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Keeping the customer informed

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by maple city lawn care, Sep 4, 2003.

  1. maple city lawn care

    maple city lawn care Junior Member
    Messages: 12

    Hi,

    We have several plowing customers who have requested that we leave something every time we plow so they know how long we were there, and can keep the dates straight for their records. I was thinking about getting a 2-part carbon that can have the dates and times hand-written on them, leave 1 for the customer, and 1 for me to do billing.

    Any ideas on this? What does everyone else do?
     
  2. beherit316

    beherit316 Banned
    Messages: 78

    I buy my carbon receipts at office max.I also had made a stamper that has my company info on it.I try to keep it real simple and real cheap.What I use are rent receipts that have a carbon copy on them.I just modify them with my stamper.
    There is also programs for the pc that can print receipts.Click omn that banner Blizzard something that pops up on this site.i viewed it and am considering to useing it.
     
  3. Lawn Lad

    Lawn Lad Senior Member
    Messages: 407

    Are these commercial customers? I'm assuming since they want to know how long you were there that you're charging hourly.

    If you are charging hourly, try to charge per push, you'll eliminate the possibility of dis-trust associated with hourly billing.

    As for leaving a notice, tell them you'll fax something with 12 hours of the completed event, ideally this would be the invoice which is then due net 10 or 15 days. This way they can address any questions with you within 36 hours of the event (with in 24 hours of when you send the invoice). To do this you better be on the ball in the office. But the reward is good cash flow.

    I wouldn't want to leave a slip on site. What if it blows away, get destroyed or is misplaced by an employee who doesn't give it to the right peson. Then the company may claim they won't pay for your invoiced service since they didn't receive your "slip". Fax, email or mail in my opinion is the only good way to check in. Unles they have onsite security that can log you into and out of the property.
     
  4. Santo

    Santo Banned
    Messages: 255

    Interesting, i would think a clean lot would speak for itself.
     
  5. JohnnyU

    JohnnyU 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,040

    I would agree Santo.

    However if you are charging by the hour, I understand how they would want to know the exact time that you spent at thie place of business, so that they could compare that to what your bill charges for.

    In this line of work, charging by the hour is actually not a good practice. It does not encourage you to be productive. If you charge a flat rate per plow, or in a seasonal format, the faster you can complete your route, the more money you can make, since you can add more contracts and increase your gross profit.

    I agree with Lawn Lad, faxing the invoices within 12 -24 hours of completeing the route is a good idea, as they do not forget about being serviced (if there are many storms in the course of a week or so), and so that they can correct any discrepancies or problems that they see, or misunderstandings in the invoice.

    Also, upon contract siging, I show them a sample invoice, without names or numbers, but just so that they understand how it is laid out ahead of time. This way, when time comes to pay their bills, they do not misunderstand any of the amounts of charges on the invoice. They seem to like that I do that, as it shows that I go a little further, make a little extra effort.

    -John
     
  6. Mike 97 SS

    Mike 97 SS Banned
    from U.S.A.
    Messages: 1,106

    Hmm, the customer wants proof you were there and also for how long...ok. You can leave them a slip like they asked for with your start and finish time...whats gonna prove you were actually there when you said and finished when you said? Wouldnt that be the next thing they would be questioning?? They wouldnt believe it took you as long as you wrote on the bill. You put down that it took you 45 minutes, they may say nah I bet you did it in 20, whos gonna prove it one way or the other? Unless they are open and watching out the window while you are doing the plowing, in which case there is no need for a slip to be left. :D Just something to think about. Mike :waving:
     
  7. nsmilligan

    nsmilligan PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 704

    Since I don't do any hourly accounts, all my accounts are per push or seasonal contracts. The per push customers are billed monthly with a detailed statement, Type of service performed, (plowed, salted/sanding or both, date and in the case of multiple services in the the same day times service performed). Seasonal accounts get a monthly bill 1/6th of contract, and 1 seasonal account gets an itemized daily sheet on a monthly basis, (because it's in the contract), and the lot is to be inspected EVERY day of the contract, and no service required entered for that day.
    I think in this business it's pretty obvious if the service has been performed or not, customers usually remind you anyway, within a few minutes of your usual time that there's white stuff in the lot:D

    Bill
     
  8. maple city lawn care

    maple city lawn care Junior Member
    Messages: 12

    Let me explain a little bit...

    When we first started plowing, we bid an apartment complex. We didn't know how much time it would take us to do the lot, so we bid it hourly. We had a strange snow last year in April. We had to plow at the apartment complex. By the time we billed for that snow, we were mowing, and it was warm. Everyone at the apartment complex had forgotten that we had an April snow. So, we'd like to leave something when we plow so that they will remember that we were there and for how long.


    Last year, we picked up a church that wanted us to leave something everytime we plowed (not hourly). They just wanted to keep the dates straight.
     
  9. digger242j

    digger242j Senior Member
    Messages: 672

    We have one customer who has requested that something be left each time they are serviced. Their facility manager is always one of the first ones to call when it starts to stick, or even get slushy, and he'll even stand and watch us work, but that doesn't mean the bookeeper is paying attention.

    All we did was to print up some stick on labels, and stick them to 3X5 index cards. On the label there's a space for date and time, and preprinted services--Plow, Partial Plow, Salt, Partial Salt, and the driver's initials. All the driver does is fill in the date and time and circle the service or services performed. If they're open at the time it gets dropped off with the receptionist, and after hours it gets folded in half and left between the door and the doorframe.

    Billing is done from the logs kept in each truck, so the cards serve only to keep the customer happy. On occasion we've forgotten to leave a card, or the truck on site hasn't had one in it. Then a card has been dropped off with the receptionist later in the day, and there's never been an issue. Days with multiple visits the cards are notated "2nd visit today" etc. , just so they don't think they've been left a duplicate by mistake.

    I imagine they just want it so they don't have to remember several weeks later what service, if any, they recieved on a particular date.
     
  10. Pelican

    Pelican 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,075

    I had a reply typed up earlier and the site locked up again.

    I agree with the others who question the need for this. If I were to anything it would be what LawnLad suggested in faxing the invoice the following day. You're creating more paperwork for yourself and a delay in dropping off the notice. At the very least I'd add a surcharge for this service for the extra hassle.

    Sounds like more trouble than it's worth.

    Hey Digger! How was the vacation?
     
  11. digger242j

    digger242j Senior Member
    Messages: 672

    As long as we all understand that Pelican's the one taking this thread off topic... ;)

    We had a great time. Even though I tried real hard, I couldn't just do nothing all week, so I did investigate the snowplowing market. The good news is that the plowing market in the entire Caribbean region is wide open. A savvy contractor could go in there and service the whole region with just one truck, although he'd probably have to be pretty good at selling seasonal contracts. The bad news is that dealer support in the area is nil. The closest one I could find is a dealer in Georgia, USA (and that's a Meyer dealer).

    To get the thread back on topic, I imagine almost all the customers there would demand some sort of evidence that you'd serviced them. A snow free lot would probably not be convincing in and of itself....


    :drinkup: <----Rum punch