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Weird storm, looking for opinions...

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by snowcrazy, Jan 3, 2014.

  1. snowcrazy

    snowcrazy Senior Member
    from ohio
    Messages: 402

    Well we had a storm the other day that that def gave me along with some others a curve ball. It started out with the weather men being off on there temps........ Storm was to start early right at 7am in my area of southern Ohio..... temps were right at 33 degrees at that time and supposed to start dropping LIKE A ROCK right at nine oclock. That's where it got screwey. Temps didn't fall until about 3:30-4 oclock so by this time all salt had been washed away (my lots looked the same as other lots that hadn't been salted).I had put down right at 4,000lbs of bagged salt throughout my several fast food places, banks, strip malls, etc but honestly I think it did nothing as it was all washed away by the time temps dropped. So, it was still snowing (this loooooong storm only dropped 1.5" in my area total ) holy crap did ice form fast so I had to go salt again. I along with every other contractor got the shaft from the off temps so question is what would you do????? still bill for the first salting along with second or just eat the first round of salt?? I cant imagine any of these places would want to pay for a double salting although theres nothing in my contracts that saying that I cannot salt more than once per storm??????? I think ive made up my mind to not charge them as its not worth pissing off customers but I don't know.......... Im still kicking around what to do......

    we had a lot of time wrapped up in salting walks also........... Normally I am not a fan of salting to early but the timing of this storm it was going to be easier to salt before all these places got slammed full of customer/employees???
  2. Longae29

    Longae29 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,954

    Bill twice. No doubt. If any questions you just gave us your explanation.
  3. BUFF

    BUFF PlowSite Fanatic
    from FR NoCo
    Messages: 6,734

  4. SnowGuy73

    SnowGuy73 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 24,868

    x 3............
  5. sk187

    sk187 Senior Member
    Messages: 319

    Eat it, its not the customers fault you salted when it was not needed (I totally understand why you thought it was needed).

    Keeping valued customers is not worth loosing over a few tons of salt.

    It seems like a risk/reward gamble and it did not pay off this time.

    I am sure something will come up on the properties you can make up for the loss.

    Just my .02 but I only deal with a few large clients that I would do almost anything to keep.
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2014
  6. zlssefi

    zlssefi Senior Member
    Messages: 113

    I would bill twice. it was snowing and coated when you put the salt down right? Therefore it was needed to keep the property safe.
  7. Wilnip

    Wilnip Senior Member
    Messages: 583

    Bill twice.
    1. It's going to be a month until they get the invoice and chances are won't remember what happened.
    2. You performed the service as per conditions and forecast. You tried to do the right thing.
    3. Chances are you won't get any complaints, if you do, explain to the customer as you explained to us. If that doesn't resolve the issue, credit that single customer to maintain relationship.
  8. snowcrazy

    snowcrazy Senior Member
    from ohio
    Messages: 402

    No see that's where it got tricky. There was NOT a coating of snow yet but it was pounding down snow and most of my banks and stores were going to open up and according to the weather men that were on my local radio stations the temp was getting ready to fall like a freaking rock. Well It kept snowing and snowing and snowing but temps never fell until right before dark. I have no issues blaming the weather man on this one!!!! I wouldn't have spread if I knew temps would stay that warm through out the day. If I would have waited for snow to accumulate my lots would have been full of customers and employees........... basically there was an empty strip mall up the road that doesn't get serviced ever because its empty. There lot looked just lime mine and all the rest of the lots that were serviced by other contractors. We just all got fooled by mr weather man plain and simple. SO BY THE TIME the temps did finally drop, all our salts were gone and washed off and holly crap did it get slick with the snap of the fingers!! So Me along with everyone else that had salted early in the day were back out again......................... I have decided to bill them for it but if in the event any of them call me about it I am going to explain just as all of you have recommended and let them know that if it will make things better I will eat that salting.

    The good ole weather man, I know its not an exact science for them but sheesh..................... just for example my area as of yesterday was in the 4-6" range so I got all trucks ready, plows put on and loaded both trucks with salt. I wake up this morning and there saying most of that's gonna be rain now and my area will be lucky to see an inch............. Its irritating but I know were all up agains the weather man. Just seems like it happens to often I hook everything up for nothing.
  9. luky013

    luky013 Junior Member
    Messages: 29

    Definitely bill 2x

    MNPLOWCO Senior Member
    Messages: 968

    If you didn't salt it and someone slipped, your clients insurance would go after you and your insurance. Consider it an "insurance salting" to protect both you and your clients. That usually puts the right "spin" on it. Better to invest in "caution" for the safety all is what I would tell them if they whined about the billing. If they argue, you can ask them if they will take the liability the next time it is questionable weather timing. They will need to tell you not to do it and you'll need a 12 hour window before you drop salt. If you put it back on them...nicely..they will understand.:nod: Bill it!
  11. CityGuy

    CityGuy PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 16,898

    Here is the question what does your contact state?

