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condo vs. commercial / mall

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Santa, Jan 15, 2001.

  1. Santa

    Santa Junior Member
    Messages: 14

    We have been doing snow removal / plowing for 21 years. We service only condominium's.(1565 units)It seems to me that over the last 2-3 yrs. people have become almost impossible to please, even though the management companies we deal with stand behind us 100%,and we have never had an insurance claim against us, we are tired of the whining tennants.We are thinking of getting into commercial and/or shopping center snow plowing/removal.

    What do you think??? anyone been there,done that???

    Thanks
    Donnie
     
  2. CT18fireman

    CT18fireman Banned
    Messages: 2,133

    I hate plowing my condos. No matter what they want you to return multiple times and clean all the parking spaces. Neve anywhere to put the snow and nobody moves cars like they are supposed to. Since I have picked up commercial I think this is my lst year with condos.
     
  3. John Allin

    John Allin PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,327

    Good God.... 1565 units !!

    I think Santa is a saint.
    Or... sado-masochistic (sp)
     
  4. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,865

    We dropped all our condos about 15 years ago, you wouldn't believe how enjoyable life is without them. Ditto what JAA said.
     
  5. TLS

    TLS PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,425

    Got to watch out for business parking lots. Lots of traffic and there are always stray cars from employees who were too chicken to drive home. Also in supermarkets, watch for cart corrales. I personally stick with manufacturing company lots. I'm lucky as all of mine only work 1st shift. Cars are there 7am to 5pm and the rest of the time they are completely empty. When it snows during work day, all of mine are happy to come out (stop working!) and move their cars to the area that I just cleared. Takes about 5 mins, but is worth it to get the lot cleared properly. Sometimes the cute secretaties let me move their cars for them, so they dont get snow in their high heels!
     
  6. paul

    paul PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 151

    Sorry guys but thats why I like them, No one wants to do them any more so my prices go up plus all the extra loader work and trucking (even with a light snow year) make for some nice contracts.

    Now if I was n JA area no way, can't see plowing for 50 to 60 days straight.
     
  7. Rcgm

    Rcgm Senior Member
    Messages: 613

    Never plowed condo's drive's before.But sure have did the mowing part.They all nag all the time.Calling head office before u get finished about grass on the walks.I got a buddy who does condo's he plows the street's and drops off 3 local college kids with blowers and lets them do the drive's but this park only has 55 units.
     
  8. DanG

    DanG Senior Member
    Messages: 240

    I used to help my brother in law do condo's near us.
    About 350-400 units plus the main walks and steps going to them.
    They had three big parking lots. And also a car-port for each unit.

    I'd never go back to them unless they pay big bucks.

    It's just like you guys say, people won't move their cars or
    you'd get all done plowing and cleaning and some Yahoo would shovel their spot where their car was or shovel their patio etc... and throw the snow into where you plowed/cleaned.

    And later that day/night you'd get a call from the condo association saying they've had complaints.

    Way too much BS.

    And we had to back drag each carport since you couldn't push the length of them due to poles being in the way.

    The whole job sucked..


    Dan
     
  9. Michael F

    Michael F Senior Member
    Messages: 203

    We do townhouse complexs, simliar idea only all have garages
    the one we had last year is great, very few complaints if any, may be 5 all last season. The other one down the street from the first is a totally different story, we had several snowfalls durring morning this season(9-11am) their the first on the phone complaining, why arn't we done? ect., in this case before noon I'll get a call.
    On the flip side, we do parking lots that had specd out in their contract, that they wrote, plowing done only between 8-11am, I bid at off peak times, they pay per trip, that called and wanted us there durring same event. We did stuff bid at peak times first then them, their specs, put them at end of our route sheet thats where they stay.
    Bottom line know your customers, I have some customers that are perfectly happy with the times we come, others that will never be happy. I explain at the begining of each season it takes us 6-8 hours to complete our route you will be done in that time frame.
     
  10. plowking35

    plowking35 2000 Club Member
    from SE CT
    Messages: 2,923

    I do condos, and I love them, we are there at no more than 1" and continue to plow as needed for the duration of the storm. I do not subscribe to the idea that the route takes x # of hours to complete and I will be then when I can.
    In fact we have picked up accounts just ofr that reason. During long duration storms we will dedicate equipment just for that account. They pay for the service, but being able to provide that level of service is what separates us from others in our market.
    Dino
     
  11. Kent Lawns

    Kent Lawns PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 315

    Couple of keys to be sucessful plowing condominiums:

    1.) DETAILED contracts -written by YOU- not the condomium accociation. Explain TIME you'll be there to plow and WHERE snow will be piled. Include loader (and/or snowblower) clauses, etc., etc.
    2.) Be set-up for it: Have you office staff fully briefed on the potential calls to handle them profesionally without giving away the farm. Our firm has a key employee who (amoung her other tasks) handles these pita customers, meets with them as needed and yes, hands out duplicate copies of our service provisions repeatedly.
     
  12. Yardworks

    Yardworks Senior Member
    Messages: 143

    I have Townhouses that I don't mind. But I'm getting to enjoy doing my commercial stuff more and more. It's nice to be there in the middle of the night, no one around, drinking a Mountain Dew, and wide open spaces. The worst problem is I know a lot of the people at the Townhouses. I've been doing these things for 4 years now. They are all great people and I love to talk to them, but sometimes they don't realize I have a long day ahead (usually about 17 hours) and I'm kind of pressed for time. But I guess that is part of keeping people happy.
     
  13. Mike Nelson

    Mike Nelson Senior Member
    Messages: 637

    We have approx.500 or 600 units that we service and you are right they are a pain.But they pay,and pay real well.Come to find out that most of the people that are complaining are the tennants,not the owners of the units.
    The management company sends a letter out in October to all owners explaining our snow plowing procedures.Sounds like a good plan.When the first snow hit people were asking us how we were going to plow?My reply was, didn't read the letter that was sent out?They said they never recieved one.Come to find out they were tennents and the owner never sent them a copy of the letter.This is becoming more and more the Real Problem. Good Luck!
    And yes malls are easier,but if it is a busy mall your exposure is alot greater than 500 or 600 hundred units!
     
  14. DanG

    DanG Senior Member
    Messages: 240

    Most of the complaints we'd get were from the tennants too.

    They'd just pass them along to the assocation who'd then call us.
    We had set times that we had to plow depending on when the storms would hit. Before 7am or before 4pm were the main ones, so they could get out and return from work.

    And if there were no cars around it wasn't to awful to clean up the lots but if school was cancelled then there'd be cars everywhere.

    And the walks had to be done before 11am which was kinda silly if storm continued past that, which meant sometimes we'd have to do them a couple of times.

    Dan
     
  15. site

    site Member
    Messages: 61

    We do about 700 units, and its getting pretty old. Whoever designs these things doesnt think about snow. All the residents are experts at doing my job. They make sure to tell me too. If nobody lived in condos it might be ok