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customers decide when to salt, contractors take liability

Discussion in 'Ice Management' started by GimmeSnow!!, Nov 25, 2009.

  1. GimmeSnow!!

    GimmeSnow!! Senior Member
    Messages: 133

    Am I missing something??? When I take on a property I apply salt looking for dry pavement. I have been to multiple companies this year that got their high paid lawyers to make up contracts stating that we need to notify the manager if the lot needs salt. If we apply salt and the management doesn't think it was necessary they won't pay us. How do we notify them at two in the morning? How will they know if it was necessary at 2 in the morning if they're not there? The contract goes on to state that we are liable for any accidents on property and they have no liability whatsoever. I amended the contract and turned it back in stating that they have two options; they can request salt and all liability is on them or we apply salt to achieve dry pavement and accept liability. The GM called me and said they don't amend their contracts. It wouldn't be a big deal but I've run into this over and over again this year. I had one general manager tell me that plow guys have been screwing them over on salt forever. We're providing a service to keep they're lots safe and they don't want to pay anything but they want all the liability to be on our shoulders if something happens? This business is getting more and more discouraging every year. Sorry about the rant, any suggestions?
  2. LoneCowboy

    LoneCowboy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,760

    walk away .
  3. mcwlandscaping

    mcwlandscaping 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,557

    My contracts state that salt useage and application is performed at our discretion. There is an understanding that the snow and ice professional knows what is best, not the customer, and that's why we are hired, not just to perform the service but to be knowledgeable in the field.
  4. GimmeSnow!!

    GimmeSnow!! Senior Member
    Messages: 133

    I have been walking away but I'm starting to run into similar situations all over the place. I've got three trucks running, two of them on commercial and one on residential and I don't even have enough salt customers to put down a ton of salt in a night. We had two pizza huts that I walked away from because they want to tell us when to put salt down. An apartment complex that won't take salt, three family videos that won't take salt, three autozones that won't take salt, Two apartment complexes that I bid on that want salt at their discretion, a storage unit that has ridiculous requirements and wants to tell us when to put down salt. All the lots that seem like they'll pay anything decent are locked up by companies that have been in business for 20 years. Am I just paying my dues right now?? How long before I can get into the right places to actually make some money?? Where should I look??
  5. hydro_37

    hydro_37 PlowSite Veteran
    from iowa
    Messages: 3,790

    Call their attorney at 2am and ask about salting...lol
    For the rest just make sure they either sign a release or call you in plenty of time to get salt down.
  6. cda817

    cda817 Senior Member
    Messages: 284

    That is the way that most state work is they authorize all salting. If that is the case then they should have a contact number for after hours. If the contact does not answer the phone then log the attempt and conditions and drive on.
  7. Wayne Volz

    Wayne Volz Senior Member
    Messages: 694

    be sure to have them sign off

    Our service contract has a separate sign-off for deicing applications. Cover yourself first. I also realize you want more deicing opportunities. Keep moving and hopefully you find the right clients.

    Having them call you and or getting okay to salt after the fact is too hard to run a route.

    Good luck
  8. Deco

    Deco Senior Member
    Messages: 453

    salt / calcium after plowing is not an option in my contracts . it's getting nuked . we strive for dry pavement . period.
  9. Wayne Volz

    Wayne Volz Senior Member
    Messages: 694

    I agree with you

    Our sign-off is strictly to cover us in the I thought you were gonna's. If they are doing walks, they sign off on that as well. I agree 100% with you after plowing. Ice melter is a must. If not, move on to the next one. Too much liability if you are not doing the deicing. The sign-off also covers us as far as making the application and the pricing for the material.

    Have a great winter in PA.
  10. snow tender

    snow tender Senior Member
    Messages: 134

    I have run into the same thing here. The property manager wants a call first. That's crazy the conditions on site may be different than what is out his bedroom window. I don't have a sign off in our contract but do have the conditions for salting. My feeling is its up to me when to salt. Second of all its my word against his as to if they said to salt it or not. It would be very easy for them to claim they requested salt and we didn't supply it.
  11. MahonLawnCare

    MahonLawnCare Senior Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 848

  12. Italiano67

    Italiano67 Senior Member
    Messages: 638

    Alot of our accounts are refusing salt unless they call too. It really takes our income away and the lots look like crap. Chalk it up to the econmy but I dont see it changing any time soon.
  13. Italiano67

    Italiano67 Senior Member
    Messages: 638

    Plus they will always call when you least expect it and you should just drop out of the sky with the salt truck
  14. snow tender

    snow tender Senior Member
    Messages: 134

    Yup like 10 mins after you get home.
  15. TCLA

    TCLA 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,696

    It's not horrible to give them that option. We get a few new one's each year that want to be notified so they can approve salt aps. I love waking up managers to tell them we are on site and conditions are such that I recommend the application. If they want to save money and say no....I document the call and move on.

    I can convince most that it's the right thing to do, and after waking them up 5-6 times they usually come around to trusting our judgment and give us discretion. For the ones that say no at 2:00am, then yes at 9:00am (once they get their butt out of bed and see their site) we charge them an additional $150.00 for the special trip.

    The routing is designed for the trucks and crews to be completed and off the roads before the morning rush. It is understood that we will be happy to service them.......however they will be responsible for the additional $150.00 special trip charge if they want service on their time frame.
  16. Bruce'sEx

    Bruce'sEx Senior Member
    Messages: 873

    We would just walk away from a contract like that.

    We do have a couple places that they will call us for salt when they feel it is needed. For those it's in the contract covering our ass several ways. We also state that there has to be allowed travel time after the request. it costs more per time that way. Then it would per-time if it was automatic salting like the rest of our contracts. Simply cause of the extra trip that is normally having to be made during the day when they phone and not a normal stop on the routes.
  17. Wayne Volz

    Wayne Volz Senior Member
    Messages: 694

    Sounds like we are all on the same page

    Nice to know we are generally all on the same page on this one. Sometimes our clients think we only want to offer deicing to make money. Well, okay that is it. But to also reduce liability for them and us from a slip and fall.

    Happy Thanksgiving to everyone and to our Canadian friends on here, here's wishing you a belated Happy Thanksgiving. Don't work too hard today.
  18. Scottscape

    Scottscape Senior Member
    Messages: 662

    absoultely not. its at our discretion or no salt service period.
  19. JeffNY

    JeffNY Senior Member
    Messages: 484

    I explained this to one of my customers, he wanted it up to him when to apply salt. I asked him if I can call him at 4am and ask him if he'd like salt. Then I explained, what if I plow at 5am, can't call and ask if you want salt till 7am, and someone falls at 6am.
    Well, the salting is up to me now, which is nice. Its going to need salt a lot.
  20. Wayne Volz

    Wayne Volz Senior Member
    Messages: 694

    Sounds great to me

    All of our plowing/clearing accounts are full service accounts. Meaning plowing and deicing. Also, we do not take any plow only accounts. We still have them sign-off that they have requested the service so there is no confusion on who's responsibility it is. I don't know about you guys, but we also make it clear on who's responsible for the walks. Us or them. That also has a separate sign-off. Again, simply to try and eliminate the I thought you were gonna's in the event of a slip and fall.

    This doesn't mean it's right for everyone, but our legal adviser told us we needed it in our contract to help protect us.

    Sorry for getting a bit confusing. Bottom line is simple, no deicing, no Wayne's Lawn Service. Not enough opportunities otherwise. We'll pass and go to the next one. Nice thing about snow & ice is that we don't need days of work we need hours of work per piece of equipment. That advantage gives us the opportunity to be a little more selective on the accounts we look for and sign up.

    Happy Thanksgiving to all.