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Customer Complaining about slush

Discussion in 'Ice Management' started by nepatsfan, Jan 1, 2011.

  1. nepatsfan

    nepatsfan Senior Member
    Messages: 727

    I have a customer that has complained about slush a few days after the storm. This is a fairly good size parking lot approximately 100k square feet. They are on an on call basis for sand/salt. It's a combination of not wanting to spend the money and not wanting the sand in the building. The sole reason for the slush on the parking lot was we did have some snow and ice pack due to not being able to pre treat. I actually stuck my neck out and did put down one application of sand and salt to break up the pack in the middle of the storm. It had also not been treated yet this year so there was no residual salt to keep the snow melting when it hits the pavement. We went back the day after and scraped it again the day after the storm and scraped up what was loose but there was probably an inch of pack in some places. This is not how I would leave a parking lot ever but they are tying my hands behind my back without letting me put down sand and salt. We have several commercial lots and we treated as needed to keep this problem from happening. All of our other lots are black and wet before we leave. This is the only one with the issue and I discussed it with them at the beginning of the year and was told that the area gets a lot of sun and that would take care of the ice. Anyways, the manager from this company sent me an email with these concerns. I called him to speak with him and tell him the reason why this happened and every time I tried to speak he cut me off. I tried to speak to him about using straight salt in order to alleviate the sand problem in the building and make the cleanup in the spring easier. As I started to tell him about this I prefaced it with, I don't want to take up too much of your time but if I could just give you a..........."you have already taken up too much of my time" click and hung up. The bottom line is that it's HIS fault that the parking lot had slush on it. I will not go back every day for a week to scrape whatever slush melts so he can save a few dollars on sand/salt. I have been in this business for 14 years and I know what needs to be done to leave the parking looking like it just rained in spring. I also will not be belittled and hung up on and treated like a child when it's his fault to begin with. I have already sent him a professional email explaining how the job should be done and he has not responded. It was sent friday and I dont think he was in. The more I think about the situation, the more I think I don't even want the account if he is going to act like a child. He is one of those people that thinks he knows everything about everything and its quite apparent that it is not the case. The money is in line with industry standards and it is profitable but I'm not getting rich and I certainly don't want to deal with childish behavior. Would you guys dump the account? We have a lot of other work and I do not need this account to survive. I am debating sending a letter of resingnation or a request to terminate the contract. One of the other complaints was the banks were too high at the entrance way??? We got 17 inches of snow there.Most of that was from the town but when it was mentioned we were there within an hour and I moved them with the skid steer. So would you keep the account or your sanity?
  2. ctbman

    ctbman Member
    Messages: 76

    Dump it. Its not worth the headache.No time to deal with cheap pricks.
  3. polplow

    polplow Member
    Messages: 45

    on commercial accounts why would you take one on that wouldnt let you properly handle their snow and ice management. Send out the letter.
  4. tuney443

    tuney443 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,847

    I would send him a letter telling him in the future that you will salt only at your discretion,NOT his; you can even tell him you just got a memo from your insurance company demanding that all your lots get salted after/and/or before plowing for liability reasons.The ones who think they know about snow removal actually don't know jack squat.I know what you're dealing with--good luck.
  5. Mr.Markus

    Mr.Markus PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,110

    Plow it off, treat it with salt, fix the complaint and charge appropriately on your bill. His email is written confirmation that he wants it taken care of and your following his direction, If he refuses to pay....he's wasting YOUR time.
  6. bristolturf

    bristolturf Senior Member
    Messages: 435

    In our contract it states that salting after each plow visit is discretionary based on current conditions, but will be automatic after the final plowing. It also states that following the final salting, we will make a final visit later during the day or the following evening to spot check areas that need to be resalted which we will salt things if needed. If you still want to use salt sand to help them keep the costs down, mix it heavy with salt like 50-50 or even 60-40 (salt-sand). That way you can keep the cost down for him by mixing in the sand but still get a good melt. We only have one account that is salt by request only, and we are up front with them, that we dont want calls saying theres problems with the lot when your not salting, never once have had a problem and there lot has some compaction on it. The other place with a weird salting is just for things under 1", they have to give us permission to plow or salt if its under an inch. But when we salt, it gets put on really heavy so it usually melts everything then.
  7. mnglocker

    mnglocker Senior Member
    Messages: 922

    One word: Paragraphs.
  8. Dr Who

    Dr Who Senior Member
    Messages: 637

    I'd get my pay and tell them to find someone else to clear there lot, its not worth the agervation and the time you go back half dozen times you have went in the hole on the job.

