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Commercial Contracts Awarded?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by big acres, Oct 16, 2008.

  1. big acres

    big acres Senior Member
    Messages: 653

    Are you guys seeing buyers and managers dragging their feet more than usual this year? What changes is the economy bringinging about (besides price) in your biz?
  2. NorthernSvc's

    NorthernSvc's Senior Member
    Messages: 781

    yea usually i would have majority of contracts signed by now, for some reason i feel they are really draggin this year.
  3. big acres

    big acres Senior Member
    Messages: 653

    Glad it's not just me... this is normally nail-biting time anyhow. What are thoughts as to why?
  4. plowtime1

    plowtime1 Senior Member
    Messages: 446

    we're actually seeing a push to finish off projects that have been lingering on their desk; this happens quite often here in the NE. As to snow work, we've received confirmation on quite a few already and the potential customers approached; well...tire kicking in hopes of cheaper prices...part of the game I guess. The economy shouldn't make much of a difference in terms of doing or not doing; safety is and should be the issue,so I dont believe it takes a back seat. I've seen a few of our residentials with disposable income already have asked for discounts. Funny,how can we work for cheaper when the cost of materials continue to rise?
  5. snowman55

    snowman55 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,071

    we really need to help change this idea with managers that they have to make a decision before it snows. It is tough to provide good service when you dont know how much equipment you need, and how to route it. it seems we always end up scrambling in Nov after they make thier decisions to put a snow plan in place. I am gonna push in june to sign contracts next year and tell everyone that we will not except any after Oct 1. if I lose business so be it I will size my company accordingly on Oct 1.
  6. MB3

    MB3 Senior Member
    Messages: 123

    I have seen adn will continue to see guys in old pick-ups that they are out of work and had time to "fix" thier old plow, going out and try to make a few under the table bucks. I know that there has been at least 3 or 4 of them ask the one lot that I do, they already signed their contract with me back in Sept, but when I talked withthe manager, he just laughs, when he asked for insurance papers, some go get this truck registration papers or truck insurance papers, and he asks how much coverage they have, they start listing their auto policy. He just nicely tells them to leave and to find out about how to run a company BEFORE they waste anymore of his time.
  7. Ipushsnow

    Ipushsnow Senior Member
    Messages: 314

    Rather then say your not going to accept bids after October 1st a better tactic is to give them a price and put on there that the price is valid until October 1st and includes a 20% discount for early booking. If they don't call til after October 1st then just jack the price up 20%. I justify it by saying I get salt cheaper if I order it in the summer months and if they wait I have to pay more for the salt, so they have to pay more for the service.
  8. big acres

    big acres Senior Member
    Messages: 653

    I like this approach, but if you are already on the higher end... it could backfire. I would say that we charge a premium for "late signing" accounts. snowman55 has it right though... no matter what the gimmick, some people are to dumb to relaize that we need more than one week to plan their EMERGENY service and you have to draw the line somewhere.
  9. smoore45

    smoore45 Senior Member
    Messages: 526

    For me it seems the larger the company, the slower it takes to have them sign anything. I have been told that I was awarded a contract 3 weeks ago, but no meetings or papers signed as of yet. It is starting to get me nervous. :mad:
  10. davewh

    davewh Member
    Messages: 84

    I've read all the posts here and it seems like everyone is in the same boat, I think its an educational process for customers to actually attach a real value on what we do. whether the sales pitch is safety, reliabilty, or even that alot of people die during winter months with a shovel in there hand just to save 20 bucks. I find this a very frustrating business, Landscaping is the same thing geesh people spend more on a hair cut than they do mowing their lawns.
    I'm hoping that the guys who are extremely cheap will foriet reliabilty with breakdowns and not showing up or just can't get up at night and go plowing. eventually everything will weed itself out and the professionals on this site will prevail. you will have so many contracts and so much money.

    Whew hows that for a rant.
  11. Ipushsnow

    Ipushsnow Senior Member
    Messages: 314

    I think everyone, big or small, regardless of where you are in the country deals with the same thing. A call or two in early fall, a few more calls once overnight temps approach freezing, the the phone rings off the hook when the first snow is forecast. Been like that forever and always will be, people put off setting things up until the last minute.
    I like when the people I quoted in August call in December and say "Yeah, we want to sign a contract." I say okay, but the price is 20% higher, just like it says on the estimate. They grumble, but I point out its their fault and they could have saved if they would have called sooner. The whole point is MAYBE next year they will sign up in August or September and I wont have to scramble in December to set routes, ensure I have salt, and ensure I have enough help for the season.
  12. baddboygeorge

    baddboygeorge Senior Member
    Messages: 237

    always dragging there feet!

