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just lost Church account

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by PAPS Landscape, Feb 6, 2002.

  1. PAPS Landscape

    PAPS Landscape Member
    Messages: 51

    Just got a call from the director at a small church we do locally. She told me they found some one else to do the snow removal at the church, and told me they could'nt afford my services. Lat year we plowed the lot for $150.00 and shoveld (1) walk. Took about 40 mins with 1 truck. This year they expanded the church. The have added like at least (1) hour + of sidewalk shoveling. ALSO, they wanted all walks and the lot salted. So i gave her a new price this year of about $400.00 on a 2'-6'' storm. The lady just could not realize why the price was higher than last year.
    I tried to explain to her like 10 times that they wanted all these new services and the price goes up. So instead, they got somebody else. What pisses me off is that there are new owners to the place and that we have been there for 5 years. Soon as the new owners come in, we go right out. There is no loyalty in business any more. :mad:
  2. cat320

    cat320 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,224

    The bottom line for them is the price.But wait untill the cheaper guy can't get there or his old truck breaks down,or the quality of his work stinks .You could talk to alot of the people who go there and say how poor a job was done but only if is really bad .I would realy stress the quility of your operation and that you will be there every time and get the job done put that in writing and send it to them as you brake down your pricing to them ,telling them that you plowed IE: 4000K SQ FT verses now it's 8000K SQ FT and now instead of 200' walk you three 400' walks to clear and so forth.
  3. PAPS Landscape

    PAPS Landscape Member
    Messages: 51

    Yeah those are all good points... i did tell her that over the phone but she just couldn't understand the whole picture. We have been plowing this account for a few years and its just upsetting that people dump you that fast even though our level of service was outstanding... i can't wait to see the guy whos doing it... poor ******* left some coin on the table to get this account.
  4. RAZOR

    RAZOR Senior Member
    Messages: 343


    I know how you feel. Same thing happened to me a few years ago. I had a hockey rink parking lot I was doing for several years. It was a faily big lot the building had 4 rinks. The owner sold the business so I approched the new owner with a bid I said the price is good till Oct 1. I worked at rink part-time so I saw the manager on a weekly basis. They kept telling me we let you know if you have the account by next week. So December finaly rolls around and we get the first snow and find out they gave the job to another company, turns out he was a little cheaper. I run into the new plower the next summer and he tells me he still is trying to get paid from last winter. The following fall the rink calls me up and wants me to do the plowing for them again the guy last year didn't do a good job, but I refused the work. When they dumped me with no notice before I had a big empty spot in my schedeule to fill. I guess sometime it is better not to put all you eggs in one basket because if they dump you or you dump them it could really hurt money wise. My point is do you really want this type of customer?

  5. wxmn6

    wxmn6 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,037

    You made the right decision. It sounds like it is the person you should avoid. You don't want to run into problems like not getting paid until the next season. Also it would put you in risk of losing the job in middle of winter, leaving big empty shot on your schedule. Customers with lack of business relationship would be learning the hard way after dumping you then later asked you to come back and you refused.

    I have heard many similar problems like this on PlowSite. Some contractors lost their job after a new owner moves in a business you had a strong business relationship.

    As soon as you hear that the new owner is going to move in a business, it may help if you ask the previous owner to recommend you and to tell the new owner how good you did the job and that you took the responsibility very well. Then there may be a better chance of still having the job.
  6. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    Another way to look at it - that guy is tied up on that account so he can't take a bigger and better account that will come up. Real optimistic, I know, and doesn 't help at the moment, but could happen.
  7. John DiMartino

    John DiMartino PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 2,154

    Your right about the loyalty,i just lost a high triaffic commercial account ive has since the late 80's.The new guy,(uninsured BTW) drives a truck that is worth at the most 500,thats cleaned up,and whilei its snowing.He has ne backup,thats it,cant wait til we get a big storm.The reason they dropped me? He threw in the sanding when it needed it for free!His spreader doesnt work 1/2 the time,its straight sand,the lot looks like a beach now,dust or mud everywhere.His floor is almost ruined from all the sand being tracked in.I always salted it,and charged accordingly.I got the feeling this "savings" is going to cost him more in the long run,I cant wait for the big one,or a good cold front right after a storm,his lot is on the north side of the building,no sun,with just sand,he's going to have seroius ice in no time.

