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Give me YOUR definition of ''A STORM'' .

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by DodgeBlizzard, Feb 2, 2012.

  1. DodgeBlizzard

    DodgeBlizzard Senior Member
    Messages: 526

    So it's February and I get a call from a property management company. I'm hesitant but tell them to email me the proposal and I'll look at it. Now I know prices and methods vary from region to region, but some things on the proposal just don't make any sense to me. The first thing that jumps out at me is the prices. They're low, but I figured they would be since we've got a middle man in the mix. But back to the prices, they're are set at ''per storm''. Can someone give me ''your'' definition of per storm? I would think once it stops snowing for a few hours, that is the end of that storm and anything after that would be a new storm? Their definition (verbally over the phone) is anything within a 24 hour period is defined as one storm. The second thing, is the proposal is broken down by inches. We don't use that method and I don't know anybody else locally that does either. We all know that 4'' of wet snow measured in the warm afternoon could have actually been 6'' or more as its true form is measured hourly. We use a per push format just for this reason. If we show up and drop the plow, it costs X amount. The next thing is anything under 2'' is on request only. On a commercial lot that is to be open very early AM? I just don't get that either. We have all of our commercials set up to be plowed and or salted at our discretion. That's why they pay us to do what we do. They are having problems with their current contractors, which is obvious if they're calling new guys in February. They've had problems with contractors not showing up, not answering their phone, over billing them hours for whatever line item that was. I spent 45 minutes on the phone trying to be open minded and discussing my concerns. I couldn't help but say if they switched to a per push format with a certain trigger point, it would get rid of a lot of headaches. They have the sidewalk prices set at an hourly rate. They have a per bag of salt price given. Who says I didn't lay 30 bags down instead of 15? I may like to put it down heavy. Leaves too much of a gray area. The other thing I asked was what happens when a storm hits during open hours and we plow open drive lanes only/no parking stalls, moving each drive lane snow pile to either end of the lot due to only two stacking spots. The storm ends and then we have to make a return trip after closing time and then finish, basically plowing the entire lot again. Is that two charges? "Nope, it falls under the per storm charge and you get paid once" I'm told. So that would mean if it was a hundred dollar job, I would technically get paid $50 to show up the first time to do the drive lanes, then make a return trip after closing time and get paid the remaining $50 to replow all the stalls. I don't know, maybe I'm just getting stubborn and like to be in complete control, having things done my way. I'm not saying this is a bad company, I just haven't seen things set up like this before.
  2. Lugnut

    Lugnut Senior Member
    Messages: 250

    Its somewhat common in some areas, you have to average out how many times you visit the site per storm...so the $100 per push price may work out to $150 or $200 or $250 or whatever in per storm pricing.
  3. White Gardens

    White Gardens 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,665

    As for the definition of "Storm", I don't use that in my contracts or estimates.

    I use the term "Event".

  4. WIPensFan

    WIPensFan PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,594

    You already know in your head, you shouldn't take this. It's a losing proposition, too much can happen in 24Hrs to only get paid once.
  5. RepoMan1968

    RepoMan1968 Senior Member
    Messages: 439

    a disturbance of the normal condition of the atmosphere, manifesting itself by winds of unusual force or direction, often accompanied by rain, snow, hail, thunder, and lightning, or flying sand or dust.
  6. Antlerart06

    Antlerart06 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,437

    I understand it Pretty close to the 90% contacts here per inch price
    We use be per push but new ppl started up about 12 yrs ago and been doing per inch price
    So over years to stay busy we had change over to that I still do have some per push price jobs

    Sample We have hotel we come in there clean the open areas and come back later when ppl leaves and clean the rest for same price say 3'' I charge a Base price+per inch price
    my base price kinda covers me on first visit the inch price covers the 2nd visit
    I dont give alot attention to those accounts as I do to the per push jobs

    Sidewalks I like the hourly rate But did bid one and got per foot price
    I dont do Salt on walks but Ice melt I run 2 rates lite and heavy lite rate for snow fall and heavy for Ice Storms
    Ice melt you get more sq ft vs rock salt

    Per storm is 24 hr thats how the weather man records total inches for that day
    Thats how its billed what the weather mans say we got Thats how the per inch is billed In my contact I state if there drifting there be a % I'll add
  7. northernsweeper

    northernsweeper Senior Member
    Messages: 397

    I agree. Per storm is per day. I will go and clean drive lanes, entrances and areas where cars aren't parked during business hours, then go back at night and clean up and salt...All one push, even if its replow entire lot. Got home at 6:30 am a couple weeks ago when we got one of our 2 or 3 snows this year. Phone rang at 8am. Store manager wanted lot plowed. You bet...Another full push. Same thing here, if under 2" they must call for service. Last 4 years they have been seasonal, but cut their snow budget by 25% this year and opted for per push. Called me for service the middle of the month with only about an inch on the ground...but 2 slips and falls. Hopefully next year they will go back to seasonal.
  8. siteworkplus

