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Free site monitoring ???

Discussion in 'Ice Management' started by CMerLand, Jan 11, 2003.

  1. CMerLand

    CMerLand Senior Member
    Messages: 173

    I just had to post some pictures (hopefully) of what I saw this morning when I went to my bank to make a deposit. We plow 7 other branches for two other different banks but none of these branches as I did not win the bids.

    As I stated in my post regarding how much to get per pallet, I have charged a site monitoring visit for checking properties for re-freezing and icy patches. We do this automatically the day after a storm, and then on a call-in basis only at a 50% higher rate. If I have to get out bed in the middle of the night to go check for ice I want to paid accordingly.

    As you can see by these pictures, these subcontactors also wish to be paid. However, because they only get paid WHEN they make an application, they made one whether it needed it or not!!! The salt is more of a hazard now then any theoretical ice they were trying to melt because its like walking on marbles.

    What a waste of salt, time and money!!!

  2. CMerLand

    CMerLand Senior Member
    Messages: 173

    It worked!!!!! and another one

  3. CMerLand

    CMerLand Senior Member
    Messages: 173

    Maybe one more

  4. EJK2352

    EJK2352 Senior Member
    Messages: 193

    Well at least it is pre-treated for the next event. lol :) ;) :) ED
  5. BRL

    BRL PlowSite.com - Veteran
    Messages: 1,277

    Unless it rains before the next snow\ice event ;) Leaving salt like that in areas where people have to walk is dangerous, especially for those of us wearing heels, I mean those others who may be wearing heels. :eek: Seriously I have almost fallen while walking up a stair way treated like that because my foot rolled right out from under me on the salt. So that contractor just set up the bank & themselves for a potential slip & fall incident even though there is no ice. :nono:
  6. HandyHaver

    HandyHaver Senior Member
    Messages: 279

    That's what happens when you hire bottom feeders.
  7. fordman

    fordman Senior Member
    Messages: 327

    :eek: What a waste of salt. There's enough there to melt several inches of snow.
  8. wyldman

    wyldman Member
    Messages: 3,265

    Around here a lot of companies,and prop managers like to see it that way,if they don't see it they don't think you were there.

    We also have a few old age homes,where they want us to lay on the salt like that,afraid of even a trace of ice.It's not pretty.

    I have even seen the property managers throwing on more salt from our salt boxes after we left.
  9. John Allin

    John Allin PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,327

    I've never had a problem accepting allocades - so I better take the bitter with the sweet....

    I have ascertained that it's a site we are responsible for maintaining.... and I've had some words with our people about what I've seen here. Rest assured some "education" is in order..... while some customers DO want to see this - we don't.

    I've never really thought of myself as 'bottom feeder'. Thank you for the education.
  10. Lawn Lad

    Lawn Lad Senior Member
    Messages: 407

    i didn't get a picture of it, but one of the accounts I plow, the maintenance man will occasionally hit the back steps with calcium before we get there. This last time he laid the calcium on sooooo thick (1/2" to 3/4"), it melted what was needed, but the rest stayed in place. Like you would expect, it got rock hard and bonded to the pavement. So now, rather than ice, there was a rock hard formation of calcium 3/4" thick right in the middle of the treads. What wasn't rock hard was an oozy slippery mess making the steps very slick.

    Then I wonder if I should contact the property administrator downtown to let him know that a spade is required to remove this hazzard and to tell his guy to be more careful. I don't want to be blamed for applying this to the walks (we only use Magic on the walks), but I also don't want to be a tattle tale either.

    I didn't call, and when I check it this morning most of it was gone. Hopefully this guy learned his lesson. I'll say something if it happens again.
  11. Comet

    Comet Senior Member
    Messages: 160

    Personally, I would have been out there with a broom/blower and what have you just to clean that up that very next day on a driveby if that was my account

    Also I would never have put that much down in the first place from the looks of it. gosh
    Correct me if IM wrong, but if MagicSalt was used (just going by the few times Ive used it, it wouldnt look ike that at all)
    What state is it ?
    Maybe I can get to re-do the concrete there someday! :)
  12. John Allin

    John Allin PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,327

    It's not in your state, and we sent someone today to correct the situation.
  13. jkkalbers

    jkkalbers Senior Member
    Messages: 116

    you charge to just go look at a site, that seems ridiculous to me why would someone pay you to check if there lot needs salt. If you don't want to get out of bed at 3:00 a.m maybe you should quit.
  14. CMerLand

    CMerLand Senior Member
    Messages: 173


    Thank you but no I'll be quite happy to keep my contracts as they are stated. I dont know about you but Im in business to earn money and not for fun, hobby or because I have nothing better to do with my time.

    I plow over a dozen commercial accounts spread throughout my entire county. When we have a snow event, we are on the job without fail and without question. Ive never been to Minnesota, however in NJ we very often deal with the freeze/thaw cycle from snowfall. Snow doesnt lay around here all winter. Within days after a storm the temps will rise, snow will melt, and then refreeze creating unsafe site conditions for which we will be responsibe in the event someone slips and falls.

