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Ethics question

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Woodland, Jan 25, 2006.

  1. Woodland

    Woodland Senior Member
    Messages: 269

    If a potential customer calls looking to have you plow for them is it inappropriate to ask who was plowing for them before and why aren't they are not doing it anymore or should you stick with "were you unhappy with your last contractor and why"? And would it be inappropriate to call or talk to the previous contractor to find out the situation prior to commiting to the new account?
  2. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    If you do ask them both you get 2 stories,you just have to use your gut feelings on these.
  3. sir spaniourd

    sir spaniourd Senior Member
    Messages: 286

    Get a signed contract from them and give them your price. Who cares about what happened. With a contract you are covered and they may be many reasons why they are asking for your services. I had the same problem last year. A customer wanted me to plow his driveway. He told me he wasn't happy with the other guy. I just told him my price, he agreed, he signed the contract. after a few weeks he stopped paying me but because he signed he had to pay me what he owed me.
  4. drmiller100

    drmiller100 Senior Member
    from idaho
    Messages: 119

    every time I have asked a potential customer why they were looking for someone, I have appreciated it.

    "the last guy charged 2 much.
    the last guy hit one of my buried landscaping logs.
    the last guy showed up as much as 30 minutes different depending on teh storm.

    my favorite "I just want to try someone new." Translation: I didn't pay the last guy.
  5. justme-

    justme- 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,138

    I never ask- it doesn't matter. If they're a PIA they are not going to tell you. The only ones I know about are because they sepcifically told me "he hit my stone wall" or "he tore up my lawn" and those are usually followed by either "he won't fix it" or "he has been promising to fix it and I'm still waiting" or the most popular" he fixed it and it looks like a 3 year old repaired it"

    If they agree to my price and sign my contract I don't care why they came to me from him.
  6. Remsen1

    Remsen1 Senior Member
    Messages: 188

    I ask questions like these and as many other as I can think of. When they answer these questions I listen for more than just the answer to the question, I listen for clues and try to get a feeling for what kind of customer this is going to be. Are they looking for cheap? Are they going to pay a kid to shovel 2", but expect to be my first stop when we get 20"? Are they going to ask me to shovel their back porch, and a path to their out-buildings and brush their car, and feed their dog and take out their trash etc.? Usually I can get a pretty good gut feeling of whether the last guy screwed them or if they are just impossible to satisfy or scammers. The more of a Pita the higher my price quote, the more I expect payment problems the more I requirements I place on payment.
  7. Andy N.

    Andy N. Senior Member
    Messages: 236

    Remsen mirrored my thoughts on this exactly. Ask as many questions as you can-they usually lead to many other clues.
  8. justme-

    justme- 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,138

    I don't to trash, clean off cars, etc. When they ask it's usually a senior, who are the only ones I will consider it for. I have been asked to shovel porches, walks, rear deck. I had one who wanted me to shovel off the front walk, front porch, and path around the side of the house up onto the rear deck, off that and another pathway further around the house to the other side. I did, for as much as I charged in plowing her drive. My quote is for plowing only, and I express as such, if they ask about shoveling I quote them based on the size and my assumption that I will be shoveling 8 inches off it at a time. Usually almost doubles the bill.

    I used to joke saying "I bought the truck because I was tired of shoveling my own driveway..." There is more than a little truith in that. Usually if they balk at my quote or don'y my explanation of services I know if they will be a PITA.
    But hey, if you feel better asking questions of all your prospective customers, go for it. You know they ask them of us.