Major PITA Customer!...Long

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by dunlaps lawncare, Feb 16, 2008.

  1. dunlaps lawncare

    dunlaps lawncare Senior Member
    Messages: 111

    We signed an agreement with a customer in Dec. for snow removal, this guy didn't want a plow used on his drive or salt on it because he had just had it redone this past summer. That was fine. When he signed he had a 2 inch trigger. That was fine, because all of our residentials have a 2 inch trigger. He also wanted to be out by 9 am, which wasn't a problem. Well we went over there last month during a snow storm and he was at an inch and a half. We saw him outside and asked if he wanted it done since we were there, he himmed and hawed about it, so we just said fine we'll see you tomorrow. The next day we go over and it is already half done. :mad:...We didn't do what had already been done the day before because there was not even a quarter of an inch. We get out and finish what wasn't done, and go on our way, that evening the phone rings, he "expects it to all be done if we come to do it" :angry: This past week we had 3 days of snow, lots of snow, there was a job we had before them, and at this point he had been done the day before so there was only about an inch on his drive...wife calls and asks if we are going to service them. We beat feet it over to shovel them out. Well this morning there was a message on the answering machine that they weren't home yesterday and she expected that it was going to get done, yada, yada, yada. :realmad: We are a new company, and this is the first year that we have done snow, but this guy is the only one who has complained. When everyone first signed with us we told them that if they felt that they needed done to call if we had not been there yet, and that we only come out once a day unless otherwise stated or they call. My question is what to do about the PITA...I have tried to come up with a solution, I have tried to accommodate them with the changes to their minimum amount of snow. But I am at the point where I am about to tell these people to find someone else to do it cheaper. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
  2. StoneDevil

    StoneDevil Senior Member
    Messages: 460

    tough call i would try to settle it with them with a new contract, ask them what they would like to have done and try to meet in the middle
  3. tman3007

    tman3007 Senior Member
    Messages: 147


    I think you answered your own question...get rid of em. I've been in the service industry since 1994. Back when we did lawn maintenance, I always had a few of those type of people and instead of dumping them I would continuously bend over backwards for them but it was just never enough.

    It took me many years to figure it out, but one year I just weeded all of the "complainers" out. I just don't know why it took me that long to figure it out! It was the BEST thing I had ever done.

    Long story short, this is YOUR business, you might as well make it and shape it into the way you want it. Hanging on to those types of clients only make your life more stressful. Others may disagree with that let THEM have the PITA customers.
  4. basher

    basher PlowSite Fanatic
    from 19707
    Messages: 8,985

    Make them someone elses headache.

    Tell them since you seem to be unable to met their requirements for service you respectfully suggest they find another contractor capable of meeting their expectations. Then warn all your buddies to stay clear.

    There is one development in this area can't keep a contractor because of their attitude. This year they called looking for names of contractors (again) every year the same story last years guy can't do it this year and we can't find a replacement. I don't even give them names any more, it would be a dis-service to my customers.

    Let them find a Lowballer to screw with.
  5. Mick

    Mick Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,541

    I'd agree with Todd - suggest they get someone else. They're taking advantage of you and likely have done this before. They keep on the lookout for new companies in any industry. You set yourself up telling them you're new to plowing snow. Now, they think they can jerk you around and you'll fall all over yourself trying to make them happy. Next, they'll be getting free/discounted service in an attempt "to make them happy" - which they'll never be. Cut your losses now, don't beat yourself up about it or look back.

    (edit) I was typng at the same time as Basher. Looks like we came to basically the same conclusion.
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2008
  6. BlackIrish

    BlackIrish Senior Member
    Messages: 909

    They will never be happy,dump'em.:gunsfiring:
  7. Italiano67

    Italiano67 Senior Member
    Messages: 651

    Set them straight on what you will or wont do. You might be suprised at their reaction and they might back off. I have had ones like that that when you lay the hammer down things are smooth later.
  8. yamaguy

    yamaguy Senior Member
    Messages: 555

    I would burn there house down, that way they have more to worry about then the snow on the driveway!xysport
  9. JD Dave

    JD Dave PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,347

    Problem sovled. LOL
  10. NBI Lawn

    NBI Lawn Addict
    Messages: 1,796

    I wouldnt give up yet. It sounds like they just want more attention which is fine, there is always atleast one. Just keep them at the top of your list and charge them accordingly. Or start calling them before they can call you. When an event is slowing down call them and see what they want to do. I dont know what you are charging them but it may be worth it to baby sit them. I have found it easier to deal with PITA people and try to accommodate them VS. trying to find another customer.

