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Tired of being beat up on commercial jobs...

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by exmark1, Dec 30, 2010.

  1. exmark1

    exmark1 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,320

    We keep losing work to either low ball bids or managers who happen to know a guy type situations... I think this economy is starting to hurt us up here! The worst part is when the customer lies to you about what happen and then starts talking crap about you to the new guy.
    We lost 2 accounts this fall that we have never had a complaint on in fact the manager always told us that we were doing a great job and such, now I hear through the grapevine that she has been saying the opposite after the owner made them hire someone else...
    Then this morning I get a call from a property that we service saying that we don't need to do it anymore, we have been plowing it all winter and doing everything the same as in the past 3 years, we have a contract however they think they don't need to follow that. The person that called doesn't know why we don't need to do it or anything just the his boss told him to call me and if I needed to know why I could call him in the morning WTF!

    Sorry I just had to vent! It's been a stressful year, residental and townhomes have been fine it just seems there is no loyalty in commercial work around here anymore and I don't know what to do to prevent this from happening any ideas would be welcome.
  2. Dr Who

    Dr Who Senior Member
    Messages: 637

    I mainly sub for other contractors, but I have lost a few of mine due to either the manager of the property wanting to get it cheaper or the contractor I worked for got someone cheaper.

    My advice is (for what its worth) send them a letter telling them off... Oh wait no
    send them a letter telling them you are sorry that they no longer need your service yada yada and if the new plower (is that a word?) does not meet up to there standards that you would be more then happy to work up a new contract/deal yada yada....

    thats what I do, not telling them off, but I would like to! so far I have not gotten a reply, but I figger if we ever get a bad storm (5 inches = bad storm here) they will call....
  3. Westhardt Corp.

    Westhardt Corp. Senior Member
    Messages: 845

    Write your contracts with a termination clause/penalty.

    And let them go with a smile. Act professional about it, and they will get what they are paying (less) for.

    Send them a follow up letter with a card and an invitation to receive a (re)quote if they require your services again. And then break it off in their....oh, wait, no--don't do that.

    You can't fix stupid, so quit trying.

  4. jvm81

    jvm81 Senior Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 381

    BS. Happens all the time here. Viscous cicrle. Move on, vent, move a little further, vent, now go your merry way!
  5. AA+ Landscaping

    AA+ Landscaping Senior Member
    Messages: 142

    Yes this last storm was very depressing to me. I have never seem more pieces of **** out plowing, old small pickups rusted out and old suvs. Most of the lots that I passed piles of snow all over the place,lots not salted, and just very shity work. All said to myself is how do these people get paid for such sloppy work. I been in this business for 5 years and haven't seen it this bad. I am begining to start to think its just not going to get any better any time soon. It just might be time to get out.
  6. shovelracer

    shovelracer Senior Member
    Messages: 525

    We have seen it here as well. Generally most have no idea what they are getting into. Many will lose money and some will have to pay to work. Hopefully with all these guys running around no one gets hurt. I'll sum it up like this. Our last storm was rough no question, but we have seen worse, much worse. However you generally enter the season with your equipment in the best shape it will be. I walked into the parts store the day after the storm and it looked like it had been ransacked. There was not a hose or flag in sight and only a few bottles of fluid. This tells me that there was a larger than normal number of failures this event which would lead me to believe that there was an exceptional number of undermaintained plows on the road or larger than normal number of inexperienced drivers crashing into things.
  7. EvenCutLawnCare

    EvenCutLawnCare Senior Member
    Messages: 207

    Last year we had a guy move in here with rates that were around half the price of my company and the two other legitimate snow removal guys. We dont get alot of snow down here but we do pride ourselves in cleaning it up and having it done by the time the business opens if possible. The first one we lost was a restaraunt that is open for breakfast, we had serviced them for 3 years. Manager calls and tells me that we had lost the account, not because of bad service just on the pricing. Every time I was on my way home from plowing, I would drive by the restaraunt and it would be untouched in the middle of the day. Does service mean nothing to the property managers anymore? Its getting worse this year, he was at my Girlfriends office today and looks like hes gonna get that one too and another large commercial.He claims to have insurance but im guessing its the cheapest GL you can get. I just don't understand how these guys keep surviving.
  8. Westhardt Corp.

    Westhardt Corp. Senior Member
    Messages: 845

    If it was the property management co's office parking lot, they might notice.

  9. AA+ Landscaping

    AA+ Landscaping Senior Member
    Messages: 142

    What happen to snow placement. You don't put snow where its going to melt and refreeze.
  10. Dr Who

    Dr Who Senior Member
    Messages: 637

    Blame the ecomony for one, everyone is pinching pennys and others are trying to make a buck to put food on the table.
    Myself I have no problem with the rusted out stuff, its a plow rig and the crap they put on the raods here has eat out my wheel whells just this month (thanks KyDOT) What I hate is when someone does a property that I could had done better after drinking two 5ths of Burbon and blind folded and I do not get the job casue I am 10 bucks higher and do twice the job (becasue I only drank one 5th and have only one eye closed)

    here people will hardly pay for salt/ice melt. as long as it looks like you attempted to cler the snow they are happy, and that is why the 2 big lawn care companies charge 35.00 and have 100's of accounts. they do a crapy job, but its cheap and the property owners like cheap.

