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customer cancels.....

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by jblatti13, Feb 26, 2010.

  1. jblatti13

    jblatti13 Senior Member
    Messages: 123

    get a call from a customer ive serviced for 2 years now, residential paid per push, easy driveway 2 wide by maybe 2 1/2 long. every push theres a car in the drive, so the last time i plowed he came out and asked if id let him know when i was coming so he could move the cars. i said yea sure, knowing the chances id be there at a decent time to call or knock were very low. so he wanted to move the cars when i was there, and he did, which took about 10 mins to get keys and bs. so i send my guy out the other day for the heaviest wet snow ever, plowed, shoveled, went fine. his wife calls and leaves a voicemail saying she wants the final bill and shes gonna find another service. called her back and the only issue she had was that i never, ever aked them to move the cars over the last 2 years. i said okay, but that wasnt brought up to me until last week, so how could i have known this before? her reply was bogus, that she wasnt happy, i said okay and let it go just like that. called my guy, he said nope it looked good, no cars were there anyway, and they did the work accordingly. so i drove by myself. it looked as if i had done it myslef, meticulous. i just think its total crap that she expects me to wait 5-10 mins every time im there for them to move cars. we shovel between them anyway! so why move? to plow bare pavement under the cars. i dont think so. sorry to vent so long, just irritates me. first tiem ive ever lost an account for really no good reason. i just cant see a legit plow operation to ring door bell, ask to move cars and wait to plow for a very very small resi driveway. not for their $30 price anyway.
     
  2. ajslands

    ajslands 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,033

    I wouldave plowed the drive at 3am and then pound on the door and tell her to move the car, or i woulda just told 'em to park ye olde car in the street. But for what she wanted I wouldve walked away :laughing:
     
  3. JTVLandscaping

    JTVLandscaping Senior Member
    Messages: 860

    I just had the exact same argument with a client, she didnt drop me yet but its about the stupid car thing. A $30 driveway too, actually its worth more but it was a friend of a long-time good client and I drive by the house anyway so it was no big deal. Same thing though...10 minutes of warming the car up, then moving it and I'm trying to keep a schedule. So I've always been patient, til she paid cash this year a couple times. Cash is great, but I never count in front of the customer because I think it's rude, or thought so at the time, and she paid me 20 bucks, in random bills so it felt like it was all there. So this last storm I decided since she thinks the price is 20 bucks, I did 20 dollar work, not a whole lot. Then she complains that its not good enough so I go back today. Now its perfect and I'd love to see her face when she sees the $60 bill I left. HAHA, I know this is long but even if nobody reads it it felt good to type it
     
  4. buckwheat_la

    buckwheat_la 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,254

    that really sucks guys, i have had it out with a couple of customers about this, and it really came down to price, they get a price that is me showing up and working around their vehicles, and they get a price if i have to wait for them to move vehicles (usually double the cost) so far, i have had one customer take us up on moving the vehicle price. personally i think people like this are just looking for something to complain about, and usually their lives reflect their additude
     
  5. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    Usually, you'll get treated exactly the way you present yourself and act. Be professional and act in a professional manner, you'll be treated accordingly.....
     
  6. 2COR517

    2COR517 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,115

    I don't know how you guys stay in business. You have horrible customer relation skills. I'm guessing you got dumped more because of your high and mighty attitude, and less because of quality of work or price.

    Tell the customer you will plow, they can move the cars, you'll be back later to clean it up. That will cost you much less than shoveling between cars.

    BTW, having hired help shovel between cars is incredibly risky. One wrong move and you will be spending big money at the body shop.

    And for those of you that think you can "win" an argument with a customer, you are sadly mistaken.
     
  7. FisherVMan

    FisherVMan Senior Member
    Messages: 706

    Yea I dont know about this either as I sure as he*l have to wait for some of mine to come out and move the car but it doesnt take any 10 mins . And I realize every situation is different but I can tell you that around here if I was not decent and work with them they can replace me in ONE phone call there is that many guys here with a plow, so I could'nt possibly get to arrogant or the only driveway I would be plowing is my own. With that said I wouldnt take ANY BS off any of them but I cant really see how them wanting to move there car is that big of an issue??? I am guessing you guys are always in a hurry and time is a huge deal to you as you most likely have LOTS of work and wanta get going to the next one??? I guess its your call but sometimes just putting yourself in their shoes gets you the answer real quick ??? Good Luck with em?
     
  8. dchr

    dchr Senior Member
    Messages: 159

    As mentioned by Mick and 2COR customer relations/communication is key.All these details are hammered out with my customers before the season starts,usually at the contract signing. If they want me to clean after they move cars and they are home-I'll wait a few. If its a big storm and the drive is getting done more than once,I will plow to open it up,then come back later to clean up after cars are moved. Usually go back after the storm is over to clean up after the city plows anyway so it's no big deal. Got to keep the customer happy-they are the ones holding the money,and in today's market plow guys are a dime a dozen (unfortunately). Just my 2 cents.
     
