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Question about 1 of my commerical accounts

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by lmenterprises, Nov 1, 2010.

  1. lmenterprises

    lmenterprises Junior Member
    Messages: 20

    What's up guys,

    Just spoke to one of my customers, and he advised me that this year they only want SAND, no salt/sand mix (which i used 70/30) the past few years. I asked him why, and he didnt have a true answer. I tried to explain to him that going with straight sand will not save him much money, actually if anything it's going to cost him more because he would be my only commercial account requiring only sand. Now for me to keep a seperate stock pile of sand only is going to suck, because i know after the first 2 or 3 sandings they wont be happy because of severe icing. sand will clump and freeze, etc. etc. How do i price this now? I have 6 accounts on the same industrial park, now im going to have to do seperate sandings for them? Let me know what you guys think.
    I already took delivery of all my salt/sand for the season, do i charge him for the entire load of only sand upfront incase they change to sand/salt down the road?

    never had this happen before
  2. LoneCowboy

    LoneCowboy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,760

    What does your contract say?

    Really, I'd tell him No, not doing it.
  3. lmenterprises

    lmenterprises Junior Member
    Messages: 20

    when i started plowing this place its always been salt/sand...he wanted to to price it with just sand
  4. FordFisherman

    FordFisherman PlowSite.com Addict
    from 06611
    Messages: 1,593

    Explain it to him like you explained it to us. Special accomodations have to be priced accordingly. Sure, you can do it, but its going to cost X amount more for "special accomodations".
  5. WIPensFan

    WIPensFan PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,468

    Just charge them up front for the load of sand you plan to keep just for them. I know it's a PITA but that's part of doing business and keeping the customer happy. Don't refuse to do it and lose the customer, to many others willing to do it for them.
  6. dayexco

    dayexco Senior Member
    Messages: 312

    make him sign a "slip and fall" hold harmless agreement NOW
  7. MileHigh

    MileHigh PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,827

    Just price the straight sand applications higher or at the same rate as the mix your used to using.

    I mean...Who in there right mind would pick straight sand over a mix if the mix is cheaper or at the same rate to apply and obviously safer and works better...Plus straight sand would leave a mess by the end of the season that would require sweeping.
  8. Brian Young

    Brian Young PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,382

    I'd have to agree with Brian, thats just sounds like a real pita. I try to accommodate every one but some times you have to just say no.
  9. Jguck25

    Jguck25 Senior Member
    Messages: 591

    I would really try to avoid doing this. I did it last year, wayy more of a pain than anything. Your sander will constantly get clogged too. At least it did here in nh anyway, even undercover. The sand freezes when it gets cold, then the stupid new england weather will warm up and it will unfreeze and get damp, and then freeze again and have huge clumps of sand, and your sander will constantly get clogged up
  10. kcress31

    kcress31 Senior Member
    Messages: 451

    Where I am located it gets pretty cold and if I offered straight sand as an option I wouldn't be able to get it in the truck, never mind getting it back on the ground. Straight sand might work for me in early November and in late March early April -- usually we don't get much snow in those months anyway.
  11. lawninc

    lawninc Junior Member
    Messages: 24

    Sand will also be a big PITA when you have to clean it up in the spring. You could charge him for clean up!!!!!:nod:
  12. stackmaster

    stackmaster Senior Member
    Messages: 107

    We only use sand here. Its really hard to get salt. Very few people carry it and most dont want to spread it cause it makes things rust (partly). We NEVER leave sand in the spreader. We will load up with sand then spread the entire load. No problems with clumping unless you leave it sitting. Also, the sand we use has been dipped in a brine. Pickle chips. Most lots do need to be cleaned up in the spring to pick the sand up. Great money maker if you have a skid steer with the sweeper attachment (front collector rotary broom)payup
  13. M&M

    M&M Senior Member
    Messages: 312

    Can you buy it from another company on an as needed basis rather than keep it in stock?
  14. hoskm01

    hoskm01 Senior Member
    from AZ
    Messages: 475

    If you're capable of doing it without throwing off your route, or causing delays or poor service to any of your other customers, then I would do it. But get the extra money that your time and hassle is worth. Worst they can say is 'nevermind.'
  15. TCLA

    TCLA 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,696

    I would check with that particular muni first....make sure they don't have environmental issues with sand. I've found most property managers are clueless with this.

    During the big salt crunch a couple of years ago contractors were putting sand down all over the place around here per the directive of property managers.

    Fines were doled out to several contractors I know. Every one of them got screwed.

    Of course when they informed the manager of their predicament they were told they should have known better, and don't look to them for restitution.

    No fun "taking one for the team" when there is no team.
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2010
  16. Longae29

    Longae29 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,954

    If price is his only concern....agree to it, tell him price is the same, then put down the mix anyway.
  17. Mr.Freezzz

    Mr.Freezzz Member
    from Utah
    Messages: 81

    Is the salt a problem? I mean does he think it will hurt the planters, turf or landscaping? Or is this due to pricing, he want's it cheaper? I would say no to this due to alot of items. Liability on ice, ( redo your contract if you go only salt) PITA for one customer, Messy whether you clean it up or not looks like crap, etc etc. Work a deal with him and just talk it over sell him on the salt. The biggest part of our job is selling our services to customers, the work is cake! Last resort make him a deal that is a little less than apply same mix with salt and sand at a higher broadcast rate in most areas. Keep the job but if he wants cheap give him cheap! Not the best idea but some people are just pricks.
  18. lmenterprises

    lmenterprises Junior Member
    Messages: 20

    I just spoke to my customer, his reason for the change is purely his bosses. I explained to him that, although just sand is obviously cheaper than a mix, i get bulk deliveries of mix, which i am able to pass on a significant savings onto my customers. Being he would be my only "Sand Only" customer, i have to order a seperate load of material just for him. Load it seperatly just for him. This expense would in the long run cost more per application for them. And if, and im sure this would be the result, if he changed his mind after the first few storms, i would have to charge him for the material that i already purchased just for his property, plus the switch over. Bottom line is this would be a huge PITA to deal with. I explained to them everything you guys had already commeneted on prior to my post, and tried to upsell the mix. He is going to explain everything to his boss. I offered to meet with him, but that was declined. I was planning on going up on my rates a bit, but told him that if he stuck with the mix, i would keep my sanding cost the same as last year just to appease him.
  19. lawnlandscape

    lawnlandscape Senior Member
    Messages: 374

    NO Its not a bad word. Tell him no, but explain your reason for telling him no. Tell him that he will not be happy after the first couple times of you using it, then you will have a sand pile sitting around. I'm sure he will understand.

    EDIT: Sounds like you did all that.. let us know his response.
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2010
  20. lmenterprises

    lmenterprises Junior Member
    Messages: 20

    I will keep you updated, i appreciate everyones help in this matter. So nice to have a forum to discuss this stuff with people who know what im talking about