    It takes about 1.5 to 2 hours just to drive the entire route(without actually doing any salting) with one truck. That truck uses gas, requires insurance, the driver requires to get paid, if any salt gets used, the salter & truck has to be washed clean. If your willing to do this every night for free until all the snow piles melt, then enjoy yourself. If you had to pay someone else to go do it, I think you'd change your mind as that money keeps coming off the earnings booked from the snow storm a week ago.

    So yea, if I have to go check a site in the middle of the night that "MIGHT" need salt, I expect to be paid, just as I expect to be held liable if someone falls there if I fail to service this property when needed. I have no problem about getting paid to inspect a site that has a re-freezing problem, or having an on-call client call us "when" the ice conditions exist, rather then be like the contractor in the pictures above who threw salt down unnecessarily just to get paid for being out there.

    JK, I see your still a young guy, maybe as you get older you'll start to value your time more. Or better yet, call a plumber up right now, and ask him to come over at 3:00 am every morning for a week and see if your toilet is clogged up. I'll bet they'll do it, but Im certain they wont do it for free. Go ahead and call, let us know what you find out.
  15. jkkalbers

    jkkalbers Senior Member
    Messages: 116

    Well I certainly didn't want to start an argument, and i see i pissed you off. I didn't realize you were in such a rural area to do that much traveling. All my accounts 130, 60 of them commericial, are all within a 10 mile radius, is tuff, If I were to mention something like you propose, they would laugh for a week.
    By no means did I want to offend you, so I'm sorry If i did. There are obviously many situations throughout the country that wouldn't fly other places. By the way I am young, I am the second generation family member in the company, so I have learned from an experienced person.
  16. CMerLand

    CMerLand Senior Member
    Messages: 173


    No offense taken (well maybe a little one about being told to quit). Im not real sure if rural exists anymore here in NJ and that is not at all the case here. The bigger problem more often then not can be traffic and getting around the route as quickly as possible. I would estimate that all my clients are within a 10 mile radius here, most on a two mile strip less then 3 miles from my house. However, traffic can be a nightmare getting across one end of town to the other which is why I want (need) to be out at 3 am.

    We can have all the properites salted in 4 to five hours if we split the route up so we dont have to drive the whole circuit (cuts out the worst of the travel), however if I had to wait until 8:30 for all the banks to call to tell me they need salt, with traffic Id be lucky if I got to the last bank before it closed. (NJ drivers do not handle snow well).

    Obviously markets and expectations are different in different parts of the country. However, I will stand by my post that if clients expect their sites to be monitored for icing conditions then they should expect a service fee to cover the costs and provide a profit for the contractor. And I also dont accept that we are different (or worth less) then any other service provider or that we should do things for free or negotiate our prices downward all the time.

    True story, one morning our dryer started making this hideous noise while it ran. Called the appliance guy to come out and fix the problem. He came, opened the dryer, and found a paperclip jammed and grinding against the drum as it spun. Did he say, OH nothing to fix here just had to pull this paperclip out and say no charge? Hell no, cost me $ 65 for the service charge. Now granted he did vacumn out the lint and put everything back all nice but he was here 10 minutes and I wrote the check without hesitation or arguing about whether it was worth it. And he doesnt have any of the slip and fall liabilities that we have to deal with.

    As far as being laughed at for a week for considering trying out a new idea in business.....I wonder if people laughed when John Allin first proposed the idea of doing Nation wide snow removal while he was plowing in Buffalo in his 78 Bronco. Anyone snicker at the idea back then John????

    Best of luck JK,

  17. JML

    JML PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 70


    Where in NJ are you doing this at? I am in central jersey, Monmouth and Ocean Counties, I tried to charge for what you are charging and people laughed in my face, saying they'll get someone else to do it and cheaper... I agree with you 150% on the costs involved just to find out if a lot needs salting and the amount of overhead that comes along with it.. I wish I could do the same as you, god bless ya.... How do you tell customers about what your going to do, and how do you charge them for it flat fee, hourly, include it in the price?? Thanks
  18. Comet

    Comet Senior Member
    Messages: 160

    Didnt even read your 1st message in full there John.
    The words I used "I personaly" wasnt refering to you (personaly) in any way just so you know that.
    Had no idea it was even one of your sites.
  19. wyldman

    wyldman Member
    Messages: 3,265

    CMerLand - good post,i'm glad it works for you.We always have to try and push new ideas when it comes to business,especially the ones that makes us more productive,or makes us more money.

    We all work hard,and deserve to make a decent living.Why is everyone so afraid to try different approaches? I think half of us already have it in out minds that no one would go for any new ideas like that,so I won't bother.Even worse when everyone else keeps saying,you can't do that,it will never work.
  20. John Allin

    John Allin PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,327

    No offense taken. I'm embarrassed by the pictures as that's not how we operate. CMerlnd knew it was ours, but had the decency and enough class not to "call me out" on it..... (thank you to him)...

    But... lesson learned.

    As for people laughing at me for taking snow national ?? I STILL get people calling to "educate me" on why it won't work.

    Nothing wrong with thinking outside the box. And, I think it's a great idea to get revenue for driving around just looking at the site(s)... if you can get it.

    CMerland is right about the traffic in New Jersey though.... I was there for the early December storm and it took me 2.5 hours to drive 16 miles on the NJ Turnpike that day.... you cannot imagine it if you haven't experienced it.
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2003