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Plowing request for caller's friend or family member

Discussion in 'Business Fundamentals' started by snowdreaming, Jan 1, 2011.

  1. snowdreaming

    snowdreaming Member
    from Boston
    Messages: 45

    I get this all the time:

    1. I want to buy my parents or family member snow plow service for the year as a "gift". How much will it cost if I pay you either up front or with a credit card

    2. My friend is out of town and he didn't know it would snow. Can you plow his driveway and I'll pay you?

    For liability reasons I always say no and that the homeowner needs to sign up with me. Am I being ridiculous? Are others out there also getting these calls? I say I've gotten about 10 this season.
  2. TCLA

    TCLA 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,696

    ...looks like you've let 10 new customers slip right through your hands.
  3. cretebaby

    cretebaby PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 4,162


    I can kind of understand your liability concerns for #2 but not with #1
  4. snowdreaming

    snowdreaming Member
    from Boston
    Messages: 45

    I believe someone can't sign up for a service on someone's elses property.What if the homeowner doesn't want their driveway plowed? What if they are picky about the new sealer on it, rust stains, etc. Basically what people want is for me to plow the person's driveway as a gift without them knowing.
  5. TCLA

    TCLA 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,696

    Stop what-ifing....

    This is not a difficult problem. A simple phone call being the bearer of good news to this person will give you the opportunity to describe your service, understand their concerns and answer any questions they may have.

    I'll assume you have the typical disclaimers spelled out in your contract.

    Stake the driveway, send the recipient of this gift a contract with a N/C, or state that it has been comp'ed.

    Have then sign and return.
  6. DJC

    DJC Senior Member
    Messages: 481

    I could not agree more. I do them all the time and have had some wanting me to continue with lawn service.
  7. Andy96XLT

    Andy96XLT Senior Member
    Messages: 323

    i have something like this... i had a guy call me from california last year. (i am in NJ) he said that he needed someone to plow his fathers driveway and clean off his car for him (older gentlemen) he called other people and didn't want to sign a contract so nobody would take him. Than he called me. The place is about 10 minutes from my house and the first time the old man payed me but the second time last year it was a lot of snow and i had to come back a couple of times. I honestly wasn't worried about it and said i'll just collect at a later time. I talked with the son and he now paypals me the money. I did this all last year and he kept my number and called me again this year. We just do the paypal thing.
  8. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    I get some one times now and then for driveways I mostly say no. But I did do a mowing job for some women who lives up in Canada,I figure if she didn't pay I could send JD to take care of the problem
  9. jklawn&Plow

    jklawn&Plow Senior Member
    Messages: 469

    #1 did that, They noticed the plow stakes at the beginning of the season. Its reasonable to expect them to cancel.
    Single plows always tax my equipment. I should just drive away. But once done you have a new customer.
  10. V_Scapes

    V_Scapes Senior Member
    Messages: 940

    This reminds me of the blizzard we had end of 2010. i had so many people come up to me or flag me down to plow a driveway and I turned alot of them down. mostly because I dont know where any obstacles are, i dont know how wide the driveway is, and most of all i dont know how crazy the person is. if i do damage will they sue me for something small? also its not like im plowing with a jeep. if a family friend calls me to plow for a one time deal I will but i generally refuse the "flaggers".
  11. jklawn&Plow

    jklawn&Plow Senior Member
    Messages: 469

    When I first started I offered single plows upon calling. One worked OK but the next , Guy had a 4x4 never heard of a shovel and hard ice pack from the whole season. Next was a bout a foot of hardpack, trip puch trip push. slammin around plow- no thanks. $20 vs broken equipment. no brainer, wher'd I leave that thing.
  12. Plow Babe

    Plow Babe Senior Member
    Messages: 218

    We'll do one-times, after our contracted customers have been serviced. If it's somewhere they have not been keeping clear then it's mandatory loader work with a one-hour minimum charge, so we don't abuse our trucks. And I get their credit card up front.

    We have several customers that usually clear their own drives, but want service when they go out of town or if they need their piles moved back, etc. It's not a significant percentage of our income, but those types of customers provide tremendous word of mouth recommendations and are positive reputation builders for our company.

    Sometimes I'll stop when I'm driving in between customers and see an older person out struggling to chip away at the berm the road plow pushed up across their driveway. I'll gesture to them do they want me to plow it for them, usually they'll nod OK, it takes one or two pushes to get it off to the side, a smile and wave and I'm on my way. Money freebie, but golden karma points.

    Funny story, one day I was out just checking where cars had been parked and doing some detail cleanup. It was a gorgeous sunny day, one of those "no-pressure" days. A kid flagged me down to ask if I'd push up a pile of snow for them in their yard to build a jump. They were 'shredders" - young kids that snowboard, typical appearance of what our generation called hippies - baggy pants, dread locks, fairly unwashed body and clothing - you get the picture - but nice kids and polite in a "Hey dude" kind of way. So I pushed up a big pile for them, not planning to charge anything. They were standing there watching and cheering me on, "Gooo Plow Babe!" (my vanity license plate). After I finished, one of them came over holding a carton of McNuggets that looked to be about two weeks old and offered me one. "Duuude, you wanna a nugget?" I told him thank you, but no, so then he pulled out a $1 bill that was filthier than he was and all crumpled up, probably his last dollar, and offered that. Too funny!
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2011
  13. bradlewislawnca

    bradlewislawnca Member
    Messages: 59

    Had a person guarantee payment for a friend and I got the friend's information. Talked to the friend and said someone wants to pay for your service what do you want. They told me I relayed the information along with pricing and it has worked perfectly. They pay per time. Weird, but they leave the money for me with a commercial client i have that is per time.