  9. hedhunter9

    hedhunter9 Senior Member
    Messages: 212

    Having to wait on a customer to move his car every time you plow is BOGUS
    If that is what they want, then the price would HAVEto be higher.

    Just think, If you had 90 residentials to do and you had to wait for each of them to move their cars.... It would TRIPLE your route time....

    Contracts should spell out what and if a car is blocking drive and what happens.
     
  10. Rich6789

    Rich6789 Junior Member
    Messages: 7

    I think that you did the best you could with making them happy, and should not be to hard on yourself about losing them. It happens, especially when there is more snow then usual. I think sometimes people take their frustration at unexpected expense out on us. I had a lady ask me to call her everytime I was taking care of her neighbors property to see if they wanted service. Then in the same breath she asked for a price break because I was already taking care of her neighbors. Obviously the answer was no and no. Every situation is different, and sometimes you can justify waiting for them to move a car if they can meet you in the middle with some form of compromise. Whether it be paying a little bit more, or being understanding if you let their property ride a little longer then your others. I am all about service and my customers, but I learned quickly that boundaries must be set or they will just keep pushing you. Just my opinion formed on dealing with the occasional pita
     
  11. show-n-go

    show-n-go Senior Member
    Messages: 776


    You can win the battle but you still lose the war. I was alway's taught to suck it up and the only way to really win is to take there money. Unless you get paid to argue.
     
  12. WIPensFan

    WIPensFan PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,507

    Last year had a long time resi customer( at least 10 Yrs. ) start a kitchen redo in late Nov. They had a big dumpster in the drive and always 1-2 cars in the drive because the carpenters were set up in the garage. Lasted all winter. The drive winds in to a large open turn around. the only way to do this drive is to push everything forward, so it was a PITA all winter. I always waited for them to move cars and sometimes carpenters to unload. Also used the snow blower around the dumpster as I knew the workers would be walking all around it. Just acted like it was no big deal to me. To myself I was swearing everytime.:laughing: Gotta learn to deal with customers boys! You can be pissed off to yourself, but not to them.
     
  13. elite1msmith

    elite1msmith 2000 Club Member
    from chicago
    Messages: 2,762

    just do this next time, tell her that you have a tight route to keep, your trucks need to bring in $150 dollars per hour to stay in business, that breaks out to $2.50 each min, tell her she can move her car but from the time you get out of your truck until youare able to pull away , job completed to there satisfaction, they will be billed at that rate.
     
  14. cmo18

    cmo18 Senior Member
    Messages: 815

    I just went through a long argument..I signed a friend of mine moms up for snow removal with a 3" trigger. I gave her a great deal because shes a friends mom, it takes me 7 mins to get there, 15mins to plow and 7 mins back and it's sorta out of town. She calls saying she got 3" but in town we only got maybe 1". So I go out and plow her out but really it wasn't 3". She did the same thing to me 4 or 5 more times and it was getting to the point that she was calling every sign of flurries. SO finally I told her its not 3" and if you would like me to come you will have to pay. To the end, she said she wasn't happy and I recommend that she takes the cancellation clause. It pisses me off that you try and do a favor, and they take advantage of you. Way better off now as the same day she cancelled I picked up a 2 hr commercial lot! Cheers
     
  15. elite1msmith

    elite1msmith 2000 Club Member
    from chicago
    Messages: 2,762

    was she not a per push?
     
  16. jblatti13

    jblatti13 Senior Member
    Messages: 123

    mick and 2cor, my customer relation skills werent lacking any when i spoke with her. i wasnt rude, i listened to everything she said, but anything i couldlve told this lady wouldnt have pleased her. and my contract wit them does not mention that ill wait for cars to be moved, rather that we work around them, and we do. i always either have my cousin, or my gf with me shoveling, i trust them, and i know they can shovel around a pickup and a minivan without damaging them. my point is, even with the cars in the drive, it gets cleared thoroughly every push. why should i have them move them? it doesnt get done any better, it takes more time, and usually im there overnight or early am so they can get out!
     
  17. hydro_37

    hydro_37 PlowSite Veteran
    from iowa
    Messages: 3,790

    Just move on....she was gonna be a PITA to keep anyway
     
  18. WIPensFan

    WIPensFan PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,507

    Sometimes you just can't win. As long as you handled it like a pro, you shouldn't worry about it. You'll replace that account.
     
  19. Mackman

    Mackman PlowSite.com Addict
    from S.E. PA
    Messages: 1,356

    You guys can have all the driveway BS. I do 3 driveways and thats enough for me. LOL
     
  20. cmo18

    cmo18 Senior Member
    Messages: 815

    If she was I would not of had a problem going for 2"!