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Getting out or residential, Only Commercial

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by ColumbiaLand, Feb 27, 2010.

  1. ColumbiaLand

    ColumbiaLand Senior Member
    Messages: 790

    The last few storms that we have had here (heavy wet snow) I have had many people call in for driveway work. Years ago we had over 75 drives and our commercial stuff. The last three years have been great with our commercial side, were making great money and we just re-signed 3 year contracts with our 4 largest clients. We have expanded a lot also by adding 3 more trucks since 2 years ago and the Cat IT12B loader with 12' Protech and the Cat 248 skid with 10' Protech. I really love this business, but the 12 residentials that we still do are starting to drive me crazy. I'm so tired of plowing dirt and crapy stone drives. I'm also tired of the numerous phone calls and complaints over nothing. I decided today that starting next season we are only going to plow commercial pavement. We have 2 residentials that are paved, they are easy to plow and they are the partial owners of one of our big clients, plus they are right next to each other. They are the only ones that I will keep. The others are all getting the boot. I'm also going to cut back on some residential landscape services that no one wants to pay what were worth anymore. It feels so good to think that next season we don't have to do those stupid driveways and can concentrate on our core snow business which is commercial work. Anyone else making this move?
     
  2. buckwheat_la

    buckwheat_la 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,254

    i think it never hurts to stay diverse, but i realize this isn't a decision you make lightly. for us, our residential was a good send this year, with a recession going on residential has really pulled through for us with extra work and renovation work. where as many of our commercial jobs still need us but are asking for the bare minimums.
     
  3. Mackman

    Mackman PlowSite.com Addict
    from S.E. PA
    Messages: 1,356

    Smart move if you ask me. Best of luck to you.
     
  4. carlriv2

    carlriv2 Senior Member
    from Mass
    Messages: 126

    Did that years ago for snow.... 95% of the calls 5% of the revenue.. It was a no brainer.
     
  5. MIDTOWNPC

    MIDTOWNPC PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 4,452

    I have found that residential is all about laying down the guidelines and expectations.

    This is when its going to be done, this is how its going to be done, this is what is going to be used and these are some of the problems that may arrise - eg: if its gravel there will be some on your grass here and there its bound to happen.


    I find it interesting that you want no residential and I want to expand to residentail

    Im also thinking about keeping things seperate in terms of business...
    eg a different phone number for resi's
     
  6. Scottscape

    Scottscape Senior Member
    Messages: 662

    residentials are last and always last. they are pretty much fillers for me and I try to keep them in the same area. If they are all over town you wont make any money. I don't do HOA'S
     
  7. WIPensFan

    WIPensFan PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,508

    For all you guys looking to dump residential and go to all commercial, let me remind you of how cut throat that world can be. You may get 2-3 Yr. contracts and buy or lease the needed equipment only to lose your account after this time has past. It's happening to companies that have been servicing accounts for 5-10 Yrs. or more. There is very little loyalty in commercial nowadays, not that it's that spectacular in residential either. The difference is usually you have more money invested to service commercial accounts. I realize there are a few on here that have large companies doing all residential, but it's not the norm. For the small to medium sized players it doesn't hurt to have some of both. Try to give better service to residential to eliminate 90% of the PITA calls.
     
  8. ColumbiaLand

    ColumbiaLand Senior Member
    Messages: 790

    Well we have our foot in the door pretty well where we are, I'm still eliminating the residentials
     
  9. procut

    procut Senior Member
    Messages: 902

    Every time we get a bigger snowfall I ask myself why I even mess with residential. When you're frantically trying to get the high traffic / big dollar commercial stuff done there's nothing like a phone call from someone demanding that their $25.00 driveway gets plowed ASAP.

    I'm not saying there is no money in residential, it just depends on what direction you want to focus on. I guess personally, I'd rather focus on the commercial stuff, but with enough resis and a tight route, you could make a ton of money.
     
  10. cubicinches

    cubicinches PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,412

    You are absolutely, positively correct.

