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Colorado Small Storms

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by famlawn, Jan 31, 2013.

  1. famlawn

    famlawn Junior Member
    from Denver
    Messages: 12

    We are going into our 7th year doing lawn service. But this is our 1st winter doing residential snow service. Learning a lot. Can you guys offer any advice...

    #1) We have a 2" dispatch for the majority of our customers, but we also offer a option where we go out for every snow. For most of the storms this season, including the last one on 1/29, I determined it wasn't over 2" (reason is based a lot on #2 below). The snow depth can vary, even on the same street. Some customers have said they are fine doing it themselves when its less than 2". However, each time we have another small storm this season we are getting more people calling to switch their accounts for us to come even under 2". Based on this I'm worried we haven't been meeting expectations and people have been expecting us to come shovel...either they had actually had 2" at their house, or people just look out and expect service even though it might be something like 1.5". How do you guys determine if you will dispatch the crews on these small storms?

    #2) Finding reliable help. This is a seasonal, every once-in-a-while type work. So we only have a few guys from our lawn mowing crews that haven't found a winter job that we trust to drive trucks and the atv. The other guys are basically randoms who we call the night before it snows and ask them if they can shovel and if they can meet at 4am to get started. Basically, during these small storms, part of what goes into my thinking of whether I will call it 2" or 1.5" is that it takes a lot of effort to get everyone to work at 4am. You have to call, worry they wont come, and then I feel some obligation that I have to pay them if they come all the way to work at 4am. But then what if it really is only 1.5" and the customers didn't want us to come. What if the snow never even sticks to the ground and now i have 10 guys who came all the way to work and are ready to get paid? Maybe I'm being to sentimental...its business, right? Maybe I should just get guys to work to cover my own ass, and worry less about the trouble them might experience if i tell them nevermind, go home. Thoughts on this? How do you guys handle the number of people you call when we expect a small storm?

    Thanks!
     
  2. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    So you don't plow,only shovel these drives?
     
  3. famlawn

    famlawn Junior Member
    from Denver
    Messages: 12

    Mainly shovel, but we also use an atv. They are 2 and 3 car drives
     
  4. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    Well you could have a couple of guys who are called in all the time and have them go out and handle the small snows and full crew when you get more. But if you call them in then you need to send them out even if its 1.5 inches.
     
  5. famlawn

    famlawn Junior Member
    from Denver
    Messages: 12

    Yeah I feel the same, if I call them in I have to send em out. But when the forecast says to expect from 1-2", what should i prepare to do? I mean this isn't exact. It's not like we actually measure snow depth at each and every house...Some probably do have something like 2.25", and others will have 1.75". What do you guys do in those situations?
     
  6. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    Go,once your out ,your out. If these people are that picky,time to replace them. Sell them seasonal contracts then they won't care when you come out.
     
  7. potskie

    potskie Senior Member
    from Ontario
    Messages: 769

    Once they are in they work, That's what I did at least. Labour law says I've gotta pay em 3 hrs because I called them in (Ontario) so we are doing something! even if a couple trucks are getting detailed we are doing something.


    You'll get better with when and why to call guys in. But the jitters never go away lol
     
  8. fairrpe86

    fairrpe86 Senior Member
    Messages: 175

    You tell the guys that you will call them IF there is enough snow to go out. you can talk to them the day/night before and let them know there is a possibility you might need them and to keep their phone on/be available if needed, if not you don't call them and then you don't have to pay them. I do not know how many guys you call out on a full dispatch storm, but maybe work out a phone tree where you call a few guys then they call out the rest of the guys.
     
  9. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    I think his problem is his workers are iffy to show up.
     
  10. famlawn

    famlawn Junior Member
    from Denver
    Messages: 12

    Yeah I call in advance and warn them. But in the morning I wake up and look out, I think, nah, and I text them we won't be working, not enough snow. My main problem is deciding if I should call them when we get just around 2", give or take. We keep having these small storms and I just don't know whether to pull the trigger. Honestly, part of it is the fact that it's 3am, I'm tired, and its easier to have just me and a few guys do the handful of customers who want shoveled no matter what than to call a bunch of guys to get 100 resi done. I'm writing this and thinking I might just be being lazy about it
     
  11. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    Need to get up and do a few driveway checks to see if you need to call them out. All part of this business,getting up and going out in the cold.