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Knock on the door and I'll move the car. No way.

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by dfor, Dec 17, 2000.

  1. dfor

    dfor PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 57

    Anybody ever have any customers ask for this? Do you do it? There is no way I'm gonna wait for them to move their car. Am I out of line here?
     
  2. SlimJim Z71

    SlimJim Z71 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,031

    One of my accounts is a townhouse complex. All I do is honk once or twice to let them know I'm there (as long as it's not too late.) If they don't move, that area doesn't get plowed.

    -Tim
     
  3. GeoffD

    GeoffD PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 2,266

    We have a different policy on residentials and condos. All residentials and condos are on seasonal contracts. We will revisit them after the storm is complete and everything has been done once. We will not wait for people to move cars and longer than they are.

    If it;s a day storm everyone is gone, so there is no problems. Even on the night storms we don't have many residentials to revisit. Most of our customers have their cars in a garage. In Maine we can't let snow sit on the drive because we know it will become a block of Ice. So it is in our and the customer's best interest to move all snow from the parking area.

    Geoff
     
  4. pcs

    pcs Senior Member
    Messages: 129

    I had a lady who had her Cadillac STS stuck and wanted me to get it out. I told her if anything happens it's not my fault. Let's just say it was very fun hearing that engine scream.
     
  5. John Allin

    John Allin PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,327

    12 years ago I was up on Interstate 90 and stopped to help out. Needed to pull out the car. Gave the chain (which is all I had at the time, now we carry snatch straps) to the owner of the car, told him to hook it up anyway he wanted. Pay me first ($20 at the time) and I'll pull you out.... He hooked up the chain. I drove away. Off came the bumper. I kept right on going. Off I went. Never stopped. Unhooked the bumper about a mile down the road.

    We NEVER hook up the strap or chain when pulling people out. We don't wait for people to move cars. Knock on the door ?? I don't get out of the truck once it's warm. You watch for me.... if you see me and move the car pronto, I'll plow the spot. I drive away and the car's still there, you lose.

    Probably a good thing I spend lots of time in the office now, huh....
     
  6. RB

    RB Senior Member
    Messages: 197

    What's the problem with waiting a couple of minutes. While you're waiting do their walks, make some phone calls, etc. Most of my customers have their cars in a garage, but I'd be more than happy to move it for them.

    How many of you guys have these customers in the summer for lawn maitenance?

    Granted, if I knew you were coming I'd try to have my car moved. But I think all I'd have to do would be to explain to my customers the importance of having their car moved and I think they would listen.
     
  7. site

    site Member
    Messages: 61

    Iused to get really mad plowing out condos when people didnt move. They always pick the worst spots to park too. Now I consider it when bidding. I still clench my teeth when folks come out with the scraper in their hand to clean off their car and move it after their lot is done. I don't wait. Some condo associations are really organized about this, but most are not. It's like reverse pinball go all over the feild, but dont hit the $30,000 bumper.
     
  8. GeoffD

    GeoffD PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 2,266

    On our residentials we have two guys in the truck a shoveler and a driver. Not the best setup in the world but it works. If they come out and move the car while we are plowing and shoveling, fine we do the spot. If they don't move it then, we revisit the location when we get to it. This is only to prevent forming an Ice block in the driveway, which is good for us and them. All of this cost is all figured into the contract, when we give them a price we ask about the amount of cars they have and where they are parked.

    As far as take care of the rest of the landscape, I leave that to someone else. The first time they see us is when we put the stakes up, the last time they see us is when we pick up the stakes in April. I don't know or really care what happens from April to november.

