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Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Ramairfreak98ss, Feb 9, 2009.

  1. Ramairfreak98ss

    Ramairfreak98ss PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,931

    Theyre more residential than commercial by all means.. Theyre a group of houses that we plow but on commercial contracts with commercial stipulations...

    pre salt, sat, plow, shovel or snow blow with any accumulation ..

    A company we've delt with for a couple years now, this season has some more aggressive winter snow removal needs.

    These are residential homes in fully residential areas, not low end areas either, some are up scale towns. We service their lawn needs, maintenance needs and landscaping needs throughout the year. One company owns these homes and then rents them out individually. One i know of is a home for a couple juveniles which are either fostered or under some house arrest type of deal. We've never had any issues onsite with any of the tennants fyi.

    Recently, the company manager i've been dealing with since mid 2008, i feel just doesnt have his eggs in a row compared to the last two ive dealt with since. He typically has numerous questions which i have to elaborate several times because he didnt understand my first technical answer, one that most prop managers are looking for :/

    They questioned our Dec 08 invoice for snow removal, i blew it off, since there are always questions now, but there was only 1-2 visits for december to any of the homes.

    I send over Jan 09s invoice, which had roughly 6-7 visits per home for the month, still less than the 11-14 we had for some of our commercial bigger properties. Some of these homes have a site mananger, which id assume is there most of the day. My main contact, who gets the invoice, states, no one saw anyone there for any of the dates listed besides Jan 10th lol. Now how is that my responsibility to make sure they see us there? We have to get there ANY time of the day, all hours of the night because if we are out plowing or salting commercially, we rarely get a chance to go to each of these homes and salt or shovel. Its not a matter of if we can or cant do the work, but if we start commercial properties with the one truck at 5pm, finish at 1am, guess what? They are going to get done immediately after.

    They dont require us there non-stop, but it has to be the most tedious i've ever seen for a residential home. Since its operated commercial thats their requirements though. The biggest pita, is that they have been on residential contracts for the last two years..and only a few bucks more than any other residential. $50 for salting/calcium sidewalk and driveway services. $75 for plowing/shoveling sidewalks and salting/calcium... I mean its not a bad price by any means. But try to accomodate residential homes on your commercial routes, all times of the day and these homes are no where near any of our commercial sites, so its driving directly out of the way towards them then back to the normal sites.

    Since they first tried to dispute 90% of the last invoice...I emailed the site managers, that we would now be leaving a slip from our copmany in their mailbox at each visit dated, signed and a time stamp.

    That was last week. You'd think that would satisfy them? no

    The head boss emails us today, stating that we need to knock on the door at each site visit "residential home", notify them that we are there, and then let them know when we are finished and going to leave as well. I can see already, they will want a driveway/sidewalks inspection before we leave each time to let us know if they are satisfied or not :/ What would you do?

    Stick to the signed slip? Or do what they ask?

    I only see it as a waste of my companies time to knock on doors "commercially" and inform them in and out, and then there is still nothing that says we were there. Whats to say the freking idiot prop manager guy doesnt forget over a month from now and not remember when we were out there?

    They also stated that the homes have been shoveling and salting themselves most times. Yeah so? I know once i saw a sidewalk half shoveled and a couple times TONS of salt on sidewalks that we obviously did not put down lol.

    If it wasnt for them being a fairly large account during the year, i would just drop them and tell them to go elsewhere and pay double :) Its hard right now to decide, since times are tough, we can use the income, and yet this company has scaled down in 2008 to bi-weekly lawn cuts for the homes, NO maintenanace besides spring cleanup and mulching, and then was complaining in the fall that there were leaves all over by Xmas... we did the cleanups between Oct 30th-Nov 3rd for them. Almost 2 months, of course there will be leaves!
  2. JDiepstra

    JDiepstra PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,780

    They sound like total idiots. If they want you to spend time knocking on doors, they need to pay more. Period. Also, if my plow guy came to the door and was like "okay i am here" and then 5 minutes later was like "ok i am leaving" I would say "get the heck out of here dummy im trying to sleep" or "so what, stop telling me that!".
  3. elite1msmith

    elite1msmith 2000 Club Member
    from chicago
    Messages: 2,762

    i would call the manager back , and try to work a deal with him

    explain that ytou are paying ppl to do the work , and YOU persoanlly are not always the one there

    explain that alot of services are over nightits jsut not feasable. additionally your rate is 120 per truck hour, thats $2 per min, and if he would like a bill for 5 extra mins spent on the property your more than willing ot send it

    i would cut a deal. i have a few places that we take pictures with time and date stamp. if you had a camera phone you could even send them to him personally , insteatly.

    one hting i would watch....it seems strange they have such high standards....but, will be you driving and knocking on the door, only to be told NO dont service the account? seems like if they are cutting back service , this might be around the cornor.

    as for the past invoice, i would print a weather report with all the daily snow total , and ask him...if I didnt remove the snow this day...then you tell me who did?

    if you have other ppl calling and willing to take there place..then stick to your guns. If you dont, and your hurting for work....then get down on your knees. ask yourself, if i lost the whole account right at this moment,..how would it effect you? if you do what they ask how will it effect you , and other customers?---thats yoru answer
  4. snowplowchick

    snowplowchick Senior Member
    Messages: 549

    Do not do this without getting an administration fee. If you have 8 sites then charge at least $25.00 per site per month for this service. Also stipulate that if no one answers the door or approaches you while you are onsite (supposing no one comes to door after you knock) then you will leave a slip and they are responsible for the charges regardless. Can you imagine waiting for someone(who has nothing invested in the situation and could care less) to get dressed in the middle of the night to sign a slip for you? Also, unless you are hourly, why would you have to do both(tell them when you are there and when leaving)?

