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How About that Trigger

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by karseneau012500, Dec 5, 2008.

  1. karseneau012500

    karseneau012500 Junior Member
    Messages: 10

    I do primarily residential plowing with a few Commercial Lots, a couple small businesses and a Church. All contracts are set up for a 3" Trigger, but one store is a health care outlet with elderly people in and out, wanted it spotless all season round. The Commercial is all per trip and residential is 50/50. My Question is how tight do most people stick to there contract's trigger. I go out and plow the one health care store even if its 1-2 inches with out question, but then I hesitate on all the rest if it’s a questionable 3". If its 2.5 inches on the ruler do I stay away. How literal will people take it? Just though I would ask, you guys have some peaty good insight.

    Thanks Kyle A

    MAR4CARS Senior Member
    Messages: 246

    I have been plowin for over 19 yrs and i still get nervous about triggers .. ive never had any clients complain but when it snows i start looking outside and talk to myself " start now ? wait a while? will someone complain if i go out with just this on their lot ? if i go out now how many times will i have to redo the lots?"
  3. Burkartsplow

    Burkartsplow PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,246

    I look outside and there is an inch down and still coming I go and take a look at radar. See that it is not going to let up I get ready and head out to my first commercial. I have all 2 inch triggers. I have never had a residential complain, but I do have one commercial who complains about everything. She would complain that there was no snow or complain if i plowed it in the middle of the night. If she did not see me, she did not think I plowed. A real PITA. I think she is just mad that they have to pay money to have snow plowed. I still do it, but i don't talk to the manager at all. I only talk to the district manager and he is happy with my work at all of there sites and that is all that matters. I pull into the lot, plow it and head to the next one. I just do what the contract states. 2 inches and i plow it. another 2 inches I plow it. One time I brought the contract with me and had her read to shut her up. The district manager said she is the worst and was there before he got the job, so he could not really get rid of her. She had been there a long time...But if it is 2.5 inches i dont think your customers are going to give you a hard time about anything...good luckussmileyflag
  4. lumps

    lumps Senior Member
    Messages: 365

    This is why I set up as many of my resi's as possible on seasonal contracts. Never have to worry, I just go out and take care of it. No nitpicking over trigger, their driveways are clear, everyone's happy. :D
  5. MB3

    MB3 Senior Member
    Messages: 123


    I have never had a problem with plowing snow. Rememeber, it is YOU that is on the line when someone falls, you could argue the trigger, but when you are sitting in the court room, it will not make that much of a difference. It is cheaper to pay you to plow, than the have a lawyer in court. ussmileyflag
  6. karseneau012500

    karseneau012500 Junior Member
    Messages: 10

    This is really only my second year plowing doing more than just friends and family this year I’m still figuring out what people come to expect of us. I'm just glad that I don’t have any of those PITA's, I guess it all depends on the client. Thanks for the advice.
  7. dirtmandan2

    dirtmandan2 Senior Member
    Messages: 275

    youre never going to make everyone happy. your contract says 3" at 21/2 some people will say it wasnt enough and the next few will say why didnt you come... remember your doing this to make money, if it's close enough to question it, go do it. That should keep the majority of your customers happy.
  8. Runner

    Runner Senior Member
    Messages: 957

    First of all, a 3 inch trigger is just ludicrous. They are ankle deep by that time. Even a 2 inch trigger doesn't work for me, because of the liability. What happens, is an in or an inch and a half of snow falls, doesn't get plowed, then gets packed down and you have a nice 1/2 inch layer of solid glazed ice....yeah,...THAT works!
  9. LoneCowboy

    LoneCowboy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,760

    If the trigger is 3 (which sucks BTW, too high, anyway) and it's still snowing at 2 to 2.5, I'm plowing it.
    If it's done snowing and it's at 2.5, it stays UNLESS, it's supposed to be really cold and it's simply not going to melt, then I'll probably do it.
    but you'll know if they really mean the trigger or not if they call you up. :eek:
    Then, you can adjust the trigger.

    and really, if the whine that you did it when it wasn't quite there.
    What is one freebie? Not much typically (esp on a resi).
    Just give it to them THIS TIME, but now you know how they feel.

