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Customer story

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Mick, Mar 5, 2003.

  1. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    Situation - I’m getting ready to sand a road and a lady at the house next to the road flags me down. She was in the process of buying this house. She says she’s from Georgia and knows nothing about snow so could I plow for her? She’ll have her car in the garage that’s straight in from the road about fifty feet. No cars outside. Ok, I explain how I’ll plow it and where I’ll push it. Then she can just open her garage door and drive out. Basically, this amounts to driving up to the garage, backdrag, push parallel to the garage about fifty feet and pile it. Then clean the entrance. No big deal - $20. She half-joking says she is going to buy a snowblower for that much. Now, when she moves in she can’t park her car in the garage because her daughter is storing furniture there. So the car is parked outside with a friend’s car. Her car is at the very end of the driveway. So now I can’t even get into the driveway. So I get the snow from in front of the car so she can pull into the plowed area, then into the street. Then, run the route and come back after she’s gone to work. The other car might still be there. Then I plow as described. She’s on a 3” trigger and I’d explained how that works.

    January - plowed twice, billed and got paid. February - plowed twice billed and got a check with a note: “We were getting ready to call you because we did not think you had plowed at all! We realize there have been trucks & cars in the driveway but we saw no evidence of plowing. Please call me xxx-xxxx.”

    I was completely baffled because the driveway is plowed, the garage door is cleared, the entrance and where they park is cleared. There’s a pile of snow about six feet high and twenty feet wide from where I pushed. I went up this evening and checked although I’d driven by it at least once a day for the past four days. My wife asked me if I was plowing the right house.

    Finally got ahold of her to figure out what the trouble is. Turns out what she is talking about is BEFORE she leaves. She asked when I was plowing. I explained what I was doing and that I came back after she’d left for work. (Remember the car is parked right at the end of the driveway by the street).

    “OH, AFTER“.

    Talked to her a little more. She admitted she was frustrated that she was paying all this money for plowing and still had to walk in snow and shovel snow to get her car out. Also, she thought I'd get all the snow up. Finally figured she was talking about the packed snow base (this is a gravel drive). She was having a hard time walking on it. Originally, the idea was to go into the attached garage from the house.

    I just thought - maybe she wanted me to wake her up at 5:00 to move her car.

    I'm going to put some sand on the driveway. Also offered to put her on a 1" trigger but she decided against anything less than 3".

    Next year she’ll have a new garage and the cars will be in it.

    I just thought it was interesting. I'd never worked with a person who has never seen snow before.
  2. cat320

    cat320 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,224

    Mick people are funny ,Maby you should of woke her up every time you plowed her then she would know you where there lol.I had a customer call me up wanted to know why i wasn't cleaning all the spots that her tenets park at.I told here that i do wait for a little while if i see then getting out there to move them but then i do come back later to clear but not all the people are out to work or what ever,so how many times can you come back.
  3. mdb landscaping

    mdb landscaping Senior Member
    Messages: 823

    i guess people from georgia dont realize snow can become packed. she probably expects you to show up with a hair dryer and melt the whole thing:D she'll learn real quick living in this new enviornment.
  4. BWhite

    BWhite Senior Member
    Messages: 496


    I have HAD customers like her (for 20 bucks its a waste of your time) . You need customers that will appreciate your work that way your hard work pays off its a win win situation . personally I dont have time to analyze what kind of problems individual customers may have . find a better customer !!! p.s. I had a customer shave $5 !!! off a bill for the last large storm( contesting snow depth ) . Little do they know after the end if this winter they are GONE ! and I wont look back :D Bill
  5. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    Yeah, people are funny. I've learned a lot this year. I think a lot of problems are related to getting so much snow.

    Another year or so, this lady will either pack it back to Georgia or be laughing at herself for this winter.
  6. BRL

    BRL PlowSite.com - Veteran
    Messages: 1,277

    Nah, she'll be moving at the end of April after she sees what winter in Maine is all about. ;)
  7. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    BWhite, that was my initial reaction, too. Not worth the $20. My minimum has always been $25, but this was such a little job. But once I talked to her I decided it was just a matter of ignorance of local conditions. Believe me, I wouldn't bother just for the money. I just dropped two customers at the end of last month. Not just all of a sudden, but I'm only willing to go so far.
  8. BWhite

    BWhite Senior Member
    Messages: 496

    Good Attitude :)
  9. Arc Burn

    Arc Burn PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,141

    I have one were i have to blow the horn at 5am and they come out to move the car......sometimes:realmad: ,I told them they have 1 minute(I have no idea why i took the job?NO place to put snow,priced WAY to low,people are a PITA)anyways 1 minute to get out here,BTW,this was their idea!So after me waiting 5+ minutes like an idiot numerous times,they were told last time they would need to find someone else next year.Oh well,live and learn:D
  10. Got Grass?

    Got Grass? Senior Member
    Messages: 641

    Dealing with people that have never seen snow before can be a big PITA as Mick now knows quite well.:waving:
    They can also be some of the best customers. I picked up a younger couple who just moved here & wanted a contract.
    1st day of snow I plowed the drive & later went by to check on it. The lady came out & said she was completely shocked to wake up & see her driveway clear & the roads plowed. She was amazed that they dent cancel her classes. Said she thought snow made everything close like she see's on the news all the time. Told her naww. this is Buffalo & she had us confused with the guys down south who close everything for days for 2"...
    One of my best paying customers.
  11. wyldman

    wyldman Member
    Messages: 3,265

    I have had a few people who moved into some high dollar homes,which we used to hold the contract for snow.When I inquired about them signing a new contract they said for what ? When I tried to explain how much snow we can get up here,they just laughed in my face,and closed the door.They had never even seen snow before and had no idea what it takes to clear their 250 ft long driveway.We have had a pretty good winter here.I wonder who's laughing now :D
  12. drobson

    drobson Senior Member
    Messages: 112

    I have a customer from Somewhere in South America that just moved here and they did not know what snow was. A neighbor explained it to them and told them to get a contractor to plow their driveway. It was very amusing watching them look at the snow horrified, they were affraid to walk on it at first. It's amazing how people will move somewhere without finding out what conditions they will be facing. I wonder if they knew they would need heat?
  13. chtucker

    chtucker Senior Member
    Messages: 618

    I've had guy who through me out of his house when I wanted him to sign a contract from October 15 till May 15. Could not comprehend that it WILL snow in May. (at least here;) )

  14. szorno

    szorno Senior Member
    Messages: 308

    Howard, I have pics of plowing in Conifer on Memorial day 5 years ago ! Stick to your guns...
  15. paul soccodato

    paul soccodato Senior Member
    Messages: 430

    i have had a few clients over the years who would question if i was "really" there, at the times i billed for (ghost trips). usually early in the morning.

    my answer to this problem, was to make as much noise as possible, while plowing.

    and if they are still a pita, they don't get renew'd next season.

    not worth the time, or the aggravation
  16. BWhite

    BWhite Senior Member
    Messages: 496

    arc burn

    I have also HAD those customers who want me to wait to move their car ......if I cant clear the end then go and do another CLOSEBY drive then come back and find the car(s) moved than they cant be my customer. this is another reason why I dont do rental properties either