    Just be firm with them, you WERE there on those dates, this is how much they owe, end of story.

    I think people live in a daze sometimes, do they even notice if it snows? I bet these people aren't shoveling anything, if they did, then they wouldn't argue how much it has snowed this year.

    Also, as for them saying that you they shovel sometimes, so what? If you have a contract, then you have a contract. Sometimes old people shovel their grass to the buildings walks and keep going at my sites. I still bill them. It is undercutting the contract to get someone else to do it. If you have a contract to service the sidewalks then you get paid even if they do it.
  5. JDiepstra

    JDiepstra PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,780

    How about before and after pics with a digital camera?
  6. JD Dave

    JD Dave PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,194

    Is it just me or do all you have is problems? Every thread you start is a big ordeal, keep posting though it makes my life seem so much easier.:drinkup: BTW I'd tell them to pound sand:D
  7. Ramairfreak98ss

    Ramairfreak98ss PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,931

    I agree elite..we do have all weather reports... but remember, they never said we DIDNT come out, just that they didnt see us, to us thats the same thing as a dispute, but they probably know not to argue because i invoice with all dates and times and what was done, plus i have reports for each service day too. I think the prop mangers "feel" like were not showing up lol This one house is the same one that said they thought we didnt do a leaf cleanup by december 22nd when one was done Oct 30th, and that they only saw us cut the lawn once since July 08, when i have again, dates of every 2 weeks we were there to cut the lawn!

    I explained today in an email to them that the signed note in their mailbox should work fine, if they really want to work some other method to call me personally. And yes, im going to add $10 per stop or something if thats really what they want.

    I hate having to ask my employees to do donkey shiat like this, the last ding in the paint was having to have these pharmacies sign individual sheets for Lipinskis snow services in NJ. At the end of a storm id have a whole clipboard filled with their crap.

    We've done business with them for over two years now and they dont bat an eye at $2k maintenance jobs, yet $50 salting stops that are wasting my time and almost my money too and they complain now :/
  8. Ramairfreak98ss

    Ramairfreak98ss PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,931

    lol JD, yeah honestly there are way more problems than things going smoothly this year. Especially accounts like this that i really bend over and go out of my way to accomodate over the season and then this crap. I mean their bill for 4 homes for the whole month was only $670 something, they pay 4x that per month for maintenance and lawn contracts per season... i cant wait till theyre going to sign those this coming month !

    You'd think the more years your in this business, the more fluent things become, but i think its just the bulk of what i've added on, subing for several companies, taking work on our own in all different areas and then piss poor contractors and their crap a$$ accounts. I really didnt expect any grief from this company, but new manager in place, new problems. The old ones were just thrilled that someone wanted to come out.

    They only will deal with a company that can service all of their homes, they span several counties in NJ or about 70 miles from one to the other and i only sub one out up in north jersey that i dont make a dime on just to keep the thing maintained.

    Id like to see them get invoices from someone like brickmans or whatever if they ever stopped using us.
  9. elite1msmith

    elite1msmith 2000 Club Member
    from chicago
    Messages: 2,762

    it sounds like you have done alot of buisness with them in the past... call up the owner, voice your concern , and try to reach an agreement..i would try for the pics, heck i would even send them as soon as i got to the site. or possibly a phone call? its a PITA , but its at least a somprimise between waiting for a door bell anwser

    but i would let them know , that the basic cost on there properties is figured on the average time that it takes to complete the job...and that you track the times for all services.... so if it takes longer, price is going to go up
  10. magnatrac

    magnatrac PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,059

    I know what your going through. We had a some what simillar condo that we serviced. We took JD Daves route and told them to pound sand. Our job was a 20 unit detached condo that started at 600k. We serviced this place year round from when it was built in 2001. For two yrs. we worked for a management co. and then directly for the H.O.A. There was always an issue. Like show up to mow as their fert. guy is finishing spraying the lawn. You can set your clock to us when it's lawn season. I was on the job every week in the summer and snowfall. We use to get extras and it was worth the headaches.We also did work in the area so it was worth out trip. Last winter after signing for the snow remeoval ( seasonal w/extra for 6+) they cut out ice melt. This was the profit for this job. Also our contact ( retired guy) started calling and asking where are you at? Either the snow was far from over or we were there working!!! Needless to say after a busy winter last year,extras not even offered to us, and crazy people we re examined. When they wanted a price for lawn last summer we upped it( price hadn't changed in 3yrs.) for many reasons. The old man asked us why we " dropped this F***ing bomb on him". This guy could make you feel like a piece of crap or be your best friend. It was equal to $5 a house per week. These people all claim to be millionaires. My brother hung up the phone and that was the end. The place looked bad all summer. In oct. they called and asked if we would like to plow for them this season. I really thought long and hard about it ,but the other jobs we have had in the area are gone. I hate to turn work away in this economy but letting this job go was the best thing we could have done. We picked up a couple of subdivisions for street plowing. My brother did do a drive thru a couple weeks ago and it's a mess. The streets are no where near the curbs, solid ice so no ice melt,and the 8' x1/4 mile walk on their green belt had two snowblower passes on it !!!

    Good luck ,shaun