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Customer Pulled all stakes What to do??

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by BigBoyPlowin, Apr 3, 2013.

  1. BigBoyPlowin

    BigBoyPlowin Senior Member
    Messages: 301

    Alright guys please inform me of what you would do in the senario that follows:

    Today I sent out crews to replace dislodged parking blocks/ rebar and to collect stakes...as we like to clean them off and reuse them the following year. Well I get a call from the crew leader and he says our of 3 church locations (All affiliated) they managed to collect 5 stakes out of probably 200 or so. We had the short Poly ones around te sidewalks and 5' Discount stakes around the lot area....(Following the contract)

    I spoke with the Maint. manager and all he could say was "Sorry about your stakes, But I don't know where they are."

    Should we bill them for the stakes or what??
  2. Drakeslayer

    Drakeslayer 2000 Club Member
    from Carver
    Messages: 2,803

    When did they start disappearing? Have they been there all season or when was the last time you were there and saw them?

    If they were there recently I would say bill them.
  3. DodgeBlizzard

    DodgeBlizzard Senior Member
    Messages: 526

    You should figure in the cost of labor to put them in and take them out, you should also figure the price of the stakes to come up missing. It blows, but people love to take so they don't have to spend their own money. I've had customers take them. I've had landscapers get in a rush to do their spring cleanups and will take them. Buy bulk and figure it will happen.
  4. downtoearthnh

    downtoearthnh Senior Member
    Messages: 121

    I end up losing at least 100 of the thousand or so fiberglass stakes I use annually to mark the driveways we plow. I do not charge for their installation, and do not ask for them back if they go missing. I think that some homeowners see them as a perk to having a plow service. It is a part of the cost of doing business.
  5. BigBoyPlowin

    BigBoyPlowin Senior Member
    Messages: 301

    Yeah I know they will come up missing.... And others will be used to hang their tomato plants but still for 3 churches to pull out 200 or so stakes and throw them away is a problem and I will be speaking with the maint. Manager in regards to it.

    Back in the fall, 2 days after we staked these properties about a third of the mini poly stakes were taken around the sidewalks... Probably by the kids but still! Granted I did get the stakes in bulk at a super great deal but I'm just wondering about next year...
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2013
  6. road2damascus

    road2damascus PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,845

    When you speak to the manager, do it in person. I have had great success with in person meetings. People that like hiding behind phones usually don't have much backbone in person.

    3 churches, all affiliated, all missing stakes.....sounds fishy to me.

    Was the landscaping company there to do spring clean up? If so, get their info.
  7. cat320

    cat320 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,224

    When it comes to markers you have to consider them a throw away product . if some one picks them up and takes them or you kit them and they break during the plowing season. If you look at it from a customer point of view they don't care how you plow it but if you rip up there lawn they want you to fix it so they are more benificial to you than the customer. it's just something that you have to build into the price and if they are there they are there. Unless you say hey I will be using nicer looking makers and they cost X amount more than the cheap ungly wooden ones and we can use them. and charge for them? .
  8. nsmilligan

    nsmilligan PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 704

    I lose about 1/2 my filberglass stakes each season, I do mark my stakes with a black permanent marker with my initials and ph #, and I do find some at neighboring properties, at least with an identifing mark I can just pick them up.

  9. cpmi

    cpmi Senior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 167

    Is there any wording concerning the stakes in your contract with them? If so use that as your guideline as to how to proceed. If not-as mentioned a face to face meeting is in order and take it from there.
  10. RLM

    RLM PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,270

    A good many of our disappear every year, it sucks as our costs go up to have one so easy to control be outside our control. The sooner you can get them the better IMO. In my market we are going to start repairs next week, I have some soil here that is tarped & dry. In the past it is ussually almost May because I have waited for screen plants to open. The little dollars on the stake hardly make it worth a special trip is the problem, you say you had 200 stakes there, figure $ 200 which is probably high & sent 2 guys there, it (labor & fuel) would negate any residual value ($ 200-damaged/broken) the stakes might have. Still $ 50 in stakes recovered is $ 50 you dont have to spend next fall, & as the saying goes "a penny saved is a dollar earned".
  11. BigBoyPlowin

    BigBoyPlowin Senior Member
    Messages: 301

    Thanks guys... I'm still contemplating on what to do... I'll probably still talk to him in person and speak with him about next year and how it's going to be.

    Yeah, the church cuts their own lawn, so i'm sure it was either him or some other church members who performed their own cleanup..

    All they requested was that we use "Child Safe Stakes.. No Wooden ones."

    The reasoning behind sending the guys out Is to repair site damage, give the guys hours and the pull stakes.. Maybe we're just bitter because we waited last too long to pull stakes last year and majority were gone.. At least now, we felt we were a bit earlier... guess not!
  12. cat320

    cat320 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,224

    Maybe you should just state that you will be pulling out the stakes at the end of the season . and if they pull them then they need to save them for you.
  13. fms

    fms Senior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 209

    I'd speak to the manager, but it doesn't sound like you can prove that they removed the stakes. I'd just let the manager know how it hurts your company financially to loose stakes. Maybe get him to see the light.
  14. merrimacmill

    merrimacmill PlowSite.com Addict
    from MA
    Messages: 1,823

    Best advice so far. Nothing you can really do, unfortunately. I always use wooden stakes because they get broken, run over, stolen, etc. Whatever we have left, great. Whatever is missing, oh well.

    Without getting into a debate on religion, I've found that churches tend to have a serious problem with having a self entitlement attitude when dealing with contractors. In my own experience, they think they deserve the world for free, because they are "doing the work of god." I refuse all bids to churches due to my experiences.
  15. TKLAWN

    TKLAWN PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,637

    Maybe they will mark the lots for you next year.:D
  16. BigBoyPlowin

    BigBoyPlowin Senior Member
    Messages: 301

    Hahah To be honest with you we try not to even use stakes on our commercial stuff...Unless its a New account or has many obstacles. Those tall poly or fiberglass ones scrape the mess out of the trucks if you get too close! All i did was send him an email pretty much saying if you have them return them.. since we reuse them year after year.

    FMS- They have cameras all over the property... He knows he pulled them and probably threw them in the dumpster... If not he would of said, "hey i saw Name's plowing (Or a random person) pull in here in a red truck and pull all the stakes on surveillance."

    As Cat320 said, we'll definitely be including a stake clause in out contracts next year.
  17. yardguy28

    yardguy28 Senior Member
    Messages: 485

    I don't really worry about the stakes or the labor to install and remove them. I did send out an email this season a week or 2 before I went to pull them letting clients know I'd be out to get them and not to throw them away. I had a few clients who threw them away last season.

    in the end I don't charge for the stakes or the labor to install and remove them. none of my clients have ever requested them. I use them on my own to keep from damaging turf and other obsticals. I'd rather buy them, install them and remove them for free than pay to replace something I damaged.