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customer happy and unhappy

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by dfdsuperduty, Feb 14, 2011.

  1. dfdsuperduty

    dfdsuperduty Senior Member
    Messages: 597

    Well I thought the customer was happy with our service for the blizzard that we had this year since they told us you guys did a great job and thank you for getting us open the day after the storm. Well they got their bill and now their tone has changed stating that they couldn't believe how much it was going to cost them and why they were charged what they were charged. Three days prior to this storm I contacted them and discussed the option to have a wheel loader set on site due to the magnitude of storm and the amount of snow that we were going to get and they stated "No Dave we really don't want to pay the extra money for the wheel loader and we probably won't get as much as what they are calling for." I had explained to them that yes it does cost more but would take less time thus making it more cost effective and still the answer was No. Well lets just say they wanted to know why we didn't have a loader availible to them. :gunsfiring::realmad::gunsfiring::angry:
  2. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    So I assume you didn't give them a ballpark figure before you did the extra work?
  3. dfdsuperduty

    dfdsuperduty Senior Member
    Messages: 597

    no extra work was done our contract states

    snow falls over 12" of snow will result in the following rates being applied $xxx.xx per hour per vehicle with a minimum of an 8' plow upto and including a vehicle using a 10' plow then there is a spot for them to initial. We got 21.3" of snow and they were happy we had them opend for business but not at what it took to get them to that point
  4. Rc2505

    Rc2505 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,245

    By no means am I knocking the way you run your business or anything, but when something like a blizzard is forcasted, I contact all of my customers, and expain to them what they should expect, and what costs will be involved. Wether it be a loader and it's cost vs the regular truck and it's costs. I will never let more than 4 inches of snow build up before I plow with a truck, and if the business is closed during the night, the same stands true. So if we are expecting a 20 inch snow fall I would plow the lot at least 5 times, or if they are closed during the night, I can let more build up, and use a loader to plow them before they open at XXX costs. This gives them the oppertunity to save, or spend more money depending on what they want. I am finding that catering to these small business is what is still landing, and retaining my snow plow jobs, so I will do what they want with a simple e-mail from them so I have a paper trail to fall back on.
  5. kashman

    kashman PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,070

    iv gotten that a lot in the fall with leafs wow the yard looks the best its ever look then they get the bill . then its the kid down the street could have done it for 5.00
  6. bristolturf

    bristolturf Senior Member
    Messages: 435

    rc I agree with you, however; in some cases, such as mine. It was nearly impossible for anyone to go out during this blizzard. We recieved our seasonal average snowfall in less than 8 hours in that 1 storm. Places had drifts ranging from 10-15 feet with consistant snow depths of up to 4 feet in some locations.

    superduty, what I do is this. On our per push accounts, or per storm accoutns we have an inclimate weather clause basically stating that if we recieve an abundant amount of snow which makes it difficult for us to plow (such as the blizzard) we reserve the right to switch over to stictly hourly rates, and we list all the equipment in which we can use and state that the equipment we use on your site is discresionary to the contractor. So basically if we have a wheel loader availalbe we will use it. We also explain that, the larger the equipment yes the hourly rate is higher, but the production rate is more substatial.

    I also agree with rc on the fact that you should contact your customers and explain to them what is approaching, and tell them we are hoping for the best, but expecting the worst.
  7. Burkartsplow

    Burkartsplow PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,246

    He offered the wheel loader to them and they declined. I believe that he was trying to save them money and they thought else wises. They knew what they were getting into with the contract they had signed at the beginning of the season. He did was needed to be done to in order to fulfill his side of the agreement by having the business by the next day. I think he did exactly what I would have done. I would keep plowing the lot as stated in the contract and have the business open by the next morning. I would send them the bill and expect to get paid in full. Everybody wants the best service, but in the end they dont want to pay for it. Good Job dfdsuperduty!!
  8. ponyboy

    ponyboy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,104

    My contract all have blizzard clause for me that is any snowfall total over 10 inches in one storm. All my prices are stated and contracts are signed why would I call my places to tell them anything I do the work I expect to get paid what my signed contract states. I would spend way to many hours on the phone instead of getting everything ready for the snow Bottom line people want everything for free
  9. Rc2505

    Rc2505 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,245

    My contracts all state the same options. I just feel it gives the managers, or owners a warm fuzzy feeling that I take the time to contact them, and expain the options. Everyone has to remember that plowing is a business, and customer service is what has to keep the customer comming back to you each year. I expect to resign everyone again next year, and pick up a few more again because of my customer service. Word of mouth goes along way, and I am not willing to work for the nationals, so if a couple phone calls through the season keep everyone happy, then I am going to take the time to mkae those calls!
  10. dlcs

    dlcs 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,160

    I feel the same way. Also I am not in business to save them money. I'm in business to do what needs doen and chrage them for ti, they agreed in the fall to my prices and i don't control the weather. If I did it would snow every other night2 inches all year long. :salute:
  11. KEC Maintaince

