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Help with client

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by chtucker, Nov 11, 2002.

  1. chtucker

    chtucker Senior Member
    Messages: 618

    Client advice question.

    My biggest account a seasonal 8 months at 1150 a month I budgeted for 8 pushes a month and it takes me about 1.5 hours do a good job.

    Needless to say I was getting my ass kicked this weekend. Was at the place 4 times Saturday and Sunday. Some lots border county roads some are real tight (No U-turn in superduty).

    Previously the resident maintenance guys had a F-250 with a 7'6 straight blade. They are hourly employees. Last winter the truck died and this year the management decided to put the plowing out for bid.

    I feel like I did decent job so far. I went back with my skid steer today to dig out spaces and moved that snow into large piles.

    When I took the contract, I only met with the manager of the complex. I said that I would get in between cars as long as there was sufficient space (1.5 to 2 car widths in my mind)

    Well the onsite maintenance guys are not happy with the job I am doing. Most of the parking lots that do not border county roads they complained that I need to backdrag them and then plow out all of snow into larger piles. What they want is all of snow REMOVED from the dead end lots. I went straight in and pushed the snow considerably far back off the pavement to allow room for the rest of the winter. I backdragged one lot that deadended into a building. Pushed all snow out of that lot. When I did my lane travel I tried to get within 2-3 feet of cars.

    They want me to pretty much backdrag the whole place and pile into 4-5 spots. I did not bid it that way, and can not afford to do it that way. The other bid wouldn't even do parking spaces. These guys worked hourly at this in the past, it was irellevant that they spent 8 hours cleaning up after a storm, they were on the clock. They did not even start on the walks until there was 18" on the ground (I had been there three times already)

    Obviously, I should have been clearer when I talked to them. It would probably be best that I meet with the grounds guy before the next storm. Do you have any ideas how to make these people happy?

    OH and to add on to it they where invoiced October 18 for 1/3 of the season (7 months) Due before November 1 (The start of the contract) and I have not recieved payment. There office is closed because of the Holiday.

    What are your opinions???

    Howard (working on pictures)

    Also remember that this was 2' of snow in less than 36 hours
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2002
  2. paul soccodato

    paul soccodato Senior Member
    Messages: 430

    tough one
    go back and talk to the manager and explain to him the situation. it really all depends on what the contract specifys. maybe the maitenance guys are trying to get you to do thier jobs so they can kick back and watch you work? talk to the manager and see what he says, if he wants it perfect ,then adjust your price.
    just a thought

    JD PLOWER PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 751

    Try and explain to them (just as you did here) what is covered in the contract and what isn't. It has been my experience that if they're expectations are very different then yours, you might not keep this contract. If you feel they did not make their expectations clear to you, tell them that, politley but firmly.

    If you restructure the pricing can you service them the way they expect?
  4. chtucker

    chtucker Senior Member
    Messages: 618

    I would be happy to do it their way. I figure an extra hour each time I do it. So hoping that this weekend was an unusual occurence, It is the biggest storm I have seen in 6 winters here I think I could do it their way for another 800 a month. Some of these lots are really narrow, barely two cars wide (Not two 1 tons)

    No one discussed methods when I talked to the office people. They also have a little CJ-5 with a 6' plow that they use for sidewalks, I would be willing to bet that they used that to back drag to the f-250 in the past.

    In talking to them they were VERY price conscious and I won they over with the ability to come in with a skid steer.

    I don't know what those maintanence guys are thinking, but I had a real tough time trying to back drag 2 to 2.5 feet of snow that was left in the parking spots after the cars left. They laughed at me for doing it with skid steer.


    Keep you replies comin.
  5. Snoworks

    Snoworks Senior Member
    Messages: 466

    Remember your the professional, you have to set the guidliness when it comes to snowplowing, and snowplowing techniques! I would do as JD Plower said, if the results are negative after the meeting, it is probably best to not due buisness with them again. Chalk it up to a lerning experence this year, bite the bullet, and finish the remaining seasonal contract to term.

  6. Mick

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

    Too many hands in the pot! Apparently, you contracted through the complex manager. If the on-site maintenance people have a gripe, they need to contact the complex manager. Each have different agendas and you'll only drive yourself foolish trying to please everybody.
  7. digger242j

    digger242j Senior Member
    Messages: 672

    Yep, sounds like a case of sour gripes to me...

    (Sorry, I couldn't resist the play on words...) :D
  8. digger242j

    digger242j Senior Member
    Messages: 672

    But I was serious--You're doing what they used to get paid for. Of course you're not going to do anything right in their eyes.
  9. long0

    long0 Senior Member
    Messages: 247

    The way I see it is this. The maintenance guys work for the manager, you work for the manager. If the manager is bitching about the way you are plowing, that is one thing, but the maintenance guys have no place to *****. Until the manager says something about the way you are plowing, keep doing it the way you are doing it.

    I would send a statement, along with a copy of the first invoice you sent, stating that payment is overdue. "No plowing will continue until paid"

  10. Garagekeeper

    Garagekeeper Senior Member
    Messages: 459

    Mick said it! You made your bid with what the management requested with their specs. The management is the "only" one that you should be dealing with. Anything outside of what you bid should be considered "extra billable services." I would look at it as the maintance staff are not getting the hours and overtime that they use to with someone else doing the plowing so they are complaining about everything. John
  11. Pelican

    Pelican 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,075

    I think I'd call a meeting with both the maintenance foreman and the complex manger, to discuss what is expected of you so all three are in agreement. After the Maintenence foreman leaves, I'd discuss your contract with the complex manager about what amendments will have to be made, and then re-write it.

    You may end up losing the contract, but what sense is there to doing it if it isn't profitable? I'd also look into their financial standing if they're late with payment, you may want to consider longO's advice. Try to find out how they stand with other creditors.
  12. chtucker

    chtucker Senior Member
    Messages: 618

    So I was back at the complex cleaning up slush today and:

    The guys are STILL working on sidewalks 2 full days after the storm!!!

    The roads are looking good, the spots that I could get out are almost black pavement. These guys literally laughed at me using the skid steer to clear parking. Guess what! THEY went and rented a skid steer today to do sidewalks. I guess the 70s cj-5 with 6' meyer with ONE trip spring was having trouble scraping up the hard pack.

    I talked to the office people. The head maintanence guy quit. I did it my way, and I have torn up less grass than they are trying to find the sidewalks underneath the snow.

    There is no way to back drag some the spot because they are so packed down now.

    I called the manager today to offer to renegotiate the contract for sidewalks and salting. I would need to hire an operator for storms, but I sure will make it worth my while after all the trouble they have given me.

    We will see.