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something ive been noticing

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by paul soccodato, Dec 8, 2002.

  1. paul soccodato

    paul soccodato Senior Member
    Messages: 430

    is it just me , or is everyone out there a "snow removal contractor"?what i mean by this is, as the years go on, you have more and more people out there cleaning snow. im not talking about legit contractors, with the equipment, insurance's, client's,etc... im talking about the jack a$$es with the suv's with thier costco plow, the guys with the atv's (not those of us who use them as another piece of equipment) these are the same guys who put thier snow piles in the middle of the roads!, have no beacons on thier trucks and come flying out of a driveway,and mostly about the truckloads of illegal immigrants driving around in van's attacking the snowfall with spade & square shovels. these people go neighborhood to neighborhood, banging on people's door's, making a mess, and giving REAL snow removal contractors like us a bad name. when i first started out with snow, i did the same thing but somehow it seemed different. i always provided service, but i was'nt like these people. have any of you guys noticed how unfriendly the competition is? i have lost accounts to these so called "contractors", because they work for peanuts, have no overhead, etc... the accounts i lost to them i really dont care about. you get what you pay, and they cant come close to my service. i have nothing against the competition. theres enough work out there for everyone. the problem is thier driving our standard of pricing down!, they do bad work, and provide zero service, then when you advertise your snow business, they (potential client) does'nt call because they think your just like them.i only notice this with residential accounts, as these people cant possibly service any commercial accounts. i am a snow removal contractor that sells a service, like the rest of you. just gets a little frustrating. i cant stand fly by night people. it's like this in all types of businesses and i think its a problem. all i can say is to the rest of you is try to build a good customer base, and keep on providing a good service, and maybe we can push these people out. it all depends on the customer though, most people are cheap, and dont want to pay for a REAL service.
     
  2. A.L. Inc.

    A.L. Inc. Member
    Messages: 97

    Paul- I have to say I don't think people like this will ever go away. It is an ongoing problem in the landscape business too, mostly on the maintenance end. I look at it this way- you don't want the clients that hire these guys. You want people that understand that quality work costs more. I charge what I want to, even though I may be on the high side. If the client can't agree, I move on. No sense in getting aggravated. Don't worry about what the competition is doing, worry about perfecting your operation. Good luck, Mike
     
  3. SCAPEASAURUSREX

    SCAPEASAURUSREX Senior Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 196

    HEY>>> you cant call us plowers in NJ illegitimate cause we dont use beacons , The state wont let us.. It's illegial to use rotaing beacons or strobes here....
     
  4. SCAPEASAURUSREX

    SCAPEASAURUSREX Senior Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 196

    I comes down to teh same issue as lawn maint.. There are no licenses for " snow plowing " and who would check anyway.. No one !!!!!!! Maybe like I have said maytimes before , we all need to get involved with organizations and associations and push towrd licensing or some form of enforcable regulation that would help weed out some of the dirt out there,Wont ever get rid of all of it, there are some clients who want those types,,, But The most improtant thing is to educate the homeowners on the liabiltiy s they open themselves up for by hirng unprofessional , uninsured flybys...... Thats the only way we will get this problem softened...
     
  5. Roger Dodger

    Roger Dodger Senior Member
    from nw Pa.
    Messages: 240

    My young daughter shovels driveways for $2 !!:eek: I hope you aren't including her in that mix of nin-come-poops!;)

    Actually we stopped her from doing it as we knew neighbors were taking advantage of her... some even said they would pay her "later on". I believe there will always be a customer that will try the short and cheap method with anything, snow removal as well. Three blocks from me a guy has an ATV w/ blade and he's the hit of his neighborhood. He can do the sidewalks for them too. He spends almost an entire day at it with that thing... if that's what he likes to do. This is an very upscale neighborhood so they prolly figure he will be cautious and ginger with their lawn edges and landscaped corners versus a hired plowman and his ugly marker stakes, since the ATV'er is "one of their own"!
     
  6. JCurtis

    JCurtis Banned
    Messages: 862

    Hopefully as SIMA continues to grow into a larger, well know organization( not saying it isn't already) we the members of SIMA can get the word out that being legitimate and professional is the only way to go.

    Not to say that some people may join SIMA and still end up being jerks, that happens within all organizations.

    Our job is to continue to display our professionalism at all costs. It is imperative that we keep our equipment well maintained, clean whenever possible, and do our jobs like our reputation depends on it... BECAUSE IT DOES!!!!

    There will always be some fly by nighters, hell we all started that didnt we? what we need to do is show them the light, bring them into the fold. Talk up the aspects of doing things legally and professionally when we are talking to fellow plow operators.

    I know some city, county and state jurisdictions require licenses to plow snow. That may or may not be a good idea. But like here in the state of Connecticut if your are a licensed contractor you need to advertise that fact.

