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Have I mentioned how much I "love" resi's?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by LoneCowboy, Nov 9, 2007.

  1. LoneCowboy

    LoneCowboy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,760

    Have only a few resi's, most of them on my route. (I do the HOA street, I'll catch the resi at the same time). Yes, they are super profitable.

    So, talked with this guy, same trigger as the street (4") and I asked about plow markers, he said no problem. (he has no curbline, and it's a circular driveway).

    so, took the crew out and showed them all the properties, etc and we put up stakes on Wednesday.

    An hour ago this resi calls. "well, my wife didn't like the plow markers, so she took them down. We'll put them back up before a snow" (Uhhuh, and what if the ground is frozen?). Then he says "ohhh, my wife says maybe we only want to do it when we have 6" or more.

    Well, you know sir, that doesn't work for me. If you only want me to come in huge storms, I can't pay for my regular equipment, my insurance and keep my folks busy. Also, I can't do you before I do all my regular customers, which means I lose the advantage of doing your driveway while i"m here doing the street. So, if you really want a 6" trigger, I'm not interested, you'll have to find someone else."

    sound of crickets chirping.......

    Ok, well, I guess we'll stay with a 4" trigger this year, but maybe we won't do it next year.

    Of course, the instant he realizes he doesn't have to spend hours doing his driveway and it's all done when he gets up for work this won't be an issue.

    grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. And I haven't told him, but I figure he knows, he took up the plow stakes, means I'm off the hook for taking out lawn/sprinklers/rock. I'll fix it, but he will get a bill.
  2. YardMedic

    YardMedic PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,266

    Are you serious? She didn't LIKE them? Now, I'm all for spending time to plant my own marker stakes, and I'll spend the money to buy them. But, for this chick to blatantly waste your time.....

    I share in your frustration over people like this. No problem spending the time to earn this customer, discuss all of your services & policies, but then to have them completely change your agreement, again is a waste of the time you already spent! Your business is this; you do a good job because you KNOW your business, and you're not compromising the quality of service by trying to cater to dozens of different standards of care. Yours is the gold standard, and any less is unacceptible... people have to hear that.

    Have a beer, chalk it up to the idiot public, and start scoping out others to replace these wingnuts!

  3. LoneCowboy

    LoneCowboy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,760

    yeah, just kills me.
    My favorite is the ones who "well, if we get a lot of snow, I'll call you"

    Uh huh
    a. you're last on my list
    b. it's more than my usual hourly rate
    c. it's a one or two hour minimum.

    don't like it? call someone else. (like anyone is going to come out when there is tons of snow on the ground) :angry:
  4. Lubold8431

    Lubold8431 Member
    Messages: 92

    Yup. Just had the same thing happen to me with one of my customers. 200' long driveway, up a hill. Told him to have fun snowblowing that when we get 12 inches of the white stuff. He says to me, "Well, I still have to shovel behind the cars after you plow, so I'm going to just buy a snowblower". Good luck with that...
  5. 04superduty

    04superduty PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,354

    i had alot of people say that when i plowed full time during the winter. of course when i said that i would not get to them until late the next day they were kind of shocked. then i had to explain that during a bad storm i would plow all night, from midnight until unsally 10 am or so, then get alittle sleep and go back out and clean all the acounts if they needed it, after that i would get to them, unless we were still gettting snow, then i would need to get a nap in before i went out the next night. of course, sleeping when it is going to snow is almost impossible. :)
  6. Mick

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

    I put in my flyer this year that no new customers would be accepted during snowstorms.
  7. tman3007

    tman3007 Senior Member
    Messages: 147

    Yep!! We eliminated ALL residentials this year. All commercial with 1.5" to 2" trigger. I just couldn't deal with all the drama that comes with residential. Not to say that they can't be profitable, just got tired of dealing with situations like you are talking about. Especially when they start talking about 6" or more triggers. JMO

  8. bribrius

    bribrius PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,609

    yah. been told that. im not even doing it if they decide to call me on a big storm. im not plowing ice or frozen icebanks just snow. having it left on previous snowfalls or not pushed back makes for a bad experience which im not dealing with.
  9. Martinson9

    Martinson9 Senior Member
    Messages: 205

    Can't be profitable? How can they "not" be profitable? The first year I started plowing I earned $75/hour. Last year was my fifth year and my route was about $200/hour. Seems profitable to me.
  10. JD Dave

    JD Dave PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,194

    That's not what he said but anyways, I would need alot more then $200/hour to go back to all the residential headaches. I had alot of residential about 18 years ago when I started and I just couldn't stand dealing with all those people. Now I have no residential and I couldn't be happier. Some people love it and I hate it but no offense to anybody that does it, different strokes for different folks and what ever pays the bills. Some areas don't have alot of commercial so resi is the only game.
  11. cjcocn

    cjcocn Member
    Messages: 78

    Actually, he is not saying that.

