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The secret to seasonal contracts

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by grandview, Jan 27, 2015.

  1. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    The fear of the next big one. They don't want to be left out.
  2. Triple L

    Triple L PlowSite Fanatic
    from Canada
    Messages: 5,976


  3. dingybigfoot

    dingybigfoot Senior Member
    Messages: 250

    There is some weight to this statement.
  4. lawnlandscape

    lawnlandscape Senior Member
    Messages: 374

    Works both ways... In our area we can still see the ground when normally we have 2 feet of snow by now.

    Many of my seasonal are asking if they are going to get money back this year.

    My response, "Would you have been OK if I would have billed you more last year?" (very heavy winter last year)

    In our area, it will be very hard to sell seasonal contracts for snow next year because of this winter.
  5. Brian Young

    Brian Young PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,382

    I love that..."can we get our money back". You said the correct response! This is where sitting down with people who want a seasonal contract benefits both parties. I flat out tell them, your basically buying an insurance policy and nothing is guaranteed except we'll be there when it snows. We also put caps on a season then it's just per time after the cap is reached.
  6. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    So your not quite seasonal ,maybe 80% if you get a lot of snow for the season.
  7. Clcare

    Clcare Junior Member
    from indiana
    Messages: 5

    Any seasonal contract without caps is a death trap. We had 2 1/2 times our normal accusation last year. If I didn't have caps I would be bankrupt.

    Most years we hit our average and no one cares either way.
  8. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    It's not how much snow you get,it's how many times you go out.
  9. Buswell Forest

    Buswell Forest PlowSite.com Addict
    from NH
    Messages: 1,668

    I have had several customers call and ask if I have forgot to send a bill...lol. No, just been very busy.
    But nice of them to ask.
    Some new clients have asked if I do seasonal, or per storm, and I told them no. The only fair way is per push.
  10. JD Dave

    JD Dave PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,032

    Fair is what the customer wants or chooses. My customers prefer if it doesn't snow. They think of seasonals like insurance. You still have to pay for it even if you didn't use it. Seasonals give the customer equal payments for budgeting and no surprises. We have never lost money in the 24 years I've personaly had seasonals. There has been some extremely lean years but there's also been very profitable years. The best time to sell a seasonal is after a bad winter.
  11. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    Don't go making sense.
  12. leigh

    leigh PlowSite.com Addict
    from CT
    Messages: 1,968

    I think a lot would depend on the size of the business.A one or two truck operation could absorb a bad season much better than a larger company.Or maybe not,I'm drinking right now.
  13. Buswell Forest

    Buswell Forest PlowSite.com Addict
    from NH
    Messages: 1,668

    Customers want Rolex service for sundial prices. I never let them choose. I let them think they chose.
  14. John_DeereGreen

    John_DeereGreen PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,717

    Our customers view it the same way as Dave's. It's an insurance policy that ensures they're taken care of no matter what.

    A seasonal with a cap isn't a seasonal. That's an open ended check to the contractor in a bad winter, and a landfall in the light one.

    Seasonal is the only way to go, it ensures a workload that isn't overwhelming for each machine, like some per push guys end up with. They only make money when it snows, so they way over book and can't keep up. With seasonal, we don't have to worry about that. We know what's coming in and the routes are full when they're full.

    And that's why Dave is clearing in one storm what you clear in 10 winters.
  15. snowplower1

    snowplower1 Senior Member
    Messages: 750

    we have all seasonal and this year im starting to get bothered by them. because we have bearly done anything this year, they expect us plowing and salting at like a inch when the contract is a 2 incher. i had a regional manager call me and questions why the lot wasnt plowed before the store was open and i said well your contract says 2 inches and there was only an inch and a quarter and he goes on saying if we wait till 2 inches then the cars park there and the lot wont be blacktop when he doesnt even want his stores salted. so at the end of the conversation i go so what do you want me to do and he goes well just plow it if theres a little less than 2. I wanted to go off but im new to them to be dealing with and i'll be dealing with them for a very long time so dont wanna get off on a bad note.
  16. R1lukasz

    R1lukasz Member
    from Chicago
    Messages: 40

    snowplower1 this is really bad respond to your customer, You need to make him happy , he is always wright unless hes not paying
  17. John_DeereGreen

    John_DeereGreen PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,717

    Wrong. A contract is a contract. If it says 2 inches, you don't plow until it hits 2 inches. If you plow sooner once, and they or someone that slips and falls on their property on the next snow finds out the last snow you plowed before 2 inches, but not the one they slipped and fell in, it opens you up to a whole world of liablity.

    Do what the contract says, and remind them of what the contract says. That's what it's there for. Had a close friend lose his business over a situation like this.
  18. SnoFarmer

    SnoFarmer PlowSite Fanatic
    from N,E. MN
    Messages: 7,921

    Why not just amend the contract per the customers request for service at a lower trigger and adjust the price accordingly?
  19. BC Handyman

    BC Handyman PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,838

    What I personaly do with seasonals, is I don't give them a choice for triggers, my rule is: gravel lots get a 3cm trigger(just over an inch) and paved/concrete lots are on a .5"(just over a cm) trigger
  20. Grassman09

    Grassman09 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,806

    You plow a half CM