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contract holdouts?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by CNYScapes, Oct 30, 2007.

  1. CNYScapes

    CNYScapes Senior Member
    Messages: 136

    My largest customer just finally verbally agreed to this years plowing contracts, the paper contracts will be sent out tomorrow.. We sent him the bids about 8 weeks ago. I have been working year round doing mowing, landscaping, and plowing for about 8 years for them. Some years he just signs and sends back the contracts right away, but some years like this one he holds out and shops for better prices to compare with mine and then tries to beat me up on price. Sometimes I give in a little but in the middle of winter when we are getting blasted with snow I regret it. Sometimes I feel like telling him off and moving on but I do almost 100K a year with him and thats hard to give up. When he waits till this close to winter it would be impossible to replace his revenue with other lots, but one day Im gonna lose my temper and tell him off.
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2007
  2. Clapper&Company

    Clapper&Company PlowSite Veteran
    from NE OHIO
    Messages: 4,413

    Whats wrong with checking prices every few years?

    We've been buy salt off the same guy for years, I still call around and check prices in the fall.

    Got to make sure every one stay fair about prices :)
  3. CNYScapes

    CNYScapes Senior Member
    Messages: 136

    I not against the checking of the prices, its is the holdout for 8 weeks to let me know. If he would drop me and let me know 8 weeks ago that would give me time to bid other properties and still attempt at replacing the lost revenue.
  4. bigearl

    bigearl Senior Member
    Messages: 393

    In my opinion they hold out because its some kind of power trip.
  5. AlaskaShooTer

    AlaskaShooTer Member
    Messages: 38

    Contract Delays

    Have you considered an early signing bonus? Lets say sign now for 100K or sign later for $105K? Just set a date that the contact is good until. Put a little pressure on the account to sign up before the price goes up to give you some relief from the delay.

  6. JD Dave

    JD Dave PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,194

    Most property managers don't even think about you, that's the problem. Next year call him and see how the bid is and just say in a nice way that you might have some other work lined up and you'd rather do his but you don't want to give this other job up untill your certain. They must like the work you do and you must be priced accordingly or they would have switched by now.

    MIDTOWNPC PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 4,556

    I have found this year that everyone has got on this "lets get 2 or 3 quotes" idea and they leave it up to someone who has no idea, about how a lot should be plowed.
    And then they cant decide cause it takes so long to get those quotes and finally they call when it starts to get cold out. I think we just need to see an hour of snow fly around to get the phones ringing

    We have this one new property manager on a condo that said to me "well what about just plowing the back lot every other time? I swear they must have never even shoveled their own driveway once, just drive over it.

    I HOPE IT SNOWS LIKE CRAZY IN MY TOWN THIS YEAR. That way some of the property managers and corner cutters look like garbage and everyone scrambles and the weak get weeded out.

    I passed on matching a few quotes this year, on contracts that I had last year only cause they were so stupid, that I know I will have them back next year for more $
  8. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 28,366

    I have a question for you?? Do you have this account set up as a per time?? Or seasonal??

    I only ask, because I try to tie as many of my accounts into a seasonal package as possible. Also, I try to renew them all in the spring, where if I lose one or two, I have 6-7 months to recoup the lost revenue (bushes, mulch, more lawns, etc.) where if I wait until this time, and lose the account, then yes, like you, you're pretty much out that revenue, especially an account that large for the entire winter. With them being renewed in the spring, for that summer and the following winter, then the winter work is already guaranteed.

    Now I realize that a 100k account is hard to break down for a seasonal price, but if you've been doing it for 8 years, I'd think you'd have enough numbers at your disposal where you could work out a pretty good average. The client might even like it better knowing his price breakdown for the entire year, for budget reasons.

    I have given up accounts though because they take too long to decide every year. 3 years ago I gave up a $12k / season Wal-Mart because they didn't let me know before April 1, and I was having a bad day when I stopped by for the 13th-14th time to get a commit. Just said "remove my bid from the pile please, I am no longer interested". The look on the manager's face made my day 100% better.

    SNOWLORD Senior Member
    from MN
    Messages: 610

    I have been doing commercial snow for many years and I have to say this is the worst year ever for holding out on signing contracts I''m linking it to poor economy but not sure I have lost some good large accounts to the out of towners who then call me and wonder if I can plow it for them for pennies on the dollar, and their so surprised when I tell them Im not interested. Heres a funny one, last year we had an early heavy wet snow 11" we were a little behind as was everyone but I was in a wheel loader around noon when US maintenance called my cell and a real cocky guy asked how soon I could get out and plow -------'s shopping center, as their guy didnt show, now I had done this particular center since they opened the doors, and was a little put out that I lost it to these jokers, anyway I thought for a minute as I had a million things going on at that moment, then I calmly said as soon as you can wire $10,000 into my bank account. To which he said Im not lookin to do that, and I said well Im not looking to do your work.
  10. TwistedMetal

    TwistedMetal Member
    Messages: 48

    good one Snowlord...seems plowing snow or cutting grass is the last thing poeple think of when it comes to their budget. its also something they rather not do themselves or cant. the above happens all the time to me, on a smaller scale, doing residentials only for now.i'm not sure i want the headaches of the commerical accounts.