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A review of Lipinski and Brickman

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by jerrydean, Jan 31, 2010.

  1. jerrydean

    jerrydean Junior Member
    Messages: 16

    Normally I tell National Management Companies what they can do with it when they call. This year, I was tempted by Brickman and their 48 payment policy.

    I gotta say, I had some very negative feelings for Brickman at first (we service several Lowes here), but I have come to love their company. They don't 'come down' on you. They seem to understand the situation and choose to work with you. Now this may be a big pile of steaming BS, but it helps me sleep better, make me interface with the customers better, and everyone makes money. They pay quick and in full. A big thumbs up.

    Lipinski - after having some success with Brickman I took on a Kohls with Lipinski and two small gas stations. Next to USM, the worst experience ever. Lipinski takes on the 'hard to please' customer with zero snow tolerance. They won't let you use sand and then complain that the asphalt is slippery. WTF! Steer away from this company by all means! The gas stations pay $100 per plow for 2 - 4 inches. Get this - you have to plow every 2 inches, but only get paid once. They use a graduated scale. You also have to go back and get a signature (plus a reaming from the manager). I literally got chewed out because I didn't have a crew to clean the snow off the curbs around the pumps. After 5 trips, I was to make $200. I told the rep what he can do and decided to eat the money I was into them for after one storm. So far we've had two storms and they've gone through 2 contractors.

  2. sassygrasssnow

    sassygrasssnow Member
    Messages: 43

    Was it hard to get in with the brickman group. What did you do to get in with them
  3. jerrydean

    jerrydean Junior Member
    Messages: 16


    They called from my Yellow Page advert. I had all the right insurances and I was based dead center of three of them. 10 days later we get 24 inches of snow. 4 out of 6 trucks break down within 2 hours. I stuck with it, communicated well with EVERYONE and 4 days later I had a very good relationship.:yow!:
  4. sassygrasssnow

    sassygrasssnow Member
    Messages: 43

    Do Brickman Have anywork in michigan that you know about or can you find out.
  5. MikeLawnSnowLLC

    MikeLawnSnowLLC Senior Member
    Messages: 350

    Brickman is in MI i know they are in the Metro Detroit area anything outside of that I'm not sure.
  6. snobama

    snobama Member
    Messages: 35

    Good to hear your good experience, quite refreshing actually, the norm for most is to just gripe...
    But instead of blaming the other company, don't you feel any accountability for satisfying the customer and understanding the pay and format before you agree to something? If a company doesn't treat you well, that's one thing, and if a customer is totally unreasonable, that's another... but it sounds like you are bashing them for things that only you could have prevented.
  7. big acres

    big acres Senior Member
    Messages: 653

    Snobama -in looking past the gripe I think his real beef is the fact that they appeared to have conveniently used the term "per plow" when they intended to pay "per storm". It is a big difference when you think your price is billed every time you show up.

    OP -Does the graduated pricing language appear in your contract? If it does, then it's a tough lesson if you didn't clarify it before starting. Somehow I can see a bigger company pulling this... especially since they are trying to rope in newbie plowers -not that your a newbie, but most newbies wouldn't think to ask about graduated pricing and per storm vs. per plow pricing if it wasn't front and center on the payment terms.
  8. ford550

    ford550 Senior Member
    Messages: 407

    Good post Jerry. Nice and informative without all the BS sarcasm that most bring in here. Very well done.
  9. jerrydean

    jerrydean Junior Member
    Messages: 16


    The lipinski demands were out of this world impossible. The previous contractor has royaly screwed up. The Kohls was mad at Lipinski. We were given severe greif when we showed up 3 days before the storm to introduce ourselves. Lipinski was trying to satisfy the customer, but the customer could not be consoled. So we had to bear the brunt of making it up to them. I could have given them 100 truck hours and removed every flake and done a perfect job, but It would not have been enough to right the oringinal wrong. that is why I chose to cut and run. The lesson I learned was to not get into an antaginistic relationship to begin with. How one does that, I don't know.
  10. Brant'sLawnCare

    Brant'sLawnCare PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,756

    When will these stores stop using BIG national companies that obviously don't get quality contractors, and start going to local businesses to do plowing??
  11. Matson Snow

