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Calls for service/ how quick do you respond?

Discussion in 'Ice Management' started by DanG, Feb 25, 2003.

  1. DanG

    DanG Senior Member
    Messages: 240

    I was already in bed tonight & I get a phone call tonight at 10:15pm asking me to salt at the condo's i do( They have some little old ladies running the snow removal committee who are clueless on how things should be run).

    Would you have gone out tonight or waited till tommorrow morning to do it/check on it?

    I went over and did it but I feel they were wasting their money and my time(not that I mind taking their money.) :)

    There was less then 1/4" of snow and no ice at all.

    I had to go get the salter,put it on the truck, fill it, put extra bags in the bed of the truck and then drive over & do the roadways and the walks so they're getting charged full price since they requested it.

    The way I feel is if something ever happened I can say i did what they asked me to do.

  2. ProSno

    ProSno Senior Member
    Messages: 257

    Well Dan, I'm not bashing here I'm just giving my opinion. I am 24 hr. emergency snow management. That means 24 Hrs. I do all commercial and when my phone rings I'm out there at that minute. Now I don't know how much snow you've gotten this year but one thing is for sure when we put our sanders in the trucks they don't come out till spring except to clean and service and then right back on. Also we always have them full BUT we've been using them almost two maybe three times a week. When there cleaned out I wont fill it till were getting snow and then its filled just before the storm. So maybe my situation is different than yours but we are always ready and respond immediately but we have also kept our clients for 16 years. I feel that if I was'nt this prepared its like calling the fire Dept. and before they come out they must put the hoses on the trucks. Just my 2 cents. I realize your situation could be different.
  3. DanG

    DanG Senior Member
    Messages: 240

    Pro Sno,
    Thanks for the reply,
    If it was an emergency(ice storm etc..) I would've seen the need for it.

    We've had no snow since last monday and then we had all the rain.
    For any snowfall under 3" or ice events they have to request service( their idea not mine)

    They've had numerous small snowfalls (1-2")where services should have been done and they did nothng at all.

    In my opinion there was no need for this service.

    If they had called me to check/ do it if neccessary I would have reccomended no service at this time.
    But thats not what they asked me to do, they requested it to be done.

    The part that frosts me is that the wife and i were spending some "quality" time ;) and I had to run out to do this and by the time I got back she was asleep.:(

  4. cat320

    cat320 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,222

    If they are willing to pay then do it ,plus like Prosno said 24 hour plowing service,there are times i hate to even go out but that is the nature of the beast you go when it's bad out not when you would like to go.When the weather pattern starts to shift you will have plenty of quality time believe me.
  5. John DiMartino

    John DiMartino PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 2,154

    Dan, I also am a full time snow removal,and I always have at least 1 spreader in the truck ready to go. At least 2 trucks are always ready, the plow/spreaders never come off.til spring.I always try to get there in under an hr,if your set up right its not a big deal to do,but in your case its a PITA because your not set up for snow/ice FT. I hate when a call interupts quality time with wife:( . Ive had that happen too). I would have been happy to get the call to salt.( i dont get calls to salt,I just do it at my descretion,and bill them) After that rain/cold the other night didnt you go out and salt then? If I were you id make sure your contract had a liability provision in it,if they want to call the shots below 3" of snow,they take on the liability in the event of a lawsuit resulting from poor judgement,or failure to call you for service. I would be leery of taking that account,for that alone.I converted 2 accounts from (on call ) to full service after i made them sign service refusals a few times. I also charge them an addtional fee for call ins ,this helps offset the PITA it is to get up at 3 am.I would finish my salting run,get home in bed then they would call 2 hrs later(after your snoozing),and say they need it salted right away. :realmad: .
  6. ProSno

    ProSno Senior Member
    Messages: 257

    Okay we have a situation here, we have a man in a plowtruck for days plus probably working on equipment for days and one night his wife says YES and all of a sudden a call comes in !!! come on guys I think I would be a little annoyed too. BUT I would have woken her up when I came home and finished QUALITY TIME. LOL
  7. Ohiosnow

    Ohiosnow Senior Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 415


    ASAP as in right now, on any contract work calls.

    I would do just as you did :waving: & FULL CHARGE of course :D as they did call you for service.;)
  8. wyldman

    wyldman Member
    Messages: 3,265

    For most of our contracts,salt is up to us.If they call and make the decision.If they decide to call,I tell them it's a two ton minimum just to get a truck out.Only way it's worthwhile.I have two guys close to our shop,so our response time is usually under 30 mins anytime day or night.

    Sometimes you just gotta do it,no matter what the circumstances.It would be better if you had the spreader in the truck ready to go at all times.Another option would be to sub it out to a larger company with better response times,and to save you the hassle.

    Keep excellent records,and take pictures if possible,as we have had complaints filed later on in this type of scenario.Someone slips and complains,so they call you out.A few days later we get a letter stating we are being held responsible due to the fact we salted and someone slipped and fell.We later found out that they slipped BEFORE we were even called,and we were called out to cover their butts.
  9. DanG

    DanG Senior Member
    Messages: 240

    I keep very good records at this site and at all the others i do.
    I noted the time she called and what she wanted done.
    Then called her back and spoke to her directly to find out if there was anything else she wanted done while I was there. When I got there i noted the conditions and wrote them down in my log book.To CMA if something ever did happen.


    It's not that big of place to do. :)

    On all my accounts I've only used 8 pallets of salt all winter.

