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Is it wrong to only serve high end clients?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by hiranger, Jan 27, 2012.

  1. hiranger

    hiranger Member
    Messages: 72

    I am located in central illinois. I have been in snow removal since the mid-90's. I have lived and learned over the years what kind of accounts work best for my business. Currently i have only accounts that are zero tolerance. I refuse to take accounts that only want a snow removal company. What I mean by that is that we will only take accounts that want high end service. When a new prospect calls about our service I always sit down with them and explain how we operate our snow removal. If the potential client him haws around I will not take them as a client. Out of curiosity I was wondering how many out there operate their business like this ?
  2. Eronningen

    Eronningen Senior Member
    Messages: 447

    I do. Not all of my clients take zero tolerance and salt but many do. The rest are low trigger amounts and I am basically calling the shots.
    I have never understood why others would let a customer tell you to only plow after 2" or even 3". I want to work and make my crew work and make money
  3. Flawless440

    Flawless440 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,543

    That's what I look for. I walk away from stuff all the time. I check into the customer, lawsuits, slow pay etc..
  4. basher

    basher PlowSite Fanatic
    from 19707
    Messages: 8,993

    I have zero tolerance for anything but customers with zero tolerance. No trigger limits, no will calls, nothing but zero tolerance. I prefer difficult ones, they require more service and are aware of the quality of your service and appreciate it.
  5. got-h2o

    got-h2o 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,440

    I do the same, although I was forced to suck it up this year and take a few that were salt on request, etc. I told them how it was and pretty much swayed them my way, although we don't dump it like we should. Funny thing is, had they gone with a seasonal contract, they would be getting twice the service. Oh well, it was more work to fill the gap. I usually stick to my guns, but in the last few years, the newbies and lowballers really put a hurtin on this philosophy. They are only hurting themselves, and are too dumb to realize it.......yet when they disappear, we'll be somewhat forced to follow their lead if we plan on getting our accounts back. (rant off)
  6. Plowtoy

    Plowtoy Senior Member
    Messages: 929

    Is it wrong? No, Will it limit your business? Maybe. I am willing to service any property for a price. I do prefer the high end clients. Most of my residentials are are 3/4 to 1 million $ properties. The few commercial properties we do, are just average clients. 0 tolerance is basically unheard of in my area, but 1 inch triggers are not uncommon.
  7. basher

    basher PlowSite Fanatic
    from 19707
    Messages: 8,993

    In this area any Commercial that isn't zero tolerance it an invitation for a slip and fall.
  8. excav8ter

    excav8ter Senior Member
    Messages: 554

    I have an HOA that stated a 2" trigger in the contract.....we got a snowfall that was 1" to 1.25" in my driveway (which is located in the HOA), so I didn't plow. Then the complaints started to roll in...."why haven't you plowed" and so on. I told them the depth was only 1" or so......then they decided that if they could see tire tracks, they want it plowed. No complaints on the bills for the last 3 years either. Thumbs Up

    One of these days plowtoy....we need to, meet up. :salute:

  9. Plowtoy

    Plowtoy Senior Member
    Messages: 929

    I had a bank that had changed to a national and they had a 0 tolerance contract. I had a local attorney look over the scope of services and he told me it would be crazy to sign it in our area, so I didn't. With the amount lake effect we receive, you can not GUARANTEE that at any one time there will be no snow or ice build up.
    On a side note, people are going to find a way to slip and fall and blame it on someone else just to get a couple bucks, unfortunately that's the society we live in today:mad:
  10. Plowtoy

    Plowtoy Senior Member
    Messages: 929

    We could meet up sometime, be forewarned though, I'm kind of a jerk:laughing:
  11. icudoucme

    icudoucme Senior Member
    Messages: 367

    I think it's smart. Those are the people that normally PAY ON TIME and understand the value of the service you offer.
  12. hiranger

    hiranger Member
    Messages: 72

    Lots of good responses. Around here residentials are a pain!!!! Used to have many, but no more. I do limit my accounts to a degree I guess , but we are in business to make money and provide a good service. If a client wants that then we are the company; if not there are plenty of lowballers out there. We know that! I have good equipment that is productive and I need to get paid for that service. I like all the responses so far. I know of contractors bigger than me that take accounts and think they make money. In the end I handle less accounts and make more money than they do. To me that is smart business!!!
  13. thelettuceman

    thelettuceman PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,218

    I am s very small operator. Just me, a truck, a plow, and a coffee can to spread some salt and kitty litter. I only take on what I can handle. I have one client who is the slowest pay and happens to be zero tolerance. All the others are laid back and pay on time.
  14. excav8ter

    excav8ter Senior Member
    Messages: 554

  15. chs1993

    chs1993 Senior Member
    Messages: 297

    I welcome high end every day! All they want is quality work with no problem paying for it and pay on time!
  16. dfd9

    dfd9 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,475

    Not at all, as long as it doesn't affect your bottom line negatively.
  17. Kayem

    Kayem Junior Member
    Messages: 29

    The only high end client is the one who pays on time, in full. Regardless of their income.
  18. Boomer123

    Boomer123 Senior Member
    Messages: 371

    Just because they have money doesn't mean they pay on time.
  19. Kayem

    Kayem Junior Member
    Messages: 29

    My point exactly. To elaborate, clients who want good service, who are willing to pay your price on time and in full are all good clients, regardless of whether they make 40k a year or 250+ a year. Only chasing after 1 million dollar homes is limiting your market, when there are plenty of lower income earners willing to pay top dollar for your services, as long as you can find them. 40k/year earners shouldn't automatically be labeled as "problem" clients, just as 250k+/year earners shouldn't automatically be labeled as "perfect" clients.

    There are high income earners that CAN be more problematic than lower income earners. The is can be true in any service industry, not just property services. My girlfriend who is a hair stylist has just recently increased her prices $5.00 across the board. Every one of her clients supported this rate increase, said it was about time, except for two clients - the richest ones. These are the ones who brag about how much money they have, how much they spoil their children, and have massive pole barns filled with classic cars/motorcycles sitting on 40+ acres. They gave her grief about it and one had the nerves to tell her that she should find a second job because she only works 4 days per week, instead of raising her prices.

    My point is you can make money in regular neighborhoods AND higher end neighborhoods as long as you find the right clientel and charge accordingly. 250k per year earners only make up a very small percentage (between 3-7% depending on how you look at it) of the US population. If you want to only market these earners and by rule of thumb only land 10-20% of your bids then by all means that is your right. If you're making money at it then even better and stick with it. However, lower income earners make up the US' largest percentage and are also the most powerful spenders/buyers. I for one don't want to leave this market untapped, and to be able to have my company adapted enough to handle a broader market.
  20. hiranger

    hiranger Member
    Messages: 72

    Guess I should have clarified by what I meant by high end... Zero tolerance clients would be better suited for what I am referring to. We only serve commercial clients not residential homes. Been there done that. Not knocking those guys who do residentials it just isn't our cup of tea. Yea, rich folks a lot of times have money because they don't pay their bills!!!