much or any business at the time. When I made the offer of 5 free jobs and then $20 per building, I was kind of begging. I won't do that again though.
I think I was just a little shocked when I realized how much I was paying. I'm going to be out there shoveling dutifully from now on. I can't afford that. Still. My bad and I'm going to pay.
In my opinion, you should pay it. You had a contract and you didn't do anything to solve the problem, so do this to solve the problem. You will get business from them next year for being responsible and it will make up for it. I worked for a dealership where the owner would buy people phones or give free service if something was lost from the car. Weather it was lost at the dealership or not, because that is just a cost of business. We even had signs to remove all valuables from vehicles, but he still covered the cost of lost items. In return he had the customers come back and not choose a different dealer.
So you shoveled snow for 4 buildings free for five snowfalls and they have the audacity to charge you 312 dollars for missing a single snowfall when you were only earning 80 dollars per snowfall yourself?
Rofl. They just made it perfectly clear how underpaid you were.
Applies to any qualified person talking about their field, even if not in a professional capacity. People have been successfully sued for off-hand advice they've given someone they met at a party, because that person knew that they had some kind of professional qualification in the area and followed the aforementioned advice without getting a proper consultation or second opinion. Professional liability is a thorny area.
I manage a company that does snow removal in winter and OP is vastly vastly underpaid. For someone to drive to a location with nothing other than a shovel, we bill it at $149, there is then a 100 an hour labor fee.
So if OP can get the 4 buildings (in a single location) done in <4 hours that would be roughly $449 give or take 15 minutes of labor.
To compare, we also do snow removal for a Home Depot in the area (not only parking lot and sidewalks, but the entire dock area, and brine everything) For me to send 2 loaders and a bobcat to that location for the average 2" snow fall, billing starts at 6k. Last year when Chicago had the Super Bowl blizzard 2 Home Depots, 3 Walmarts, and the CXI rail yard earned us a little over 80K per day (it was a 5 day snow event for us)
So yes OP, your pricing is extremely low. You are in the tier of homeless guys shoveling for food.
You entered into a contract where you offered your services below market value, there is no protection for this. Breach of contract makes you liable for the cost or damages incurred.
But the management knows that you must be almost homeless and unable to pay because you're shoveling buildings for $20. They probably plan to have you work off the money if you continue with them.
5 free? Are you kidding me.
And then it apparently cost them $312 for one week.
I would pay them back on the condition that they pay you $300 per job. And when they disagree get some muscle and go fuck them up just for being faggots
Hehehe, fucking US of A failing at basic justice. As usual.
If you're European don't worry about any of this: you can only be held responsible for your advice if you present it as a professional opinion, or if you're being paid for it and/or profit indirectly from the suggestion you made.
You shouldn't have sold yourself so cheap. Call around and ask other people in the business what they charge and work from that. If they don't like your prices then go somewhere else. Also, you don't sound that motivated if you laid out because you had food poisoning. If they didn't pay you anything then don't pay them.