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Lost 3 customers / Going To Do It themselves

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Daner, Oct 23, 2007.

  1. Daner

    Daner PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,187

    3 customers Gone already...2 are buying used snowblowers and 1 Is mounting a blade on his Garden tractor.

    The Garden tractor guys driveways Is over 500' long.

    Any Of you guys run into this in the past?
  2. 3PLLC

    3PLLC Junior Member
    Messages: 19

    Here is my theory....you lost three, but that's three more spots that you now can fill, plus the three people they tell. So you really gained six accounts and dumba?? will be 250' away from his house stuck in 2ft of snow with his broken down tractor.payup
  3. TwistedMetal

    TwistedMetal Member
    Messages: 48

    3Pllc is right, lose some, gain more..all you can hope for is a real heavy snow..
  4. Daner

    Daner PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,187

    I Like your theory
  5. Snowpower

    Snowpower Senior Member
    Messages: 636

    Honestly thats all it is, is a theory. Losing clients stinks, because getting new clients is expensive, or time consuming, and a hassle, or a combination of all of those things. Retention is KEY. Unless you are just starting out, our job is Keeping Customers. Not looking for new ones necessarily.

  6. CNY Plow

    CNY Plow Senior Member
    Messages: 145

    when the guy with the tractor calls you later in the season (you know he will) charge him 150% what you quoted him - but only if this doesn't stretch the limits of your time.
  7. MB3

    MB3 Senior Member
    Messages: 123

    and so it goes

    Everything goes in stages. I have been around the block too many times to not notice that things come and go, but if you do quality work, the poeple will come. I lost 4 accounts earlier this year, 2 doing it themselves, one the college boy is staying home this season, one passed away, mark it up as a loss, 2 weeks later, I get 4 long drives all next to each other, here the neighbors were all talking outside one night, and someone commented on how well we did their drive, they all started commenting on how it was always done by the next morning, and if we ever sleep, well over the next 2 days, I got a call from everyone of them, they left their other company's and now they are all mine, talk about money from the sky. Do quality work, and the word will spread.
  8. YardMedic

    YardMedic PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,266

    "I can save a bundle buying a snowblower"

    Yeah, and how many people have the best of intentions, thinking they're gonna get up 2 extra hours before work to do the awful job of snowblowing? And how long is that gonna last when the Mrs gets home & can't get in the driveway because the plow guy wasn't hired & hubby has to stay late because he got into work late because he did the driveway this morning? I agree with most of the comments too about win some/lose some cycles, and drumming up new business stinks if you feel like you have to. I'm pleased to have a couple fewer customers this year & making more because of a rate change. Take it all in stride, bro!
  9. Daner

    Daner PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,187

    Now yaa got me goin:yow!: ...I forgot about that...they all have to be out early...and I always had them done early for them.

    I'm going to put up my flyer In the neighborhood soon and see If I can get some of there Neighbors on my route.
  10. Bossman 92

    Bossman 92 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,771

    First big snow and they will be calling. It always seems like a good idea untill they go out and try to do it themselves. I also agree raise the price 25% when they call, tell them they "were locked" into their old price. Good Luck, it will come around for you.

    X-LOWBALLER Senior Member
    from Toronto
    Messages: 102

    Why would he do that? Was this guy a pain in the butt? Since when is it wrong to want to do something yourself? Just because someone doesn't need your service doesn't mean you have to jack them if and when they realize they made an error in judgement. I had someone cancel me and then call and I was glad that they came back. And it wasn't like they were all that profitable...just nice to have the schedule maxxed.
  12. iceyman

    iceyman 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,925

    if you lose business from a company or a reg customer and they call you back for service its only smart business to raise the price. it doesnt have to be 150% but def a bump as they need you and you dont need them. jmo
  13. HALH VT

    HALH VT Senior Member
    from Vermont
    Messages: 128

    I have a couple of accounts where the homeowner does all or part of the plowing. On one I do it if the snow falls during the week, and he does his own with a tractor on weekends. Even then I make a pass through with the truck, and he cleans it up.