    When you solicit customers, make them well aware that you are a professional, and back it up with proof.

    1. Become a member of SIMA.

    2. Get licensed as a contractor if required in your area.

    3. Get proper commercial vehicle and commercial general liability
    insurance and provide potential customers with this information

    4. get your equipment in shape and keep it that way.

    5. Show up, do the job right consistently and at a competitive
    price.

    We need to educate the public as to the potential pitfalls of hiring the unlicensed, uninsured, non professionals. But we also must educate those who are just starting out on how to do it the right way and become pros.
     
  7. paul soccodato

    paul soccodato Senior Member
    Messages: 430

    funny you should mention licenses. in westchester county, the county requires people in the business of home improvement, to obtain one of thier licenses. to get the license, you have to show proof of liability insurance and pay thier fee of $250 . most reputable contrtactors have it. gardeners and landscapers are supposed to have it. i see more people working without it than with it. its supposed to be displayed on all work vehicles. this license is never enforced. seems to be just a way to get more money out of the honest people. ridiculous
     
  8. KLMlawn

    KLMlawn Member
    Messages: 67

    Funny you should mention this ... we have to pay $200 a year (two year payments of $400) plus a one time $100 to go to a fund for reimbursing screwed-over consumers.
    But I have yet to see Consumer Affairs busting the illegals for not having a license ... what a rip off ... doing things legally.
     
  9. 66Construction

    66Construction Senior Member
    Messages: 315

    You could look at it as these people make you look better.

    I stoped at a McDonalds this morning for coffe and had to laugh because there was still hardpack and ice all over the place. The storm got over what more then 48 hours or more before that. I could not imagine ever letting one of my accounts look like that, if i had to get on a bus with bags of salt I wouldnt let that happen.

    Just steer clear of accounts like that. They change hands yearly because it's a private owner looking for a lowball price. Probably wants it plowed at the end of the storm. I know guys who operate with no insurance because they can get away with it doing small stores etc.

    I stick to high end accounts with demanding specs and Insurance requirements. You get the price you're looking for and they appreciate the service you perform. Yeah there's always competition but they are reputable contractors that you don't mind competing with and wouldnt be ashamed to have your name mentioned with.

    It's always nice when you get a call from a client thanking you because the street was a mess, neighboring lots had snow in them and theirs was Black and wet. You dont want the guy that called 3 times trying to knock you price down, you want the client that cares!! Right there you take the fly by nighter out of your hair...other then having to watch out for their driving.

    Casey.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2002
  10. Big Nate's Plowing

    Big Nate's Plowing PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,266

    Don't get me wrong here SIMA is a good org. but nobody around here knows about it, I asked a buddy the other day over lunch " you ever think of joining sima?" he had a WTF? look on his face and didnt know about them, most people that I have talked to about the subject didnt know what it was.
    I 100% agree.

    ~Nate~
     
  11. MGardner

    MGardner Senior Member
    Messages: 105

    It aint just landscape maint. contractors. Was on a leaf clean-up heading toward dark when I went over to kid the next door neighbor. He was raking and had a huge mess. Nice guy , a business owner himself. Asked him about his year and he told me it`s been the worst year for him since 1978 when he started, because of low- balling . What does his company provide ??? Industrial lighting " maintenance" contracts. Said he`d never seen anything like it ,some of his contracts cut in half by "new " companies.
     
  12. a palustris

    a palustris Member
    Messages: 74

    Paul- I had recieved a letter from the NYSTLA about a month ago stating that attendance was down at meetings. They have I think about 20 people going to meetings on a regular basis, if even that many. Vs. the 250 - 300 actual members that they have. Also, stated in the Grapevine was a piece about how starting next year it will be $300 for the contractor's liscence.

    If you want, I would be more than happy to go with you over to Jim Reed's and ask him to stop selling trucks to illegal aliens. However something tells me that he won't listen to us. I see all over the place "Jose and Jose" "Carlos" "Equadorian" and other immigrant landscape / masonary company trucks driving around. Go to Brewster, Peekskill, and a couple of other towns. Those suckers have overrun whole towns. I don't mean to sound racist here, but that's the way things are getting. How the heck are small companies supposed to be able to compete with companies that are run by people who live in a single small house with 5 people to a room?
     
  13. Acorn

    Acorn Senior Member
    Messages: 103

    a palustris,
    You wouldn't happen to have a white winter coat, hat and mask would you?
     