    We do a high volume of residentials. We have a very detailed contract which precisely states the details of our service. All customers must accept the contract, or no service. If they don't like the contract they can move on to the next comapny. If they complain excessively, they're gone. The nice thing about residentials is that there is no shortage of them... get rid of the bad ones, they've ususally been replaced with new ones in a matter of days, sometimes hours.

    Excellent money in resi's if you do it correctly. Run a tight ship, and get rid of the a$$holes. :nod:
     
  11. Superior L & L

    Superior L & L PlowSite Veteran
    from MI
    Messages: 3,039

    The problem for me with residential is there monthly bill is usually 10% of what our smallest commercial is. Also on a bad year around here u may only service them 8-10 times. Iove commercial and do not care for residential. I'm really a salt applicator that plow's once in a while. :)
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2010
  12. Grassman09

    Grassman09 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,806

    I have a lady who calls me sometimes even when there is less then the 5cm trigger and I tell her there is not 5cm. Guess who called Monday right after the snow stopped falling.

    She owed me for the 2nd half of the season so I had her by the short and curlies :D I politely told her payup or we will not be servicing her property. Some just don't understand even if they sign a contract spelling everything out. I put my phone on silent and only have the Mike mode on.

    Like you I too want to expand my residential clients. Best of luck to both of us.


    The way around that is to sell a seasonal package like allot do here with commercial, except you get two (one on inking the contract a second for Jan 1st) payments or all up front and offer 10% off if they pay up front.
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2010
  13. swtiih

    swtiih PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,179

    Best to you on your decision.
     
  14. cold_and_tired

    cold_and_tired PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,246

    I have never done residentials. When I started out, I figured that I would rather have half a dozen bosses rather than 100+. It was a no brainer for me.

    I think you will be happy making the move to commercial, just dont burn any bridges with your resi's because you never know how things will turn out down the road.
     
  15. JCPM

    JCPM Senior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 320

    I've always had a problem balancing commercial and residential work. My parking lots account for 90% of my snow revenue but my resis account for 90% of my lawn revenue.

    However, my resis also account 90% of my headaches during big storms.
     
  16. Ramairfreak98ss

    Ramairfreak98ss PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,905

    Yeah ive said this all year, and last year lol, still do some of them.

    My neighbor does like 5 driveways with a little snowblower, hes always walking over here telling me about what hes doing getting ready when we have multiple trucks/trailers/equipment rolling out before storms, i think he wants to check out what were up to ....

    But anyway, I think next season im going to just have him work for us, take one or two guys out to JUST do residential snow blowing accounts at almost the end of the storm as soon as it lightens up from heavy snow.... that way we can keep the accounts, still make a few bucks, and my residential s will be happier than they are now, having to wait hours until we can free up a truck or crew for them after the massive storms.
     
  17. highlander316

    highlander316 Senior Member
    Messages: 578

    pretty much along the same lines here.



    This year though, neighbors of some of my resi accounts are cleaning the accounts before I get there. And I'm talking, literally after the storm is over. The neighbors snow blow their own driveway, then go and clean my accounts. Yet, they don't shovel the steps or front door, so my accounts are calling and wondering where we are to shovel the front door out. It's getting frustrating and I'm loosing money from this. How can I bill someone, $45-50 to drive 5-10 mins to there house, to shovel out their door? I'm about to start billing the neighbors.
     
  18. WIPensFan

    WIPensFan PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,508

    All you gotta do is tell the customer that even if the neighbor does it, you're still going to bill for it. Just make sure you shovel everything that needs it. You have to set the rules. Explain why you can't afford to not bill for every account on every event. If they don't want to go along with those terms, then drop them and find someone else.
     
  19. Banksy

    Banksy PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,113

    I'd rather go back to driveways. I had a great route in Massachusetts and my customers were great to work with.
     
  20. DEN54650

    DEN54650 Junior Member
    from 54650
    Messages: 18

    I have always done commercial, however, if I were to do residential, which I can see why lawn care businesses almost have to, I would charge them an annual fee. I did do several sidewalks for my commercial accounts, however, always had a lawn care company do them for me, i.e. I did there commercal account plowing and they did commercial and residential walks and driveways.