    Our commercial cutoff for contracts is Oct. 31 after that your considered a call in customer an charged accordingly!!
  13. Longae29

    Longae29 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,953

    I like to make weekly phone calls, and remind the customers that we are trying to get our routes organized and have enough salt to serve everyones needs blah blah blah, eventually they get tired of the phone calls and will make a decision one way or the other. We have 98% of our customers from last year resigned up already, and quite a few new ones, this will be the first year when i can tell those last minute scramblers that we are unable to quote their job because we are already booked.
  14. Ramairfreak98ss

    Ramairfreak98ss PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,931

    were still getting ones JUST now deciding, others have given us dates of 10/28/08, 11/3/08 and so on... Most that are past that we cant take anyway, theyre too late. Not sure why theyre dragging so much, even ones that we were awarded, still have not "completed" all the finalizing of paperwork and contractual data.
  15. Ipushsnow

    Ipushsnow Senior Member
    Messages: 314

    I think the best phone call is the customer that dumped you for a low-baller only to call half way through the winter begging you to come back.

    The second best is the customer that drags his feet, you forget about him and move on and book up for the season. Then, when the first snow is forecast he's calling and wants to sign a contract and you say "Sorry, we are all filled up for the season, we can't fit you in." They then go ballistic, then get apologetic and beg you to "squeeze" them in. God I LOVE those calls!!!
  16. davewh

    davewh Member
    Messages: 84

    I wish i could be in the position here in London to say those things to customers, But unfortunately I think there is an abundance of Snow Removal companies here, Residential and Commercial alike I don't think anyones route is full yet.tymusic
  17. QuadPlower

    QuadPlower PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,056

    I have put out a couple bids to management companies. None of them have let me know the situation. I have emailed and called. Pisses me off that they can't take a minute to say, "sorry you weren't the lowest", or "we are still waiting for something".

    I don't care if I didn't get it. Just let me know so I can move on and bid others.
  18. big acres

    big acres Senior Member
    Messages: 653

    On Friday I sigened two new ones, two renewals, and got to requests for bid... so things are looking up but I still have some big renewals who have not signed. I think the calls on Friday were due to the possibility of snow flurries here this Sunday... well, we got actual snow and freezing rain. Of course nothing stuck though.

    I have an inside source with a managment company where we have for jobs pending, upwards of $100k in work. They told me that all the managers are frustrated, since vendors are hounding them like crazy and corporate has not approved their budgets yet. It proves that the further up the chain you go, the less common sense there is. Anyways, now that everyone here saw snow fly today, I better get some calls this week.

    Messages: 79

    who do we sue

    When there is a slip and fall on halloween or pre turkey day, and the contract isnt signed. who is responsible. who had the contract last year, did they pay you for november.

    that is something that has to be in writing.

    if they sign the contract for a nov 1 to april 15 season, on november 30th, there still paying for the november month. some "J.W.A.T'.s" think there saving a month of fees.

    this is why consulting firms make money. this is why we have to stop dealing with "janitors wearing a tie " and deal with higher ups to get answers. if there procedure is you speaking to the grounds keeper about things, your asking for trouble..

    there is a simple reason your not getting signed on time.

    they dont like you,
    they want to pay you less.
    they want to see who has more service for less money.
    they want to pay you less.
    they want to pay you less,
    did i mention they want to pay you less.

    the oldest trick in the book is to hold out...thats good until someone slips...

    now if there isnt snow until december then change your contracts and proposal (good till dates).

    if there stalling on a renewal, you failed to make them happy, but you won not getting sued.

    or maybe someone else is in charge of signing.

    there are so many reasons for contracts not getting signed on time its almost pointless to figure out why.

    more then likely its nothing you can even think up of.

    be persistent, be polite, be honest.
  20. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 28,362

    We got 2 more confirmations last Friday.

    We've got 3 bids left outstanding. 1 is for (3) banks, 1 is for an apartment complex and one is for a private road in the middle of nowhere.

    The banks and the apartment complex are located next to properties we're already servicing, so it won't be too hard to squeeze them in.

    The road, it's a straight shot with a loop at the end, but it's 15-20 minutes from anywhere I'll already have a truck.

    The commercial properties are all changing hands right now. That's good for me, since I serviced them all last year, I'm sure all of a sudden whoever is supposed to be making the decision (my contacts from last year have no idea with the new ownership group) will just say "call who had it last year, get this done).

    Other than that, I lost 1 account from last year, but it's a YMCA that was just a pain in the butt to deal with, so I'm good to go. So far added 10 other accounts and filled out routes for 3 1/2 trucks.

    People keep talking about how bad the economy is, and I agree. My wife who's an RN is going to be laid off in the next week. It sucks. However, there are other niche segments of the ecenony that are still rolling strong.

    I just got done doing $10,000 worth of firewood last week. I pulled all of my ads, I need time to get leaf cleanup done, and start getting ready to mark properties for plowing.