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I hate waiting!

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by cutntrim, Oct 18, 2000.

  1. cutntrim

    cutntrim PlowSite.com - Veteran
    Messages: 248

    I hope the weather turns colder soon so all the purchasing and property managers holding on to our bids will make up their minds. Pisses me off that they set deadlines for quote submissions and then sit on the bids until the last possible moment before the snow flies. We've got probably $75,000 in quotes just sittin' around in those bonehead's offices right now. Kinda hard to budget for the winter when you have no clue what your gross is gonna be. Anyway, just felt like venting.
  2. n y snow pros

    n y snow pros Senior Member
    Messages: 246

    I agree its the worst part of the snow biz is waiting for these supposed professional property managers to make a decision.Most of the time snow is not important to these guys until Al Roker says its gonna snow!
  3. Alan

    Alan PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,393

    My biggest complaint about being left hanging is knowing when to stop bidding. Right now I've got enough prices out that if they all should hit (not likely) I'll be a bit overloaded. At the same time I hate to not bid on stuff and then end up having open time if I don't get the ones I have already bid on.
  4. JCurtis

    JCurtis Banned
    Messages: 862

    Maybe we can pool some money together and Bribe Al roker to announce a Blizzard in the next 5 day forecast.

    It might get the property managers off their collective butts.

    Al won't care if he is wrong, hes been wrong before.
  5. Alan

    Alan PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,393

    Q How do you know if your weatherman is lying?

    A His lips are moving.
  6. cutntrim

    cutntrim PlowSite.com - Veteran
    Messages: 248

    Well, maybe now that November is almost upon us the replies will start coming in. Today we got two return customers back on board so that's something. I wish people would have the courtesy to at least take 2 minutes to call contractors and let them know...even if they weren't the winning bid. As you know, a lot of time and thought can go into some of these contract bids and having to constantly pester people in order to find out "one way or the other" is more time spent. One of the bids we put out, to a property management company for several retail plazas, went without a response for weeks. We finally got a hold of the guy, and he said he found a lower price. We told him to remove us from his list for contract bids in the future if price shopping was his only priority. (He solicits new bids every year), because we are about professional service at a competitive price. We're not about shoddy service at dirt cheap prices.
  7. BRL

    BRL PlowSite.com - Veteran
    Messages: 1,277

    I started putting a date on my bids that we need to know by and that the pricing is good until, or else there is no guarantee we'll be able to fit them in the schedule. If the managers of the properties care at all about the service they'll usually get back to me by that date. I don't really care about the price shopper types anymore. I think Dino mentioned that he has a couple of his repeat customers wait until it snows every year to sign on and I have 3 every year that call the day before the first forecasted storm. From now on (if I can really fit them in the schedule) I'm bumping the price for the last minute guys (based on the fact that I gave them a price good til certain date in bid) and they can take it or call someone else. There is so much work in my area that its easy to have this attitude, and over time I'm weeding out the less profitable accounts for more profitable ones.
  8. Chuck Smith

    Chuck Smith 2000 Club Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 2,317

    I'm with BRL on this. I have a little "note" on my proposals stating:

    Note: This proposal may be withdrawn by is if not accepted within __________ days.

    I generally put in 30 or 15, depending on when I send it out to them. If they call. or mail it back after that amount of time, I decide then if the same price applies.

    On a side note, I use the same proposal for larger landscaping and maint. jobs. I wrote one up for a guy, to remove 3 pine trees on the side of his house, and 2 bushes out front. It had the note, with "30 days" on it. He called me the next <B>year</B>, and told me to do the job. Naturally, when I gave him the invoice, he freaked out at the "new" price. He said I gave him a quote, and brought out the original proposal. I pointed out the clause about "30 days". He gave me the check for the correct amount, and stormed off into the house. Hopefully, he learned a lesson from it! He was not a regular customer, and never called me again.

  9. BRL

    BRL PlowSite.com - Veteran
    Messages: 1,277

    I get a LS or SR proposal back after the date the pricing is good til, and the customer says to do it. If I decide that the pricing needs to be adjusted, I will contact the customer about the adjustments and rewrite the proposal for them to sign again with the correct prices. This is to avoid the problem you mentioned Chuck. Plus if you're up front about that type of situation the customer will feel better and you might get future work. What if that customer was thinking about redoing his whole landscape? Maybe you lost an opportunity to do a $15,000.00 job? I try not to burn any bridges because you never know what may come.
  10. Chuck Smith

    Chuck Smith 2000 Club Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 2,317

    Yes, you are right about that BRL, I agree, but not in this case. The thing with this guy, is that he was a penny pincher, and (no lie) 80+ years old. He was trying to cut back on maint. He was sick of trimming the bushes, and having to pay for anything having to do with the lawn. The pines were touching the house, and squirrels were getting onto his roof, or else he would have left them there as well. He had a guy doing the lawn for $17.50 a cut (every 2 weeks), and I wouldn't touch it for less than $25 a cut. I did plow his driveway over the winter before this job, and he was in Florida the whole time (Oct - April). Because of that, he only wanted me to plow 1/2 the driveway. Also, a path only 1 shovel width up to the door, and wanted it done last, or even the day after the storm. Basically, anything to keep the price down. Only so the house looked "lived in" and would deter burglers, as he said.

