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Gas Stations

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by flykelley, Jan 17, 2004.

  1. flykelley

    flykelley 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,127

    Ok guys here is the deal,I got a call from a friend of a customer,says he owns three gas stations,needs them plowed.

    I went and looked and my gut tells me to run as fast as I can away from this offer. Here is why.

    1- Those little humps where they fill the tanks
    2-Lots of people around all the time
    3-this guy is already trying to get me to do them cheaper than the quote.
    4-He does not want to salt,says he will call me when he needs it.

    I just think this kind of job will be alot of grief,and will not help me grow my customer base.

    Regards Mike.

    P.S. Its snowing again
  2. badranman

    badranman Senior Member
    Messages: 265

    Maybe you should post this in the snowplowing forum, you'll probably get more replies there.
  3. Mick

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

    I think your assessment is accurate and would add one factor - Do you have the insurance for this type of account? Contact your insurance carrier.

    There's probably a reason you're being contacted now - half way through the season. With the last two items you're listing - I'd walk away and not look back.
  4. MGardner

    MGardner Senior Member
    Messages: 106

    I subbed two stations from a contractor and I run a poly edge on the plow. When i hit those humps wherew they fill their tanks I just thump right over them instead of smashing the brass plating and hinge with a steel edge. I charge them good money ,they pay slow...but it`s work too. The biggest problem I had so far was a 300 lb sack of beef **** that took his loving time to move on through the island. He knew I was waiting on him to move his pony-tailed ass out of the way ,in fact he zoomed his mini-van in ,in front of me.I just half patiently waited because it wouldn`t have done any good to reach down and lock the hubs on my Dan 60 and Rammed his little blue mini-van and shoved it out into traffic like I sorely desired. That would have been what he deserved and if I could get away with it . He slowly walked around the van with a cleaning tool and gingerly wiped every trace of precipitation from his windows and mirrors. Then when finishing off his tank he milked it out for at least another two minites while I glared at him and made verbal decriptions of what his demeaner would be if I jumped out and body slammed him in the middle of the parking lot and shoved and icy boot down snug across his bare neck. What a picture of a walking breathing idiot. I carefully remained in the truck and anticipated him saying something but he didn`t even once look at me,just kept waddling around his van. One more account and I was home bound ! But wanted to makwe one more clean-up pass before leaving right in front.:salute:
  5. Plow Meister

    Plow Meister PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,174

    This late in the season, I would that the job only under my own terms. If the customer doesn't want to pay what I want for the job than he can find another plow company. I just had a company contact me for snow plowing. It looked like a great lot with plenty of places to put the snow. I charged him my usual $125.00 per hour and he accepted. The beauty is he doesn't want salt. I do make great money on salt but the truck I want to send out there to do the job doesn't have a salter. The other beauty is it is in a new market area for me. More industrialized. Great potential for more work out there next year.

    As for gas stations, they do have drawbacks. Lots of trafic. Put LOTS of marker lights on your truck. The fuel humps are no biggie. Just rmemeber where they are and take caution. And charge them an hourly rate as opposed to a per push fee. The owner will most likely call you back a few times to clear the slush so you can charge him for that much easier than having to explain any extra charges.
  6. The Boss

    The Boss 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,099

    I just picked up 8 gas stations. All of them have the tank lids but I use the old trick of angling my blade when I come to them and it goes right over em.:D As far as the customers go, all of them except 1 are closed from midnight until 6:00 am so I don't have to worry about the customers. The one that is open 24hrs. is slow at night anyhow so that one ain't too bad. And as far as the rates go, let's just say that I'm taken care of.:waving:
  7. parrothead

    parrothead Senior Member
    Messages: 157

    those humps are tough, i would rather run my pushers over them with rubber edges, i did a shell station for three years and matched my competitors price,( too cheap) just to keep him out and then last year ( mostly because of the humps) i told him i couldnt do it for that price anymore and he would have to use the other guy. after the second snow, he called back and said it wasnt working out, i named my price and i got the account, also with that gas station, the agreement we had was to pay me out of the cash register and thats the way we kept it.
  8. tired

    tired Junior Member
    Messages: 6

    just remember before you put all that snow into your big pile make sure one of your covers didn't get picked up,because if they dont have a spare you will be digging it out !(been there done that)
  9. The Boss

    The Boss 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,099

    That's a good idea Tired. I've already made notes of where all the lids are at all the stations. Now I(we) just need some snow.:D
  10. PLOWMAN45

    PLOWMAN45 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,951

    I (WE) HAVE 1 STATION thats not 24 hrs and the tank lids have cone markers i get there late at night or very early in the am but its tough none the less with the other cars around i think you have to stay on your terms
  11. elite1

    elite1 Senior Member
    Messages: 187

    I have 2 gas stations. I gave them a set price. 1 hr min and it takes less than 30 min most of the time.

