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Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by alittle1, Jan 19, 2005.

  1. alittle1

    alittle1 Member
    Messages: 35

    You can talk the talk and walk the walk, but when was the last time you put back in.

    There's been a lot of talk on this site about lowballers and how much they take away from business, as well as talk about what various people have made in the business. My question to you is this,:

    What have you put back into the business lately?

    I'm sure people on this forum would be interested to know what others have done. I read in a thread where a plower drove out of his way to service a customer and even lost money because he was a 30 year Navy vet. When was the last time you went and plowed out Widow Jones drive or dropped the plow at the local Stop 'n Go as you drove out the 'out' drive because people were getting stuck. Hell, I'll even drop the plow for some old fellow standing and looking at the snow in his drive, and then drive away with a wave of the hand. Who was that masked man?

    Well, here's a chance for you to shine. Lets hear your story!
  2. Eyesell

    Eyesell 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,107

    I'm sick of reading about this, can we move on please......

    just my 02. worth
  3. Turfmower

    Turfmower Senior Member
    Messages: 376

    Ill push the heavy snow off the end of drive, where I seen poeple have trouble shoveling it out. As for the Quick mart I have one as one of my customers :p
  4. Ian03

    Ian03 Senior Member
    Messages: 105

    I agree with alittle1. You guys are quick to ***** about not making a buck and how lowballers suck.

    It's all you big guys who don't care about anything but the almighty dollar.

    I plow my Mother in Laws house for free obviously, 2 houses down is an older woman who has nobody around to help. So when I am there I swing in and plow it real quick. My truck is longer than this driveway so it's no sweat off my back, but she thinks I'm the nicest guy in the world. It's the little things guys.
  5. jokatico

    jokatico Junior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 20

    I sand my neighbors driveway (big hill) for free-should be $30, but at 80+years old, I figure she has spent enough money on that slippery hill. I have even sanded her driveway by hand when my sander was broken down.

    I plow another driveway for a baked item(pecan pie, zucchini bread,cookies). She only pays me every 2 or 3 storms, heck I am in that area for 3 driveways at $105 each storm.
    Why not?
  6. cja1987

    cja1987 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,407

    I agree about the people who are on a lowballer witch hunt, it seems like all we need to do is say something about our plowing operation and if you say the magic words (explicit or even slightly implicit) you end up getting accused of being a lowballer. Move on, none of us here need to worry about the true lowballers. As for the "courtsey plow" every now and again, I will do it. Depends on the situation, i have pushed snow off the end of a drive with an elderly women struggling with it then drove off. I will admit to hitting small drives for free on occasion if I know the person and they happen to falg me down, i have no problem making a few qucik swipes and driving off. No I do not make a habit of this, its during big storms where everytime I turn around someone is flagging me down. If i think they are capeable of shoveling themsealves we agree on a price first usually at least $30 for a big storm. Other times ill make a few swipes for someone and drive off. I dont do it alot, I would never plow someone for free more then one time. I have plenty of paying customers and i concentrate on doing a good job for them. As far as the convient store parking lot, forget it! Its not my responsibility. I had a problem like this at the end of december where tons of people were stuck in a small stores parking lot at the top of my street. I pulled a few out that some how got stuck real bad then went in and asked the owner what the hell was going on. Long story, town ended up plowing it, fine issued to the owner, now he has a plow contractor to do it. I stay away from plowing in those situations for liability alone.
  7. PetalsandPines

    PetalsandPines Senior Member
    Messages: 260

    I would drop the plow on the way out of the STOP N GO....BUT

    I would but, where would I put it?? Put it in the street? NO ILLEGAL....What if someone tripped over the little edge of snow, will I get sued??? Probably being in NY State. Not my property, no contract :nono:
  8. dlcs

    dlcs 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,160

    I was thinking the exact same thing.

    Sure I plow my parents drive and my sisters if its a heavy snow but thats the only freebies.
  9. Ken1zk

    Ken1zk Senior Member
    Messages: 192

    An occasional free plow will not break anyone. What goes around comes around. As for if anybody were to sue me over something resulting from a free plowing, well hell maybe then I would change my tune ... maybe ... can't always worry about all the what if's in life.