    besides if he won't even talk to you about anything well sounds like he is a A-hole and I personaly do not work for A holes, I got better things to do then play that game
  9. nepatsfan

    nepatsfan Senior Member
    Messages: 727

    Thats kind of what Im thinking
    I'm not sure. In retrospect I wouldn't have
    I think I am going to wait for a response, and make a decision from there
    It's in the contract that it in on a will call basis..In a way I thought it would relieve me from some liability because the sanding was on them
    I didnt think it would be an issue but from now on I will NOT give any kind of option. I honestly thought in my head that maybe it would be better because the liability for slips and falls would be put back on them because salt and sand was their decision
    Sorry....didn't realize I was gonna end up writing a book. I see where it could be difficult. I was kind of talking out loud
    This may be what I end up doing. I think you guys have pretty much confirmed it for me. What bothers me most is that he is a gutless pr*ck that can't even talk to me like a man. I was more than nice to him and it's kind of like he knows(or he thinks he knows) that I'm not gonna give it back to him because he thinks he holds power over me. The funny thing is that this is a huge billion dollar nation wide company. They are trying to save pennies over the grand scheme of things by not salting.
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2011
  10. bristolturf

    bristolturf Senior Member
    Messages: 435

    around here we dont do salt and sand mixtures. The DOT was for a while, but they stopped that even. Its just cheaper in the long run to do the salt. Less clean up, less hassle managing storm water in the spring, etc. Personally me, if I were to do a mix I would use at least 60% salt but more along the lines of probably 75%. If they dont have a specific request for the ratio of sand/salt then I would just do a light mixture.

    We dont touch lots we cant salt unless we have a wavier signed saying we are not to be held responsible for any slip and fall claims if not salt has been used and also we wont justify or warrent additional work due to no salt being applied. If the account gets salt we will salt as needed after each plow or during patroling but its automatic below 1" at icing, and after the final plow with spot salting performed later during the day or the following night.
  11. nepatsfan

    nepatsfan Senior Member
    Messages: 727

    makes sense. a lot of guys around here use mix. I am not opposed to using mix but I agree with everything else. Next year I may switch to straight salt for everything. we do the same thing the following day but in this instance it ends up being plowing the entire lot again and still having pack. Like I said before its like tying my hands behind my back and telling me to do a perfect job. If salt was so unimportant why would everyone else in the world use it except for this place.
  12. Westhardt Corp.

    Westhardt Corp. Senior Member
    Messages: 845

    Learn from this, and don't ever--ever agree to work on these terms again. Specifically, either you salt at your discretion, or you WALK AWAY FROM THE CONTRACT. You are opening yourself up to potentially devastating litigation by essentially removing the snow only to expose the ice.

    Just. Say. No.

  13. nepatsfan

    nepatsfan Senior Member
    Messages: 727

    It didn't even take me until Jan 1st before I realized my mistake. I had reservations about it when I took it on......I will never take on an account that I can't manage and use my own discretion again.
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2011
  14. swtiih

    swtiih PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,179

    I think you are making the right decision
  15. nepatsfan

    nepatsfan Senior Member
    Messages: 727

    Thanks...its reassuring hearing that everyone feels pretty much the same way I do.
  16. BlazingSun

    BlazingSun Junior Member
    Messages: 20

    Sanity rules.....
  17. Westhardt Corp.

    Westhardt Corp. Senior Member
    Messages: 845

    Good for you! That's great to hear. It's very hard to throw business away, but you'll find it's a necessary skill.

  18. nepatsfan

    nepatsfan Senior Member
    Messages: 727

    I am not going to give the account up unless he is unwilling to change the contract to salt/sand at my discretion. Otherwise:waving:
  19. Westhardt Corp.

    Westhardt Corp. Senior Member
    Messages: 845

    Good call. It's much like payment terms--the vendor generally dictates those. If an agreement cannot be reached....

  20. bristolturf

    bristolturf Senior Member
    Messages: 435

    Even if he wont go to your discretion at least after the final plowing visit automatically. However; im sure that it would be nice to throw some down on the lanes when needed during a long storm.

    Let us know how the phone call goes.