  14. a palustris

    a palustris Member
    Messages: 74

    Acorn, no I do not own the attire you speak of. I was simply saying that I do not appreciate having to work against people who do not pay taxes, don't have greencards, get work by saying "i will do it for $5 less" etc. I have picked up a couple of clients in the past because they were tired of dealing with people who could not speak english. I have nothing against people of different ethnicities. I am just stating how things are becoming near me. Furthermore, when I said "Carlos" "Jose and Jose" and "Equadorian" I neglected to mention that those were the names of just a few of the landscaping / masonary businesses around here. I have seen a little green truck driving around with a sign on it "Equadorian Landscaping" The way these guys get accounts is, they go work for a company, get experience and steal the accounts off their employer. I hear about it too often.
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2002
  15. Acorn

    Acorn Senior Member
    Messages: 103

    I understand.

    Every year here, we get a new batch of guys working for nothing and then they go out of business, sell their equipment to the next batch working for nothing etc. We even get a guy or two each year lining up 40-50 verbal cash contracts who don't even have equipment and then they move to another city. It is frustrating when people think there are no costs in doing the job right. Basically, I tell people that with me you get what you pay for. When I give what I think is a reasonable price and then the customer wants it for lower, I return with a new quote increased by the amount they wanted to drop it by. It usually ends up at the original price.:rolleyes:
     
  16. JCurtis

    JCurtis Banned
    Messages: 862

    Nate,

    SIMA is a relatively young organization ( 5 years) and we are just shy of 1100 members. And Yes you are right, not everyone has heard of SIMA, but those that do are looking for members to service their accounts.

    Did you try to educate your friend about SIMA? IF not... you should have. We have made great progress over the last few years as an organization, and the sky is the limit.

    I am sure if you call the SIMA office they will be happy to give you all the info you need to help educate your friends and maybe even some of your current customers and potential customers.

    Is SIMA the magic pill that will stop illegals? NO !!!!
    Is SIMA the vehicle by which to distinguish yourself from those illegals, fly-by-night plow jocks..... YES, give it a try!

    Remember, the bigger we are as an organization, the louder our (SIMA)voices will be, and the more we will be heard. I know a few accounts that have requiremenst of a SIMA membership spec'ed out in their bid specs. SO people are getting the word about SIMA!
     
  17. a palustris

    a palustris Member
    Messages: 74

    Jeff,

    I had been talking with a former president of a trade organization MUCH bigger than SIMA. He told me that he wanted EVERYONE in that organization because the more people they had, from hack to veterans with PHD's. The people with their doctorates would rub off hopefully on the hacks and like that they would improve the industry.
     
  18. Brother1

    Brother1 Member
    Messages: 59

    Hey Paul - and now that $250 Westchester License fee just went up to $300. Plus if you do work in Putnam like we do you have to get their license also which if I remember correctly from last year is $200 for 2 yrs.

    And as far as all the "companies" in the Westchester area - just look in the Pennysaver every week and check the reader ads. There are more and more every week. But I do get a lot of new customers who tell me how they had so-and-so doing there lawn or dwy last year and they couldnt communicate to them and visa versa so they'd rather have a company that has people on the crew that they can converse with.
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2002
  19. a palustris

    a palustris Member
    Messages: 74

    Brother, I wasn't even getting into how most people use hispanic labor now a days. I was referring more to how the BOSSES don't have greencards. Haven't you ever seen the little nissans and toyotas driving around with 1 or 2 old buntons / exmarks in the back with a big blower on top? That's the stuff that pisses me off. Brother- send me a PM about the possibility of a job for this winter.
     
  20. Tommy10plows

    Tommy10plows Senior Member
    Messages: 345

    Third world workers

    it is disturbing to see comments such as the above written on this site in a forum of professionals.

    Yes, I support Americans working first. But I can tell you that when it comes to low paying service jobs in raw agriculture, hospitality, construction day labor, and dozens of other service industries that America would grind to a screeching halt without this new wave of immigrants.

    I wish there were more Americans who would do as OUR grandparents did when they immigrated to America, live 2 - 3 families in a house, work 2 and 3 different jobs, save their money, care for their children and THEIR aged parents without public assistance, stress education to their children, stress American values over their homeland culture, and have a desire to see themselves get ahead using the old fashioned work ethic. That is what made America great.

    Instead, we can read here about natural born American guys on unemployment and the company owners who pay them in cash to drive, or others out on disability and collecting a gov't check while plowing for cash. Or some others who get paid in cash on their routes and don't declare the income, and my personal favorite, company owners who pay drivers in cash so the drivers don't have records of income to show when they have no money to pay their alimony or child support.

    I'll take four working guys who don't speak english in the front seat of an old paid for truck any day over these others.

    You can't have it both ways. Somebody has to do the laundry, wash your dishes, break up your concrete, strip the asbestos off your old heating pipes, and buy the cigarettes the government has taxed so much to pay for anti-smoking lawsuits. America needs the ones on the bottom of the totem pole too.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2002