    I take care of both neighbors in my immedate left and right of my home. Afterall were neighbors. :drinkup:
  10. chris k

    chris k Senior Member
    Messages: 204

    It's got nothing to do with being a big time operator. The difference is there are a lot of us on this site that for the winter months plow snow for a living, not just as side job to make a little extra cash. This is what actually pays our bills. Many here are landscapers, including myself. This is what we do for the winter. Hey if you want to stop and do some old guys driveway or whatever be my guest. I personally can not afford to have a truck get stuck in a driveway, or break, that is not a customer. What is going to happen to the rest of my customers that are relying on me to get their driveway or lot plowed. I can tell you that I make it perfectly clear to all my employees that they are NOT to plow a driveway, lot, push someone with the plow that is stuck, etc. If they do and I find out they will not be driving my trucks.

    I do take care of the elderly, we plow 2 different elderly housing projects.
  11. gt_racer50

    gt_racer50 Senior Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 484

    Boy, some people are cruel. I don't make a habit out of plowing for free either. however, I have picked up some landscaping customers for doing the end of their driveway for some quick gas money, while I'm in the area. I volunteer at my church when I'm done with my paying customers. This year, it has turned into a paying gig, what goes around comes around. I would never plow a business for free, such as the local gas mart etc., too much liability. Besides, they are making money, so get off your hip pocket and spend a little of the money that you are raping people for, you know $2 for a loaf of bread etc., they would be the 1st people to ***** about something that they got for free. I've found that for every 2 people that you pull out of a ditch and they offer absolutely nothing, there is one person that will hand you a $50 or a $100 bill, it all works out in the end.
  12. 4speed

    4speed Member
    Messages: 93

    I plow my elderly neighbors driveway and her son who lives a block away clears my sidewalk. I never have to get out of the truck!
  13. drplow

    drplow Senior Member
    Messages: 174

    i help out a few people but its usually after I'm done with my paying customers. that way i could end the day if i want or do a few probono? jobs.
  14. bolensdriver

    bolensdriver Senior Member
    Messages: 603

    :drinkup: I don't charge anything. lol.
  15. IndySnowPlow

    IndySnowPlow Senior Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 214

    BIG Time Operator ?

    What ?? you think this is the phone company ? :confused:

    Sure, we do our fair share of "free" service. But I will be the 1st to tell you, BEWARE of the outcome. We had a driver last year do a FREE plow on a residential driveway ( his neighbor ) that cost us $600.00 after he was done doing the FREE snow plowing service.

    My company provides a winter service to our customers. Those customers pay for services rendered. Those of you who choose to do it part-time / full time please feel free to do what ever you want for free. As for lowballers, if you solicit any of my customers with the intent of taking them from my company...well, you get the picture :gunsfiring: When and if it comes up for re-bid.....go for it.

    American business is a great place for free enterprise, unlike most countrys we must have standard business practices ( rules ) to help provide the grounds for how these businesses interact with eachother. Without these basic rules, the system will fail. In my company, failure is not an option. Quote: If we dont take care of the customer...sombody else will. That does not mean "free" all the time. Charity has its place in our society. Use it, dont abuse it.

    Wow, I feel good !!!! ( sing it guys ) purplebou
  16. dlcs

    dlcs 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,160

    What happens when your doing these free jobs and say you hit something. Well, that free job ends up costing you so your now paying to plow their property. How do you think that gas station owner will feel if you damage the fill covers cause you didn't know where they we located? Not only will he be upset, you now have to pay to have them fixed. Your insurance company will not be too happy with you, up goes your rates becasue of a free job. Like i said befor , i help out me imediate family by plowing for free. But I cannot justify doing free jobs while charging others and I cannot afford to do freebies either.
  17. LHlandscaping

    LHlandscaping Junior Member
    Messages: 21

    I agree with Chris K completely. Plowing is a business not a charity. PERIOD. I am a Christian, I tithe and our company donates money on a regular basis but I will not plow or landscape for free. I am also not a sucker. I am in business to make money, actually more money than the average employee because my wife and I deserve it. After all that is why we risk so much to have our business plans work. Let me ask you this...when your equipment breaks are these nice little poor people going to fix it for you? I think not. You will be the one footing the bill. I admire your generosity but I question how serious you take your business.
  18. REAPER

    REAPER 2000 Club Member
    from 60050
    Messages: 2,230

    Free = No cost to anyone in the aspect of true "free".

    Air is free. Plowing a drive is not.

    There is always a cost paid by someone when plow is on the truck.

    You may donate your time and effort. But it is not free as there are cost's involved.

