1. Welcome to PlowSite. Notice a fresh look and new features? It’s now easier to share photos and videos, find popular topics fast, and enjoy expanded user profiles. If you have any questions, click HELP at the top or bottom of any page, or send an email to help@plowsite.com. We welcome your feedback.

    Dismiss Notice

Have you ever tried to educate your customers on what it's like to be a plow guy

Discussion in 'Business Fundamentals' started by elite1msmith, Feb 22, 2011.

  1. elite1msmith

    elite1msmith 2000 Club Member
    from chicago
    Messages: 2,762

    As stated above, has anyone ever tired to educate their customers? I'm not talking about how much salt to use or theories of operation...... Sometimes customers have high, unusual and often impossible standards and expectations. My latest example was yesterday morning, while at a stop light a car slid into a truck, damaging the spreader. As a result the route that truck had was behind by 2 hours. Yes I had some others help and pick up the slack, we even push spread smaller parking lots. I have a back up plow truck, but no back up spreader....sham on me...... But even if I did, by the time you filled out the police report, turned around picked up the spare, loaded it....your still behind. **** happens, Well today I was at a industrial strip mall that was effected by the above problem.....this lady comes out and starts bitching me out about why were nit there sooner,....bla, blah...I explained it...she didn't care. I asked her, the whole rest of the winter were we ever late...nope, I asked her, during the blizzard this property had an average snow depth of 6.5 feet with drifts over 8 feet, yet by lunch time the property was open for business.

    So in situations like these has anyone tried to be proactive with their customers? Prior to the **** hitting the fan, letting them know how reality is? That it takes time to get people out of bed and mobilizes for their strange request, or that stuff happens and it's fixed, or delt with as quickly as possible to give them the best service.
     
  2. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    Sorry ,they don't care.I'm sure we've all it before.Complaining about some service guy who should of been at your house at a certain time.Or your gf being late.
     
  3. Mick76

    Mick76 2000 Club Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 2,157

    Elite,
    You need to have 2 back up plans to your backup plan..... We got nailed 6 weeks back or so... long story short, I was on plan "D" and pulling my hair out...... BUT THE CUSTOMERS NEVER NOTICED! If you don't get another sander, you need to network with another company to back each other up in case something like this happens again.... Like Grandview stated, customers don't care.
     
  4. jklawn&Plow

    jklawn&Plow Senior Member
    Messages: 469

    I always try to show the customers the respect I want. I appologize and act concerned when I am not up to par. If you have one of those complainers that jump all over you before merely asking what happened then you need to approach it differently. Bottom line is they probably don't want to know your process. They do want to know your going to get the job done so they don't have to worry about it. You probably should have called all your customers that you were going to be late servicing. If they trust you to get the job done 99% of the time they will be concerned for your misfortune also and will say ok good luck. I called a bunch of lawn customers one Sat morning to let them know I would be at my son's cubscout camp the following week. Ideally I would have mailed some type of correspondence but I put it off and no cell service at camp crystal lake-Scouthaven. No problem they each said.
    Your obviously concerned and will probably get the backup salter. But think of the liability issues with why your salting, tensions are bound to be high. Let them know your action plan of the backup salter and they will stick with you instead of going to the kid in the newby area.
     
  5. jklawn&Plow

    jklawn&Plow Senior Member
    Messages: 469

    Grandview you have an extra boss plow I could borrow in a pinch- how much?
     
  6. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    It would take you longer to dig it out then to fix yours!
     
  7. Raymond S.

    Raymond S. Senior Member
    Messages: 513

    Yeah I don't even give a second thought to my customers understanding what I go through to get things done. All they care about is getting out of their warm bed at 8:00 and strolling into the office without getting snow on their shoes. They could care less what time of night it started snowing and for how long. What time I crawled out of bed and how many days it's been since I've been home. It's an understanding that I've come to understand and hence, charge accordingly.
     
  8. elite1msmith

    elite1msmith 2000 Club Member
    from chicago
    Messages: 2,762

    Well that was and is serial my thoughts, I'm going to get a back up spreader....altho funny how every year we end up saying "well this truck is a back up". And by mid year it has a full route..lol


    Plan q has been put onto effect, phone calls and emails were made...but all this is a "reactive" approach which can come off as just an excuse as to why the job isn't done. I'm looking for a "proactive" approach so that possibly they understand the sometimes he'll we all go though just to keep them happy....missed birthdays, Christmas, weddings, sleep in general, Working in hard conditions .......I think most people believe plowing is as simple as playing a video game that we simply charge way too much for. But as stated above...maybe they just don't care to know it....this could also turn into some type of markting for the off season for sales
     
  9. WilliamOak

    WilliamOak PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,986

    I think explaining the difficulties and rigors of plowing to cutsomers is a good way to defend and ligitimize your pricing but will never really gain sympathy. Sucks because you can't use it in a reactive position because it sounds to them like you're just making excuses, and if you explain it beforehand it might work with the few realistic and easy to deal with people but for the vast majority it will fall upon deaf ears.

    Still got the JD stander?
     
  10. jklawn&Plow

    jklawn&Plow Senior Member
    Messages: 469

    I think if I starter hearing it up front, I would be like " already setting me up for what must happen all the time" and give job to someone appearing more confident-less excuses. You don't want to hear all about their job and the rigors they go through do you? Time is money less talk more done.
     
  11. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    And again. They don't care about anything other then their little piece of the pie. They feel if they are paying you they are #1 on your list.
     
  12. cpmi

    cpmi Senior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 162

    As has already been stated-customers just don't care what it takes as long as it's done on time. As stated they think they are already overpaying for an easy service so it gives them all the more reason in there mind to scream when it's not done when it's supposed to be. It's the same situation with getting paid from customers-I really don't care what they had/have to do to pay me on time.
     
  13. WIPensFan

    WIPensFan PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,496

    If my cable TV or Direct TV goes on the fritz, I don't give a sh!t about the logistics of everything involved in beaming me the signal or how many solar flares or ET's are F'ing with the signal. I only care that I can't watch Sid the Kid do his thing! No excuses, fix it NOW!!.... Get my drift?
     
  14. elite1msmith

    elite1msmith 2000 Club Member
    from chicago
    Messages: 2,762

    No on the JD sold it last year, we brought alm0st all new mowing equiptment last year, plan on replacing the rest this year
     
  15. elite1msmith

    elite1msmith 2000 Club Member
    from chicago
    Messages: 2,762

    Totally agreed
     
  16. kashman

    kashman PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,070

    this is y i only run 3 hr routs for my trucks . I run 3 trucks so even if i lose 2 truck its only a 9hr rout
     
  17. stargazer

    stargazer Member
    Messages: 94

    Would that be a snow drift? :)
     
  18. WIPensFan

    WIPensFan PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,496

    Don't say the words - "Snow Drift":dizzy::D
     
  19. DodgeBlizzard

    DodgeBlizzard Senior Member
    Messages: 526

    Stuff happens. After this winter, if you've only had a few complaints I would take it as you're doing AWESOME. Now if you get two dozen calls each time it storms, then maybe you need to change things. Dealing with people can be frustrating and it's not for everybody. I think it really sucks when you know you've put in a long night with little or no sleep and worked your tail off to get the job done. But they don't really care if you have 2 ot 200 customers. Don't let one bad egg spoil the dozen. It really is part of the job. I know I have a lot invested in equipment and it doesn't snow every day to pay for that equipment. So if customers aren't occasionally calling, then I don't have enough customers. If they are calling every single storm, I have too many.....or better yet, it's time to get more equipment and keep growing.