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Client Requests causing you to service poorly

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by NW Snow Removal, Dec 27, 2010.

  1. NW Snow Removal

    NW Snow Removal Senior Member
    Messages: 532

    We have a new client that is closed for business sunday and asked us to wait until after all the snow falls to clear it to save him some money. This is usually no problem because the clients then usually understand that it won't be perfect after sitting for so long. So, when this happens a few weeks ago after we got some rain turning to snow on saturday night followed by snow all day sunday, we let it sit, against my better judgment, and we serviced it sunday night, but it had became a solidsheet of ice on the bottom of three inches of snow and after pushing we had to salt him three times to get it to bare pavement, He said he wouldn't pay for extra service and it was icy because our plows weren't down all the way and that was why we couldn't get the snow off the pavement. He would not accept that it was the ice bonded due to his request. Fast forward to this holiday weekend, we get snow everyday(they are closed), but he says we can plow and shovel daily if necessary but can we wait til the end to salt. I explain that the same thing may happen, but ok I will do as you ask. Then of course it is 10 degrees today and the salt isn't working and he is pissed his lot isn't perfect. I am bending over backwards trying to meet his unrealistic needs, and I am sacrificing good service. What is wrong with me? We aren't desperate, am I just crazy letting this guy dictate poor service strategies and listening to him? I am just gonna start proceeding like I do on all my perfect properties and follow my contract.
  2. xtreem3d

    xtreem3d PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,547

    i feel for you..been there and done that...sometimes you just have to cut them loose, unfourtunately they don't recognize the good intentioned effort your putting forth..can be very frustrating...hope it works out
  3. Italiano67

    Italiano67 Senior Member
    Messages: 638

    Been there done that. Not only do you have to get the work done but you have to guess the weather etc to save them money. I say no dice. Either they are done on the weekend as part of your normal route with all of the services as usual or they can find someone else. What happens if someone decides to come into work to grab something or if there is a emergency at the building and the lot is a mess. Schedules like that add alot of stress and you get zero compensation for jumping through hoops. Plus snow that isnt plowed turns to ice and voila you now have the situation you describe. They can buy their own equipment and service there lot as often or as little as they feel like it.
  4. RLM

    RLM PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,270

    Politely ask them if you the snow & Ice professional or is he. Do you tell them how to perform their service or build the widgets ? Ask him to let you do it your way & see the results, especially since they arent willing to pay for the extra work required doing it there way. or cut them loose....there way is causing YOU liability.
  5. TCLA

    TCLA 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,695

    That's ridiculous. Since he is not letting you use your discretion and judgment, he got exactly what was expected to happen by not providing proper service. He is not the professional, you are.

    Bill him and go about your business and file a mechanics lien if he is unwilling to pay you for the results of his explicit directions.
  6. elite1msmith

    elite1msmith 2000 Club Member
    from chicago
    Messages: 2,762

    its pretty simple,

    you need to go into his place of work later on in the day, and show hi pictures of a similar lot near by that was service correctly, and the bill that goes along with it. then show him his lot and his bill. and explain that while trying to wait till the end is good in thoery but not good in the real world.

    in fact i have even taken customers (against my better judgement) in my truck, i let them hold the plow control, and tell them...push down and lets just see if with you here we can scape up some ice.

    depending on how the conversation goes....i would come down the the point of;

    a. we are going to service you how you should be.

    b. B we will do it your way, but you have to come out to the site and witness first hand for every event exactly what needs to be done and he can authroize the work

    C. you will do it his way, but he must pre pay for all services that he wants completed for each storm.

    thats a tuff spot to be in. I have alot of people ask why they should pay more for 6 inches of snow rather than 2 inchs.....my repley always is the same . " go out there with a shovel for 10 mins and you tell me if your back hurts.....my truck feels the same as your back.

    walk the lot with the guy, find a place that isnt plowed or melted, and ask him to shovel the snow and see if there is ice under it.
  7. Longae29

    Longae29 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,954

    43 plow trucks
    some skids with 10 ft sectional pushers
    a bunch of snowblowers
    ...and a helluva lot of salt

    I would move on. You dont need this kind of headache.
  8. buckwheat_la

    buckwheat_la 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,254

    Sometimes you can't save the stupid from themselves, this is very similar to a situation i was having with a manufacturing plant. Site down and do up a scope of work with him, what he wants, what/when he wants it, etc. put down what you well and won't be responsible for, then he can sign it. Cover your @ss because sure and sh!t he well be the one suing you when his unrealistic expectations don't work out
  9. MahonLawnCare

    MahonLawnCare Senior Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 848

    Have him sign a contract amendment releasing you from all liability from his service requests. He'll change his tune quickly. Been there, done that
  10. cubicinches

    cubicinches PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,412

  11. dforbes

    dforbes Senior Member
    Messages: 247

    If he refused to pay for services rendered, I would not have been back there this weekend doing more services.
  12. Turf Commando

    Turf Commando Senior Member
    Messages: 567

    The client you listed is a schmuck, do yourself a favor and dismiss that account..
  13. csi.northcoast

    csi.northcoast Senior Member
    Messages: 320

    i think it is time to fire your customer.....