    As far as explaining the importance of moving the car to a customer, I just don't see it happening. A long long time ago I was plowing residentials, and there was one cutomer that had 3 cars 2 in the garage 1 out side. I asked him if he could park the third car infront of the grage so we could pile the snow where car # 3 was parked, because it was the only place we could put snow. Well there wasn't onetime where the car wasn't in the way. Needless to say I just stopped showing up to plow it because it was a pain to do it with the car in the way. When the guy found me getting a soda at a store he asked why I hadn't done his drive yet. I told him I quit doing it because he never put the car in the right spot, and to find someone else. He inisted that the next storm he would keep the car in the right spot. I told him sorry find someone else, and he pulled the same BS with them.



    Geoff
     
  9. Alan

    Alan PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,393

     
  10. Alan

    Alan PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,393

    >>What's the problem with waiting a couple of minutes. While you're waiting do their walks, make some phone calls, etc. Most of my customers have their cars in a garage, but I'd be more than happy to move it for them.<<

    That may be OK if you have nothing better to do, but when I'm plowing it's because it's snowing, and there are a whole flock of places that need to be plowed. I've quit waiting, if it's moved before I leave it gets cleaned, if not,, NOT!

    Three of these are condo accounts which we do on a yearly basis. No matter, if the car is in the way the space doesn't get plowed. One of the three has their act together, they get out and get moving as soon as we arrive. We plow one section and all the cars go there while we plow the parking area.
     
  11. Michael F

    Michael F Senior Member
    Messages: 203

    With the complexs we plow, contracts spec for cleanuo run after 9 am, usually amounts to clearing about 3 parking spaces, never takes any time, if I'm plowing at the site I look to see how much clean up will be needed. Some townhome owners shovel in front of their garage door(push it further out in drive, thats where it stays, I don't get paid to plow the place twice, never had a complaint about that.)
     
  12. thelawnguy

    thelawnguy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,011

    Residentials: I have two customers who need the car moved, I will phone them when Im about 15 min away and tell them Im coming, they usually have the car in the street when I get there, otherwise the drive gets backbladed up to the car. Same price, return trip is charged same as the first.

    Commercials: the lots get done at night after the cars are gone, any cars left, its mutually understood that they "may" disappear under a snow bank, so far no problems, three years ago buried a car and it stayed there 6 weeks, last year buried an explorer it stayed there six days til the whole family appeared to dig it out. Usually one time is all it takes, they learn the lesson and other would-be parkers see what could be in store for them and move the car when they see my flashing beacon.
     
  13. John DiMartino

    John DiMartino PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 2,154

    Thats funny Bill,burying cars for weeks!I bet no one leaves cars there anymore.At one stop of mine,there are a few trucks that are parts trucks and never move-the boss said bury 'em,so i did.The next week they needed a door off of one of them, the bank was a solid block of ice by then,and the snow was over the roof,ony thing showing was CB antenna,took 3 guys 2 hrs with a pick and axe to dig it out.I dont wait for people to move cars,not even one minute,if its moved by the time im the driveways done,ill do it,otherwise im gone.I had one complaint form an old lady,the same one that always called in the middle of a storm,needing plowing ASAP,when i wasnt anywhere near her,so I dropped her,wasnt worth the trouble.I have found for every one i drop I pick up a much better account in no time.
     
  14. Greenkeepers

    Greenkeepers Member
    Messages: 42

    I don't wait either. Someone said what's the big deal, make some calls or whatever. The thing is if you plow 20 drives a night and you have to wait 2 minutes (usually longer) at each one, thats 40 minutes. And I know I could find something better to do with those 40 minutes than sit in my truck.
     
  15. slplow

    slplow PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 594

    If the cars are not moved before we leave, were gone!
     
  16. Psyclopse

    Psyclopse Member
    Messages: 94

    I am the manager / maintenance person at the apartment complex I plow for (I'm the only employee on site). I issued a newsletter about my plowing procedures. I do not call ahead, as calling that many numbers would be time consuming. But, in the newsletter I state that I will pull into the center of the complex, turn on the strobe, and give three long blasts on the horn. I will wait exactly 5 minutes for the people to move their cars (except for the elderly and disabled- I do the elderly last to give them plenty of time, and I will move the disabled person's car IF AND ONLY IF there isn't another driver living in the unit.

