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How do you.......??

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by MLI, Aug 9, 2003.

  1. MLI

    MLI Member
    from Boston
    Messages: 53

    Get your subs to show up faithfully? Seems no matter how much you pay them...they are late, or just find a reason not to show up. They also have a tendency to plow some of their accounts while on the clock for you! Last yrs subs worked well for us, but in times past its frustrating. This yr we are taking more accounts on , and I want to better organized. Any thoughts?!
  2. BRL

    BRL PlowSite.com - Veteran
    Messages: 1,277

    "Seems no matter how much you pay them...they are late, or just find a reason not to show up. "

    I've never experienced this phenomina before, but I also can't tell you some magical secret as to how either. You probably get a lot more snow than us up there, so for your subs it's not fun to plow maybe? Around here everyone is chomping at the bit at the first sign of below freezing temps & a cloud or 2 passing by ;)
  3. wyldman

    wyldman Member
    Messages: 3,265

    Pay them well,and keep them as happy as possible.Little perks go a long way.

    Let them plow their other accounts unless it affects yours.If they can balance it,and always get the work done,I'll allow it.

    Let them use your shop (if you have one) to work on their truck,or throw in some free maintenance for them.

    Pay them well,but use a hold back,and have a clearly written contract or sub-agreement which back charges them when they are unavailable.It's usually $500.00 if they miss a storm.That's what it costs me to bring in another sub.They usually don't want to lose the $500.00 so they always make it.I pay a guaranteed seasonal amount,so they are happy because they get paid even if it doesn't snow.

    Number one,is try not to be too bossy.This is a contractor to contractor relationship,not boss to employee.A lot of subs will get pi$$ed if you treat them like an employee.They want some respect.

    JD PLOWER PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 751

    MLI all of what wyldman has posted is true. The biggest thing with subs is how well you pay and when you pay. We try to pay our's as soon as possible and we pay a fair rate. Even with that though don't expect all subs to be available when ever you call (the list of excuses I've heard is sometimes amazing) and try to keep in mind that they are subs due to the fact that they usually can't commit to the time needed to full time service. If they leave in the middle of a storm and its not an emergency or they don't contact you first then I would have a problem with that. Our subs are free to go as they please, but I expect the courtesy of a phone call or being told well before hand. If their work is shoddy or substandard then its up to you to talk with them or replace them. Make clear what the customers expect and are paying for and why you are paying them. Mostly I suggest going with your gut feelingly about a person when you meet them or talk to them. If it doesn't feel right, then it probably isn't.
  5. Little Jay

    Little Jay Senior Member
    Messages: 101

    I agree with the above comments.
    Be honest and open with them about what a customer expects so they can gage their own productivity at a particular account.
    Pay by the hour and insist they keep a time sheet. That way if they skip out for a few to do their buddies drive, you arent paying for it but they still have the freedom to do it.
    If they fail to show or reach a predetermined amount of "absenses", penalize them for the cost of their replacement.
    And get it all down in an employee agreement that they can sign along with your no-compete clause.
    Two or three weeks before the season starts, have everyone, employees and subs, out to your shop/home for a BBQ. This informal social event where you bring the burgers, they bring the beer, goes a very long way securing dependable employees.
  6. customers_snow

    customers_snow Member
    from 48843
    Messages: 38

    Screen your sub's better. Determine how many sub's you will need and market for your sub's just like you would for a customer or employee. By having more sub's to choose from, you can be more selective. Even that does not always work. Although not practical for everybody, I also keep my 5 trucks and 2 loaders in reserve, just in case. Sub's are scheduled to do 100% of my plowing and I just play backup. That's with 32 trucks and 12 loaders working each time.
  7. Manx

    Manx Senior Member
    Messages: 115

    So Mike,
    Does this mean there's no more pick-up work :confused:
  8. Mick

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

    I had written a long reply to this a couple days ago, but when I went to spellcheck the computer froze and I lost it. Got frustrated and didn't try again till now.

    Anyway, I have given some thought to this subject lately because someone asked if I'd be available next winter. From the subcontractor's (or employee's) viewpoint:

    Realize he's there for the money. It's your account, not his. However, I would want to do a good job because people see me and my truck. I get associated with the end result.

    Why insist on paying by the hour? I'm thinking of wanting to get paid by the account ("per push") That way, you only need to keep track of what places he plowed. Then if I pushed one of mine at the same time, it wouldn't matter. I guess it would if I was driving your truck, but in my case I'd be providing the equipment.

    Now realize I'm making a distinction between a sub (which is the focus here) and an employee. An employee would be paid by the hour and drive your truck. A sub has his own truck. Am I missing something in thinking that a person could not be called a sub if they are driving your truck? I would think if you put those restictions on a person, you'd be liable to have them classified as an "employee".

    As a sub, I would also want to have some idea of what places I would be plowing. Before the snow falls, I'd want to go around to look them over, take pictures and mark obstacles. I'd also want to have it well established what I am responsible for (vehicle, equipment, fuel, food etc). For example, someone mentioned that they have a block of hotel rooms where they put drivers up during a storm to ensure their return. Who is responsible for the room charge? I'd be upset if the cost showed as a deduction at settlement time. A book of potential sites would be nice, too. I'd want to know what sites I might be called to so I'd know how to get there. Nothing like ramming around at 2:00AM trying to find a specific parking lot.

    A couple guys mentioned "holdbacks". I value wyldman's opinion highly, but you'd only do that to me once. At the same time, if I couldn't make it, I'd have a darned good reason. You usually have several hours warning of coming snow so you can plan accordingly.

    I guess it comes down to hiring good help, which is hard to do. The good ones will have jobs and aren't looking. For some, it wouldn't matter how much you paid, they'd still screw it up.

    Mainly, for me at least, it's how you are treated. Let me know what, where, when and how you want it down. I left one job several years ago that was the best paying job I'd ever had up to that point because of how they treated the employees (US Post Office).
  9. MLI

    MLI Member
    from Boston
    Messages: 53

    well Mick.....wanna plow for me?...lol..im in Mass. $50 per hr....hotel on us! All small lots. All the points you made were valid. I own a landscape outfit and have workers....the 2 that know how to plow moved 1 to Maine....1 off to school. Im looking for drivers or subs with their own rigs! Most subs that are any good have their own accounts...the ones that are left are either new or sloppy. We have always payed in full 24 hrs after storm.....sometimes guys get it so good...they abuse the system! Go figure!
  10. Chief Plow

    Chief Plow Senior Member
    Messages: 201

    Personal experience, Pay them well and timely. I can't stress that enough. The way I operate, 1. I pay them an above average hrly wage for my area. 2. I pay them cash. 3. I pay them the day after they are finished with work. So far this has worked very well with me over the last 3 seasons, only had one problem in that time frame, and that was over a big holiday storm

  11. customers_snow

    customers_snow Member
    from 48843
    Messages: 38


    We have a lot of work for pickups. Want to sign up? Lots of good work in your area.
  12. Manx

    Manx Senior Member
    Messages: 115

    I plow for you
    Cumberland & Spec's