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First year plowing, going well, need few tips...

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by godjwood, Feb 11, 2010.

  1. godjwood

    godjwood Member
    from ri
    Messages: 31


    My brother and I have never used a plow truck in our lives until this year and now have 35 residential accounts. It is going surprisingly well, but we keep losing accounts every storm.

    Here is an example of what happened last storm:

    We had a storm in RI yesterday, and it was projected to dump 9-15 inches, from 11am Wednesday until 1am Thursday morning.. It started snowing approximately 11am.

    We have a 2 inch trigger on our accounts. We were trying to decide how to handle this storm because we figured people would want to be able to get into their driveways after work, but also if we plowed at say 1pm we would be plowing people with only 2-3 inches on their driveways, and by the time they got home at 5 there would be a good 4-5 inches there so they probably would not appreciate us plowing.

    So we decided to start at around 4pm. The last customers we did not get to for the first run until about 2 am.

    Because of this, we lost about 3 accounts. One account we lost said they could not get in their driveway after work so they plowed it themselves (they have an uphill driveway). Others were worried we would not make it so found someone else.

    What is your opinion on how we handled this and how would you handle it differently? It seems impossible to keep everyone happy unless you hardly have any customers to service.

    Thank you for your time and input.
  2. albhb3

    albhb3 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,505

    should of started at 1 and at least got threw 1 round
  3. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    Storms like that suck. The first person doesn't have enough snow in it and the last one has to much! As you gain experience you'll get faster plowing. Do you have anything in your contracts about multiple plows?Unfortunately some of them will be billed twice ,just the way it is.
  4. albhb3

    albhb3 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,505

    Grandviews is out trolling again I see:D
  5. theplowmeister

    theplowmeister 2000 Club Member
    from MA
    Messages: 2,515

    I charge by the storm not each time I plow, so for me I show up and plow ONLY a path for them to get in, that takes me 1/4 of the time that plowing the whole thing takes. (It would take me about 1.5 hours to that for 45 customers). Then depending on the storm I ether wait for it to finish and go back and do a complete job, or do another pass.

    PLEASE do not write back that I am doing this wrong.:dizzy: It has been working for me for 23 years. I make money and my customers are happy :)
  6. jblatti13

    jblatti13 Senior Member
    Messages: 123

    yeah i agree, storms like those leave ya in a bad spot. the storm here was suppose to be like that the past few days, we got lucky and had half the day to get things cleared before it dumped again. i think plowing a lane would be the best idea, and go back on your second round and clean everything up. sounds like a good plan, ive never had this problem though so i guess im lucky. but we charge per push, so when i get 2 full pushes out of storm, i make sure things are cleaned up each time so they know their getting thier moneys worth.
  7. swtiih

    swtiih PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,179

    Call the customers back and explain the circumstances of the storm and tell them it won't happen again. Storms that go on for a long duration have to be plowed multiple times or people get upset.
  8. Outd00r Maint..

    Outd00r Maint.. Senior Member
    Messages: 146

    just practice,and you'll be faster,and loosing some contracts dont let them bother your learning from your mistakes,after few runs youll find ways to do some property's faster
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2010
  9. WIPensFan

    WIPensFan PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,468

    You're doing it all wrong!
  10. WIPensFan

    WIPensFan PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,468

    I think you need to get another truck out there. I don't know what you got going, but 10Hrs to do your route!? Try to get it to 4-5Hrs at the most. Even in heavy snow you need to finish faster.
  11. JustinD

    JustinD Senior Member
    Messages: 343

    Where in RI you from??
  12. Burkartsplow

    Burkartsplow PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,248

    Just like grandview stated. Just start plowing and if some clients get billed twice then they get billed twice. This past storm I had quite a few clients that got pushed 2 or 3 times in a day. I am not going to run my equipment harder pushing more snow so my clients invoice is a cheaper at the end of the month. Good Luck this year.
  13. jomama45

    jomama45 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,172

    This is my opinion as well. If you feel "guilty" for plowing 2-3 times in 9-15" of snow, you shouldn't. I think it's obvious why the route ended up taking 10 hrs. for one round, at the end of the round you were pushing way too much snow. We would have probably sarted pushign at 2-3" and planned on doing each drive at least twice. You probably can cut that route down to 4-6 hrs. doing it this way.

    One thing an old plow boss used to tell me and I never forgot: I'd rather ask you WHY you did something rather than ask you WHY YOU DIDN'T.

    Best of luck.
  14. quigleysiding

    quigleysiding PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,091

    That's just the way it is around here. Are they per push. Most people won"t pay for 2 plows in one storm unless we get a foot.Then if your late their pissed. If you get 2 trucks going you can cut your time down.I lose accounts sometimes for the same reason.Screw em Just replace them There's alot of guys plowing for beer this year so that is one of the problems.There is always someone driving around the neighborhoods looking for jobs so if your late people will grab them. I lost an account last storm for being late.She said she thought I wasn"t coming. She was a PIA anyways. Been doing her for two years Went by their at 2:30 yesterday and it still wasn"t done. Made me happy for some reason.I try to get the people with hills done first so they can get in. You should try to weed out the complainers anyway.Who needs the stress. Are your jobs to spread out? I see your painting trucks everywhere
  15. godjwood

    godjwood Member
    from ri
    Messages: 31

    yes, we have contract that if 6" or more is expected we reserve the right to come twice. We were just trying to accomodate both the customers that want it done once at end of storm as well as customers that want driveways cleared. we just figured people who got billed for 2" of snow then come home and cant get in their driveway anyways cause there is 5" wouldnt be happy with the bill they received (although it is contracted..) Maybe we just do need our route shorter or another truck.
  16. godjwood

    godjwood Member
    from ri
    Messages: 31

    We operate out of Narragansett but plow up into North Kingstown. Reason we are so spread out is many of our painting customers asked us to plow as well..
  17. godjwood

    godjwood Member
    from ri
    Messages: 31

    a lot of people from RI on here im surprised.. how big is your area? Yea we have been getting plenty of calls to replace the people who drop out, but it still doesn't feel good when you get dropped, makes you feel like your not doing a good job.
  18. quigleysiding

    quigleysiding PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,091

    We plow for the state.then we have a few drives n.k. and a couple of lots and about 15 driveways in warwick.Plus a lot we sand in hope valley for a friend. Two trucks do the state.My brother in law does the lots,then we all go do a few after the state kicks us loose. We still get behind sometimes because everything is so spread out and sometimes the state keeps us.If you need some help my brother in law still has some time available if you get backed up.You should try to get another truck if you can though.It"s hard to spend cash on a truck though when it hasn"t snowed much.There will be some cheep trucks for sale this spring. You can get yourself set up for next year. Two Brothers = two trucks:drinkup:Don"t worry about the lost accounts.I know what you mean about it bothering you though.It makes everybody :realmad:when you lose work.
  19. quigleysiding

    quigleysiding PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,091

    Forgot to mention it"s hard to make a plan when the weathermen say we are going to get 10-15 and we only get 5 inches.:dizzy:
  20. Kubota 8540

    Kubota 8540 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,949

    Sounds like another truck might help. But you'll never please them all no matter how good you are. People are less patient now days and think 10" of snow should be treated as if it were 3". Add in a long duration snow fall or snow at the wrong time of day ? Do your best and replace the rest?