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Interesting Year so far Central NJ

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by tjlands, Jan 7, 2010.

  1. tjlands

    tjlands Senior Member
    Messages: 579

    After our big snowfall of 12/20. Two feet plus
    About half of my clients are micro managing their snow contracts.
    Calling ahead of time to ask for no service on these nuisance storms. 1-2 inches.
    unless they see it necessary. Most probably went over their yearly budget for this winter before Jan 1st. Doesnt really bother me, yet.
    They did receive massive bills for first storm, one condo association actually went off paying me seasonal to go per storm this year, their bill for one storm(24") was more than they payed me last year for a seasonal contract.
    On the other hand a national company took over my TD-Commerce banks(14 of them) and thru them we are now on a seasonal contract, which as you can guess really sucks, but I will make money on it, hopefully.
    Just wondering what are some other contractors dealing with this year.

    As I am just about to post this a Burger King calls to say no salt/sidewalks for this storm just plow if over 2"................

    Its only Jan 7th
  2. mkwl

    mkwl 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,362

    With the economy being what it it- this is really nothing new- just take it for what it is and roll with it... so far, knock on wood, only 1 "complaint" about coming before it was over 2", but the vast majority of people plowed the storm, so I figure I was in the right, the client understood after explaining, and life moved on...xysport
  3. iceyman

    iceyman 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,925

    been a great year so far... gotta love the money when theres nothign else going on round here..... hopefully get a decent push tomorrow...if we end this winter the way we started the winter 09 will be rembered:drinkup: im just a sub so i dont get into the billing dept or anything but u gottA love the per push this year
  4. ppandr

    ppandr Senior Member
    Messages: 619

    You would not happen to do the TD in Whitehouse NJ would you?

    Out of 80 snow customers we have been paid by less than half from the 12/19 storm...are terms are net 5.

    My goal this week was to collect on the large outstanding balances from our landscape/wood work customer from fall and although people are paying slower the money is slowly coming....trickle down into my bank account effect.
  5. iceyman

    iceyman 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,925

  6. LoneCowboy

    LoneCowboy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,760

  7. ppandr

    ppandr Senior Member
    Messages: 619

    Every single contract that we do is net 5 days OR due upon receipt. Do we enforce it...no, but I does encourage our customers to pay promptly. Our resi contracts (76 this year) state that if you are 15 days past due we reserve the right to suspend service which we never do. Usually a follow up phone call is all that's needed. All accounts are on contracts, no exceptions.

    Of our two biggest commercials...

    One, a local mall privately owned, the owner drops a check off at my office within a day or two of billing....never any thing else.

    Second, Marriot Hotel corp, we are an express pay, I drop off bill, they process it usually that day or the next. One business day later I get a next day fed ex env on my doorstep.

    Our pricing is based on these terms. We are upfront with our customers letting them know that our pricing is based on these terms. Habitual late payers are increased the following season or dropped altogether. Ten years of this system....no problems.
    We surely are not lowballers, but we are able to be very efficient due to the close proximity of all our accounts (3 mile radius)
  8. tjlands

    tjlands Senior Member
    Messages: 579

    No we handle the 14 banks in southern monmouth northern ocean.

    We only do commercial, no residential driveways, so 5 days is unrealistic, 30 days is the norm,
    Todays storm was nice and easy, got to plow 25%, salt 100% of my clients that didnt call and we will be done by "brunch time"
  9. ppandr

    ppandr Senior Member
    Messages: 619

    The outfit who does that location is from down your way (dont remember the town...no name only location on the POS truck). At least a hour drive in good weather traffic. New Years Day snow we had finished and I stopped at the bank and they had just gotten there. The lot was hardpack and he threw down a fraction of salt needed to melt it. He was in and out in a few minutes. Never dropped the plow to try to scrape off the loose stuff.

    Oh, and who says 30 days has to be the norm? I know it is an industry standard but I have several venders who discount net 15. We contract for the discounted rate (or so they think) and hold them to shorter terms if we can.
  10. tjlands

    tjlands Senior Member
    Messages: 579

    I wont defend another contractors bad work, but I will tell you that we are now not responsible for any snowfall under 2" unless they authorize extra work(more money)
    and they havnt so far this year. I for one will not try to melt 1" of hardpack with salt unless they pay for it.
  11. cj7plowing

    cj7plowing Senior Member
    Messages: 404

    I am gald to see I am not the only one with customers dragging out thier payment from the 12/20 storm, out of 140 accounts, I am still waiting on 60 of them to pay me. It seems to trickle in everyday. some of my commercials are backed up on 3 bills now. 12/20,12/31 and 1/7 granted the last 2 were only salt and some scraping. I would still like to get paid. I only had 1 complaint from the 12/20 storm and it was a store account that was refusing to pay double for the storm. I plowed it twice and did the 100ft sidewalk 3 times(once 1 day later after the county plowed the highway again. and salted the lot once. I had a talk with HER and I think I worked things out after I told her what went into my billing. If she doesnt want to pay, thats fine she will need a loader to get into her parking lot after the next storm.
  12. GOOG

    GOOG Junior Member
    Messages: 12


    I have full control of when I salt and when I plow. The buck stops here as far as liability goes, and if I'm the one writing the checks after the law suit I'm the one making the calls when the ice or snow is on the ground in the first place. Before I salt, I send an e-mail to my property manager. In 7 years she has questioned my call twice. Both times all I said was "send me an e-mail saying you don't want me to do anything about this snow/ice or whatever, and that you assume all responsibility" Both times the PM said do "it your way". If the liability is mine the decision is mine too. - Tom

