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2" Trigger Dilemma on Resi's

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by justinsp, Jan 7, 2010.

  1. justinsp

    justinsp Senior Member
    Messages: 166

    Just got some snow early this morning and I am looking to get some others thoughts on my dilemma. My residential properties all have a 2" trigger and right now based on storm reports and driving past some of the local accounts it varies b/w 1/2" of snow to just over an inch of snow. the problem is that the wind is starting to pick up and drifts are starting to form along some drives, especially up by the garages.

    Do I go out and plow all my resi's this afternoon/evening b/c of the drifting or do I just stick to my contract of 2" trigger and not worry about it.

    What does everyone else do?
     
  2. JohnDeere2320

    JohnDeere2320 Member
    Messages: 51

    If its a substantial drift (2-3 feet or more onto the driveway), I plow them. Customers usually don't care how the snow gets there whether it be a legit snowfall or drifting, they want the driveway cleared. Especially since many residentials have public walks which can easily drift in, and many area's local ordinances require that public walks be cleared or the homeowner can get a fine. I have never got a complaint about cleaning a driveway with a 2" trigger that was drifted in even if the middle of the driveway had a half inch or an inch of snow on it. If you get a complaint, you know that that customer doesn't want the drive cleared when snow is drifted.

    Take care. Mike
     
  3. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 28,002

    Call the customer and ask.

    Next time you'll know who wants the drift shoveled and who'll take care of themselves.
     
  4. Runner

    Runner Senior Member
    Messages: 957

    How many do you do? Is it something you can take care of in 15 minutes and a call list? Granted, some may not be home or available, but you will get several out of the way, anyway. Myself, I just pull them out. Very seldom is anyone going to question the actual need removal or not. This is just one of those discretionary things, that is always good to explain to a customer ahead of time that you will be using a judgment call at times. It is darned if you do, and darned if you don't. If you do them, they can say it didn't need it, and if you don't, they can call you back to drive all the way out there again.
     
  5. buckwheat_la

    buckwheat_la 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,254

    better to error on the side of caution, go out do the places, and phone all clients tonight, and let them know you did it to provide best service, DON'T LET THEM PHONE YOU!!! if they have time to think about it and phone you, they well mull over if "it REALLY needed to be done" be proactive, phone them, then they know you are just trying to look out for their best interests
     
  6. JDiepstra

    JDiepstra PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,780

    The question that needs to be answered frist is are you changing them seasonally or per time? If seasonal, do you have a cap?

    If you are changing seasonally I wouldn't plow. If anyone calls, let them know that you only got "X" amount of snow, which didn't trigger a plow, but if they would like you to come out, you will be happy too as long as they understand it counts as a plow against their cap.

    If you are charging per time I'd plow. If anyone calls and complains, I'd expalin to them that the drifts were getting deep and you didn't want the snow building up and packing down creating a big mess for them and you. If you do get complaints, they will be few.
     
  7. oman1999

    oman1999 Senior Member
    Messages: 198

    I generally hit all the driveways that need attention due to drifting, or ice problems.

    We'll hit all the ones that need it and call them later on in the day or the next morning.

    Usually with a questionable snow-fall that has drifting, etc. We'll knock em all out and maybe only charge 50% to the ones that complain. Generally when you tell a customer that what you do is in their best interest and not purely to extract more $$$ from them they understand.
     
  8. Eronningen

    Eronningen Senior Member
    Messages: 442

    2" trigger is dumb I think. I used to give that as an option but have gone away from it. It lets cheap skates get a 2 for 1 on ya. You could have three 1/2" to 1 1/2" events before a two inch event. All this crap gets packed down, it won't come up, looks like sh!t and your name is on it. No thanks.
     
  9. justinsp

    justinsp Senior Member
    Messages: 166

    Thank You everyone for your responses.

    I enjoy hearing different peoples views on these type of issues.

    In my original post I should have mentioned the type of customers I have like JDiepstra mentioned.

    Of my 25 Residential accounts, 8 of them pay per time and the rest are seasonal customers up to 12 services. I have already done my commercial lots this morning due to fact those are 1 inch triggers. I am going to go out tonight and service my resi's for good measure.

    Eronningen, question for you. I am in agreement that a 2 inch trigger sucks for the same reasons you mentioned. I have been contemplating eliminating seasonal rates and going strictly per time and service every snow fall. Can you explain to me what you do with your accounts and how does it work out for you? Do you do a flat fee for every service or is rate based on amount of snowfall.

    Thanks again everyone for your responses. It is greatly appreciated.

    Justin
     
  10. ryde307

    ryde307 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,143

    Justin I was in the same spot as you and live close. We went out do to the wind and drifting. I expect to get some complaints but I will explain why we did it and most are ok with it the ones that are real anal I will try to work something out. To keep it fair when we plow and bill based on snow depth we use the national weather service report from the chanhassen MN site. Its close to us so close to fair and we base it all off that so there is no my drive had less than theres stuff happening.
     
