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Maybe I'm missing something here... anyone?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by mkwl, Feb 19, 2013.

  1. mkwl

    mkwl 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,361

    Ok so here's my latest "interesting scenario" I find myself a part of:

    Last week, we had a good size storm- about 12-14" over a period from about 12 Noon on Friday to around 7AM Saturday. So, as I always do with larger storms, my guys and I went out and plowed all the drives on Friday night (with around 8" of accumulation), shoveled the walks (so my guys don't have to do 14" at once)- went out around 6PM back around 1AM. Sleep for 3 hours- back up at 4, head back out with the guys to do "round 2" starting around 5AM as the snow is winding down. So we go through the route- as always, and arrive at the last one (new client this year- waited till the 11th hour to sign up with us before the December storms we got)- 3 towns away. Now, normally I wouldn't take this client because they're pretty far out of my service area, but the client was referred to be my a friend of mine who only does commercial snow and hardscaping. So, this client is an existing "very good" client of his- "sweetest lady ever"- so I figure why not. She signs the contract knowing full well that she is at the END of my route- and it may "take up to 8 hours following the end of the snowfall to service the drive and walks" (excerpt from her contract- it's in writing Thumbs Up). So we've gone through several storms this year- all small so we came to plow after the event- never a problem. Fast forward to this storm- we arrive around noon on Saturday to plow- and find the drive is already snow-blowed, walks shoveled- nothing more for us to do- so we head home- I make a note of this on the invoice explaining that we plowed mid-storm and returned to plow after the storm to find everything already clear. Fast forward again to Thursday Evening- I get a call from the guy I was referred by saying that he was talking with "his" client- and she's very upset by her "$250 bill"- her husband is angry that we came to plow in the middle of the night and "didn't come back"- I need to call her. So I explain to him that the "$250 bill" was for 3 storms- the most recent "blizzard" bill amount was $105.00- $70.00 for the first push, and $35 for the return trip (fuel, 2 shovelers- half hour round trip killed). I further go on to explaining that we plowed once mid-storm, and had planned to return following the storm to clear the rest of the snow- he seemed to understand, but I still want to clear things up with the client so I sent her an email and left her a voicemail asking her to PLEASE call/email be back to discuss- explain that we had returned to plow, etc- never hear back from her :confused: Thoughts guys? Passive aggressive client? Client trying to wiggle their way out of paying for the service? I should mention that I actually go through the effort to ASK my clients to PLEASE call me anytime on my business cell throughout a storm if they're unsure of when we will be coming.... they NEVER called. :rolleyes:
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2013
  2. 94gt331

    94gt331 Senior Member
    from usa
    Messages: 293

    Some customers just need to do there own driveway, how bout it. I had customers like that, they just love to make you sound like the a hole all the time. That's what i hate when you perform top notch service for them and before you even have a chance to complete the work the way you were doing it they finish it and then bash you, but of course they won't call you to see whats going on they allways just assume the worse and run your name down. By the way your talking it sounds like you perform a good service.
    This mostly happens to me with new customers that don't know the way we operate, once we plow a few months for these customers they finally realize we do a good job and they finaly shut there worthless traps and let us do there job. And also they figured they were your only customer also lol.
  3. mulcahy mowing

    mulcahy mowing Senior Member
    Messages: 718

    Sounds like a good reason to drop them. Some people are just like that. 8hours is a long time before finishing post storm blizzard or not. But if they were ok with this then continue with the collections process and drop them at the end of the season. Nothing worse than having someone else do your work like its no big deal. I would have billed for full service on the return trip.
  4. linckeil

    linckeil PlowSite.com Addict
    from CT
    Messages: 1,259

    your approach seems fair. many would have charged her in full for the second trip, especially since its in writing that had up to 8 hours after the last flake fell to get there (so long as you did return before this 8 hour period expired).

    stick to your guns and collect what is due to you, then drop the old bag. traveling 3 towns off your route seems crazy to me (maybe its closer than i think?).

    take on accounts that make sense for you and don't feel forced into taking those recommended by friends - no matter how great they make the client out to be...... as a result, your friend may be mad at you, but if he really is your friend, he'll get over it and understand your position.

    and use paragraphs for us next time!!!!! makes reading a lot easierThumbs Up
  5. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    Sticker shock,in areas that don't get a lot of snow or just a big one,they still think they should only be billed for one plow and that's it.
  6. Raymond S.