    After 5 minutes I push snow. If they haven't moved, I plow around them and DO NOT DIG THEM OUT LATER UNLESS THEY PAY ME TO DO SO. Also, I purposely leave alot of snow around their car, so if they dig, it'll be a lesson for them to learn. Then again, I'm the manager of this complex, so they can't really complain. I'm a little more forgiving for "customers" but I do figure waiting time into the price. I do another complex, but the manager there pays me to wait 10 minutes instead of 5- but I don't dig them out.

    The only time I like to wait is when the glowplugs are cycling.
     
  17. SLSNursery

    SLSNursery PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 140

    Make an appointment

    We have an apartment building that we've done for years. Its loaded with blue hairs, so the sidewalk is the main thing, for pedestrian purposes, canes, walkers, etc. We usually can be out of the lot finished with plowing by the time the residents start calling out of the window. By now they know the deal. We plow the entrance and exit, and the roadway. We keep the place salted and sanded when necessary. Then, if its going to be a snowy week, or cold for a while, we'll set up an appointment for later in the week or Sunday afternoon to clean up (for an additional charge), according to what the superintendent wants. That is, for instance, if there are a lot of snow birds, he has to wait for keys, or get permission to move their cars. I'll set something up for 2:00 one afternoon, so all the cars can be totally out. Then we can clean it edge to edge, not in and out around cars. This works pretty well. It also puts the burden of car moving and cost on the customer.
     
  18. nsmilligan

    nsmilligan PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 704

    MAKE AN APPOINTMENT

    This is what I done for years, it's worked well. Great mines think alike!
     
  19. landscaper3

    landscaper3 Senior Member
    Messages: 309

    I just got back myself from plowing and dropped an account, Its on a contract but only stating cost and payment nothing saying we are obligated to plow for season. Anyway we do this driveway CHEAP its at least 200feet entrance to exit with a 50foot second drive, we bid $35 up to 6" and $50 after that, she gave me that single mom case so i said i will do what i can for $35.00. So todays storm i pulled in car parked in middle, honked horn once cleaned what i could pulled in at other end honked again cleaned what i could and left. I came back through 1 hour later to check pulled in honked twice, sander going (real loud ) (truck running real loud Powerstroke deisel) (lights going ) still nothing so i left, got a call later on complaining about the plow job i told her what i did she told me to come back. I asked her i will do it this one time is the car moved yes, I get there the car isnt moved i beep twice and left. I called her she wasnt home i told her daughter im not coming out for a 4th time and to find someone else, I was told the car was moved and wasnt, she said sarcasticly WHY DIDNT YOU GET OUT OF THE TRUCK AND COME FIND US. I told her our company policy is 2 attempts and a 3rd will be billed as another storm she got upset and i siad we have many customers that need service if we have to find people to move cars they wont get plowed till later when some have to be done at certian times, It will put us way behind on schedual she siad tough you get out of your truck and come get us i siad time to find someonelse for service we dont operate that way. Now waiting for bad moma to call me to ream me out. Hey we have policies and thats why they are there, if your going to break them for this person and that person its not going to work. Plain and simple we are at 1 truck now 26 accounts and some of them office buildings, nursing homes and condos and alot of driveways so waiting 2 times is ok but a 3rd isnt an option. Sorry so long i was really pe-oed and had to vent!!!!
     
  20. iowastorm

    iowastorm Senior Member
    Messages: 358

    We just took on a couple of elderly complexes this winter and they have turned out to be a nightmare. They only only want my staff to knock on their doors to let them know when to move their cars, but they want us to snow blow in between their parked cars too. Had a lady call me today to complain about this. Had to inform her that if they see us in the lot plow to come out and move the care; otherwise it's tough luck. Glad to hear from you other guys and that were not the only ones going thru this stuff.