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It happened!

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Premier, Feb 14, 2009.

  1. Premier

    Premier Senior Member
    Messages: 274

    So over the summer i lost my biggest account to a company that under bid me by half. It turns out that they were let go just before winter and a new company came into the picture. I had been hearing rumors around town that the current contractor was not performing to the standards that i was and that the client was unhappy. I figured if this was true i would hear from them if they wanted me to come back and work for them, but i had not herd from them untill 6 am this morning. we got about a inch of snow lastnight and it was done snowing by 3am. The expectations for the contract is the lot and walks MUST be cleared by 5am. so i come into there lot at 6:03 am to find 2 plow trucks sitting in the back of the building talking while elderly people are trying to get into the building. So i start plowing the lot, I get 1/2 the lot plowed and one of the guys comes up to me and asks what im doing. I replied i was called here to plow. now here is my delema im in the area already to i just tell the customer to finish out the year w/ the curent guy and if they need me im just a call a way and charge them to be "on call" or do i ask them to sign with me so it will be taken care of properly and if they dont i wont beable to serve them. Im also having a hard time trying to figure what to charge them for a service call, I will be billing them my hourly rate for when i was there but i think i should also charge them a oncall fee as well. any thoughts on this? It would be nice to get this account back, last year it was a 150K account, but at the same point im looking for loyalty ot of my customers, :dizzy:

    any ways any thoughts would be great as i have to go on monday and talk to upper managment about the situation. i know that most of the employees want me back hmmmmmmmmm what to do!?!?!?:dizzy:
  2. flakesmeangreen

    flakesmeangreen Senior Member
    Messages: 217

    I think there should be an on-call fee. Would've been best to discuss the fee with them prior to plowing. Maybe you can waive the fee if you get them to sign a contract for the remainder of this season and next season? It sounds like you'd still be able to fit them into your route.

    On edit: Forgot you were underbid by half, there's more than one way to look at that situation. Maybe a multi-year contract with some increases in it to teach them a lesson? Do you just want the contract back or do you want to show them the mistake they made?
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2009
  3. ProSeasons

    ProSeasons Senior Member
    Messages: 624

    I think what you did was perfect. Your attitude about it is kind of off but that you can fix. YOU were the customer's FIRST second choice. That is HUGE! YOU are their go to guy. You said you expect loyalty from your customers, that is bull$***. Your customer is your BOSS. You have to be loyal to them. A lot of you guys take this business stuff to heart and get your feelings hurt.

    Stop it. IT'S JUST BUSINESS!

    I got an account back by helping an ex client with a big box from her office to her SUV. Just like that. BE your ex clients FIRST second choice.

    Nice job, Premier. As far as charging them, they KNOW how much you charge, and they called you back anyway.

    If they want the Best, they have to pay for the Best.

    The definition of 'Premier' is THE Best.
  4. iceyman

    iceyman 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,925

    i would def charge them more than you did last year....if they want your services the second time around and in mid season then they pay a higher rate....
  5. creativedesigns

    creativedesigns PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,929

    or better yet, try not to make existing clients "Ex-clients" lol.
  6. iceyman

    iceyman 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,925

    but that takes all the fun out of getting them back:p
  7. Premier

    Premier Senior Member
    Messages: 274

    Pro i do see where you are comming from, I guess part of my feelings/attitude comes from the fact that since this location was opened up they went through 2-3 contractors per year till i took over then I held it for 5 1/2 years untill new managment came in and didnt like prices for snow removal i just didnt see it comming. and its kind of frusterating and painful like a kick in the marbles, but we have all been there before:nod::D

    I did try but there is no way i could cut my rate in half and stay in business. I was already giving them a huge discount.

    If you were to have a on call price would you charge a flat monthly fee or would you do like $100.00 per call?
  8. oldmankent

    oldmankent PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,322

    In answer to your question about the monthly charge or the per visit charge. I always like working by the hour (per visit) as opposed to a seasonal rate (monthly). That way it is fair for everyone. You actually get paid for the work you did, and the client doesn't feel like they are paying you for doing nothing.
  9. Watch out yelow

    Watch out yelow Member
    Messages: 35

    Did the client wind up paying twice? Did they inform the other company that they were terminating the service agreement they had with them? Im just curious because we wind up in similar situations and i am always skeptical to go back on a call-in when we lost the customer in the first place (usually due to their lack of good judgement in the first place). I try to set up a service agreement first with it in writting that the job is now ours and the previous agreement they had with the other company is now terminated. Commerical clients always want there lots in the best shape possible but dont like paying double or a high rate for that matter.
  10. Neige

    Neige Sponsor
    Messages: 2,215

    I would say you would like to have it back. 150K is big money. Do I understand right, they called you at 6:00 am, and you were there at 6:03. Then you got half the lot done before someone approaches you. Were you there alone, or with several pieces of equipment. How long were you there, and how much had been done by the other company. The management company that called you, will be impressed on how soon you responded to their call.

