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Homeowners slay me

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by LoneCowboy, Dec 8, 2008.

  1. LoneCowboy

    LoneCowboy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,760

    I do mostly small commercial, but I get calls for residentials and hey I'll add them to the route (it's all green payup )


    These people are killing me
    First snowstorm of the year late last week (finally!!!) and this lady calls "oh, we want it done and we want to be regulars. Both me and my mothers, house in same subdivision"

    ok, go over, look at it. 2 rather simple driveways and a little walk on each up to the door.


    That's a smoking deal I figure. That's only like $27.50 a drive

    Ok, she says, do it. I do it and she pays (it's the middle of the day) and I say Ok, we'll put you on our schedule. She says great.

    That night, 5 hours later (it's still snowing, but it's going to stop soon, you can tell) and says "oh, we think that's just too much so I guess take us off the schedule"

    Okkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk. (weirdos)

    Today, get a call (supposed to snow tonight) and she says "how much for a driveway"

    Well, where is it? she tells me and I say "well, it's probably 35 to 45 dollars" Oh, that would be great. I ask for the address and tell her I'll go look at it and give her a hard quote. I get it, I go there. I'ts a L driveway, so it will be really simple. I call her back and tell her it would be $35 (2-6"). Which remember, is the low end of the quote I told her.

    Ohhhh, that's too much.

  2. StoneDevil

    StoneDevil Senior Member
    Messages: 516

    thats why i bought a toro 2450
  3. 6feetdeep

    6feetdeep Senior Member
    Messages: 141

    To them its always a good deal the first time, or when they NEED to get out. Every time after, it is too much, or you were there late, or there wasn't a full 2", or 'well, we could still get out, you didn't need to come', or......
  4. Jdeerekid

    Jdeerekid Member
    Messages: 44

    I just had a similar situation yesterday. I have plowed out the same drive for the past 3 years $25 a wack whether it be minimum 4" or 4'. I use a tractor with a blower so it doesnt take me long. Well this year did it 4 times already not a word from them they paid up. Went to plow yesterday they ran out and said not to do it. There was about 7" on the ground and they told me not to do it unless there is at least a foot or more. They have 2wd cars also. They also said that $25 is to much and wondered if I will do it for $15 as they called someone else that will do it for that. I said no I couldnt go that cheap and futher more I am not going to make a special trip to do there driveway at a different time that the others I do on that road becuase I have to wait for the snow to add up over a foot. I then told them if they want me to plow out it will now be $50 if they call me and if they get stuck in their driveway I am not going to pull them out like I have in the past without charging them. Oh yea forgot to tell you that this is my fathers so called step child that makes good money.
    Sorry for the rant just had to get that off my chest. I hate when you have to deal with people like that but in my area I can't find enough commerical accounts so am stuck with residential.
  5. Winterized

    Winterized Senior Member
    Messages: 120

    People being people..... this will never change!! I only have a handful of snow accounts because I try to take the better accounts.

    Better meaning better people... and the better properties. People that let me do a good job... and the properties that DO NOT have the broken shattered sidewalks... dog leashes and toys to deal with.

    I dropped a couple accounts from last winter for these reasons and was lucky enough to pick up two more, so it worked out fine.

    I will be inclosing a notice for two of my accounts with my December invoice informing them their rates will be reduced to that of last years. Reason I'm giving them is fuel costs went down. These are my two best accounts, retired folks that never complain about anything. I want their trust and loyalty and figure this is how to earn it... and not really hurt my bottom line. We are only talking two bucks a service.

    So I guess what I am trying to say is.... do not worry about the boneheads. Be glad you've found out what they are early in the game, and they're gone.
  6. Rc2505

    Rc2505 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,245

    I had a guy call me and ask if I was doing his drive again this year. ( done it for the past 5 years no problems) I told him sure I will be out to stake it out as normal. This was back in October. So I go out and stake everything out. The drive is close to 500 feet long and is a circle with a garage in the middle and a barn on one end. I dropped of his contract at the door since he wasn't home. He calls me that night saying he knows a guy that will do it for 15 dollars less per push, and wanted to know if I would match it. I told him straight up of the issues with lowballers, and said I could drop 5 dollars per push, but at that I am not making the profit I usually do. He said he thought he would go with the other guy. Mind you we haven't even seen an inch of snow yet, and I have not gotten one complaint in 5 years, and he decides to save himself a whopping 10 dollars per push. Last year I think we had 8 plowable events, so he is going to save 80 on the whole year. People kill me, no loyalty what so ever.
  7. Sno4U

    Sno4U Senior Member
    Messages: 480

    Fired 1 @ $50/push
    Lost 1 @ $35/push including shoveling a sidewalk

    2 where hanging in the balance. The one called @ @2:30am wanting to know if I could keep him on the list, the other called Sat. nite @ 10:15 pm (it's a church) apologetically saying he realized that they hadn't set up anything w/ me for plowing this year. Can I plow them b/f their 10am service -sure, I can do that.
    So, in place of the fired 1's I got a little $35/driveway (after storm-no hurry) a $75/driveway and 2- $65 driveways. So, 2 missing-4 to take their place!!! I'm fine w/ firing idiots and leaving the price shoppers be!:gunsfiring:
  8. Sdyer1357

