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My prediction for the future in NJ

Discussion in 'Business Fundamentals' started by Dogplow Dodge, Jan 5, 2014.

  1. Dogplow Dodge

    Dogplow Dodge PlowSite Veteran
    from NJ
    Messages: 3,699

    Besides me moving out of here....

    Today, I got a call from an acquaintance of mine who owns a moderate sized landscape / plowing company in the area. He called me, as he was concerned with my receiving all of these calls from the referrals his office has been sending my way, and if I was still OK with it. We got to talking.

    I asked him what the deal was with why I'm getting hammered by the shear number of people needing snow plowing ? He told me that he used to have a list of contractors, such as myself, who did residential snow plowing, but it appears that due to the skyrocketing insurance costs here that, they're all going out of the snow business, and I'm one of the few still left.

    We talked for a while about his company, and him only doing commercial, but his volume is literally 1000 times what I do (not kidding) from an income perspective, so for him, a huge increase in insurance premium is easily absorbed. He won't be affected by this hike, but it appears that it's already beginning to take it's toll.

    So, with that being said, I think that when all of us "little guys" go out of the biz, and just do our own driveways, and there's no one left to hire as subs, or to refer to for residential, there will be a huge uproar when it comes to resi's and commercial guys who NEED us little guys to sub to. With this said, the few legitimate companies out there will be able to:

    * name their own pricing for snow plowing IE: Huge rate increase for snow plowing
    * insurance companies will have to lower their costs to allow re-entry into the market to fill this void of contractors (not likely)
    * the big guys are going to bring us on under their policies and absorb the high costs for subs to operate legitimately, passing on those costs to their customers
    * the same Medium to large contractors will have their new "residential divisions" to expand into
    * Resi customers are going to switch to all plow wielding cash dudes

    In any event, the resi customers are in for a rude awakening....

    What do you think will happen ? Where do you think this will go ? Will the uninsured guys take the market in cash jobs ? Will the medium guys and larger take responsibility ? Will the insurance companies rethink what they're doing ? It's going to be interesting when there's no legitimate contractors left other than the few that can justify the huge increases.
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2014
  2. razr777

    razr777 Senior Member
    from JERSEY
    Messages: 102

    LMAO this has been happening for years around here cause everyone with a truck and plow thinks they can plow and that is what makes things bad bottom line.
  3. SnowFakers

    SnowFakers Senior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 944

    I wouldn't count on insurance companies to do anything. They could care less I bet
  4. Dogplow Dodge

    Dogplow Dodge PlowSite Veteran
    from NJ
    Messages: 3,699

    What has your experience been ? besides saying everyone out there is a hack ?

    Your statement is vague in the sense it generalizes everyone out there plowing is the issue,, when the reality is there are lots of us who care about what we do, and providing a quality job is paramount to the process. It's not the shear number of guys plowing, but the number of "kind folk" who sue everyone and everything for falling on maintained properties.

    From the insurance industry perspective: The reason for the increasing costs are because of people suing everyone and everywhere, just because of the mentality here that it's perfectly fine to do so, and they're not hurting anyone or anything by suing the insurance companies for frivolous claims ... or simply couldn't care less about anyone other than themselves, and their own personal gains

    My wife is an insurance agent, and has been one for over 26 years. This mentality of suing everyone is rampant, (not only in the snow industry claims) and the excessive claims made here (NJ) on a yearly basis is primarily the cause for this increase. Insurance companies are greedy (as you and everyone else knows) and love to take your money, but don't don't like to pay out. Annually, they get hit terribly by the rampant, virtue-less crowd that uses the lawyers to make their living. This is the primary reason so many insurance agencies around here eliminated snow policies from their offerings, and want nothing to do with them, my wife's company included. Their "LOSS RATIO" has to be maintained, and if it's not profitable, they're out.

    The guy I spoke with yesterday, who's landscaping brings in millions of dollars every year, has systematically been moved out of certain "box store scenarios" because they're glowing red "TARGETS" for these folks who love to fall and sue the stores. He's been specifically removed from plowing these places by his insurance company, as they get hit so hard with all of these claims, that he's moved to other "less likely being sued locations", to continue snow plowing. He's eliminated Residential plowing completely. WHen you pay $100,000 a year for your insurance for your business, you would think they wouldn't say much to you at all, now wouldn't you ? When you make millions every year in your biz, a $100k doesn't put much of a dent in your profit.
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2014
  5. razr777

    razr777 Senior Member
    from JERSEY
    Messages: 102

    My statement is straight to the point and all TRUTH insurance is up cause guys don't know how to plow or use the right equipment causing damage or accidents and low balling like crazy. Come off it man wake up i don't have to write a book on this read it has been said all over for years this was coming.

    You think if you charge 50 per driveway and another guys say do it for 25 per driveway they going to pick your fancy new truck over the rust bucked no they go for the bottom line CHEAP PRICE .
  6. 90plow

    90plow Senior Member
    Messages: 739

    I think most resi wwork around me (morris) county is taken by low ballers and guys working for. Beer money. That being said there are alot of homeowners who have high expectations and alot of building owners who think they can skate by with low ballers who have no insurance. I dont think insurance rates will come down any time soon. I dont think with this economy people will be willing to pay more for a service they,dont really,want to pay for in the first place.
  7. Dogplow Dodge

    Dogplow Dodge PlowSite Veteran
    from NJ
    Messages: 3,699

    Wake up? how about you doing some information searching before just making incorrect statements about what is happening in the world ? It's the GL policies we're talking here, not AUTO that covers what you're talking about.

