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Biggest Customer Bought Their Own Truck??

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Dodge Plow Pwr, Feb 5, 2009.

  1. Dodge Plow Pwr

    Dodge Plow Pwr Senior Member
    Messages: 568

    Last week they were saying that because of all the snow we have had lately they would like to ammend the contract from 2" to 3" trigger. I said I could do that no problem. Got a call today from my customer informing me that they just bought a truck with a plow and a spreader and will no longer need my services. They are not cancelling me because of lack of or poor service, they just don't want to pay anymore money for plowing and salting. My contract is per push and is supposed to run throught April 15, 2009. I want to be a dick and fight with them, BUT I also run another business for the last 11 years and I just happen to rent from these people. WTF??? I bought enough salt for the entire year for them and didn't bid other accounts as this was a BIG contract and I wanted to be able to service them to the best of my ability.:realmad::realmad::angry::angry:
    Needless to say I am pissed off about the whole mess.
    Thanks for reading my rant.
  2. stroker79

    stroker79 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,802

    I would give them hell actually and explain to them them they must buy your salt from you or follow the contract through, or buy it out. thats not right.

    Good Luck
  3. 7.3 Plower

    7.3 Plower Senior Member
    Messages: 221

    I'm going to bet that their own plowing won't last all that long.

    We're having an above-average snowfall this year. If it doesn't snow much next year they'll sell their truck because it's costing them money and you'll be back to your job.
  4. ford550

    ford550 Senior Member
    Messages: 407

    That's exactly why we have "early termination" clauses and very steep fees to avoid that problem.
  5. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    Wait till the new plow jockey breaks the plow off and they'll be standing there with their hose in their hand wondering what to do next. Just keep your cool. I had that happen a few yrs back but it was a smaller lot and the broke the truck and found out it wasn't worth doing it themselves.Maybe offer a seasonal contract with them.
  6. Dodge Plow Pwr

    Dodge Plow Pwr Senior Member
    Messages: 568

    I have explained that this seasons snowfall is above average here at 46.4" Dec. 1, 2008 - Jan. 30, 2009. She says she understands and last year they spent $6,000 less for the entire year than they have spent for this year already. She also states she knows I am NOT gouging them or ripping them off, BUT the owner of the properties says it's too much of HIS $$$$ going out the door. I took off my early termination clause because of who they are to me, my land lord for my other business where all the rest of my eggs are in a basket. I will be cool as they owe me more $$$ yet. I will NOT help them out when the truck breaks down as to me they are not honest business people to deal with. And the truck WILL break down as it is 23 years old and so is the stuff on it. It has been a plow truck all it's life...:yow!::yow!:
  7. Blazin

    Blazin Senior Member
    Messages: 185

    Without being a dick I would explain to them you bought the salt for their lot. No They have left you holding the bag. Explain that they need to at the very least take the salt off your hands. Then when the truck craps the bed you do it on a per storm basis. Next year sign a contract for the season.
  8. Milwaukee

    Milwaukee 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,180

    I can see why you get mad.

    Exact thing my friend's Dad bought F250 with plow because this. Why he figure that he be save lot money by plow itself instead hired someone that can be cost lot. He have 2 buildings.

    Now it bad time and no one want spend money on snow removal due economy plus Obama's tax would be higher.
  9. procut

    procut Senior Member
    Messages: 902

    I had a similar thing happen to me. Wasn't as big of a deal, as it was really small lot accross the street from a larger account, and they were always slow pay. It still was kind of a b!tch though, as it was an EASY push, plus I already had a truck there for the other account, but such is life.

    I did get a look at their "plow truck" probably 25-30 years old, with differant colored fenders, doors, box. ect. Something I would barely trust to start and drive down the road, let alone plow snow.:dizzy: My theory was the owner of the place, stumbled accorss the old thing for maybe $500, and said to himself, "Gee, last month my bill for snow plowing was $250, after a couple months, this thing will pay for itself and I'll save so much money :D"

    As far as your situation, I guess its hard to say without knowing the whole story. I can understand trying to stay on good terms with them, as they are your landlord. Or, since they screwed you, figure two can play that game and abruptly move out of their building. Maybe try to get them to take the salt off your hands at your cost, explain they can use it themselves on their lot.

    In conclusion, I feel for you, as abrupt mid season cancellations suck and are kind of $h!tty IMO. In addition to the story above, I've had similar stuff happen in the summer, places buying there own mowers, ect. I always just kind of let it go, because once they make up their mind they want out because they think they can save money (usually they're really not), there is no point in trying to convince them otherwise. Good luck!
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2009
  10. ahoron

    ahoron Senior Member
    from here
    Messages: 422

    Atleast the season is almost over
  11. procut

    procut Senior Member
    Messages: 902

    :eek: No clue what your trying to say here.
  12. LoneCowboy

    LoneCowboy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,760

    You know, here in Colorado, there are all kinds of rules regarding vehicles.
    Must be registered, must be insured, must have current emissions sticker, etc.

    It's totally stupid and more government control, but in cases like this, it might make it very interesting for them and work for you. Esp if the truck just sits in their lot. All these programs have anonymous tipster lines and the fines are not cheap.