    Last winter during the Valentine's day massacre, he came down and cleaned out my shop yard so I could get to my fuel tanks. I had been stuck during the critical hours of the storm, and got way behind. The town snowbank was impossible to break with the pickup, and my dozer wasn't at home.

    The other guy does his with a four wheeler, and I only hit him when he needs it winged back, or sanded.
  14. LoneCowboy

    LoneCowboy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,760

    besides, they screwed you
    You had to go out and find other customers, etc and you were willing to give them a good continuing customer discount (easier than finding new work)
    Now, in the middle of the season they want you back?
    that costs money
    You lost money on the missing storms, you have to regroup your routes, etc

    all negotiations have a time limit, you gave them an offer, for whatever set of reasons, they refused. THAT OFFER IS NO LONGER GOOD. Now they want you back, they offered your original price, but you should feel free to add a new price in.

    When you do quotes, you put a time limit on people to accept them right? same thing
  15. bribrius

    bribrius PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,609

    haha. i talked to one today. speaking of long driveways. she work nights. gets out of work at seven and said she has to drive around for two and a half hours because her plow guy doesnt show up until nine thirty at the earliest so she cant get in her driveway..
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 23, 2007
  16. bribrius

    bribrius PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,609

    i would be kind of careful with that mentality. they didnt SCREW you . they decided to try to do it themselves. it is their property after all. this may depend on where you live but around here if a plow guy starts quoting higher prices out of spite they home owner will just find another one. lots of people out their with plows. also having your driveway plowed in most cases is a luxury. not a necessity. same with having someone mow the lawn. it would obviously be cheaper for them to buy a snowblower, shovel, etc. depending on how big the driveway is you can clean out a driveway in ten minutes with a blower.
    often times snowblowers do a better job than plows also because you can be more specific as to where you want to put the snow in close quarter areas. on top of that many people that are plowed have to use snowblowers and shovel anyway since lots of plow guys wont shovel or snowblow walks. so if im a home owner and i snowblow or shovel my walks, then the plow guy jacks his price. why wouldnt i just do the driveway too or just find another plow guy?
    in the situation i posted above this woman is single and lives out a little ways. so shes suffered with the same plowguy who actually undercharges her for what the driveway is worth. service will have me plowing that driveway. she doesnt have lots of options. most homeowners have MANY,MANY options other than hiring you.
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2007
  17. QuadPlower

    QuadPlower PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,056

    They left you, you will find new work, they want you back, you bid higher, they go with someone else, you are not out anything.

    You know they won't call you back until the big storm hits. By then you have missed out on the previous plowings.

    Good Luck
  18. YardMedic

    YardMedic PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,266

    I disagree with you, Bribrius (I have that line programmed in!)...

    While the anal fornication was not deliberate, it's a side effect that the customer didn't think of. A good service is a VALUE to the consumer, not a COST. To seek other means of completing the task, our service is DEVALUED. Now, what's the cost to the homeowner? Say we have 10 events annually, and we're charging $30 per event (I'm either low or high based on various regions, but let's go with it for round numbers sake). If the resident was to purchase a snowblower worth a damn, he's probably paying better than $600 -- agreed? That means he's only beginning to "save" money on the third year. Then it becomes a question of HIS self-worth. Say his driveway takes him an hour to clear per event (again, less or more, but just sake of argument). Whether 1 event or 10 per season, what's his time worth? Of course, if he's the Wal-Mart greeter making 7.75/hr, then working an hour to save $30 is in his best interest (well, after those 2+ years of paying off the snowblower). However, for many of us to pass up overtime (and some of us on straight time), paying a $30 push is well worth the time we would have put in to doing it.
  19. NCass31

    NCass31 Member
    Messages: 90

    see, I'm on the opposite end of this... last year i was in a financial postion that allowed me to work for myself, this year i just received a promotion, meaning more money and i won't be laid off for this winter. so now i am dropping my a huge portion of my accounts, keeping the ones that are able to be attened to while on my work route. (cleared with the boss too) i wish i had known a little earlier that i would be sticking with the company over the winter, as i would have liked to alert these accounts late september... oh well... anyone in north/central CT or western mass want a few accounts? PM me if you're interested