1. Welcome to PlowSite. Notice a fresh look and new features? It’s now easier to share photos and videos, find popular topics fast, and enjoy expanded user profiles. If you have any questions, click HELP at the top or bottom of any page, or send an email to help@plowsite.com. We welcome your feedback.

    Dismiss Notice

Taking Orders?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by JThompson, Feb 12, 2003.

  1. JThompson

    JThompson Member
    from NYC
    Messages: 71

    Hello all. I am new to this forum. I have just started plowing snow this season and, as I go through this season I am quickly becoming aware of certain problems I hope you may be able to help me with. Though my experience is extremely limited at this point I will help others out as much as possible.

    We have a very profitable account for whom we do their snow (and landscaping). This is one of the few accounts we have that really try to do things properly. We have had a lot of little 1/2-1 inch events this year. Most accounts ignore them and wait for them to melt. This account has us apply calcium chloride every time. As a result, they have spent a lot of money and appear to becoming, justifiably, concerned over the $$$ at this point.

    We were called to go there Monday night to apply calcium again. This time we were told by the association president to only apply it to the roads, not the walkways. The snow on the roads was a little too heavy in some spots for the calcium to melt it all. I plowed a couple of these areas; no big deal at all. As I was doing this I began to think about my liability in this. If we are ordered to perform a service that will not eradicate hazardous conditions, we may be on the hook if, god forbid, there is a problem. Yet we were told to do it that particular way. Should I or have any of you refused to perform any services unless the services are what you deem is appropriate given the presented conditions?

    Also, once we apply the calcium it, obviously, melts the snow (or the sun may melt the snow during the day as well). Then we have run off which washes away the calcium. The run off then refreezes at night. Short of going back every night is there anything anyone has done to help prevent this? Liability concerns once again.

    Thanks!

    P.S. The property manager called us the next morning to go back and do the walkways and whatever else needed to be done to rectify hazardous conditions. Do it once, do it right!!
     
  2. Chuck Smith

    Chuck Smith 2000 Club Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 2,317

    Let's start here:

    "This account has us apply calcium chloride every time. As a result, they have spent a lot of money and appear to becoming, justifiably, concerned over the $$$ at this point.

    We were called to go there Monday night to apply calcium again. This time we were told by the association president to only apply it to the roads, not the walkways. The snow on the roads was a little too heavy in some spots for the calcium to melt it all. I plowed a couple of these areas; no big deal at all."

    To save money, and still provide safe conditions, I would recommend rock salt on the parking lots. Calcium on lots is definitely not a "standard practice" In My Opinion (IMO).

    Even a heavy salt app due to low temps is still cheaper than calcium.


    "This time we were told by the association president to only apply it to the roads, not the walkways."

    Make a note of it on your log sheet. Note the person's name, the date, the time, and the site conditions. You might also come up with a short "sign off sheet" for the person in charge to sign stating that they denied services when you pointed out unsafe conditions. This will usually scare them into allowing you to provide proper service.


    "As I was doing this I began to think about my liability in this. If we are ordered to perform a service that will not eradicate hazardous conditions, we may be on the hook if, god forbid, there is a problem."

    You would not be liable if the person in charge signed off, or if you made a note of the person in charge who ordered you NOT to provide service to rectify unsafe conditions. Your notes are admissable in court.

    "Also, once we apply the calcium it, obviously, melts the snow (or the sun may melt the snow during the day as well). Then we have run off which washes away the calcium. The run off then refreezes at night. Short of going back every night is there anything anyone has done to help prevent this? Liability concerns once again."

    Yes, you should go back and check for unsafe conditions. If you find them, then apply de-icer to rectify the problem. If the association does not want this service, again, have them sign something stating that you are not responsible for checking the site, and that services will be performed only if you are called to perform them.

    One thing you can do is try to pile snow where it will not run across paved areas when it melts. This is not always possible, but a little thought, and you can sometimes reduce the amount of area that re-freezes.


    "P.S. The property manager called us the next morning to go back and do the walkways and whatever else needed to be done to rectify hazardous conditions. Do it once, do it right!!"

    Make sure you note this in your log. any logs you keep are admissable in court. Keep track of all communications with customers. Date, time, site condition / subject discussed, person you spoke to. Save these logs for at LEAST 3 years. Law suits never pop up right away. They always appear a year or two after the fact. The lawyers are banking on you not keeping accurate records. You can be even more anal like me, and keep hourly temperature logs, and animated radar loops of every storm, and ground temp readings.... wait, I am giving away all my secrets.... LOL

    Hope the info helps.

    Finally, to prevent problems like this, try and have a comprehensive contract before you ever drop a plow or any salt at any account. Speel out exactly what you are responsible for, and address what the customer expects from you.

    Oh, and welcome to PlowSite! :waving:

    ~Chuck
     
  3. wyldman

    wyldman Member
    Messages: 3,265

    As far as the liability issue,when they make the call then they (or their ins co) should be responsible for the liability that may arise from doing an incomplete job.If YOU made the decision to skip the walks,or forgot to do the walks,then the liabilty could be placed on you.Detailed records are key here.Take down the person's name who made the decision,time they called,etc,etc,and if possible get someone in charge to sign off on the work order before you do it.

    Maybe a better product for de-icing would better suit that application,and be more cost effective for the customer.Using salt instead of calcium chloride would be alot cheaper for the customer,and may leave more dollars left over to come back and retreat as neccesary.Magic salt may have some residual effect,which may help refreezing some as well.

    I would also put it in writing that the refreezing is a problem,and will need to be retreated as neccesary.If they decline,keep a signed copy of refusal on hand,as they will now be responsible for any dangerous conditions that may arise.