    Matson Snow PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,985

    They wont stop using them....It saves the Stores money and they like dealing with one company on a national level...This is why you are seeing more and more National Companys coming on scene...i.e.Brickmans,Symboit,USM ,Etc...This is what you are gonna have to deal with..So get used to it...:nod:
  12. hlntoiz

    hlntoiz Senior Member
    from NW, CT
    Messages: 588

    Sounds like you made the right choice. I know my buddie in NC has had pretty good dealings with Brickman. He does 12 Lowes in NC

    Yup exactly!
  13. big acres

    big acres Senior Member
    Messages: 653

    It doesn't matter if it's national... it's the fact that three parties are involved when two are best for the most ideal relationship. You might sign an agreement for econmy service with the regional manager of some apartments for example, but if your main contact from there on becomes the on-site manager, they might have rediculous expectations for the price range negotiated with their boss. This often leads to hostility... especially if one party was recently stripped of their decision making power.

    Always an added dynamic of politics when more than two parties.
  14. 04superduty

    04superduty PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,354

    i have seen brickman around Kalamazoo and one truck on m-89 in Plainwell. that trucks frame was bent so bad that it looked like a smile. not sure what bent the frame but the trailer hitch was bend down pretty far, so possibly to much tongue wieght.
  15. LawnmastersMike

    LawnmastersMike Member
    Messages: 47

    I did alot of work for Brickman two years ago and it was great. They gave me all the work I wanted and paid in a timely manner. Heck they even paid for 2 hours standby time on a few occasions. I have since gone out and got enough jobs on my own to keep our trucks busy but have heard that things arent going so smooth with Brickman this year because they are trying to cut their cost. Anyone from Ohio have any experiences with that this year? We're thinking of getting another truck to run for them for the remainder of this winter and next year.
  16. jerrydean

    jerrydean Junior Member
    Messages: 16

    Latest with Brickman and us

    I decided to part ways with Brickman. We had 24 inches over the weekend. When negotiating the price of a Lowes it was decided $400 for a complete push and $350 for complete Salt.

    I did not forsee that, during a blizzard, we would not salt after each push. I ended up pushing the lot (4 acres) 6 times. It cost me $6K to pay everyone to get the job done and we only netted $4K profit. I don't know about you guys, but $4K for 36 straight hours of work just doesn't cut it. Especially when I have to split it with two other partners.

    In addition, they sent down three trucks to "observe and assist." Their "professional" people have a way about them that really sets me off. Two of the four reps I met talk to us like we are something they scraped off their shoes. I quickly get tired of this. In addition, we did a good job, got the sites 98% done. After 36 hours, we all retired for 3 hours. The call center could not get in touch with us, so they sent another 7 trucks to clean up. Of course they all report back just what a pathetic job we were doing. (Isn't it funny you don't see one snow contractor ever complementing another)

    I don't have hard feelings about Brickman in particular. I think it is okay for those that can live with minimal profit margins. I cannot. I think the problem is the business model all together. Having the onsite managers mad at us because they don't have a choice of vendors, having your director give you direction from 500 miles away, and being at the becon call 24/7 for little money is just not my thing.

    I will never work for snow brokers again.:nono:
  17. Superior L & L

    Superior L & L PlowSite Veteran
    from MI
    Messages: 3,041

    Jerry, im a little confused!

    Your numbers dont add up. Dont take this the wrong way, im not trying to be a ass, but i do some larger retail and want to make sure i dont get into this trap.

    How can it cost you $6000 to plow a lowes. Do you do multipe locations, it only says 4 acres. The $400 on a 4-5 acre site seems fair to me. People do say you dont make a ton on the big dumps but at least they let you plow and bill that much in a small area of time.
  18. smcunningham

    smcunningham Member
    Messages: 69

    I'm a sub for brickman....Have been for three years now and have had no problems w/ them
  19. jerrydean

    jerrydean Junior Member
    Messages: 16

    Answer to Superior L&L

    At $75/hour per contractor, I required two contractors to assist us. One had a skid steer and one had a plow truck 36 x $75 x 2 = $5400. The rest was salt and misc.

    I don't understand why you think $400 for 4 acres of asphalt is okay. I had one contract that pays me $3000 for 2 acres. I plowed that one 3 times.

    I shoot for $1000 per hour revenue during a storm. Since I made $4000 in 36 hours on 3 Lowes, that was $111.

    I would rather stay home and watch TV than put up with that responsibility for $111/hour
  20. snobgone

    snobgone Senior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 122

    How are you calculating the $1000 per hour? Is that all of your equipment combined? If you get 3k for 2 why would you contract yourself for 400 for 4?