    Raymond S. Senior Member
    Messages: 513

    Orrrr.....she's just a *****! Drop her and tell your buddy he can plow her.
  7. JTVLandscaping

    JTVLandscaping Senior Member
    Messages: 860

    They never understand why we won't push 14" once...why should THEY have to pay because YOU feel it's easier to plow it twice. Residentials suck, I wish I had none.
  8. Spool it up

    Spool it up Senior Member
    Messages: 912

    put the stuff she didnt pay for back where it belongs
  9. birddseedd

    birddseedd PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,516

    i agree. they weren't expecting such a big bill. Probably part of it is also it not being done when they got up. be it as it is, apparently they dont quite understand they were accepted after your route was full. the fact that being full you still got there during the night shows they are getting well what they paid for.
  10. mkwl

    mkwl 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,361

    Here's the thing though- there really shouldn't be any uncertainty to it though- she signed a contract which outlined the charges by the inch (not how many times we come back to plow, necessarily) so she knew exactly what the cost would be for such a large storm.... do people think we're going to give them a special discount or something for signing up late???? :laughing:
  11. birddseedd

    birddseedd PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,516

    i do that sometimes
  12. mkwl

    mkwl 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,361

    Thanks- I thought so too- I have had most of my clients for 5-6 years now with no problems whatsoever- I guess the new ones are usually the "troublemakers" LOL

    Very true- as I said normally I wouldn't have taken it except she agreed to be done at the end of the route- I guess some people are just crazy/nasty sometimes... :rolleyes:

    As for collections- it's funny you should mention that- I have a few people that have commented on how unrelenting I am with my collections- I drop them after 2 months of non-payment but I still get what is due to me- people just expect us to give up on collecting our money..?payup

    Yes- usually I would use paragraphs- the rant got going and well... form kind of went out the window LOL :laughing:
  13. mkwl

    mkwl 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,361

    I give discounts for senior citizens who truly can't do it themselves, and for people who sign up early (before Sept 1)- not people who wait until the 11th hour before a storm...
    Do you really give "late" discounts??
  14. birddseedd

    birddseedd PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,516

    if they will sign up with me specificialy. shrugs.

    i probably wouldn't now as i hav ea full schedule. i would give a discount for late service if they dont mind waiting till im done.
  15. JTVLandscaping

    JTVLandscaping Senior Member
    Messages: 860

    I used to advertise every year just so I could pick up one or two new clients so I could drop headaches like this, but not lose any revenue. I considered it "grooming" my route.
  16. snowplowpro

    snowplowpro Senior Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 900

    My theory I never do jobs from friends even if its a one time deal or just open up the driveway one pass so they can get there car out. I tell my friends allow the time don't give me work I get enough on my own cause instead of that person calling you they call your friends. Like one time my friend said can you go do this driveway I can't get there I said nope if you can't make neither can I.
  17. jhenderson9196

    jhenderson9196 Senior Member
    Messages: 615

    All of my customers, from either business understand 1 thing. If I take on a new customer on their recommendation, and they cause me grief, the new customer goes, and they go for recommending them. I do everything possible to treat my customers fairly and honestly, even if it costs me from time to time, but after over 30 years in business, I refuse to put up with any foolishness.
  18. birddseedd

    birddseedd PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,516

    the way i would put it is dont put your good customers in jeopardy to service a bad customer
  19. Spool it up

    Spool it up Senior Member
    Messages: 912

    what ? your truck doesn't run on compressed air ? just open the gas cap and wallah , its full.
  20. jhenderson9196

    jhenderson9196 Senior Member
    Messages: 615

    No. Don't put YOUR service in jeopardy , by recommending I take on a jerk on your word.