    Only takes 1 filling of the tailgate sander(400lbs) which is a slide in the reciever type.and then 8-12 bags to do the walks depending on the conditions, plus 2-3 bags of ice melt on the concrete areas.

    Total time for me to drive the 3 miles to it, do it and return home was just over 2 1/4 hrs.

    Easiest $500.00 I've made all winter :D

    Makes up for some of the repairs on truck due to the extreme winter so far.

  10. Lawn Lad

    Lawn Lad Senior Member
    Messages: 407

    To answer your own question of whehter or not it should have been done right away - I would have asked the customer. "Do you need the application by morning, or do you need it now?" If they say now, that's your answer. As said earlier - it's a 24 hr business and you have to respond to the customer. How you're set up for it between storms is not an issue to the customer - just a convenience issue for you. And if you made $250 an hour for your work - not too shabby. Just think if you leave your spreader on your truck (if possible) than you'll be making more per hour.
  11. CMerLand

    CMerLand Senior Member
    Messages: 173


    As others have said, we go when theyre calling or else they will call someone else. Gotta make hay while or the suns shining or something like that.

    More importantly, I suggest you review your contract procedures so you dont end up in the middle of a lawsuit because of confusion over who is responsible to manage the property and make decisions regarding salting etc.

    Within my company I either want allllll the liability or none of it, and even then I will shift responsibility back to the property owner when necessary.

    If a client is going to make the decisions on whether or not to salt, their liability. If the client is going to limit us to the amount of materials we use, their liabilty. If they are going to use us for on-call salting, the are liable for up to 4 hours for response time or until we arrive on site. We have these clauses in our contract so it is clear who is responsible for these decisions.

    If they put there trust in us, then we will gladly accept the liability because I believe we will do the job that needs to be done to reduce the possibilty of a lawsuit. When selling the job I always use this line with them

    "Do you want to go to court and have us say that we salted this property three times and used 1500 lbs of salt each visit and covered every square inch of the lot and somehow this person managed to find the one piece of ice that we missed???"

    " Well yea your honor, we threw the few hundred lbs of salt down that morning that they authorized us to use, but we probably should have used more, and didnt really salt that back parking lot cause almost nobody parks there and we would have needed more salt anyhow.???

    Most get the point, when they realize how cheap our salting service is vs just a couple of hours with an attorney.

    As far as shifting the liablity back to the property owner, that comes in with regards to site monitoring. I have posted on here before regarding getting paid to do this so you can read more on that thread. However, we automatically will inspect the property the day after the storm (for a service fee) and then ONLY on an on-call basis unless the client accepts and pays for additional days of monitoring. This means that the property owner is now liable for those little patches of ice that crop up every night after thaw and refreeze, and I dont have to drive around every night for free to make sure these properties are safe.

    PS. When I do get a call for salting a few days after a storm, I always take a video camera to film the condition of the lot when I arrive. Havent needed it yet but in court, it may make a huge difference when you show the jury that 98% of the lot was ice free and this person reallyyyyyy had to go out of their way to find some ice to slip on.

  12. chris k

    chris k Senior Member
    Messages: 204

    I would have gone right out here too. They called so there is no way I would fell like I was wasting their money. Plus it couldn't come back to you if something happened. What would have happned if you waited till the next morning and overnite someone fell. You would have been in deep !@#$. Better to be safe than sorry. Athough I hear ya about finally getting finished and going home to get that one !@#$%^& that calls and you have to go back out.
  13. Mike Fronczak

    Mike Fronczak Member
    Messages: 64

    That's where min charges come in. We go out 2 ton min/per site if called in even if we only put down 750 lbs(1 hopper full). Make alot of money real quick.
  14. mike9497

    mike9497 Senior Member
    Messages: 466

    just do it.that 3 inch deal must suck for you.i go out even when its a dusting to push it around and sand.well i do shaws and stop and shop super markets so maybe thats different then your deal.but i did have a place like yours and they were on a 1 1/2 trigger then i got them down to 1/2 an inch for sanding and what not.i won't do anything that has a 3 inch trigger,but thats just me.do the 24 hour thing.if they call go do it even if you think it doesn't need it
  15. carlriv2

    carlriv2 Senior Member
    from Mass
    Messages: 126

    My contract read " we will respond within 1 hour for all service calls" Typically I head right out the door however there are times when that is not possible. I also keep my equipment loaded and ready to go, so I could put it off a little, or call an employee to come in.
  16. mike9497

    mike9497 Senior Member
    Messages: 466

    i had that one hour deal in my contract for one season.it bit me in the back side one time to many.so i changed it to the minimum waiting time is 1 to 3 hours after a storm.on call sanding and plowing is a minimum waiting time of 1 hour.notice the words MINIMUM WAITING TIME.
  17. cat320

    cat320 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,222

    Mike9497 ,That is a good way to word it i never had the wait time in my contracts but now that i think about what happened to me last year i should of had it in there.
  18. mike9497

    mike9497 Senior Member
    Messages: 466

    wanna know who told me to put that in my contract.the #1 person i have trusted my whole life.my MOM....lol lol.everytime i have a problem with a customer or a worker shes the first one i ask for advise.when i send out news letters or bid stuff she always proof reads everything.yeah my future wife helps out to with alot,but good old mom seems to always have the right answer.when i was real little she was the one who took care of the yard and cut the grass and did the snow shoveling.so i think she knows what i go throught.sorry getting away from the thread but wording the contracts is key to saving your butt.equipment always seems to fail during a storm.so make sure you give yourself enough time to make repairs or go at it with one peice less of equpment.