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How Would You Handle This Situation?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by MikeRi24, Dec 23, 2008.

  1. MikeRi24

    MikeRi24 Senior Member
    Messages: 563

    We had a pretty significant storm over the past few days, and I was out plowing all of my contracts 7 times. My contract states that I will have shown up and plowed either before 8 a.m. or before 4 p.m. depending on when it snows. Yesterday one of my clients who lives down the street from me comes banging on my door raising hell because his driveway was blocked in at the bottom and that I never showed up to plow today. I plow the houses on either side of it, and I was there at 7:15 and the driveway had already been shoveled and his 4 garbage cans were blocking the drive.

    So hes over chewing me out about not plowing the driveway hes like "what the hell do I pay you for? you never show up on time i got plowed in my the town" blah blah blah and I havent done anything outside of what my contract states. I to,d the guy "look, I have other customers besides you, I'm not going to plow everytime the town plow goes by because then I would be there every five minutes. I have upheld everything that my contract states and by signing it you agreed to the terms of it" and he cut me off and said "let me tell you something, i told you my wife has to be to work by 7 and my driveway needs to be cleared before then!" I said "I told you I could promise I could have it done by then, I would fit you in my route where I could and the best I could promise was what was outlined in my contract. if you already shoveled the driveway by the time i get there then thats not my problem. I'm sorry you are not happy with my services, and if you don't like it then get someone else to plow your driveway"

    If you had this customer, how would you have handled it? what would you do now? out of all of my accounts, this is the only one that has given me a problem. hell, some of my other customers came out at 5 in the morning and offered me coffee and one even gave me a plate of christmas cookies!
  2. JDiepstra

    JDiepstra PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,780

    That's an easy one. You did the right thing. If all of your customers are happy but one, FIRE HIM and enjoy the rest of the season with your happy customers!
  3. Rc2505

    Rc2505 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,245

    then stack all the snow from the two drives on either side in front of his each time you plow, lol.

    THEGOLDPRO PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,136

    first thing i would have done was thrown him down my front porch stairs, then id tell him to screw off.
  5. riverwalkland

    riverwalkland Senior Member
    Messages: 401

    haha awesome.. I'd never do that, but I sure would like to
  6. JD Dave

    JD Dave PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,194

    If the guy weighs more then 120, he'd get backup and kick GP's butt. LOL
  7. MSS Mow

    MSS Mow Senior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 983

    why would a person agree to an 8am clearing knowing full well they need to get out by 7am? Seems to me like the customer needs to find another plow guy who can fill his needs of a 7am cleaning.
  8. naturalgreen

    naturalgreen Senior Member
    Messages: 404

    some people just need to be unhappy
    dump him and stick with the happy
    I spent too many years stressing over that one btchy customer when the 100 others were super happy.
    now i say f-em and sleep a little better at night
    Subconciously everytime you will do his drive worse and the coffee and cookie ladies better.
  9. leeddog65

    leeddog65 Member
    Messages: 85

    GP is one of those internet tough guys!!
  10. bigearl

    bigearl Senior Member
    Messages: 393

    and He can prove it !wesport
  11. vegaman04

    vegaman04 Senior Member
    Messages: 378

    You cant please everyone, so in mind, could you charge more for a certain time frame for cleaning to put him at the top of the list?
  12. JDiepstra

    JDiepstra PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,780

    That is a good idea.
  13. Lux Lawn

    Lux Lawn PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,137

    First thing I would do is take all times out of the contract.There is NO way you can guarantee what time you will be there. If your contract is calling for drives to be plowed by 8:00 a.m and it starts snowing hard at 5:00, you will never finish everyone by 8:00 like the contract states. Rush hour traffic will kill your time. As far as the apron clean-up after the city plow, I charge extra for that. My contract states 2 plows a day, apron clean-ups, drifting or a 3rd. plow cost extra.
    Just remember though, you can't please everyone.
  14. Lux Lawn

    Lux Lawn PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,137

    Even at the top of the list, depending on when you start your route if its still snowing it can cover over again.Then he will say you were never there.
    I love when customers ask me " what time do you plow"
    My answer "what time is it going to snow"
    Customer " I don't know"
    Me "Me either"
  15. BMWSTUD25

    BMWSTUD25 Senior Member
    Messages: 631

    id drop him and try and find a new way of getting a little extra snow in his driveway without him knowing you did it on purpose.....you dont want a bad rep but if he has to work a little extra hard to get it clean he might appreciate what you were doing...:salute:
  16. theplowmeister

    theplowmeister 2000 Club Member
    from MA
    Messages: 2,617

    Never get into a shouting match with a customer! He knows other people, maybe a potential customer, I dont want any bad word about my plowing to be floating around town, even by a jerk.

    You can quote the contract but that usually makes people mad, they dont care about the contract they want what they want. in his case he wants you there before 7:00 and after each town plow truck.

    You say "When I got to your house it was shoveled so I moved on. I'm sorry I did not get there in time for you. I try'd but I am sorry, Bla, Bla Bla I am having a problem getting to you by 7:00 AM, maybe you would be happier with another plower? Give him the choice to find somebody else. Dont demand, After all you didn't like it when HE demanded.

    While your being nice you can think of throwing him down and using him as a replacement for plow shoes, but be nice.

    Why cant you guarantee a time?

    Change the contract to say "you will be able to get out" That way if the driveway has 1.5 inches of snow, they can get out, and your safe.

    I know the customer is going to need the clean up, so I include it in the quote.
  17. 6feetdeep

    6feetdeep Senior Member
    Messages: 141

    I just lost one that we've plowed for 3 years. Every time I went there, I'd grit my teeth b/c the drive is so rough, it beats the he!! out of my plow. I've kept it b/c it is the mother of a good friend and it is close to other accounts. After 3 days of plowing and very little sleep, I got home the other day to a message on my answering machine " you do the worst plowing job I have ever seen, nobody ever moves my car when you are here.......". What? Are you kidding me? We've plowed her drive, and shoveled the sidewalks on her CORNER lot, and shoveled around her car for 3 years. Now, she wants us to move her car????
    I blew up, called her and told her to pack it. My employee gave me a high five when I told him he wouldnt have to shovel her corner lot anymore! Merry X-mas to him.
    Slept great that night, too. Wont miss that account, not even for a minute.
    Oh, and two other customers just signed up today, $5 more each per plow than I charged her.
    Dont sweat it, lose one - gain two.
  18. Lux Lawn

    Lux Lawn PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,137

    If you guarantee 7:00 a.m and you get your 2 inch trigger at 5:00 a.m. are you going to be able to finish your route in 2 hours. Even if you start at 1.5 inches and have 60 houses to do, can you do 60 in 2 hours....and if its still snowing the first ones you plowed with an inch and a half will be covered in no time.
    Thats why I just tell people we start at 2 inches.
  19. Lux Lawn

    Lux Lawn PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,137

    I agree everyone can drive through 1.5- 2 inches of fresh snow, theres not a car that won't go through it. But some just like to complain because they think they are right all the time.
  20. Ramairfreak98ss

    Ramairfreak98ss PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,931

    yeah get rid of the ass.. If hes that much of a pita, tell him you'll plow it upto ever 2hrs, or 6" or more or every time he gets blocked in, more profitable and hes happy, of course most want $35 service ONE time at the most optimal time and will complain otherwise. Go have his fat wife sit on the pile of snow to make it melt so she can get her car out in the morning lol