    Again a contract that size, if you got what they want, roll with those kicks, and get it back.
    I must admit I have a hard time with your numbers, at 150 grand your price is at a huge discount, then a $100 on call price makes no sense at all.
  11. Premier

    Premier Senior Member
    Messages: 274

    I would imagine that when the director of that property finds out what happened she will not be giving them full payment if any at all as they were in breach of contract. as of right now the other service has not been terminated, from what i was told today by the head supervisor they most likely will be terminated but its not up to her thats why i have to go talk to the director on monday to see what they want to do.
  12. Watch out yelow

    Watch out yelow Member
    Messages: 35

    Let us know what happens on monday... I would think that if the other company was not in breach of contract then the client would be forced to stay with them (ei the storm was still going, trigger was not met, depends on the service guidelines they set up with the other company). They may or may not pay for your services if the call in to you was not from the property manager/owner or if the other company did not breach contract. I too am curious how its a 150k account and you were able to respond like that.. how big is the site? wouldnt you be working on other sites? And with two other trucks there from the other company I probably would have approached them first. Around here even our largest commercial parking lot accounts do not hit that gross recievables range in a good winter. I know that whenever that happens to us i immediatly want to service the account and get it back but sometimes you can get into trouble/no-pay with that situation. Let me know how it works out for you.
  13. Watch out yelow

    Watch out yelow Member
    Messages: 35

    And to answer one of your original questions.. I would tell the client on monday that its either you or the other guy (and get it in writting). Call-ins to you while still contracted with the other guy will only result in problems for all parties.
  14. augerandblade

    augerandblade PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,054

    Been there and am doing that this season. Im the the next go to guy on one county contract. :alien: The pencil pushers only look at the financial aspect of the contract.:dizzy: I still check the site regularly and am getting a sore neck just shaking my head at how these guys get away with icy sidewalks, and p oor snow removal service. Last year they didnt even finish up the winter sand sweeping, I got the contract for the summer and cleaned it up for a very small fee. :gunsfiring: (wont do that again)./. The present fac ilty manager says that they have to have a sit down meeting with the lousy contractor, in my opinion they knew what they were gonna get with them, they should of known better. But like a car sales lot says in their ad on TV PRICE SELLS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:jester:
  15. Premier

    Premier Senior Member
    Messages: 274

    here is a rough breakdown 150000 per winter 6 month contract = 25000 per month now for the sake of this we will say that all 5 locations were the same size so 25000/5=5000 per location

    in that price regular snow plowing, any on or off site removal, salting, check each property every morning befor location open to ensure there is no drifting or icy spots.
    2 propertys have a 1" triger on snows that lasted all day and were heavy, i would send 2 guys to the location and they would stay untill the snow slowed or stoped.

    now with all that said tracking my numbers over the years if i charged this client what my normal rates are it would come out somewhere between 165k-180k per season. IMO taking their price down to 150k is a huge discount.
  16. QuadPlower

    QuadPlower PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,056

    You can not be "on call" for this place. They have a contractor that, when he does it, charges less. If he doesn't do it, they call you. They are making out either way.

    Example: I'm going to pay my worker $5/hour to mow. When he misses something my other worker at $10/hour comes in and fixes it. Hay, come to think of it, that is a good idea. I could save a lot of money that way.

    For your sake it has to be either you or them.

    Let us know what happens.
  17. sven1277

    sven1277 Senior Member
    Messages: 498

    And what about an insurance claim. Who pays for it? Too many people to point fingers at.
  18. QuadPlower

    QuadPlower PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,056

  19. QuadPlower

    QuadPlower PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,056

    I'm not saying I would do it, but what is to stop the other company from not plowing, checking to see if the lot was done, and then billing the customer for it. Who is to say it was you and not them?
  20. Neige

    Neige Sponsor
    Messages: 2,215

    That explains alot, I was under the impression it was one lot, that 2 trucks take care of. I can also understand a discount, if you get the contract to service all 5 accounts. That being said, stick to your guns. Continue with the great service, and respect your price.
    Explain to them you already have accounts this year that will have priority over them. When they do call you, it can be considered an emergency call, so charge accordingly.
    Good luck with resigning them for the future years. :drinkup: