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last minute customer plowing request

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by RonWin, Dec 16, 2013.

  1. RonWin

    RonWin Senior Member
    Messages: 106

    Get a call from someone in the neighborhood that I plow and asks if I can plow her driveway. I go out plow the place when its at 14" and tell her its gonna be $150 ( i'm thinking 75 a time x2 for the extreme amnt of snow that I have to push all at once). Drive is NOT marked, slim u shaped driveway with a straight back shot that opens up wider. (looks like a lower case h). She calls me back asking why it was so much and I explain that it was unmarked and and that it was 14". I thought I was being generous with that amount I told her. She told me that the driveway was contracted for 500 years prior and never had to pay that much before. I asked why she wasn't still using the same guy if she had such a unbelievable rate and of course she said the guy wasn't doing it anymore. It's quite a big driveway in a big neighborhood. What would you guys say? No one lives there and she told me to head over and do it. Just to ease things along and make sure I got my $ I told her just send me $125 and that will be fine, still knowing that mutually we are done.
  2. tuney443

    tuney443 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,847

    Happened just yesterday to me but on a happier ending. People were ecstatic that I plowed out an 8''er on a billy goat steep,switch back long drive.Cold callers ALWAYS get a higher price and after they explain to me the logistics of the driveway,I'll give a minimum price on the phone and tell them it very well could be more.In your case since money wasn't discussed up front and she said just ''do it'',without asking a price,that always conjures up images to me of a wealthy person trying to fanagle a deal.You did fine and I wouldn't go back either.
  3. SnowGuy73

    SnowGuy73 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 24,870

    Been there before. Tell her the invoice for 150 is in the mail and to find someone else before the next snow.
  4. NicholasMWhite

    NicholasMWhite Senior Member
    Messages: 175

    Personally, I refuse these jobs. It's just too risky in my opinion, if I know the driveway maybe, but I turn down cold calls all the time. There's just too much of chance that I'll damage the property (especially with 14 inches) because I don't know where things are. It's not worth a quick $150 when I could easily do $500 in property damage (turf damage, landscape lights, buried shrubs, etc). I also really hate doing jobs without a written agreement and avoid at all costs plowing more than 6 inches at a time. Just my opinion.
  5. Billious

    Billious Member
    Messages: 72

    With my call-ins, i simply quote time and materials. $20 per 10 minutes on site, salt is extra. I also keep a one-time contract in email on my iPhone. When they call, i ask them for their email address, shoot them the contract and ask for a confirmation reply. One clause in that contract is a $25 trip charge if i show up and it's already done.

    This setup has worked pretty well for me thus far!
  6. NortheastSNO

    NortheastSNO Member
    Messages: 50

    Im so stealing this idea. I love it. We seem to get 3 or 4 of these a storm. I actually started requesting half of the money up front. then the rest on completion. but like your idea way better
  7. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    Next time park in front of it and call the price in before you do it.
  8. RonWin

    RonWin Senior Member
    Messages: 106

    Lot of great responses, thanks for the advice and input guys!
  9. alldayrj

    alldayrj PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,108

    Tell her the other guy isnt plowing anymore becuase his prices were too low and it wasnt worth it
  10. NThill93

    NThill93 Member
    Messages: 96

    Had a similar experience. Had a friend of a customer call me 2 days after a big snowstorm asking for snow removal. They must have figured it would all melt or something but it was on Christmas Eve and had about 6 hours to do the job. Brought my truck(Ram 3500 CTD DRW with a 8' pathfinder plow) and I couldn't even move half of it. Frozen solid. Ended up having to bring my skid steer in and take my plow off that and use the bucket to scrape it up. Gave her the bill at the end I think it was $250 driveway was about 250' total and took about 3 hours between my dad and me. She told us she would give it to her husband and he would pay. Got a call about an hour later from her husband telling us that we overcharged and we would not be getting paid. Went to their house and talked to the husband and explained what we did and why it costs so much (by the way during the first call from them they told us don't worry about price they need it done) ended up walking away with half, but the customer who gave them our number covered the other half.
  11. Mick76

    Mick76 2000 Club Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 2,157

    Then have her paypal you your money BEFORE services are rendered......
  12. Moose's Mowing

    Moose's Mowing Senior Member
    from SE PA
    Messages: 198

    I get a lot of these calls. It's actually most of my business. Quite a few turn in to seasonal service agreements. I'm honest and up front when they call telling them it'll be 75 minimum and will probably be more. This past storm I had 4 of these calls. 3 turned in to regular service at my normal rate for plowing and 1 signed up for mowing this coming spring. The 4th guy is a renter but said he'd call me next time he needed me, that's cool with me. ALL FOUR people overpaid/tipped because they were so happy I showed up. I always have copies of one time service agreements in my book in my truck. It's simple and to the point. Just says I'm not providing salt and plowing for vehicle access only, yada yada. It's basically a liability waiver. Very few of them argue on the price and fully understand "emergency" work gets a higher price. I only do these if I have time, I do my customers places first unless it's the next door neighbor flagging me down. If one call seems like it's more trouble than it's worth, I'll refer to it to a guy that needs the work. So far so good.
  13. vlc

    vlc Senior Member
    Messages: 636

    That is a great idea! I'm going to write up a "one time" contract like this.
  14. bel-nor

    bel-nor Member
    Messages: 51

    Man 14" we have not seen that in years. If they can't afford it they would be shoveling it. Collect your pay and she will call and pay your cost in the future if you can show up at last minute. NY gets a lot of snow thats a lot this early "let the games began"...lol
  15. Boyerlandscape

    Boyerlandscape Member
    Messages: 31

    Gentleman gentleman. Contrary to popular home owner opinion a residential account CAN be repoed. Cold calls for me mean cash or check upon completion. This is agreed ahead of time. I got a plow on my truck, and I haul snow from commercials. Don't pay? Your getting a wall of snow 6 ft high at the end of your drive. And I charge to remove it too..only had to do it once, but it works when people wake up for work and they can't get out, you don't f around with the plow guy.
  16. rjigto4oje

    rjigto4oje PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,380

  17. bel-nor

    bel-nor Member
    Messages: 51

    I would like an instant membership in the Gold series of this technique. lol
  18. leolkfrm

    leolkfrm PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,980

    awesome!...my way of thinking....not keeping up with payments, you get road rocksalt on sidewalks instead of cc/sidewalk melt.....
  19. Buswell Forest

    Buswell Forest PlowSite.com Addict
    from NH
    Messages: 1,668

    When they get bent out of shape, or refuse to pay, mention- in a calm non threatening voice- that you know every plow guy for 40 miles. Just tell them nobody will plow them ever again, because every last one will know who doesn't pay for services rendered. All it will take is one text. The " do not plow " list.

    It's the snowplow mafia. Mess with one, mess with all.
  20. NorthernSvc's

    NorthernSvc's Senior Member
    Messages: 781

    All one timers like this are a min of 100.00 go up from there... Cash on site or credit card before work is performed, if they want to do a contract afterwards that's great I'll send them one when I'm done, but they always pay upfront