    Who wants quality, we want cheap!!!
    I say get it somewere else I aint' cheap!
  11. hydro_37

    hydro_37 PlowSite Veteran
    from iowa
    Messages: 3,790

    blame the economy and Obama
  12. Mdirrigation

    Mdirrigation Senior Member
    Messages: 408

    those rusted out trucks are the ones making money , Last season I ran a 86 toyota $800.00, a 78 wagoneer (free), a 86 ramcharger ($500.00), a 93 f 350 2wd dually ($4500)and a 93 low profile international ($ 5100.00), 2 v box spreaders ($900.00 )grand total paid for trucks and plows less than 12 grand . I was cheaper than some and more expensive than others . I had a few minor issues with the trucks , nothing out of the ordinary . Trucks dont need to be pretty to push snow . They just have to push snow.
    Lots not salted generally means the customer didnt want to pay for salt .
    Piles of snow all over the place , depends on how much snow you had , we have lots that need to be open for customers , if there are cars around we put the snow where ever necessary , come back with loaders later to move and pile when the lot is clear .
  13. Lugnut

    Lugnut Senior Member
    Messages: 250

    Same here right over the border into NY...I have never heard about so many trucks going down and personally getting phone calls with people asking if i had a spare this or that. Both of the local dealers had their lots packed full of repairs
  14. BlazingSun

    BlazingSun Junior Member
    Messages: 20

    DR WHO,
    Do you just do residentials or both? $35 for a commercial is crazy. I certainly know the 2 companies you are are referring to as well. They work cheap during the winter to hold their employees there and charge like crazy in the summer.
  15. coldcoffee

    coldcoffee Senior Member
    Messages: 776

    I honestly don't care what it is THEY THINK concerning the contract that THEY SIGNED. Contracts are legal binding agreements between 2 or more parties...If they want out that's fine, but I still have to agree to it (assuming there is no cancellation clause written or state law). I would offer them a buy out value and negotiate from there. They may find that it's just less expensive to keep me. If we don't work it out, then my lawyer calls their lawyer...and they may again find out it's just cheaper to keep me.
  16. trustyrusty

    trustyrusty Senior Member
    Messages: 174

    My guess is with all the lowballing and substandard service you are seeing there is a large number of property managers who are absolutely FED UP TO THEIR EARS with rotten snow service. Go out and beat the bushes like your lowball competitors did to you, only sell your service, not your price. Concentrate on properties that are high in foot traffic, or have a lot of elderly people. Those are the owners that are willing to pay for good service. If you see a lot of crappy work, stop by and introduce yourself to one a day or more. You may have more work than you did before you lost those few jobs, and more loyal customers besides.
  17. trustyrusty

    trustyrusty Senior Member
    Messages: 174

    The point is, not everyone wants to run old junk, so no matter the equipment the price of service should be held high enough for modern advancements and updated equipment for those who want to be a little more up-and-coming. Imagine what this world would be like if all other industries were only profitable enough for business owners in the Good Ole US of A to used outdated equipment. We wouldn't advance very fast as a nation.:rolleyes:

    If the price is right and you choose to run old to show a better profit, to each his own. I appreciate that you are in the "middle of the road" in your pricing, not a lowballer. Thumbs Up
  18. Turf Commando

    Turf Commando Senior Member
    Messages: 567

    There really isn't an answer to your dilema, your right there is no loyalty in this business..
    Only thing we can do is our job and hope it pays off every year another newb goes and another takes his place vicious cycle...
  19. plowguy43

    plowguy43 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,264

    I've picked up 2 accounts from no-shows and another because of bad service- all residential and my rates were higher. When issues arise with the lowballer, they'll be calling you back.

    Its sad when there is a rusted out early 90's chevy 1500 at McDonalds with an 8' blade to clear the lot (it just sits in a spot next to the trash container waiting for snow).
  20. Dr Who

    Dr Who Senior Member
    Messages: 637

    I do both, if you want to call it that.( I mainly am a sub for other companies that get more work then they can handle) I have 2 residentals, I charge them 35.00 to clear there drive, walks and salt. they are realy good long term(20+years) lawn customers with my friend, I plow them cheap, heck last year I didn't even charge one casue we only had 2 snows...

    Both are older single women and they are just tickled pink that I clean there dirve/walks before the sun is up..

    anyone else its 25 to drop the blade and go, 40 if you want it all cleaned, then ad 10-12 for salt. Funny that I do not get any bites, even the people on the street will be shoveling away watching me, and never say a word.
    Now I have done some complete service for 25-35 bucks that are 1timers, but it has always been older people and the drives I could shovel them faster then use the truck...

    But craigslist had people on there last year advertizing shovel any drive 10 bucks. I would not shovel my own drive if someone paid me 10 bucks. It don't pay for the gas to drive all over town to make 10 bucks here and there...