    JD PLOWER PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 751

    As far as loyalty in buisness goes, I think that went out in these parts when the Pilgrims screwed the Indians on a deal for food.
    I have learned over the years that accounts, ALL ACCOUNTS are just buisness' looking to maximize profits and minimize expenses. Thats why I have no problem charging the prices I do and I sleep fine at night. That also means that they have the right to get sombody cheaper when ever they feel like it. I know it stinks but its also a fact I have come to live with, we and they (customers) are replaceable. In this area snow removal is something people only put time or thought into when it's either snowing or when they get the bill. A good example of this is when I told a friend how much I get for a particular account he couldn't believe it, then he said "thats pretty good considering it could all melt in a couple of days" my response was "yeah it could, or it could turn cold for the next two weeks and they would have an outdoor skating rink for a parking lot".
    I have had customers flat out refuse to pay me because they just decided it was too much or as one person told me "blood money", it was at that point I decided if the customer did'nt care about my problems why should I care about their's?

    I guess I 've just become a cynic ;) .
  9. Manx

    Manx Senior Member
    Messages: 115

    With it being a mild winter
    I guess any body will do
    on the plus side your not loosing to much this year
    and it helps weed out future problem customers
    your going to be better off in the long run
    just wait
    If we get a large snow fall I'm sure there going to find out
    that just any old plowing outfit won't do
    one truck = no plow truck if it's broken
    they might not what to put a price on reliable
    but there's a price

    PINEISLAND1 PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 664

    We had two banks call and request us this past storm, because of the lack of service from their "cheap" plower. I raised one of them by a factor of 4, and made it mandatory salting after every plow, for an additional amount. Their comment was-"the price they were paying was a great price, but at 9 am last Thursday the guy was missing in action. Cheaper means nothing if it doesnt get done". Their guy had no insurances either, and we educated them on the problems associated with that.

    Eventually they learn, and those of us in it for the long haul will probably get a shot at all of them at some time or another.

    On a side note- churches will often make decisions by vote in committees, and will usually go with the low bidder unless they know better. They can be hard to hold, but if you wow them with your service , they will probably come back to you.

    Losing anything in mid season "shouldnt" happen if you have a good signed contract, and are doing a good job, but....
  11. PAPS Landscape

    PAPS Landscape Member
    Messages: 51

    Well we didn't have a signed contract because the new owners were fumbling around with it since we gave it to them months ago. We were plowing without a contract because I figured we'd get the contract resolved, not that they would dump me like this. There not a big account, so I am not that concerned. As for service, we provided them with top-notch service. The church is directly behind my house, so its a matter of driving around the corner to get there and plow/salt.

    PINEISLAND1 PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 664

    Like I said, you will probably get a chance to get the account back at your terms in the next couple years.

    Churches are a great compliment to the commercial, having different timing needs. They really are worth getting around here.
  13. MrGreenjeans

    MrGreenjeans Junior Member
    Messages: 11


    I have several churches that I have done for several years now. I agree that most times they can be a great compliment to a schedule. I am not too worried about retaining them because I do their mowing in the summer and I always treat them fair.

    Four churches I do are billed on a per plow basis. The other church is done hourly. All salting is on a per usage billing. Two of the churches have schools/daycare so they still have to be done first thing in the morning throught the week. Another church has activities 24/7 and that is why I do it hourly. I keep in touch with the facilities manager to know what sections need done at what time. They agreed to pay me a higher hourly rate than another bidder because I would be flexible and save them money in the long run.

    My church moved to a new campus this summer and it is too big for what I thought I could handle so I referred it to another company. I hate myself for that so far. The church signed a HUGE prepaid contract and we have had no snow. I just hate making someone else rich.
  14. PAPS Landscape

    PAPS Landscape Member
    Messages: 51

    Re: churches

    - You should of never gave up that contract. You should have simply just hired subs. But, next time you know.
  15. MrGreenjeans

    MrGreenjeans Junior Member
    Messages: 11

    my church

    Since it is my church, I can get it back pretty easily I think. I just passed on things because I did not have the ability to perfrorm the services. I hate relying on subs because if they drop the ball, I am still the bad guy and the one who has the problem. It I would have taken the contract, I would have done things on a time and material basis like I had done in the past at the other facility (which I retained with the new occupants). I do have the option to work with the current plowing contractor and get paid accordingly but have not exercised it yet.