  13. tjlands

    tjlands Senior Member
    Messages: 579

    In over twenty years in the business I have never "written" a check after a snow service lawsuit. If I were to lose one, and I havnt, my insurance company would write the check. Sounds like you have one property mgr you deal with, I deal with 9 and 38 commercial properties. If they want to assume liability on a storm they know the deal, a call, a fax and an email no problem, bottom line is we work for them. If I dont like they way they do things I will drop them as a customer and I have.
    I think for the most part we all know what we are doing as far as saltings etc. I think you missed the jist of the thread but you are from NJ....just kiddin
  14. GOOG

    GOOG Junior Member
    Messages: 12


    I have been plowing snow with my own equipment since 1980. I have been sued twice. I was let out of the suit once, and found to be a contributor on a very small level in the other. Neither time was I in any way to be blamed. The point I was making is, if there is a slip and fall, make no mistake about it, you are going to be defending yourself. And obviously your ins. co. will be involved. When I said I was the one writing the check I did not mean me literally. My ins. co. paid. I did however, write a check to the injured party in the amount of my deductible.

    I have an ins. policy on the table, and I will not be silenced when I disagree with the game plan.

    BTW, How do you get 32" of snow so far this season? We got 24" and a couple of dustings. - Tom

  15. Ramairfreak98ss

    Ramairfreak98ss PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,931

    tj... yeah same here lol!

    PM me, what company has the td banks? i heard they werent paying good now because of TD taking over after the full merger in september.

    Yeah, we have places that paid more for Dec 09 invoicing than all of last season :/

    I have one account, trying to say we overbilled because we pushed 6" per push, yet theyre only a 2-4" account, so we could do them as many as 9 times and few as 5... because we had pushed it 8 times, theyre saying that they want a bill for 5 times... yet our crew wrote they pushed 4-6" each time not 2" in trenton NJ... winds and blowing snow sucks for the clients but is awesome for us!

    give me a call sometime :nod:
  16. Ramairfreak98ss

    Ramairfreak98ss PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,931

    just had another "large" industrial company balk at the price of their invoice :/

    They went so far this time as to check times on the cameras to see if we were really there. One plowing charged on 12/19 they didnt see any trucks there... probably our own error in time of the day, but thats what was written on the sheet so it must be wrong.. and ill eat the cost of that service which is close to $1k.

    And then the general manager, a manager ive never met in the 2yrs + we've serviced this account, supposedly said the property was in terrible shape 12/21 morning when they came in now. Nice to see them arguing over quality of course now 3 weeks after the service.

    Its mainly as the manager says because of the cost, i think this companys invoice was 8-9k.... they've paid that much for smaller landscape services in the past so i think its just the fact that they feel its only early january and theyre out that much for "maintenance services" that they dont have anything to show for.
  17. forestfireguy

    forestfireguy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,276

    Snow is like that!!! Especially in NJ, rarely do we see "mountains" of snow that last until spring, we have such variance in temperatures here that often the evidence of the storm is gone literally within days of service. And I agree people are feeling the crunch of a very active december.
  18. tjlands

    tjlands Senior Member
    Messages: 579

    Really.... you wrote a check to the "injured party" for your deductable, never heard of a deductible on liability or paying it to a claimant.

    29" 12/19-20
    1.5 " 12/31
    1.5 " 1/8
    Add em up see what you get,
  19. Surf'n'Turf

    Surf'n'Turf Member
    Messages: 34

    imo, much easier on a lot of levels starting off the season with a few smaller storms first rather than open with the big bang we received on the 19-20th. thus far, i had one commerial client out of twenty tell me the price was exhorbitant. my answer was 'the price is right there in your contract' (we charge by incremants) followed by 'how often do we get over 18" of snow?" he relpied "i guess you got me, but i won't sign for next year!" he then showed me a scribbled up hand written invoice and said "see this, i have a huge driveway at my house, lots of steps & decks and the group there charged me $550.00." my answer was "OK....and?" he then wanted to know how i came up with my pricing, etc. but never any mention of quality (this is a medical office that caters to the 55+ crowd and we had it down to the concrete/ asphalt 8:00 am monday morning) and and at this point I start asking myself 'do i really want this guy as a client?' nope.

    in addition, i got a few calls following the storm, one from a facilities manager, saying the same thing, 'the guy did a great job, but management says the price was to high.' the facilities guy told me he hired, with management's approval, a more reputable company then last year. appeartly last years guy couldn't get through that 10-12" event we had. i told him thanks, but we are booked (which is the truth). there's gonna be a lot of turnover between now and spring.
  20. tjlands

    tjlands Senior Member
    Messages: 579

    Only had one BK account question the bill for the big storm, (two stores)
    they pay per inch, per application salt, and a fixed amount for each time we did the walks.
    And I had spoken to them the day it started snowing, they made the call to stay open till 11pm Sat and re-open 8am Sun, while the Mcds next door closed sat 5pm and re-opened
    Sunday 4pm.
    I had even questioned him on why he would stay open in blizzard like conditions.
    Now they will have to sell alot of Whoppers to pay their Whopper of a bill.