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What is the best type of commercial account?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Chuck Smith, Oct 5, 2000.

  1. Chuck Smith

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

    Just curious. As was said in the "10 customers in 1 thread" condos are not such a great account to have. What is the absolute best type to have?

    I'm leaning towards a factory. We plowed one for one season, but it was too far away, and not profitable to go there. It was a dream though, the lot was almost always empty. No obstacles.

    I also plowed a small professional building for 5 seasons, and it too was like a dream. Anytime it snowed, the law office closed. All the doctors and nurses went home (except for one idiot Dr. who would park in the middle of where I had to plow). It didn't matter when it snowed, soon after it started, they all went home. The day after a snow, they all came in late. I always had plenty of time to plow it.

    Last year, the owner sold the building. The new owner called me on the night of Jan. 29th, to make sure I was still plowing it. There was snow forecasted for the 30th. I told him yes, and the same prices applied, and he agreed. It snowed, and I plowed and salted it.

    In the afternoon of Feb 1st, it snowed again, and stopped around 8 pm. I went and plowed it. When I was spreading salt, a guy in a mason dump with a plow pulled in. I thought he needed help, or diresctions. WRONG.

    The new owner signed a contract with him for year round maint. including plowing, effective Feb 1st.

    Needless to say I felt stupid. The other guy understood, but we agreed that from then on he would be plowing it. The owner signed the contract with him on Jan 20th.

    I checked my messages, and the new owner didn't call at all. He didn't take the time to tell me I didn't have to plow it. I billed him the usual price, and he paid on time. I included a note saying he could have at least told me about signing the contract with the other company.

    I passed by the building last week, and it's for sale again. The new owner was a Dr. and his new office there was closed, permanently. Basically his practice there went under. The building looks like crap. Bushes overgrown, leaves and trash everywhere. The shame is, that there is still two dentists that have their offices there. They are the ones suffering now. I can only imagine what will happen when it snows. It looks like the new guy is out a maint. contract, or the service intervals were cut back.

    So I am warning you all. If you have an account where the building is for sale, keep up on it. That way when it's sold, you won't plow a lot for nothing. I got paid that time, and was lucky.

    We lost a gas station the year before. The owner sold it, and told no one. I found out after I plowed more than 1/2 the lot, when the "new" guy showed up and told me. It's not a good feeling........


    ~Chuck
     
  2. cutntrim

    cutntrim PlowSite.com - Veteran
    Messages: 248

    Best type...multiple location contracts. Only one guy to deal with, only one guy to invoice. Worst type...multiple location contracts. Only one guy to decide whether or not to retain you the following year, when you've allocated alot of manpower and equipment to that job, and are screwed if he ditches you. That's why it's important to put out a truckload of quotes each pre-season and not rely upon previous year's customers being retained. 'Cause $hit happens, even if it was a heavy winter, you did the good job, and you didn't raise prices.
     
  3. iowastorm

    iowastorm Senior Member
    Messages: 358

    Chuck; I've always felt that the best clients are the ones that pay a handsome fee every month, but don't expect any services in return. Now, if I can just find a few like
    that . . . .
     
  4. OBRYANMAINT

    OBRYANMAINT PlowSite.com Veteran
    from ohio
    Messages: 534

    yes the ones who pay promptly are the best otherwise all building types have there ups and downs
     
  5. John DiMartino

    John DiMartino PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 2,154

    I think the best clients are the ones I have recently acquired-they love the quality service and professional job I do,as compared to the last guys.My customers Ive had for 10+ yrs dont appreciate it anymore until they get a neighbor over and they comment on how clean it is.I like the one bowling lanes I have the best-they dont open til noon-gives me plenty of time to get there after ive got every one else opened up.
     
  6. JCurtis

    JCurtis Banned
    Messages: 862

    I agree, the best commercial account has to be a industrial or Office /professional building.
     
  7. GeoffD

    GeoffD PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 2,266

    First choice private roads.

    Second, Med sized lots, for banks, stores, ect.

    Geoff
     
  8. n y snow pros

    n y snow pros Senior Member
    Messages: 246

    Large commercial lots like malls,shopping centers or industry we find to work best for us.I would rather have several pieces of equipment on one lot than several peices spread out among numerous smaller accounts.larger lots are easier to control for us.
     
  9. GeoffD

    GeoffD PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 2,266

    John your right about large lots, if there were a lot of them in my area i would be on them too. However in my service area, there are very few. Also i know some guys from portland, where the big lots are. There are so many exevators after them, i don't think the money is all that good. I gotta go with what i got for a market, and what i have for equipment.

    Geoff
     
  10. plowking35

    plowking35 2000 Club Member
    from SE CT
    Messages: 2,923

    My single best account. My church. they pay well, and they only have services three times a week. I have all night,day and then some to plow it.
    Dino
     
  11. Chuck Smith

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

    I plowed a local church for 3 years. They always paid timely. The reason I got the account to begin with, was because I included the walks. They had someone (a parishoner) plow it for years before me, but he didn't do the walks. They did them themselves...sometimes. It was after the town forced them to clear the walks, about a week after a snowfall that they called me. It took them 2 days to chop the ice and shovel. That was in January of that year, and my bid I gave them in Oct. of the previous year.

    I hated to lose that account, but there was nothing I could do. They made a deal with the town. The town paved their lot, which is HUGE, and then during the week, it could be used as a "commuter park n' ride" lot. Part of the deal was also that the town would plow and salt the lot. Their regular grounds maint. guy doesn't have any plow trucks, but he does have blowers for walks.


    ~Chuck
     
  12. alternative

    alternative PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,164

    whats the deal with a contract starting on FEB 1.. i have had a couple larger business' call for a quote for the snow starting on feb 1.. think the last guy did it as a lock in type deal.. that way inthe middle of winter they already sign for next year too... and its pretty hard to find someone in feb..??