    Best of luck.
  11. Up North

    Up North Senior Member
    Messages: 920

    If you want to do it politely, make sure everything is paid in full and give them a one week notice to find someone else.

    If you don't care, make sure everything is paid up and dump em' on the spot. Oh, and refer them to your arch-rival.

  12. scottL

    scottL Addict
    Messages: 1,631

    WHOA. WHOA. Whoa.

    Did you say you SHOVELED their driveway??? Are ya' kidding. First off NEVER shovel someones driveway. You will get tired, hurt and that's why they are hiring you so, they do not get tired or hurt. Not too mention how will you make any money with the time and effort shoveling takes......

    For them to pick a bone and you got out of your truck to shovel..... Walk the F away and chalk this up as a learning experience.

    I will NOT shovel a driveway! Shoveling is for losers. I own a Truck with Plow.
    I will NOT shovel a driveway! Shoveling is for losers. I own a Truck with Plow.
    I will NOT shovel a driveway! Shoveling is for losers. I own a Truck with Plow.

    ( Print this out and tape it to your steering wheel )

    THEGOLDPRO PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,126

    first off you have a plow truck for a reason, i would never get out of my truck to shovel a driveway off no matter how small it was, if he doesnt want you using a plow he needs to hire some kids with shovels to do it for him.

    I understand your just starting off, but you dont need these headachs, you got enough to worry about.

    I tell everyone the same thing when i first sign them, i have a 2.5-3 inch trigger, if it falls under the trigger and you want it done, call me and ill stop by, second i dont get out of my truck, i'll get as close to the garage as i can, other then that they are on their own this way they know what to expect.

    If i have a customer who turns out to be a pita i drop him like a bad habbit.

    THEGOLDPRO PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,126

    hahahha you beat me to it.
  15. OP
    dunlaps lawncare

    dunlaps lawncare Senior Member
    Messages: 111

    We have a snowblower that we use on their driveway. It's only about 20' long, and the only thing we shovel is the sidewalk and steps up to the house, which amounts to 6 steps and 5' of sidewalk. Sorry mis-spoke....chill out. lol.
  16. LHK2

    LHK2 Senior Member
    Messages: 205

    What a joke!!!!
  17. Scottscape

    Scottscape Senior Member
    Messages: 662

    Nothing but a pita and these customers aren't even worth it. He wants you when he cant shovel it or it ices over and he cant shovel it. Ive got a bad attitude when it comes to people like this
  18. Sno4U

    Sno4U Senior Member
    Messages: 480

    Yup, I've been around for awhile and this guy might have made it thru the 1st storm w/ me but definitely Not the 2nd!!! Fire his A$$!!! Why do you put up w/ so much Bulls%$^? Who's running your biz, you or your customer?
    I'm sorry if I'm jumpin' down your throat, but guys like this have pissed me off for so many years, I simply go overboard (and they really strike a nerve) when I see it happening to honest guys trying to earn a living being out in the worst of conditions.
    I just had one this year, a restaurant in my route that paid cash w/ every plow. She(the mngr)didn't even try calling for service, just chose to have some drive by do a clean-up of slush for her. As I'm driving up w/ my skidder to do it, I find the other guy in mid service. FIRED HER ASS ON THE SPOT!!! What the heck, ya don't even try calling that you want service and you think you can just hire any one who happens to have plow driving by???!!! Completely disrespectful. Verbal agreement over.(period)
  19. GL&M

    GL&M Senior Member
    from PA
    Messages: 222

    I don't clear any driveways with a blower or a shovel. If they don't want a plow on it they need to look for someone else.
  20. OP
    dunlaps lawncare

    dunlaps lawncare Senior Member
    Messages: 111

    Thank you for all of your replies. I had called him friday night and spoke with his wife and she said shw was going to talk to him and have him call me back. He never called back until yesterday evening, and then he says well I found someone else to do it because it's a sheet of ice. I just said well sir you didn't want salt and I don't know of any other way to take care of your ice problem, I'll send your bill out monday morning. :drinkup: