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

Magic 8 Ball should I drop this customer?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by DERBYDON, Jan 28, 2005.

  1. DERBYDON

    DERBYDON Member
    Messages: 39

    OK guys, here's the deal.

    Contract customer is a Oriental restaurant with a 15,000 sq ft asphalt lot and long drive down an access road. (Let me handle the stereotypes for now).

    Owner does not speak good English, but her son is around some and usually works as her intermediary - grew up here, went to college and not a bad guy, BUT...during the last storm we had over 24 hours of snow ice snow. I plowed them before the ice and got the lot down to pavement. After the ice fell and followon snow, I couldn't get the lot completely clear, though it was smooth and compared to anyone else in the area, really looked good.

    Well the customer called up complaining (the owner who doesn't speak good English) and asked me to stop by to clear again. I went by and tried to explain that without applying salt or deicer I would not be able to clear to pavement - both of us were a little excited - and I made the suggestion that maybe she needed a new contractor. She declined, I put down salt and was able to get the lot clear about an hour later.

    Now comes the problem: They don't want to pay for the salt applied as the contract specified no salt. I have no problem - one time only - waiving the cost of a couple of bags of salt. But this will happen again.

    Do I: 1. Send a letter cancelling the contract if the owner will not agree to the use of deicer in the event of ice. 2. Send a letter stating that in the event of ice, we will plow the lot but can not guarantee results. 3. In the future only solicit pizza parlors and burger stands for snow removal.

    Thanks payup
     
  2. bergys

    bergys Junior Member
    from nj
    Messages: 10

    customer complaint

    I would type a letter saying if there is a need of salt that you will apply it when needed and put how much it is and have them sign it. If they don't go for that then drop them because they will be a problem in the future and may cause bigger problems down the road for example lawsuits if a customer falls and then they try to come after you.
     
  3. DERBYDON

    DERBYDON Member
    Messages: 39

    I have their initials on the contract declining the use of salt, so a lawsuit is not a real problem. They can sue, they just won't win. I just didn't realize that they we're not going to OK salt in any situation.

    I'm going to review my contract and literature before next year. I may remove the option of using salt from the customer altogether. I am beginning to see a pattern develop of customers that say they don't want deicer and haggle for the lowest rate and then are the loudest complainers AND slowest payers!

    Basically, I have about 3 customers who are either going to pay a whole lot more next year for me to put up with their crap or who will (and I certainly hope they go this route) find a new contractor after seeing my proposal for '05-'06 snow removal. All the rest are great! We just never talk about the good customers, do we?
     
  4. justme-

    justme- 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,138

    Simply tell them they agreed in the contract no salt- if they want salting it will cost the X. If they still wish no salt the ice forming on the lot is not your responsibility. I suggest some liability release for your protection, and a price increase for next year IF there is any trouble again in the season
     
  5. flykelley

    flykelley 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,124

    Derby Don
    I put in my contract that customers who decline salting service's must let me know when and if the want the lot to be salted at XXX number of dollars per application. That way there is no question that if they need salt and let me know this its going to cost them the stated amounted.

    Regards Mike
     
  6. CTPlow

    CTPlow Member
    Messages: 82

    These customers don't sound like there worth the trouble.
    Contract or no contract, you put down salt/de-icer for these people, did them an extra service, and they didnt pay you.....thats an immediate drop of a worthless customer in my book. Bottom line, they needed de-icing and didnt pay.
    I do all residential right now...I dont do contracts, I work on verbal aggrements and trust. I feel, even when there is a "contract", if you cant trust a customer, dont do business with them.
    If a customer d*cks you one time, there is a chance in the future they will do it again.
    Just my 2 cents.


    2003 F350 w/ Meyer II EZ Mount
     
  7. Leethehandyman

    Leethehandyman Junior Member
    Messages: 13

    Seems to me the one thing no one has mentioned here is knowing your business. Incidents like this happen to every plowman(or woman) every year year after year. Moral.....plan for it! Provisions should be in every contract for such things. Many of you seem to be quick to drop a customer for poor planning on YOUR behalf! I was a newbie once like we all were but now I have 20 years under my belt. I have seen it all hear in the Northeast. I make sure my customers are aware of all things that we may encounter and how I will handle it. Never any surprises. For both of us. My customers retaine me couse I always come through for them. Others don't.
     
  8. Leethehandyman

    Leethehandyman Junior Member
    Messages: 13

    Seems to me the one thing no one has mentioned here is knowing your business. Incidents like this happen to every plowman(or woman) every year year after year. Moral.....plan for it! Provisions should be in every contract for such things. Many of you seem to be quick to drop a customer for poor planning on YOUR behalf! I was a newbie once like we all were but now I have 20 years under my belt. I have seen it all hear in the Northeast. I make sure my customers are aware of all things that we may encounter and how I will handle it. Never any surprises. For both of us. My customers retain me cause I always come through for them. Others don't. My final advice to you ...suck it up to expierence, write the salt off as "education" and plow on. One more thing ....I will also add, and all can back me up there are some plowing customers that you just can't please no matter what!!!!