  12. Martinson9

    Martinson9 Senior Member
    Messages: 205

    You are right, apparently I can't read today. Too much work this past week trying to finish fall cleanup. So, are you saying you make a higher hourly rate doing commericial? Or, are you saying, even if you could make more per hour doing resi' you don't think it's worth the hassle? Aren't there headaches with commercial properties? Having them done by a certain time, etc...??
  13. JD Dave

    JD Dave PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,194

    LOL. I think it depends on the area your in but I can make alot more doing commercial. It's not just the plowing with the commercial, it's all the extra's like salt, pushing banks back and hauling snow. My lots are zero tolerance, so if it's snowing we're going. I think if your making $200/hour you must be doing something right and your not going to make more /hour doing commercial but you will get a lot more hours and salting is pretty good money. Home owners are generally a PITA and I used to have a short temper but honestly back when I did it I wasn't making $200/hour. A mix of both seems to be the best for most guys. Good luck this winter.
  14. Martinson9

    Martinson9 Senior Member
    Messages: 205

    Keep in mind, that's $200 U.S. not Canadian. :)
  15. karol

    karol Senior Member
    Messages: 128

    $200 U.S is not worth much here in Canada. The only way to plow residential is with a FORD. NO PROBLEMS NO HEADACHES.:yow!:

    Back to the topic. You quickly learn that residential is a lot of headache. You just can't let it get to you. Every years I loose about 10 homes for some of the reasons mentioned above and a lot more. For every 3 or 4 accounts you will come across a cherry picker. I've plowed a house for 2 years in a row and got nothing but compliments. Last winter I raised the price by $50. They said it was too high and never phoned me back to confirm. Got somebody else cheaper and they did a crap job. A week ago she phoned me and asked me if I could plow there driveway this year. The worst ones are the ones that call you an hour after it stops snowing and hassle you that you haven't done their driveway yet. First warning is I'M NOT HOODINI, CAN'T BE AT 60 PLACES AT ONE TIME. Next warning is MAYBE YOU SHOULD FIND SOMEONE ELSE.
  16. HALH VT

    HALH VT Senior Member
    from Vermont
    Messages: 128

    All my work is residential. After reading comments on this site over the past few years, I developed a three point policy on "will calls".

    1. It will be twice my normal rate.

    2. You get done last.

    3. I will not abuse my equipment. If I try it with my truck and can't do it easily, the truck gets parked and I get out the heavy iron, whatever it takes, all by the hour, moving charges included if necessary.

    The cheapskates will put up with the first two, but number three really gets their attention.
  17. LoneCowboy

    LoneCowboy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,760

    thats' pretty much how I feel, but you put it much better.
    and the heavy iron costs even more money.
    and, because I couldn't mark it, any non-obvious damage, well, I ain't responsible.

    but feel free to call me. :rolleyes:
  18. JD Dave

    JD Dave PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,194

    I think the problem with resi in my area is having enough plowable events that meet the trigger. If you live in the snow belt, you have to get your driveway plowed, here people will drive through snow untill they get stuck and then pull out the Yellow Pages. Contractors should all stick together and charge through the nose in these situations. I just want to say again that I'm not trying to make anybody mad, that makes their living off of residential, it just wasn't for me.
  19. tman3007

    tman3007 Senior Member
    Messages: 147

    Actually, we don't charge hourly rates. We have a per push formula that works really good for our area. Having a low trigger (1.5"-2") guarantees us that we're out making money on the smaller snowfalls. AGAIN, not to say that other methods aren't profitable, this just seems to work well for us.

    As far as headaches go, of course there are headaches in commercial. We do a 24 hour Walmart and it can be a major PITA but it's worth it financially for us. And yes our other commercial accounts have to be done before they open but again it doesn't bother us. It is consistent, unlike resi's who can flip-flop all season on different triggers or call when they need you. So basically all I'm saying is that both resi and commercial are profitable, we just happen to like commercial a little better.

    Whew!!! That was a little wordy:dizzy: Anyways, you get my point.

    Later, Todd

    X-LOWBALLER Senior Member
    from Toronto
    Messages: 102

    Never ever again

    With commercial accounts, you make money every time it snows if you are one of the smart ones and you get the salt applications as part of the contract. When you do residential customers, you collect your one time fee and lose money every plowable event. That is my take on the contrast between the two. I for one HATE residential work.