    1. You have authorization to pre treat as you see fit?
    2. You did it because you thought it was the right thing to do?
  12. CleanCutL&S

    CleanCutL&S Senior Member
    Messages: 146

    You have to bill twice, or your setting yourself up next time. If they complain, explain and give %50 off the second salting
  13. DodgeBlizzard

    DodgeBlizzard Senior Member
    Messages: 526

    Sounds like our last storm. I was thinking along the same lines as the OP. But it's not our fault that the forecast changes, or the weathermen get it wrong. You have to do what you think is best for each storm. If you get any complaints, let them know your crystal ball was too cold and you couldn't read it that day. I say bill it as you worked it.
  14. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,425

    Horse hockey and bovine excrement.

    OP, you applied based on the weather predictions. Now, we all know that they are far from accurate but we have to do the best we can with what we know and what they tell us.

    Bill them twice. If you have customers that are going to complain about that, you need to determine if they are customers worth having. This is not an exact science. We don't control the weather, we do what we can. I would have and have done the same thing as you, and billed them twice.
  15. 32vld

    32vld Senior Member
    from LI, NY
    Messages: 617

    When did the it start snowing? Did it start raining first? It appears that it did not start snowing until 3:30 pm.

    It appears that you put down salt 8 hours too early while it was raining.

    This is why I do not put my trust in the weather people. They are a starting point for me to make my decisions. I check weather.com, noaa.gov, accuweather.com. Then I look at the radar maps.

    I am not a weatherman. Though I have called things better and sooner then the pro's have. I have seen too much weather hyping to just get better ratings.
  16. skorum03

    skorum03 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,933

    Charge for 1.5 saltings. There problem solved.
  17. Bossman 92

    Bossman 92 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,768

    Bill them for 2 saltings. This sort of thing happens in this business and i assure you that you did no harm by salting when u did. I would be willing to bet that most customers like knowing that you are out there looking out for them and their patroons and employees. I don't know about you but my local weather guys are often wrong and I haven't yet learned to tell the future so we make a decision based on the info we have and run with it...and once in awhile we are wrong. It happens!
  18. MSS Mow

    MSS Mow Senior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 981

    So if it was predicted to snow 5" but you didn't get anything at all, would you still plow as if it snowed that 5"?

    If I did everything based on what was predicted vs. what ACTUALLY occurred, nothing would ever be done properly!!! If you salted based solely on the weather prediction that it was supposed to get colder (but didn't), than that is your fault and you should eat it. Ultimately though, you know your clients better than any of us and know what you should do.
  19. ryde307

    ryde307 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,129

    When did snow actually start to fall?
    I am in the camp of bill for both applications. We do not do much pretreating so my view is based on that. What does your contract state about pretreating? If it was rain coming down until 330PM then I would feel this one might be on you. You could watch temps and look out the window for rain changing to snow at that point going out to pretreat. If it was a mixed precip from the beginning then no question bill x2.

    On a side note that could have helped with this. We send out an email to all clients prestorm explaining weather predictions and what our plan is based on that. We will then send follow ups after the storm if something changed dramatically. This could have helped. In your prestorm email you would have said temps are supposed to drop and there is a large worry for ice so we will be pretreating around 8AM. After the storm your email would say weather predictions were off and explain what happened and why you salted twice. It has saved us many phone calls.
  20. snowcrazy

    snowcrazy Senior Member
    from ohio
    Messages: 402


    Read post #8........ It was POUNDING DOWN SNOW at 7:00 that morning (WHILE I WAS SALTING) but over night (the hours before I went out to salt) it was almost 40 degrees........ Weather man on my radio at 6:00am that morning while on my way to salt said temps were 33 degrees and supposed to drop like a rock all day................... Well, temps didn't drop until late that day so it snowed heavily throughout the day but NEVER STUCK TO ANYTHING, not even grassy surfaces because the weatherman was wrong that the temps were going to drop starting that morning. So basically what that did was set up that I salted and it snowed on my salted lots for right around 8 hours and by the time it did finally drop my salt was all washed away............ So I had to go salt again..... Hence the question for my original post. See here is where things get tricky. Normally I NEVER presalt because of issues just like this one BUT all my banks, strip malls, restaraunts were opening and I figured id get ahead of the game........... The first call I got that day was from my insurance company which I plow and salt for and the agent is my friend. He saids get your ass up here it went from being just wet to solid ice...... It was 3:30 when he called so I husseled back out and resalted and sure enough it was NASTY......... I just have to think if I were one of those bank employees that saw me salt the lot and snow never even accumulated on grass or anything for that matter all day until my salt was washed off, they may have a problem with paying for that salting. This would all be different if snow would have stuck to other things throughout the day that day but it just didn't. Didn't get cold enough soon enough................. keep In mind all of the contractors did the same as I did and we all got dooped by the weather man. THERE WAS NO RAIN WITH THIS STORM!!! It was large wet snowflakes that morning.
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2014