    PLUS, since you are a renter, ask to see a certificate of insurance for their snow removal, not unreasonable request by any businessman, you need to be covered of course. You would hate to slip and fall and them not have insurance. You are after all just doing business, nothing personal.

    Make sure you remove them specifically from your policy (if they are an additional insured) and send them a copy of that. (that they have been removed)

    The salt you now own, the dangers of business. Talk to some other contractors around, certainly people will want to buy it from you.
  13. Bajak

    Bajak Senior Member
    Messages: 999

    That sucks man. Just when I couldn't think of anything good this year being on seasonal contract. I hope their truck fails them miserably and you get it back soon. It really sucks that
    you went out of your way to provide exclusive service by not bidding other work too.
    Tell them you don't want to pay your rent. Must be a breach of contract either way.
  14. big pusher

    big pusher Senior Member
    from ohio
    Messages: 129

    I had the same thing happen to me on one of my larger lots. They signed my contract in September then in November bought their own truck. They told me that I had provided excellent service the past three years but it came down to money. I was not happy about it but just let it go. I go past that lot every event and it is never clean because now it is an employee of this lot plowing it where as before it was a contractor (me) plowing it with my reputation on the line.
  15. scottL

    scottL PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,600

    I would approach them and simply lay it out like this .... Go ahead and plow your lot. As for salt I had to buy ahead to ensure availability and price. Given I suspected no reason of my own to have lost you as a client I need to recoop the cost of my exposure and liability in which I acted in good faith.

    I can either apply the salt as $xyz or sell you the salt at $xyz. But, understand that this was all done in good faith and this sudden change without cost puts undue burden upon me.

    Now ... if you really don't have much salt or they are cutting you a sweat heart deal on your renting then you've got to weigh this in to your decision. But don't sit there steaming.
  16. P.L.

    P.L. Member
    from usa
    Messages: 74

    What most people don't understand is that this year is an exception. Most years there is not nearly this much snow and we have to sit around and wait to see if it's going to snow even if it doesn't. Customers don't care how we pay our bills in a winter when there is no snow, but in a winter like this all they do is complain their paying to much. When someone hires me they are getting a service. That means whether it snows once a winter or twenty times I will be there. I have to sacrifice a lot to provide this type of service. No vacations during the winter, can't work for someone else, many winters with no income, long sleepless nights with no snow in the morning, truck repairs, insurance....... the list just keeps going. Every once and a while we catch a break and get a good winter which makes it worth it to be in this business and forget about all the bad winters. But as soon as this happens you get people like this who ruin it for you. It's very hard to get good reliable clients and very easy to get bad ones. Over the years I have learned to just let go of the bad clients and move on. If they don't want me there than I don't want to be there, eventually you we end up with a few very loyal customers and problems like this won't occur. As tough as it is just move on and look toward next year.
  17. jgoetter1

    jgoetter1 Senior Member
    Messages: 276

    What's the point of a contract? Isn't the contract supposed to insure your customer base is stable? I know its not worth the hassle to involve a third party, but in terms of contracts you're in the right, not them.

    What a jerk. This would be the same jerk who'll beg you to help out when their 'new' truck breaks down.
  18. Dodge Plow Pwr

    Dodge Plow Pwr Senior Member
    Messages: 568

    ScottL, I just bought a new load after the last storm, so yes I have plenty. Since it is paid for I will just hold on to it till next year when I get better reliable customers. I pay a nominal rent for my modest 7,000 sq. ft building. I really cannot just up and move as I am in the printing business and the machines are very large and very heavy. I will be going there today to pay my rent as I follow my contract obligations. I will also be asking for a lock on my lease and rent rate for a 3 year extension or I will persue them with my attorney (who happens to be my friend) and have them buy me out of the contract. I looked it over and I did leave my early termination clause in there. Since it is of NO fault of mine they are leaving me high and dry, they need to make it right by me... I WILL keep my cool throughout as I am a professional.ussmileyflag
  19. Dodge Plow Pwr

    Dodge Plow Pwr Senior Member
    Messages: 568

    That is my thoughts exactly. He signs leases with people all the time and sues them if they default with him. He keeps telling his lady that I deal with that, "He'll understand, he is a businessman too". BS I understand. What if someone made a contract with him for 2500 things he make, they take the first 500 and say, no thanks we found them better by doing it ourselves? I am more P!22ed today than yesterday.
    I have already decided I will NOT help when they break their truck. I too will be the biggest crittic of the new plow job as my employess will have to walk on the areas that they will plow. If it is slippery or still full of snow and semis cannot make deliveries and people slip to get into work......I will be calling for them to fix it right now.
    Who in here would get up at 2 am for $10.00/hour to plow in someone else's truck for approx.23-26 hours. That's why I hired other drivers and have more than one truck. That's the secret. They thought I only used one truck for 19 properties???? Should have thought with his head, not his wallet.
  20. grasmancolumbus

    grasmancolumbus Senior Member
    Messages: 148

    Landlord or not they have the obligation to follow through with there contracts. If you went to them and said hey I bought a new building for my Printing business because you were tired of your hard earned money making them rich, they would say congrats but you still owe me for the rent until your lease expires. Keep your cool like you said, a contract is a contract. Good Luck