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Difficult Custumers. Is it just ME?!

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by gpservices, Feb 26, 2013.

  1. gpservices

    gpservices Junior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 29

    Hello all, love this site finally sighned up. Ok so i still consider myself a rookie especially on the buisness ownership side of things. Ive been plowing for over 4 years and owning for 1. Anyway here in CT we just recovered from an insane blizzard with average snow fall totals around 30inches with rain mixed. AGGHHH what a mess. Anyway i have over 40 accounts i do myself 4 are commercial. Anyway for this much snow i just about doubled my prices but just a little less. Example $60 drive cost $110. Some long drives took me over 2 hours to do! As you can imagine with this much snow even with a plow guy people expected doing a little shoveling or blowing on their own like in front of garage doors etc... anway 95% of my customers were so happy they paid no ?'s asked and put smiley faces on the check. But 3 of my clients were pissed about the almost double prices and 2 dropped me and one hasnt got back to me. One due to saying i did a terrible job leaving snow in front of garage when rest of drive was 100% clear. One said i knocked down a small part of his stonewall that was completley buried by the snow and wants me to fix it and complained about a $55 bill for 3 feet of snow with 4 foot drifts cmoooon! All my accounts were plowed exactly 1 day after the storm which sounds bad but some town roads were unplowed for 2 days so compared not that bad plus it was a sunday so no one missed work. I guess what im asking is has anyone else dealt with this or am I just really that much of a Jerk? Any input would be great.
     
  2. ceptorman

    ceptorman Senior Member
    from Indy
    Messages: 197

    Welcome to the game. It sounds about right. Some people just look for something to complain about, you just have to roll with it. 3 complaints out of the 40 jobs you did is actually good.
     
  3. theplowmeister

    theplowmeister 2000 Club Member
    from MA
    Messages: 2,552

    In my town we had over 27" of snow 5 hours after the snow stoped flying I get a call from one of my customers wanting to know why Iv not finished him. (there was 4" of snow in his drive.) I had ALL my people finished plowed within 9 hours of the end of snow.

    Its not you my NON seasonal people are paying 5X there rate
     
  4. gpservices

    gpservices Junior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 29

    Yeah i talked to some of my plow buddies about this, one has over 20 commercial accounts and 66 drives and been in the game 30 years and he trippled prices on regular customers. And plowmeister sounds like you did great with 9 hours after storm i bet your customers hugged you.
     
  5. dfd9

    dfd9 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,475

    Don't sweat it.

    You're not being a jerk. They are.
     
  6. gpservices

    gpservices Junior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 29

    Thanks i figured it wasnt just me but its good to get some input from others who deal with this.
     
  7. jmac5058

    jmac5058 Senior Member
    Messages: 429

    A plowing route is just like life , 10% of the people give you 90% of your problems.
     
  8. ducaticorse

    ducaticorse PlowSite.com Addict
    from we
    Messages: 1,426

    I got frantic calls AND emails from a customer 2.5 hours after the blizzard ended asking why we hadnt been there yet. She ended up cancelling services with me as a result. Some poeple have unrealistic expectations, AND feel as though since they are paying for a service, they have the right to tell you how to execute your work.
     
  9. shovelracer

    shovelracer Senior Member
    Messages: 525

    You can not just raise the price without notice. I do not care if the snow was 20 foot deep, if your contract was for a fixed amount and did not have a depth or blizzard or drift clause you have to charge them the contract rate. IF the majority paid you feel lucky. This is the game. I would be pissed simply on principle. I fully understand your position and have been there myself, but if you did not address this prior you are not doing the right thing by randomly raising the price.

    I'm willing to bet next year your contract will have a depth per charge clause, a blizzard/emergency services clause, and a drift clause. Fix the wall, say you are sorry, and chalk it up to a learning experience.
     
  10. theplowmeister

    theplowmeister 2000 Club Member
    from MA
    Messages: 2,552

    Who said the customer was on a fixed rate?
     
  11. ducaticorse

    ducaticorse PlowSite.com Addict
    from we
    Messages: 1,426

    Who said they werent? One could easily infer that there was no tiered pricing, or multiple push pricing in the contract because " the customers were pissed that they were double charged ". I would say that is a good tell that there was a fixed rate given.
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2013
  12. gpservices

    gpservices Junior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 29

    Well i dont have a drift claus or blizzard claus but i do have the in exstreme conditions extra fees could be charged and the return trips count as a plow and will be charged, but im taking this as a learning exsperience as you said, i plann on fixing the wall but i think im going to drop that one anyway considering its not directly in my plow route and its not the first time hes complained, also the contract he sighned says im not responsible to property damage thats unmarked, and this was unmarked so i could just tell him not my problem but i dont want to ruin my reputation, i think that no one actually reads our contracts
     
  13. ducaticorse

    ducaticorse PlowSite.com Addict
    from we
    Messages: 1,426

    Just tighten the paperwork where you're lacking and you'll be fine. Don't expect anyone to be happy about additional costs whether they're wilritten into the paperwork or not. Especially not..
     
  14. wilsonsground

    wilsonsground Senior Member
    Messages: 201

    All my residentails are every 8". I charged x3 with no complaints so far. my commercials are per push and some were hit 5-6-7 times. No complaints still. Welcome to the game! Always be clear with customers about your billing structure. Always always always!!
     
  15. GVL LLC

    GVL LLC Senior Member
    Messages: 121

    Wait wilsonsground, you dont put plow to pavement on resi's until there are 8 inches? is this in a blizzard situation or always? My customers would drop me like a bad habit if I didnt clear the snow until there was 8 inches in their driveway especially on smaller storms. I can picture alot of small cars 2wd cars getting stuck with that much snow in their driveway
     
  16. perrysee

    perrysee Senior Member
    Messages: 121

    never can make everyone happy and they all think they should be done first,i had the same situation years ago, and with a new account this year. once she knows the way we do things she understood. but told her i would do her drive-way first if she wanted to pay the same rate as commercial accounts .boy did she change her attitiude fast . good luck
     
  17. thelettuceman

    thelettuceman PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,216

    I find out where these people work. Go to their place of business and become a customer. Once I am a customer, I act towards them the same way they act towards me.
     
  18. dieselboy01

    dieselboy01 Senior Member
    Messages: 783

    I charge per push for all my accounts, If we get more then 6" they get plowed at least twice. The last big storm we had one of my driveways called wondering why I did it twice, and HE shouldn't get charged twice for the same storm. It was a 12" storm, I told him I'm not going to beat on my equipment, if you want me to do a good job, then let me do my job! He was fine after I explained everything. When people start to complain about cost just tell them to buy a truck, plow, salter, salt, insurance, spare parts, etc and see how much they have to charge. Most people don't think of these things.
     
  19. YardMedic

    YardMedic PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,266

    My guess is that he charges full price every 8".... a 12" storm gets plowing x 2, and the 24" storm is plowing x 3
     
  20. GVL LLC

    GVL LLC Senior Member
    Messages: 121

    ok that clears it up. I set up my pricing differently then that but I understand how he does it. During the bizzard I was only able to get to my properties on average every 8 inches and we got around 26 inches so I billed everyone full price for three plowings plus salt and some shoveling of walkways