    Now, I do give price breaks to senior citizens. But I have little sympathy for one who owns two new Cadilacs, lives in a nice house, and has a beach house in Florida. If he wanted me to plow the whole driveway, it would have been $50. So I did it for $20, to do the 1/2. That was his break.
    Basically, this is the type of customer I didn't want, and do not want. He also didn't water at all during the summer, or want fertilizer/lime ever (Because then the grass would grow, and need to be mowed. He told me this.) So basically a customer that looks at price only, who doesn't care how the yard looks, which is the type I don't want, period.

    The guy also wanted me to do other work as well, when doing the trees and bushes. I replaced 4 damaged bricks on his front porch, moved a small red maple tree, and planted 2 tiny $5 shrubs (he supplied) where I pulled the other 2 from, so the bed wouldn't look bare. He complained about how much I charged to do all that too. Each customer is unique. I got involved with him through his sister, who was my neighbor. I did her lawn, and she wanted all the extras. I did her driveway, the <B>whole</B> driveway. She was not a penny pincher, and I gave her a break on everything. Maybe only $5 off here, $10 off there, but she always wanted extra services, and she even tipped me the same, $5 here, $10 there.

    This is the first person I had call me with a proposal over a year old. Had it been a different person, where I knew less about the person or possibilities, I may have put more into explaining things clearly.

  11. Alan

    Alan PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,393


    Well,, after only a three week wait (since the bid opening) one of our bigger contracts has finally come back. The guy apologized for not calling back sooner. But, it's not all roses they want us to do it by the push, I want it by the season. They've had problems with another contractor at other sites going with a contract price and then not servicing without being prodded. My contact has no problem with us on a contract but HIS boss is antsy about it now. I told him it was no problem, they're covered for service and we're setting up a meeting to talk over the payment arrangements.
  12. cutntrim

    cutntrim PlowSite.com - Veteran
    Messages: 248

    Based on last years totals, you're justified in wanting to go seasonal. Good luck. We're converting our residentials to seasonal this year. Our commercials have always been that way.

    Well, all of our customers from last year came back, and we got a few new ones. A couple nice ones got away, but we'll go after them again next year. Maybe we'll get a heavy winter, and the men will be seperated from the boys. A lot of companies are price shopping this year due to the light winter last year. A heavy winter will show 'em that quality of service is the bottom line, and NOT simply price.
  13. John Allin

    John Allin PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,327

    Snow in the forecast for tonight with the possibility of getting slammed this weekend - and we're still getting calls to quote work. Not quoting unless they are right next door to someone we have booked. Had guys out staking properties all day, and then got feedback from one of our guys that he heard one property manager was out to quote on a contract of ours that is 12 sites and our contract doesn't expire for two more years. THAT will make me angry, however - the upside is that the equipment we have assigned there will be moved elsewhere and we won't be worried about being able to cover everything if we DO get slammed. Problem is, this customer did this to us 4 years ago. Went with a 'per hour' contractor, and came back to us the following year because of all the "ghosts" on the sites (to pump the hourly total). Guess we may have to wait it out another year again.

    We're going to call the customer tomorrow and ask point blank if "all is well" for this season.... even after two letters confirming that we are in the middle of the contract term and have them on the schedule. Only consolation is that we appear to be the last major contractor out staking properties and these particular sites were not staked (as we would have expected).

    I know you guys have stated that this has happened to you, and it has happened to us too - but it still makes me angry at the lack of consideration given to us in this profession.

    Thanks for listening to me rant and rave. At least you guys understand.......
  14. GeoffD

    GeoffD PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 2,266

    No problem, John, I think we all vent a little anger on this forum. I know I have, ask Dino. As for staking, its on the books for Saturday and Sunday for Me. My 3 boys and their friends are getting into the crew cab rack bodies, and are going to bust out the rest of the accounts. Each year they leave with just about a full body of stakes, and a case of paint, sunday night the trucks come back empty. They also get the task of picking up all the stakes in the spring, and binding them in bundles, for some reason it takes them two weekends.

  15. John Allin

    John Allin PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,327

    Well, all that venting for naught. We plowed all the sites this morning. And, I talked to the owner as they called to add another site (figures, since it's already snowing). We took it, of course - so I guess all is well.

    We got 3" this morning and were scrambling at 2 AM hanging blades, switching radios, setting up sidewalk trucks, calling subs to find out who could plow. Got everything done, but not until noon. Rain for tomorrow, then slam dunk this weekend.

    This was a nice wake up call for everyone. Subs promised they'd be ready by the weekend, 8 new Pro-Techs arriving tomorrow too (just in time).

    Tired, but happy to have the first full one out of the way.
  16. jrblawncare

    jrblawncare Senior Member
    Messages: 121

    Oh....I don't want to read this....I want to move back to Rochester!!!I was out trimming shrubs all morning.

    [Edited by jrblawncare on 11-15-2000 at 06:49 PM]
  17. plowking35

    plowking35 2000 Club Member
    from SE CT
    Messages: 2,923

    And I thought I was the only one that gets caught with my pants, well anyway lets just say not fully prepared.
    Have fun John
  18. John Allin

    John Allin PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,327

    50 degrees and rain for tomorrow.
    Snow on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday.

    Eat your hearts out.....

    and stop that drooling....
  19. Alan

    Alan PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,393

    Snow flurries and rain/snow mix for Friday and the weekend.

    How do you know when the weatherman is lying?

    His lips are moving.
  20. finnegan

    finnegan Senior Member
    Messages: 313

    Had 3inches last night but the lake effect machine is setup for this weekend,boy I like saying lake effect.....