  11. Dstosh

    Dstosh Senior Member
    Messages: 534

    I pretty much fight with this every day when it snows. I think it is better to be consistant then do it sometimes and not do it others. This way customers know what to expect for future events
     
  12. M.S.P.M.

    M.S.P.M. Senior Member
    Messages: 107

    I worked for a big time company who basically told their customers screw you when it came to drifts and they probably lost about 15 or so contracts because of it. I now plow on my own and I take care of my customersweather it be drifts or a general snowfall.
     
  13. FordFisherman

    FordFisherman PlowSite.com Addict
    from 06611
    Messages: 1,594

    My contracts state that under the 2" trigger the homeowner is responsible for clearing the snow. Some shovel, most don't and hope it melts.
     
  14. WIPensFan

    WIPensFan PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,508

    JDiepstra, I'm not bashing your comment, just using it to further a point of contention with seasonal contracts. These are the situations where seasonal sucks for the customer, and they usually don't see it coming. The old "It was only 1 3/4", I'm not plowing on this one!" Might have drifting of 3-4" but it only snowed 1 3/4". :dizzy: "I've already been out too many times, I can't plow your drive just because it's drifted."
     
  15. JDiepstra

    JDiepstra PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,780

    Speaking for myself.... I do seasonal with a cap. If the customer hits the cap (which is a good bit over the seasonal average) they pay extra per time above the cap. I don't stop plowing at the cap. That said, I'm not going to go out and plow less than two inches if 2" is what the contract states. If they want a 1 3/4 trigger than ok great but they are going to pay extra for that. If they call and want me to come out and do the drifts, ok great, but that counts towards their cap and gets them one plow closer to paying extra. This is all fine with me. It's just a matter of following the contract you have with the customer. Set a level of service that you want to provide (it's your business after all) and then stick to it.
     
  16. Neige

    Neige Sponsor
    Messages: 2,198

    I think calling your clients is a mistake, have a clear contract and stick to it.
    So you are suggesting going out everytime it snows? 1/2" falls and you will service them, seems like a waste, and where I am from you could be going out every second day. Again have a clear contract with trigger and respect it.
    Well said, if its a 2 inch trigger, wait for 2 inches. If you go out for 1 1/2", the client will expect you to do it again the next time. Confusion can make for many phone calls. Be CONSISTANT

    JDiepstra are your caps on the number of times you serviced them, or snow fall amount?
    How would you calculate snow drifts into snow fall? Our contracts are seasonal with no caps, our trigger is 2 inches and or when ever the muni goes out and plows the strteets. If there has been any drifting the client has to call and we will service them, we have around 10 when know where it happens ofthen and we just charge more for the seasonal price.
     
  17. theplowmeister

    theplowmeister 2000 Club Member
    from MA
    Messages: 2,552

    Neige I am NOT talking about you specifically just using your words

    I think calling your clients is a mistake, have a clear contract and stick to it.

    So... maybe up north you don't get slush, but if you have a 2 inch trigger and you get 1.5 of slush and its going to freeze for week you wont plow because it didn't hit your trigger?

    In the past I've called my customers and found out which ones want to be plowed in those cases. Now I know how they want to be serviced (because I talked to them)


    So you are suggesting going out every time it snows? 1/2" falls and you will service them, seems like a waste, and where I am from you could be going out every second day. Again have a clear contract with trigger and respect it.

    Not if that is what the customer wants.

    Well said, if its a 2 inch trigger, wait for 2 inches. If you go out for 1 1/2", the client will expect you to do it again the next time. Confusion can make for many phone calls. Be CONSISTENT

    My consistency is Figuring out what the customer wants (they usually don't know) and Billing for that service.

    Do you work for your contract or your customer (a person)?

    Unfortunately snow is not consistent, so trying to to hem in snow with a contract dont always work. The only way to be consistent is with a 0 tolerance for snow.

    By the way I speak ONLY about residential driveways
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2010
  18. JDiepstra

    JDiepstra PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,780

    JDiepstra are your caps on the number of times you serviced them, or snow fall amount?
    How would you calculate snow drifts into snow fall? Our contracts are seasonal with no caps, our trigger is 2 inches and or when ever the muni goes out and plows the strteets. If there has been any drifting the client has to call and we will service them, we have around 10 when know where it happens ofthen and we just charge more for the seasonal price.[/QUOTE]

    Number of times.
     
  19. Neige

    Neige Sponsor
    Messages: 2,198

    We do get slush, and everything in between. All our contracts are seasonal, with a very clear contract. The idea of calling 2700 clients is out of the question for me. After many years of service they know that under 2 inches they deal with it.
     
  20. THEGOLDPRO

    THEGOLDPRO PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,136

    i tell them that anything under 2 inches i wont come, if they want it done to call me and ill come out and do it.