    Sdyer1357 Junior Member
    Messages: 18

    A guy called me last week " Can you come and give us a price for plowing " Yes i said. i cn be there today " Well we have had three prices and all seem reasonable " he said. Well you should go with one of those three i said ..... My loss i guess ?
  9. mike ward

    mike ward Member
    Messages: 79

    In 5 years guys will be writing the same posts for residential customers...this s!!t has been going on forever and is why we concentrate on commercial.

    RODHALL Senior Member
    Messages: 374

    this is the sole reason i perfer to plow for HOA's... For the last 3 years now, i have had one home owner who is a member of the HOA who crys because i do not clean his side walks. he was even nice enough to call me and leave a message during an ice storm and let me know he fired me from all the HOA driveways...... at the time of his call i was plowing a small public lot for the HOA pres.
  11. 6feetdeep

    6feetdeep Senior Member
    Messages: 141

    Better go grab your stakes. (I'd wait until there is snow on the ground, so the other guy cant use your stakes, and he cant see the edges) Probably save the HO 80 bucks, but have 200 worth of sod to fix in the spring.
  12. Precedence

    Precedence Senior Member
    Messages: 107

    Around here people look at me crazy when i tell them i charge $40 for clearing there driveway shoveling the sidewalks and salting. They then tell me about how the last guy only charged $5 and i tell them to go hire him back.

    Personally i'd rather spend my time doing commercial lots anyway.
  13. Cassy

    Cassy Senior Member
    Messages: 180

    Rule #2: Nothing ever works.
  14. 2COR517

    2COR517 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,115

    When people ask me to look at a drive the first thing i ask them is what were they paying before. If I want the job, i will match it. If i do a good job, I shouldn't have much trouble getting an increase next year.
  15. Sammy

    Sammy Member
    Messages: 38

    Yup, go back at the first snow and pull them stakes ! :)
  16. LoneCowboy

    LoneCowboy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,760


    The 2nd lady called back, she wants to be added to the schedule. (it snowed about an inch last night).

    She tried to talk me down, etc and I held firm. "I ain't working for free" (didn't say that, but I mean it)

    I told her to feel free to call others I'm sure they would be happy to bid (ha), I bet she did and everyone else was even more.
  17. Cassy

    Cassy Senior Member
    Messages: 180

    nice job!
  18. Ramairfreak98ss

    Ramairfreak98ss PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,885

    dude you dont have to tell me, all the residentials these days dont pay squat for snow removal and they all want it done yesterday :(

    $27 per drive sounds dirt cheap especially if your snow blowing it lol

    Few years back, 2005 i think, i was in a development, there was 20" in nj, about our highest in the last 5 years, lady across the street asks to have her smaller development driveway done. Im getting $40+ for all of them no matter how small, so i tell her $45. She says, how about $30? me thinking "******* gotta be kidding me, she has no shovels, husband is away, the lady speaks hardly any english, wants something for half price and says i pay you $30.00 cash, like no thanks" i went on my way lol

    When i started snow blowing driveway accounts in 2004, i started with at least a dozen or more, in 05 i had 2 dozen and wasnt pushing for more until i had more blowers.

    06, not many signed up, 07 less signed up, currently we have 4 customers who have mailed in their contracts so far for snow removal, 3 of which are new , 1 previous client... that sucks, i almost want to just say we dont offer residential anymore.

    We've done driveways that took us almost a half hour with TWO 32" $2k snowblowers, sidewalks etc all for $50-60 and those people complained 2 years ago... i dont miss it at all.:realmad::gunsfiring:
  19. Ramairfreak98ss

    Ramairfreak98ss PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,885

    I really dont care what they used to pay high or low.. We have one set form per foot of driveway.. looks like this

    Driveways upto 45', 2 cars wide

    to 3" $40
    3-6" $50
    7-10" $60
    11-15" $70

    salting is not included, mostly all concrete in jersey these days anyway so have to use hand cma spreader :/

    sidewalks included, but over 75' worth, or corner lots add $10
    salting/cma sidewalks/steps add $10

    Driveways over 45'-85' add $15

    I never go out to the place to have to look at it, i already know the street or an idea of where the houses are at, usually all developments, they sign the contract and i bill them as such, if i get there and its over 45', thats their price.

    Theres NO money in having to drive out one time to quote a driveway that theyll want you to remove the snow anything more than 6", and only snow blow it 1-2x per season for $100.
  20. mike ward

    mike ward Member
    Messages: 79

    Why would you use a blower when there are all sorts of plows, back blades, atvs etc that I would think have to be much faster. Speed is king in an emergency service like snow removal!!