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Losing Customers

Discussion in 'Business Fundamentals' started by jonw440, Feb 5, 2004.

  1. jonw440

    jonw440 Senior Member
    Messages: 139

    The first storm of the year I had 10 people I plowed. (two were one time). Now I have three :confused: One has freind doing it for free, one is in hospital, one wants to shovel,another is out of work, (money tight),the other just wants in when alot of snow shows up. Anybody elase lossing people?
  2. Mick

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

    Lost one who bought a 3/4 ton and a big camper. Said he and his wife were traveling the country to avoid the costs associated with winter. Lost another who thought I charged too much. Lost a third who bought a garden tractor and plow. But within a week, I'd replaced them all three times over. Then the "garden tractor" guy called when we got the 25" of snow in December needing help.

    "Sorry, I'm just too busy with my regular customers".

    What's even funnier is the guy who bought the 3/4 ton. He was here for the Dec storms, so I plowed them for him. It hasn't snowed enough since that I would have plowed. So all that money and so far he's saved $0.00.
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2004
  3. JMR

    JMR Senior Member
    Messages: 567

    I got a phone call yesterday from the owner of one of my good size accounts. I could see this coming. His 15 year old son had found this site, asking lots of questions about plows, business, pricing, etc.. His account was pretty good size. 13+" of snow over 36 hours plowed 3 times complete plus clean-up etc., we had 18 truck hours plus sand & salt & blowing the walks. Last 11+" storm had 10 truck hours plus the extras. I realize that from a business perspective they felt they have spent a lot in snow removal. They went out and purchased a truck with a blade and are going to try and do it themselves. My crew has plenty of seat time and I feel that we are pretty efficient at what we do. I can't imagine doing the lot with 1 truck. I wish them luck though. I hate to loose the account, but I made 4 phone calls and got 6 new lots. These were people I told I couldn't handle because I didn't want to sacrifice good service earlier when they called me. Well they are glad I called them and can handle them now. The people who were doing their lots wern't providing them with good service.
  4. skmodmsl

    skmodmsl Member
    Messages: 43

    This is my first year plowing and have lost a couple of customers. The first customer I haven't needed to plow yet. Lady said to start at end of January. Then called to say that nephew was still around to snowblow. She said she would call me back when she needed me. She is around the corner so no problem. The second customer is an elderly lady on a fixed income. She could only afford $15 to plow. Plowed twice sofar. Stopped in to check on her and she said money is tight and will call if she needs to be plowed. Usually for every customer you lose you tend to gain at least another to replace them. I planned on this going into the game.
  5. GesnerLawn

    GesnerLawn Senior Member
    Messages: 127

    My plowing accounts turn over too. As far as this season, I've had one go from a 3 inch trigger to on-call, which I don't like. Another I was supposed to do, but every time I show up it's done. Both of these are also lawn customers. The first is poor and the second is just an a-hole.

    This year I've taken on a lot of new customers and the money is really starting to roll in. I'm up to around 25 regulars (3 inches and up) including two parking lots that take about an hour each. The rest are residential. Then there's about 10 customers that are 6 inches and up or on-call. I was out for about 16 hours on the last 6 inch storm.

    I've been turning away new customers and sending them to another local guy.
  6. plowman777

    plowman777 Senior Member
    Messages: 227

    i am constantly grinding and weeding customers, get used to it.
  7. Sidebuz

    Sidebuz Member
    Messages: 41

    Lost one account from last year. During the course of the year/winter, zero accounts lost. I have picked up another 2 accounts, and about four or five that have me on a call basis. The two new accounts, could lead to a whole lot more next winter (five or six apartment complexes and a condo community). The guy that is/was doing it now is doing a terriable job. His loss, my gain :drinkup: Plus, one of my old accounts from two years ago wants me back. Same story with their current "snowplower." So I'm looking at a possiability of going from myself, to a two truck/employee operation next year. It will be interesting...
  8. quincy33

    quincy33 Member
    from toronto
    Messages: 55

    I don't do residentials, but have friends who do, they get pre-paid half in november, they offer a little discount, but at least customer is locked in.
  9. elite1

    elite1 Senior Member
    Messages: 187

    I normally manage to keep most of my accounts. At the end of this year I will be losing a large appartment complex. And they can have it!! They set up an appointment with me today. Firsth they complainted about the bill(even though they were getting 20% off the contacted price). The lady told me that she had 30 complaits from tenents that had to walk in the snow between the cars. She wants the parking lots cleaned to the curbs-that have high traffic sidewalks next to them, so after plowing they will need to be re cleaned, and that will cost more. I found out that their budget for snow(plowing/salting/sidewalks) is 9,000 for the whole year for 9 parkin lots and 26 buildings.- On top of all of this they told one of their sales staff to stay away form me because I got inside info in regaurds to the meeting.- funny how they total me we were doing a good job.

    I learned my lesson-DON'T DO APPARTMENTS
  10. Sidebuz

    Sidebuz Member
    Messages: 41

    Elite 1- I say you just got a bad deal/situation. Not all apartment complexes are that way. The owner wants it cleaned, and pays me for it. Haven't had a complaint yet. Makes me money too. Probably helps that he is an insurance agent and realizes the cost/liability of poor snow removal.
  11. dmontgomery

    dmontgomery PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,238

    I lost one because I called to remind them their bill was overdue. I guess they were offended. Well, I got paid that now I don't have to deal with them...