    I plow it every 2 inches to keep it nice and quick, and salt between plowings. If cars are in the way, the snow stays. I plow between the pumps as traffic permits. If I finish plowing and miss the pump areas too bad.

    I will most likely be back 1 or 2 times any way.
    I use pcv as plow markers, hot green paint on the tips for normal conditions, hot red for caution, blue for sprinkler systems and hot pink for - do it by hand areas.

    I would steer clear, of that account if you really don't need it. If the guy is giving you a hard time about the price, than you don't need him, as a customer. He will try to argue that $80 or $100 per hr. is outrageous, and hand you a $20.
  12. classicman

    classicman Member
    Messages: 67

    Something not mentioned yet

    The very first account I secured here in Central PA after moving from No. VA. was my local Service Station, as I'm no longer in the automotive business and know full well from experience all the crap that can go wrong while plowing, but always in the past had access to bays, equipment, techs, welders, etc.

    I low-balled the account, purely a business decision. I'm a daily visitor there, talk shop with the techs and owner, have had my frame repaired by one of the techs brothers, who came and got my truck from 30 miles away, removed the bed, installed a cross-member, all for a whopping hundred bucks, in the middle of the night during a snowstorm.

    Gas Stations, traffic, fills, pads, refreezes... all negatives. Service station, at least one, like a gun. Ya never need it, 'til ya need it bad.

    Abdullah run operations can call their buddies in Iraq for plowing.
  13. classicman

    classicman Member
    Messages: 67

    Oh, and 1 more thing (too much coffee)

    I keep that service station lot pristine, including the fills. The attendants don't have to pick up a shovel. My flyer hangs in their window. I live (and this service station is located) in a rather affluent neighborhood-no, I'm poor- my neighbors have all the $$$. Those neighbors, at least many of them, own the businesses around here. They take their car to the gas station, shoot the breeze with the tech they have known and trusted for years, and maybe I roll in and join the chat... This has happened to me twice this year so far... conversation gets to the weather, snow, who's paying what for what, etc. Tech says, "Dave (that's me) does our lot, yada,yada,yada- (Here's what happened first time, and tech knows the guy and what he does)- Cust says "Well my guy charged me for 6 pushes during the big one last year and I'm looking for someone else." It shoulda been 4, but I'm silent. "Dave" (I'm his new buddy) "what do you think you would charge for my six Wendy's?"yada,yada,yada. , new account.
    Why the fills and keep the attendant warm and toasty? Main full time attendant older than dirt, been there since the tires on the plow vehicles had wood spokes. Lady comes in, me not there at the time, sees sign for snow removal, asks attendant : "Is he any good?" His reply, "He's the best we've ever had, yada,yada,yada" Lady writes down number, 10 minutes later hubby senior doctor calls me to quote his residence and practice, within hand grenade range of gas station and my house. The six Wendy's are spread out a little, and really not much by many folks standards. I hope this isn't boring, but I had to share. :salute:
  14. My gas stations all have the tank lids close to a flower bed so it is easy to mark with stakes where their located.
    The trick to plowing over them is to back drag them, so the blade floats over them compared to plow into them which results in popping them off :eek: .

    Steve :dizzy:
  15. The Boss

    The Boss 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,099

    Like I posted above, angling the blade also works. Goes right over the lids. I also use this method for a couple of speed bumps at another property.:waving:
  16. elite1

    elite1 Senior Member
    Messages: 187

    I will give that a try. My guys normaly back drag or just raise the blade and use more salt.
  17. The Boss

    The Boss 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,099

    Elite 1

    Yes, it works great. Also, I go slow over them just to be safe. At one of the stations, there's 3 lids that stick up way above the concrete for some reason.:confused: 2-3 inches with a slope to the lot. I STILL don't make the blade trip by angling it.:waving: :D
  18. Landscape80

    Landscape80 Senior Member
    Messages: 167

    Here's what they do around here.....even Turkey Hill will call you if they want salted, and they're a chain of stores ( I know cause I spoke to the manager) ANYWAY...put the bright red milk crates over the fill lids, works great....hope this helps.

  19. MGardner

    MGardner Senior Member
    Messages: 106

    I`ve ran this poly edge on my Curtis so much I`m spoiled. It may not (debatable) scrape quite as well on the driven over stuff but I don`t have to sweat it hitting manhole covers, gravel is cake, filler caps you don`t really notice other than a dull thump.I have a couple of industrial lots and they are no big deal either.
  20. flykelley

    flykelley 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,127

    MGarder how much did you pay for your ploy edge and did you install it your self?

    Regards Mike