    When I do my neighbor of 85 year old or the elderly lady across the street I am donating my service to them.

    They in kind pay my son well to mow their yards or do odd jobs.

    Barter of service's in a way.

    If you are driving that truck it cost $$$ to do so. If you decide to donate or barter your service with that truck is totaly up to you. Hopefully when a mishap happen's in this instance both parties are willing to work together to fix or repair it with a smile on both faces so the service provided that is batered or donated will continue with the same intention it 1st was.
  19. TLC Ken

    TLC Ken Member
    Messages: 47

    little1, it is easy to explain. Whatever you do (or did) for a living, say you are an accountant, do you drive around the city looking for people to do free taxes for? If yes, then, do you do it after working 20 hours on April 14th?

    There are a hundred guys with plows in my small town. I have faith that the community will look after itself. Many of your smaller one plow outfits like to do things for free. I know several. I know two older guys that just like to get up in the morning and wave at other plow trucks. They prowl the town just looking for some old lady in her driveway with a shovel, so they can swoop in and get the grateful thanks.

    The service industry is about only one thing: selling time. You only have so much to sell. My time is worth zero in the winter when it is not snowing. It's worth so little, I can afford to change the oil in 11 work trucks. But on snow days, my time is worth much much more. I am operating a plow and arranging routes for six plows and two shovel trucks, and overseeing as many as twelve people. That hour or two before businesses open is very valuable. If I blow a starter that day, then I must send it to the mechanic becaseu I know what I pay him is cheaper than the time I'll lose fixing it.

    This is our living. Guys are vocal about lowballers because they pay thier bills otherwise. A million in insurance per year isn't cheap. Mine went from about $3500 to over $10000 afer 9/11. Pretty big jump for one year. Our gas bill is about $1200 per month in the summer, about $800 in the winter. I don't have a day job to pay for those things. Workers comp is about $8000 per year. I have to hire services to do payroll ($200/mo). I have the same bills as you, gas, phone, mortgage, kids college, etc.

    This is the way we pay for these things. It's the only way. You want community action, well, I am very proud I can provide jobs for as many as 15 people in the summer. I pay as much as $100,000 to people that work here. I can't afford to pay them, or even have them around, if we did free driveways. I especially can't if they try and pull out some car from a ditch and wreck that car, or block the road, or destroy the truck they're driving.

    I do have an unoffical vet/senior discount. I keep it quiet because I don't think it is anyone's business whom I admire and want to give a price break to. I don't want it seen as cheesy suckingup, like at Arby's. The rest of the year, I spray (weeds/fert) churches that call and give them a 50% discount. But they don't know they get it until they get the bill.

    It is the ridiculous notion of the faclessness of corportate america that leads to questions like yours. Most corporations in this country are less than 100 people. But idiots like MIchael Moore have America thinking that any company that isn't a mom and pop store is as evil as the tobacco companies. It just isn't true.

    All that aside, I plow three of my rural nieghbors for cookies. Chocalate chip, no nuts, one batch per season. That works out to about $35 per cookie.
  20. derekbroerse

    derekbroerse 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,377

    I 'donate' plow friends and family on a regular basis (for more than a 2" snowfall).

    I give this 80-something year old woman a 50% discount on her place (its a special trip across town) and throw in the sidewalks and such for free. How does she repay me? If she is home she pays cash. If she is not home she 'will catch up with me next time', but any time I try that, she 'never noticed I was there' and therefore doesn't pay me. How does she not notice that she had to struggle to get her car out thru 6" of snow, but it goes in cleanly?

    As for ditch extractions, I've been offered nothing, nothing, nothing, $20, and, uhhh, nothing. Didn't even get a thank-you one time, guy unhooked the chain, got back in his Suburban, and left me standing there. I wasted almost two hours with one woman who stuck her car nose-first in the ditch (travelling down a mud road)... let her use my cellphone (decided she didn't want me to pull, wanted a tow-truck), drove her to the house where her daughter was to get rubber boots, back again etc. Then got into the tow truck and left me there, no thank-you there either. I later discovered she had left her shoes in my truck, and being the nice guy that I am, I put them in a bag with a note and biz card and left them at the daughters house. Do you think I even got a phone call or something even days later? No.

    Quite frankly, I am really tired of people taking advantage of me, and yet for some reason I figure one of these days when I need help someone will be there. So far, I'm still waiting.

    Cynical? Maybe. Realistic is more like it.