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How to handle complaints?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by kolkie05, Jan 12, 2010.

  1. kolkie05

    kolkie05 Senior Member
    from Chicago
    Messages: 114


    It seems like this year more than ever I'm getting complaints on our work. One of our contacts is a big condo association which is filled with old people so you know they are going to complain. We are doing double the work there than were getting paid for and now they want us to clear the buildup behind the car bumpers.

    How do you guy's handle these situations?
  2. forestfireguy

    forestfireguy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,276

    Well first, they're right for wanting the snow removed from behind the car bumpers, at least if they are protecting a place where people walk, or are protecting a sidewalk curb combo, or causing a run-off and refreeze issue. If this is the case they should have been done already. As to Condos, they are the worst, 800 bosses and everyone thinks they're the final word. Best advice is get a designated contact or small group of them that understands and agrees to the scope of work you have established(unless you already have this arranged) will minimze issues you hear about. You say you're doing double the work, is it seasonal? or per event/push/inch?? Bottom line, if you're making the money you need to make and covering desired profits do what you have to make them happy, if you're not and they're changing the scope of work then renegotiate your contract to reflect their expectations.
  3. Pristine PM ltd

    Pristine PM ltd PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,891

    Is it in the contract? Make sure your contracts are specific and if you really want to keep the contract then do as they say, or at least ask to attend a board meeting to rectify the situation and explain things from your side.
  4. JDiepstra

    JDiepstra PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,780

    If it's a legit complaint you should apologize and resolve ASAP.

    If it's a BS complaint you have to put your foot down. You can't let people walk all over you. If they are expecting service that is beyond what is laid out in the contract, tell them you would be happy to do that for them, but since you will be spending extra time beyond what is stipulated in the contract, you will have to charge them more. Unless of course, you don't want to do that. Then, tell them that you will have to charge them extra, to the point that it is not going to be cost effective for them, and see what they say.

    The main point it, do what your contract says, and then draw a line in the sand (snow). You can't let people tell you how to run your businesss. They MUST pay for all services provided, or it is ALL of us who are going to get shorted in the long run.
  5. ajslands

    ajslands 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,033

    we had a apt. complex boss ( 1 of like a million) who was talkin shi* to my contractor and he wanteee to ko him so called his boss and complained bout him, and he was complaning about salt, but who put salt down twice in one day, when its not even snowing any more
  6. show-n-go

    show-n-go Senior Member
    Messages: 776

    So they want you to shovel out from behind each car in the lot??? How about they move there cars to one spot untill you plow, then move them back so you can plow the other lot? Thats what we do at the condo's that we plow as well as the car lot.
  7. kolkie05

    kolkie05 Senior Member
    from Chicago
    Messages: 114

    The complex consists of 5 buildings and with a drive in between. We clear the drive in between and then the drive lanes in the back. Orginally they didn't state they wanted spots cleared and now they do so we are taking care of that. But even if I draw the plow away from the bumpers they still get some buildup. But this again is behind the cars only so it would take sending a guy down every parking space and pushing the snow into the main drive so I can plow it. This place is very difficult they have nowhere to push the snow so it requires us to pull it around the building to the front. Needless to say your getting more buildup becuase we bringing so much snow past.
  8. kolkie05

    kolkie05 Senior Member
    from Chicago
    Messages: 114

    This is a per push contract not seasonal and now the property manager keeps telling me if we can't handle it he will find someone else.

    I was thinking about getting a atv so we can clear the parking spots and closer to the cars but why spend more money on equipment if they might give the contract to someone else next year.

    This is frustrating guys because we take pride in doing a good job and to us the place looks great so I'm not sure what more I can do.
  9. smoore45

    smoore45 Senior Member
    Messages: 526

    Form a complaint department! :laughing:

    Attached Files:

  10. show-n-go

    show-n-go Senior Member
    Messages: 776

    That sounds like BS to me. I understand that they want emtpy spots cleared but under the bumpers is crazy. You would spend a ton of time out of your truck with a shovel trying to do what they want done.
  11. buckwheat_la

    buckwheat_la 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,254

    condos can be such a pain, because year to year the board members change, therefore expectations change, i find the most important thing is for your contract to be very detailed as to what you do and what you charge extra for. if those vehicles where there and not moved then i would tell them to pound sand, or charge them extra, and in our contract it states we well not get within 3 feet of a vehicle with our equipment, and we well only get within one foot with our shovels. before i get the back lash from this, understand that a couple years ago we were held responsible for some scratches on some parked vehicles
  12. Turf Commando

    Turf Commando Senior Member
    Messages: 567

    I agree ......
  13. Mick76

    Mick76 2000 Club Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 2,157

    Not thats its going to help you but I won't plow condos..........I think your seeing the reasons why.....
  14. buckwheat_la

    buckwheat_la 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,254

    right up until someone accuses you of scratching their car, or putting a dent in it, then you well be on here posting a thread "accused of damaging a car, how would you handle it"
  15. jomama45

    jomama45 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,190

    If it was me & I didn't need the headache for the minimal profit, I'd let them call someone else. No sense in letting the frustration get to you. You can't put a price tag on peace & well being. Plus you never know, they may not be able to find someone else to plow it for their budget & end up calling you back & willing to work with you a little more. In my experiences, condos are some of the hardest customers to deal with as well as the least loyal & appreciative when you go above & beyond. JMO.

    What ever you decide, good luck.
  16. kolkie05

    kolkie05 Senior Member
    from Chicago
    Messages: 114

    I agree 100% the more I do this job, the more I realize the pain in the a$$ customers can find someone else. I have more stress and phone calls from this place than need be and again I'm not tooting my horn but I think we do a damn good job.
  17. jomama45

    jomama45 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,190

    I wouldn't want to sway you one way or another, as you're the only one who can make the decision as to if you should quit the job.

    But, I'll guarantee you'll feel a lot better when you get off of that phone call, IF of course YOU decide to go that route. ;)
  18. forestfireguy

    forestfireguy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,276

    Why are you considering walking away? is business that good for you? Have replacement work lined up already for the equipment/people you have there? If so thats really really good for you. If not why not work through it and make it work? check out some of the suggestions other than walking away too. If walking is right then by all means do it, but consider what it does all around, do you perform any other services for them? If so you'll likely lose them too, whatever you do, do it diplomatically and in a legally correct manner(make sure you follow your/their contract, whichever was used), or you might regret dumping it more than you do having signed it.
  19. NW Snow Removal

    NW Snow Removal Senior Member
    Messages: 533

    Honestly, If you are leaving ridges behind bumpers it seems like you can't control you windrows and it is your fault that there is a pile of snow behind each car and you should shovel at your own expense. If you aren't causing the depth behind the cars then it should be their responsibility to move the cars so you can clean up. You should be charging if this is the case. What we do is when we start plowing it is right behind the cars and we angle all the snow away from the cars and then we proceed pushing all to the end of the row. Why do I even help though I should just let the you quit and try and get in touch with him. Whats the address? Can you google earth it so we can help? can you give me the managers number??
  20. dlcs

    dlcs 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,160

    Try this, next time. Make your first pass is about half a blade width away from the cars, making sure you angle it away from the cars. Next make your second pass right up behind the row of cars and of course angled away from the cars. By doing it this way, you are giving the second pass room to roll off the blade. Even though you are angled away, you still need to give the snow room to go, otherwise it will spill off the other end.