    siteworkplus Senior Member
    from mass
    Messages: 514

    i have a commercial 24hr zero tolerance contract by the hour. really no other way to do it. had a 3 day "event" that produced a total of 3.5 inches but had people on site for close to 48hrs straight. not all the equipment was being used at the same time so billed accordingly. won't get rich doing it this way but i like getting paid for what i do-no more-no less. customer feels the same way. this year hurts - last year not so much. If something wet & slippery is falling from the sky I have people on site monitering walks & entrances. God forbid there is a slip&fall and I,m here "shootin the poop" with you guys
  9. dfd9

    dfd9 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,475

    Anyone that bills per storm is clueless. Think back to the days of 3-4 day storms, real storms, as in back in the late 70's.
  10. birddseedd

    birddseedd PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,516

    i did not read everyone elses post, so forgive me if im repeating..

    it sounds like you have a good oportunity to gain a loyal customer, nothing better than the last guy screwing up. makes you look even better..

    that said.

    my old boss once told me this. the customer does not knwo what they want, its your job to tell them waht they want. they may want certain flowers, but want blooms at certain points of hte year. if you do what they want, the flowers will bloom at the beginnign of the year and they wont have anything the rest of the year. its our job to tell them you need this variety if you want a good landscape all year.

    most people will appriciate your expertiese.

    as far as their proposal. it sounds like they want the work done, but they want to keep from getting over charged. i probably woudl not work with their proposal to be honest. write up your own proposal, doing it the way it shoudl be done. and when you expain it to them, equate how you do things, in an equivilent manner to what they want. and sell them on the fact that if it is done this way, your lot will be cleaned when you need it, without any chance of being over charged.

    one last thing. dont let people undercut you. i did that with a lawn. turns out i was mowing it for the same cost as what it was costing me. it simply was not worth doing. when i talked to him about it he "fired" me and still owes me 215 bucks.
  11. siteworkplus

    siteworkplus Senior Member
    from mass
    Messages: 514

    how is billing per storm "clueless"? please elaborate
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2012
  12. siteworkplus

    siteworkplus Senior Member
    from mass
    Messages: 514

    sorry maybe i don't know what you mean by per storm
  13. birddseedd

    birddseedd PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,516

    some storms give you 3 inches. some stormes give you 13 inches.

    wouldnt you hate to get ticked if you had to plow 6 times, but only got paid for plowing once.

    up the the price, be sure you get paid for plowing 6 times, even if you only plow onceThumbs Up
  14. TCLA

    TCLA 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,707

    No question about it, our job is to educate the customer.

    Some can be educated, some can't, and some won't be educated.

    Some educated clients will bait an uneducated service provider into the per storm agreement.

    After a couple nice screwings from the educated client, the uneducated service provided becomes educated.
  15. birddseedd

    birddseedd PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,516

    per storm. if it snows, 1 inch, or 30 inches all at one time, its all one storm, one invoice. even if you have to plow many times. you only get to charge for one plow.

    woudl never go this route unless it was a huge payment. which, coudl be good. you get paid more on smaller snowfalls, and if there is a big one or two. they dont get a bigger bill, you plow a few more times. but what you got paid for on the smaller ones would make up for it.

    not many people will do this since overall they woudl pay more money. but they would not get slammed on that one or two huge storms.

    just make sure you charge up for this as you will lose out when you ahve to plow 5 times in one storm.
  16. birddseedd

    birddseedd PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,516

    I LOVE THE QUOTE. im making a signature
  17. zlssefi

    zlssefi Senior Member
    Messages: 136

    im gonna go out on a limb here and say that this property management companys name starts with u and ends with m???
  18. dfd9

    dfd9 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,475

    Technically, a storm could last 3 days and dump 3 inches or 30 inches. I would be hard pressed to define a storm as 24 hours. Because that's a day, not a storm. Would you call a hurricane a week? Or an hour?

    Weather isn't bound by time, so neither should we define our billing as "per storm". By the inch, per push, seasonal, hourly, whatever. But to define a billing for snow removal per storm is asking for trouble.

    Have you experienced a 3 day storm? Look back in history, many of the largest blizzards (obviously) lasted days. Do you really want to be getting paid the same for removing 30' drifts from a "storm" as you would for 2"?
  19. siteworkplus

    siteworkplus Senior Member
    from mass
    Messages: 514

    i get that. I misunderstood what dfd9 was referring to. I bill per storm but at the conclusion of the event. big difference
  20. Mr.Markus

    Mr.Markus PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,782

    I use the term per "service visit." " Storm, event, happening", all refer to the same thing and are open to interpretation. If the client won't sign a seasonal contract it's per service visit and they are billed for returns if I have to return to punch spots, clear drifting, re-plow. etc.etc.