    1..by saving him money it is putting un due wear and tear on your equipment
    2. customers or potential customers might see you servicing that account and it looks very different from your other locations may cost you future business
    3. liability
    4. it does not sound like it is worth the a$$ ache.

    I would try to explain your position...but if he thinks he knows better ... have him find someone else...or give him a national company to call.....ok that was a low blow ....sorry
  14. MidLandscaping

    MidLandscaping Junior Member
    Messages: 9

    I agree with all replies on this thread. There are many business owners out there that tries to save money anywhere they can. When it comes to snow and ice management, not only is there a major liability with slips and falls on the business owners back, but snow and ice management needs to be handled by the professional and in this case...is you. If there is any chance that my customers decision making affects my quality of work and puts both business owner and I, the contractor, in a position of a possible slip and fall lawsuit, I would no longer manage their snow & ice needs.

    I understand in today's economy, we try to keep every account we have throughout the season. I too have bent over backwards, but when I do, it goes against how I manage snow and ice. If I do not feel comfortable with my customers decision as to what they are going to pay for and what they are not going to pay for, then it is my decision to end services. We know how to control snow, how to control ice and protect our customers from slip and fall incidents. They need to understand this. I can honestly say, everyone of our commercial accounts, the business owner leaves the decision making to us because of our slip and fall record...0 during 10 years of snow and ice management. (knock on wood!)

    To sum things up...if he is a good customer, explain the snow and ice management process. Let him know what can happen if you do this or if you don't do this...so he understands. Paying for additional saltings or snow removal services is a heck of a lot cheaper then being hauled into court. And as I am sure everyone else knows, when the business owner is hauled in...they will drag you, the contractor, in with them.

    Thumbs Up
  15. LoneCowboy

    LoneCowboy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,760

    I always try to meet the customer's needs
    If, for example, they are closed on Sunday, I don't do them til the end of the route, so they only get done once.
    But I'm not coming out again Monday morning to do just them. I'm out, my crews are out, everyone is getting done.
    If it happens to snow again Sunday night, well I certainly can't predict that (and neither can the idiot weatherpeople)
    If it's a church, I find out what their holiday schedules are (christmas eve being the prime example) and take care of that for them.
    None of this is in the contract. Snow and ice removal is at my discretion as long as it meets the minimum trigger depth. They read it, they agreed to it, they signed it. But I do try and help them out. Snow removal is overhead. Keeping that low helps them, which makes them want to keep you.

    But, I do expect to get paid

    personally, I'd fire your customer.
  16. bristolturf

    bristolturf Senior Member
    Messages: 435

    can you convince him to presalt maybe? that will help somewhat I think at least reducing the bond and a major sheet of ice from forming. it really wouldnt probably be that much additional salt (to cover those weekend storms at least)
  17. Plow man Foster

    Plow man Foster PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,153

    Up until now you are still liable for slips and falls!
    Just like someone else said if i were you i would get him to sign something like a contract saying that your company isnt responsible for anything that happens due to hi orders
  18. NW Snow Removal

    NW Snow Removal Senior Member
    Messages: 532

    Thanks for the reassurance everyone. The end of the last conversation had him telling me that we should do whatever it takes to make it perfect, because we now have 2 strikes. I didn't say it was his fault because he just calls that my excuse, haha. I am rearranging crews a little to make it seem as if I am altering his service plan to allocate a little more labor to his site. I am just curious if it is a situation where every dollar he saves he can put in his pocket, or if it is an end of year budget issue. he is not the owner of the building, just the head of building management.
  19. bristolturf

    bristolturf Senior Member
    Messages: 435

    i would contact the building owner as well and discuss this issue with him. Get his answer in writing and go with it. If he wants you to plow as needed on the weekends i would do so. IF he wants it to wait then there ya go, and you get it in writing that his request is to have it plowed last during closed hours over the weekend, and that you are not responsible if you cant get the pavement completely clean
  20. leolkfrm

    leolkfrm PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,337

    1st he is a new client, did he do the same thing to the last plow person or is it a new property
    2nd, it sounds like he want to save money by contracting per push, per salt trip
    by not paying the full bill he has broken even a gentlemans agreement
    give a seasonal price take it or leave it
    if he leaves it, leave him