    I'd rather do it than not if the choice is close.
  10. Ipushsnow

    Ipushsnow Senior Member
    Messages: 314

    Triggers are ridiculous, but I will say all my accounts technically have 2" triggers. Here is the way we operate:
    If it snows a little bit and we can melt it with salt we just salt. If I don't think just salt will handle it then we plow it.

    Like he said above, if you have a 3 inch trigger and it snows 2 1/2 and you leave it what happens to it? It gets compacted down and eventually the lot turns into a skating rink. So then the next time it snows you will push the new snow off the ice and then salt. Well if you got an inch or two of compacted ice that you just salted guess what? You are going to have to come back and plow the slush that will be created from doing that. So they will end up having to pay to have that plowed anyway. Avoid the slip and fall, the customer dissatisfaction, and the guess work and just plow it. If they complain try to educate them and if they still complain the screw 'em and let the ice accumulate.

    Bottom line is most customers want pavement showing, not snow, not compacted snow, and not ice.
  11. 042500hd

    042500hd Senior Member
    Messages: 251

    You must have some deep pocketed customers then. Paying you to come out 2 or 3 times for 4" when one trip would have sufficed. That would never happen in my neck of the woods. Customers around here are very penny wise (CHEAP). You may wan to rethink about rewording your contract if you're worried about liability. Unless you have been knowingly negligent you have no worries. All my customers sign a hold harmless agreement. And they absolutely hold up in court as long as you've not been knowingly neglegent.

    I think a lot of us on here also plow different types of accounts. I do not salt at all cannot get customers to see the need.
  12. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    If your health care place wants blacktop salt and charge them for it. With the others you could be sneaky and plow only your per push ones and skip seasonal ones.But most of the time if I got out for my lower trigger they all end up just getting plowed.
  13. Ipushsnow

    Ipushsnow Senior Member
    Messages: 314

    If it is going to snow 4" overnight and end before morning we will wait until it stops and go plow it once, unless it is a business that is open 24 hours, then we will plow it twice.

    But I think what we are talking about is not plowing every 2" or every 3" during and active storm, we are talking about not plowing at all.

    When I get customers that request a 3" trigger I point out that that 2 1/2" is actually ALOT of snow. "So if it snows ankle deep you DONT want to be plowed?" The response is usually "Um, yeah we do." I say well anything over 2" is pretty much ankle deep. They usually agree to the 2" trigger.
  14. Stringalation

    Stringalation Junior Member
    Messages: 11

    great thread guys realized a lot from this

  15. Runner

    Runner Senior Member
    Messages: 957

    Yeah, I wanted to clarify, we do not push two or three times for 3 to 4" of snow. I was stating that the trigger amount doesn't work for us. Our clients want wet pavement at 7 or 8 o'clock. That is why our market is in in the commercial end of it. The professional plazas with the attorney offices, the medical plazas with doctor's offices, etc.. Dr. So and so does NOT want Mrs. Cranston slipping and falling when she steps out of her car for her 8 o'clock appointment. many retail businesses are the same. That's why we don't do gas stations, party stores, and private places owned or managed by people who don't know or just don't care. 0 tolerance is where it's at. Whatever has to be done for wet pavement, whether it be plowing and salt, or just salt.
  16. clncut

    clncut PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,121

    Me personally, I would rather have a customer call and complain about me being at their property plowing than have a customer call and ***** where are you, someone just slipped and fell.
  17. sven1277

    sven1277 Senior Member
    Messages: 498

    I plow for any plowable amount. I tell all my customers that I will use my own discretion. It also depends on the weather. If we get 1" but it will be 40 degrees by noon, then we might not do the resi, but if it is going to stay below freezing, then we'll do everyone. In ten plus years plowing, I haven't had more than a couple of complaints.
  18. MileHigh

    MileHigh PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,827

    Plow at Contractors Discretion...
  19. REAPER

    REAPER 2000 Club Member
    from 60050
    Messages: 2,230

    I am lucky enough to be doing post office's.

    Zero tolerance. payup