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Milking Accounts??

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by HALH VT, Mar 1, 2011.

  1. HALH VT

    HALH VT Senior Member
    from Vermont
    Messages: 127

    Yesterday I put the wing back on and today I went around and widened/shelfed the banks on all my long residential driveways and private roads.

    Now, if it doesn't snow any more, I will be a scum sucking dirtbag for milking my accounts.

    If I hadn't done it, and we got another big dump, some of them would have to be opened up with heavy equipment at an extortionate price, and I would be a moron for not being prepared, and a scum sucking dirtbag for charging whatever I did to get out of the mess.

    What kind of scum sucking dirtbag would you rather be?

    Number one is way better for me, as digging my way out of a disaster is not nearly as much fun as it was when I was nineteen, and Dad had to deal with the customers.
  2. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    A scumbag is someone who charges for the work and didn't do it.
  3. qualitycut

    qualitycut PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 24,226

    ^ Agreed we moved and stacked snow at some lots the last week in case of more snow. You got to do what you think is the best for you and the customers with the giving conditions.
  4. justme-

    justme- 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,138

    Depending on your specific case you could consult the customer(s) for their input. That's how I handle it- I give them the option of ok'ing me to do the extra cleanup work now for X charge, doing nothing and wait until the next storm which may necessitate special circumstances and big dollars, or (because there are always some for the last minute) last minute before with a forecast for a big storm scrambling to push back and paying a bit more with no guarantee it can be done because of the time crunch. I had to do that this year with a few clients- they chose to wait for the next storm which so far has worked out fine. Lots of melting and little new accumulation to this point from then.
  5. JTVLandscaping

    JTVLandscaping Senior Member
    Messages: 860

    Maybe you could offer to refund a percentage of the cost if it doesn't snow anymore. That way, you're not losing out but the customer thinks they're getting something back. I hate feeling like I'm milking anyone, especially this year. Our combined January/February snowfall was the highest ever recorded so they've all spent alot of money this year. I even went out after a 2 inch slush storm that was gonna freeze and scraped everyone clean. It was quick and easy and I didn't leave a bill. Some paid, some didn't but I knew if I waited for them all to get home from work to decide if it needed to be done, it'd be frozen solid. I considered it a "thank you for your business" outing.
  6. LoneCowboy

    LoneCowboy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,760

    I always tell them (when they whine) "you tell me what the weather is going to do and I"ll adjust my decision accordingly. Of course, if you're wrong..........."

    It's my business and my job, I make the best decision possible at the time given the information and the lying weather forecasters. there is nothing else I can do.
  7. Rc2505

    Rc2505 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,245

    For additional work, I always get an ok from the customer in writing. I have never had a problem with this system untill this year. We had ran out of room on 3 accounts, I contacted the customer, told them the options, and 2 of them decided to have me bring in my loader to move snow. Low and behold the next week, we warmed up to 60 degrees, and melted 90% of the snow on the ground. So in trade for them allowing me to do work, that didn't end up needing to be done, I washed out the loader service in trade for a brand spanking new 3 year contract. It worked out well for me, and the customer. By the way both of these customers we new to me this year, and only signed a 1 year contract due to being new businesses. Now I have them wrapped up for the next 3 years as well.
  8. zabMasonry

    zabMasonry Senior Member
    from vt
    Messages: 100


    I think that folks around here generally expect that you will push back banks at least once during the season. Most of the guy's right in my area will do it with a tractor, but if you've got a wing blade, more power to ya.

    If anybody gives ya hell, remind 'em that historically vt gets over a foot during march.
  9. NicholasMWhite

    NicholasMWhite Senior Member
    Messages: 175

    Well played, I like the way you think.
  10. dlcs

    dlcs 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,142

    Of course they signed a new 3 year contract, you gave them free work. Now they will expect that year after year. Do you think that they would not have signed with you again, if you had not gave them a free service?
  11. the new boss 92

    the new boss 92 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,989

    or you can just tell them what my boss would tell them, ths weekend we will be back because we have to move banks and get ready for more snow sence we got hammered this year. If you dont want us to we might not be able to service you the next time around because we will have broken equetment from over working it!
  12. grassmanvt

    grassmanvt Senior Member
    from Vermont
    Messages: 153

    Profit is not a dirty word. Its not anybody's fault that it snows. Do the work, charge accordingly. Theres nothing scumbaggish in that. Do not for any reason refund, nobody will refund your insurance, labor costs, fuel, why would you refund on work done. I don't get a refund if I don't finish a meal at a restaurant. Why are people so afraid to make money, we all have to make a living.
  13. sven1277

    sven1277 Senior Member
    Messages: 478

    The bottom line is the extra work should have been discussed and approved by the customer first. No one knows what the weather will bring. Its a gamble either way. Leave the decision to the customer. They are paying for it.
  14. hydro_37

    hydro_37 PlowSite Veteran
    from iowa
    Messages: 3,790

    if we do work....we charge
  15. Rc2505

    Rc2505 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,245

    I am sure they would have resigned with me. The point I am making though is They made the decesion to move the piles, and stack them back further. It just happened to warm up and melt the snow mostly off. Now instead of then feeling like they paid for something they didn't need, even though it was thier decesion, my costs to preform the loader service was about $150.00 per lot, now instead of them paying for a $450.00 bill, they got a 3 year deal. So basically if they would have resigned or not it cost me 300 dollars to secure $30,000.00 dollars of work for the next 3 years. So for $300.00 dollars I will get $90,000.00. I feel thats a fair trade anyday.
  16. KSikkema

    KSikkema Senior Member
    Messages: 179

    Is that like winning the lottery?
  17. tuney443

    tuney443 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,847

    And for $900 in your bank account,you would still have that future $90K coming in.Business is business,I don't buy your philosophy,sorry.
  18. Jelinek61

    Jelinek61 Senior Member
    Messages: 679

    I get his logic. He gets the customer to sign for three years and they are more likely to tell him "do whatever it takes" because people love "free stuff". If the customer was going to take him anyway i guess the idea kinda goes down the drain but if they were going to leave after one year he made a good deal.
  19. Rc2505

    Rc2505 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,245

    Even if they were going to resign, I still consider it a great deal. To update everyone I just got 2 new accounts for next year off a recomendation from 1 of these two accounts that I made a deal with. We inked the contracts today, and now I am looking for another truck, and driver for next season already. I can't wait till the snow is done, and the guys who can't make it start selling trucks cheap.
  20. BigLou80

    BigLou80 Senior Member
    Messages: 558

    This is how I would handle it. It's their money let it be their choice especially this late in the season we may get more snow but we may get a lot of melting between now and then.

    I would be pissed if some one just decided I needed "extra" service and charged me for it with out asking me, even if I did need it.

    Edit: All that being said, in general if you do the work you need to get paid. There are very few situations where free work is warranted, usually in situations where you can't bill what its really worth to you.
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2011