    KEC Maintaince Senior Member
    from N.J.
    Messages: 265

    RC 100% correct Customer Service and staying in contact with them can go along way...

    i beleive when he did call tthem they misunderstood him tho i bet you they thought that you want to charge them for all the services plus the loader as well. unless of course that was your intention.
    Yes you did bill them according to the contract i bet you they feel as if you did not offer them any other alternative( when you spoke to them) to possibley lower their bill and save them some money..
    every one is happy to sign a contract when there is no snow on the ground or when there is 2 feet of snow at their door but when the bill comes due for the services thats when they are done being greatful
  12. michande

    michande Junior Member
    Messages: 18

    I think what happens alot of times is that you guys work through the night and me the shop keeper only see the finished product. I don't know how much work it took for my parking lot to get cleared. I don't know if you were there once or ten times. All I know is I have a contract saying that when it snows you guys magically make it dissappear. What you know because that is your profession and what the other guy thinks he knows because he owns a parking lot may be way off.
    While it may not be pleasant and it might be time consuming, you may have to guide some people and sort of hold their hand through the process.
    Superduty. What unit were you with in Iraq?
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2011
  13. LoneCowboy

    LoneCowboy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,760

    This is exactly what my contract does. It rarely happens Blizzards are relatively rare by definition. But when it does, it's strictly hourly and we get to use whatever equipment we think is best. They read it, they agreed to it, they signed it.

    I love these people that want you only when you get big storms. Ummm, too late then, have to plan ahead and get equipment in place BEFORE it hits.

    You should ask them "do you listen to the weather? Do you notice they are wrong a LOT. Can you guess what that does to me?"
  14. dfdsuperduty

    dfdsuperduty Senior Member
    Messages: 597

    thanks burkarts ya we had a guy out there for 32hrs straight in a bobcat and at one point in time 3 other trucks for a total of 9hrs. Like I told my guys that work for me we will either retain customers or loose some in the blizzard this was a once in 30 year storm for us
  15. clark lawn

    clark lawn PlowSite.com Addict
    from NE ohio
    Messages: 1,233

    we had a storm like that hit last year, we got 16-24 inches(depended what side of town) in about 12 hours. a few commercial places got plowed 5-6 times. most of them understood a few complained that we should have just waited till it was all done. no matter what you do someone is not going to be happy.
  16. swtiih

    swtiih PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,179

    So what did this guys bill come to 2x , 3x ,4x ??? the normal plow.
    You can explain 2"-5 " of snow is not bad to push but 2-3' deep take a considerable amount of time longer. Remind him the post office didn't even deliver mail that day ask him the last time he remembers that happening. Also even local and county trucks took days to completely open roads and every municipality spent huge amounts of money to clean up. Yes this was a very rare snow for our area.
  17. dfdsuperduty

    dfdsuperduty Senior Member
    Messages: 597

    it was about 4x's the normal bill
  18. swtiih

    swtiih PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,179

    Not sure what you have in your contract with them but the average person just doesn't understand what us plow guys went through on that blizzard. When anyone sees a bill for 2x let alone 4x the normal bill their gonna not be happy. I can see their point easier then they will understand ours. I hope you get your money. I know that I in my seasonal contracts I will definetly be putting wording in for an extra charge for anything over xx"
  19. GimmeSnow!!

    GimmeSnow!! Senior Member
    Messages: 135

    Every commercial contract I have says 2-5" (price) 5-7" 1.5x (price) 7-12" 2x(price) 12"+ 3x(price) we only got 10 to 12 inches in that storm but got the equivalent of 3 pushes on every lot. My problem was with the salt. We salted about 16 time in January because we kept getting these 1/8th to 1/4" storms now I've got one customer telling me to either lower the bill or he's going to hire someone else next year. Problem is he's in a complex where I have another business thats got a lot more work to it and he's paying the same price. The bigger one is too low and the smaller one is too high but I gave a discount to the bigger for getting me the smaller. Don't want to piss off one and lose the other but I think we should get paid for the time and materials we put in. And what's more frustrating is we hardly worked in December so he's barely above the budget from last year. I really am sick of getting no sleep and paying out the *$$ for labor salt and gas to have everyone complain when its time to pay us. Sorry for the rant, didn't mean to hijack your page.
  20. EquityGreen

    EquityGreen Member
    Messages: 33

    I feel the same way, we just got a 3in rain ice storm followed by 2 in of snow. With all the ice melt and hrs of chipping sidewalks the residential bills are double and one association I do is 4 times their normal amount. We bill all our snow on hourly rates so amount doesn't matter too much just concerned they are going to flip out.

    Its been a great winter here in south dakota.. lots of smaller totals and new accts too. Woohoo

    Good luck All!
    2011 is going to be a great year!