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Dropped a customer today

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by LoneCowboy, Jan 21, 2008.

  1. LoneCowboy

    LoneCowboy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,760

    Picked up a building a few weeks ago in the middle of our route. We do a bunch of small lots in downtown so we give them a great rate (because they are all right next to each other, just drive the tractor around). Gave this new building the same rate although we have to bill seperately.

    It's a health care building (2 dentists, one lawyer), If it was a loner I'd probably do it in the 60 to 80 dollar range. But because we pass along our cheaper rate it comes out a 1/3 to 1/2 cheaper than that usually.

    So, there's about a 1/2 inch on the ground this morning We do all our regular walks, building walks and a few lots. Get to this one, it's mostly north side, I figure it's a health care building so I plow it. It's still gently snowing (even now), but you gotta do it before people get to work. The total bill would have been $31. (plow plus shovel, took 12 minutes but I do a bunch of small ones to a bunch of people so it works out).

    The office manager calls us at 8am. "oh we simply can't have you plowing at this rate, ti's just too much." Ok, not a problem, you want a 1 inch trigger then?,
    "we want it only done when there is 3 to 4 inches and not until it's completely done snowing." :dizzy:

    That doesn't work for me.
    a. my liability goes up huge. Who has ever heard of a commercial building with a 3 to 4" trigger and waiting til it's all over? I can see the slip and fall's now.
    b. How does that help me pay for my equipment and pass along the same good rates that I give all the regular customers?

    Wrote them a real nice letter that says "There's no charge for today, we don't want unhappy customers. but that simply doesn't work for us, the risks are too great. If you want us to plow it, you call us when you need it. Understand that you get it done after my regular's. We'll come by, give you a price, you pay us, and we'll do it."

    I think they are going to be shocked when I give them a $150 or so price for 3 to 4 inches. Who needs it? And I doubt anyone else is coming out for $30.

    Let them take the liability for being in charge of their own snow removal efforts. (I can just see a slip an fall person going to a lawyer, the lawyer finds out their policy is 4" on the ground and then starts looking at other commercial buildings who's policy is 1" or completely clear. That person is going to make a mint.)
  2. NBI Lawn

    NBI Lawn PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,797

    Yeah, that was a good idea to drop them. 3-4 inches and waiting untill its all done isnt a good idea, for them too. What a headache:dizzy:
  3. QuadPlower

    QuadPlower PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,056

    Have you ever been to the dentist or a lawyer for less than $30?

    When I have my teeth cleaned, I decline the Dr. inspection. $32 for 4 minutes of "work".

    You gave them a good, low price because it doesn't take you long and in the end it cost you more headaces. Sometimes I think it is better just to give them a double your cost price mid-season on new clients just to cover the headaces.

    Did you have a contract? Did you state the trigger amount? If so, I would stick to it. Plow when the trigger is met and make them pay you. Hire the lawyer that works there to represent you. lol
  4. DeereGuy

    DeereGuy Senior Member
    Messages: 346

    Been there. Somtimes there's no winning. I don't usually mess with those types either. It's not worth the stress. Just thinking about how tight they are burns me up. That's before you see the $ car they drive. I actually have a resi like that. A friend... who would not agree to any contract I came up with but calls up after a couple small storms or 1 big one and wants to be plowed out. They pay me what I get for my smallest drive for the smallest increment of snow I will charge for. Did I mention the 275 ft unmarked drive or the full size BB court in their back yard. How bout the 5000 sqft of living space.... batting cages.... gunite pool. .. More flat screens than I have fingers. This one we laugh about and just do it. It is classic though. We do get to go to some nice superbowl parties... Go Pats...

    RBRONKEMA GHTFD 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,592

    Kinda have the same problem only I got dropped today. The manager called me and said were not going to be needing your services anymore. I said today or the rest of the season, He replied the season. I asked why, and he said that it was because I wasn't at his store enough. I simply said that I was there everyday for the past 5 days in a row, and each time was before they opened, and I was at his store atleast 2 or 3 times a day within those 5 days cleaning his lot, because we had gotten so much snow. (The store has a 2 inch trigger.) He said well I don't have proof of that, and I said well I was there this morning aswell cleaning up slop. so making it look nice, he got mad and said you weren't here this morning, and my lot looks like hell. I said well I will be sending out a bill in the next few days and I am sorry that this didn't work out. and we both hung up the phone.
  6. Blazin

    Blazin Senior Member
    Messages: 185

    I dropped a guy a few days ago too. His drive way is all up hill, slight grade from the road, to a 90 degree turn, then a steep grade up to a parking area just barely big enough for me to turn around in, with crap all over the yard. The hill is such a sharp drop over the plow comes off the ground a little bit when you crest it either way. He also refused to park anywhere except right in front of his door off to one side, at the crest of the hill.
    He sent me a check and said he only wants me to plow at 6" or more. He dosn't understand why I plow so much, he can make it in and out with his 4 wheel drive Toyota! I mailed him a letter back with the bill to present and explained to him I leave my house when the snow outside is 2" plus inches. I also explained to him that we already had this chat at the beginning of the year. He said the reason he wanted me to plow is the last two guys never showed up but only once every three or four storms.
    I was going to drop him next year anyway because of the parking issue, and the crying about me going to retire on his driveway alone.
    Had another guy drop me as he bought his own plow truck. Have had two storms since and the bottom of his drive way has gone from about 40' wide to about 10' He had already dropped me once this year, then when the oil truck could'nt make the hill he called me back. I charged him for the two storms one of which was a double charge as it was over
    10" so three storms plus $100 for having to go break it open. Then I sanded it because it was a sheet of ice. 3 days later it rained and turned it back to ice, he called and told me not to sand he could get in and out fine. I told him if I show up there to plow, and its still all ice, can't get up the hill I was done. A week later a rat box 1/2 ton Dodge yard truck showed up at the bottom of his driveway. He had to go get sand in his Explorer just to get his new prize up the driveway. The best was I had the backhoe out yesterday pushing banks back. I drove by his place he was at the bottom of his driveway ramming the banks with the truck trying to push them back. I am waiting for the phone to ring telling me his truck is dead!
  7. 2moresleeps

    2moresleeps Senior Member
    from Ontario
    Messages: 131

    Forget all that. You look like a second rate contractor if you let properties get that bad. I know its not your choice but your properties reflect your work. If a future customers sees the lot looking like crap and you there plowing from time to time, they will think that is the norm and that is what to expect from your work.

    Good for you.