    Where do you get your information from ? You're saying that insurance is up because of guys who hit stuff ? You obviously don't have a f-in clue as to what you're talking about, because when you damage something with your truck, it's covered under your commercial auto policy, and has NOTHING TO DO WITH the SLIP AND FALL GL which is what this thread is all about. It's the GL policy for slip and fall that's going to be nearly tripled this year, and not the commercial auto which would cover issues like you've described above.

    Cheap prices, I Agree, hurt our industry, as there are too many guys working for cash. I was in my local TD bank today. A dude with a plow truck walked in right behind me. He got on the line NEXT to me. I'm handing the clerk a bunch of checks and a deposit slip. He hands the next teller a stack of cash that was literally 4" tall It took the girl nearly 5 minutes to count and recount it, as his deposit slip was off by $900. He said he counted it multiple times, and knew the deposit slip was going to be off. He didn't give a sh!T as he had so much profit that he could care less how much he put in the bank.

    Yeah, I get what you're saying, but you obviously don't get what I was.
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2014
  8. Snow Commandor

    Snow Commandor Senior Member
    from 07666
    Messages: 443

    You're absolutely right, Dog! its the GL SLIP & fall coverage that's crippling us here in NJ and its due to the boatload of frivolous law suits that get filed every year in this state. SIMA & the NJLCA are working to change the laws in NJ to help put an end to all those frivolous suits that are killing the snow management industry in NJ.
  9. fireball

    fireball PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 545

    if you change the laws to put an end to all those frivolous lawsuits, all those out of work lawyers would probably start snow removal business's. Then you would have problems
  10. rcn971

    rcn971 Senior Member
    Messages: 213

    If the laws change and the slip and falls go away.....so will the dollar amounts we are able to get for plowing. The high insurance premiums are actually weeding out the guys that have been lowballing, as they can't make any money doing so any longer.

    I agree that something needs to happen, but as legitimate business owners why should we bear all the risk for the wealthy commercial property owners??? Our lawyers get retainers why shouldn't we require it? If they don't want to pay, give them a different contract where they assume all responsibility for slip and fall liability and agree to hold the contractor harmless and pay our legal fees in the event of an incident. They do it to us now.....we are just fool enough to go along with it.

    Holding your breath for organizations like SIMA to change legislation in a Democratic state like NJ that happens to be the most litigated state in the Union is never going to happen. The lawyers make their money from the frivolous suits and they write the laws. We can't wait for someone else to dictate how we do business.....we need to take care of that ourselves. Make the property owners bear the cost! They are the ones that need their lots cleared and sidewalks shoveled......I can do my house without them. They need us, but yet we allow the Nationals and monster corporations to set pricing in our industry.

    Sorry for the rant, but listening to everyone all the time cry about the lowballers gets old. There is always going to be lowballers no matter what our insurance costs. They tend to take care of themselves in the end though by being bad businessmen for the most part. When the price of fuel spikes, companies like UPS and FedEx and any other shipper for that matter adds a surcharge to the invoices......it's time we make our clients pay for the insurance increases rather than just complain about them.

    Rant over.
  11. BC Handyman

    BC Handyman PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,943

    Good read sofar, I got nothing good to say, since I'm Canadiantymusic but I can say I feel for you Dog & all the other guys in NJ that are trying to do things right & all you get is insurance co's that don' care if your in business. I can also say that here in Canada we are slowly seeing the American sue happy mentality come into existance, & even the insurance co's pay out way to easy just cause it's cheaper then going to court.
    Even I way up here in friendly Canada have been told by my insurance co that I am not to do Walmart,target,the big mall or a couple other large "big box" stores we got in town cause the liability for those specific co's are much higher & my currant carrier does not want to deal with contractors dealing with those stores.
  12. Chineau

    Chineau Senior Member
    Messages: 447

    This is a good conversation to watch for us Canadians you folks down south have a different reality with regard to being sued but it teaches me be sharp. Put effort into your sidewalks and entrances to minimize slip and fall conditions, work with your insurance people are only two things learned. As the owner regardless of where you are you decided is the market the right one for me to be in or should I pursue efforts in another entrepreneurial direction, that is freedom in action.
  13. Meezer

    Meezer Senior Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 300

    One of the things overlooked by my fellow "Mericans":jester: is the economy.

    There are now 92 million + people not in the labor force.

    Some of these people are now in the snow removal business, the lawn care business, remodeling, etc., They are lowballing & many are working for cash.

    When they pass amnesty, It's only going to get worse.
  14. blk90s13

    blk90s13 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,157

    Or there will be a lot more people plowing with no insurance !
  15. Meezer

    Meezer Senior Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 300

    Unfortunately, yes, it seems to be trending that way.
  16. Dogplow Dodge

    Dogplow Dodge PlowSite Veteran
    from NJ
    Messages: 3,699

    That trend has already begun.

    I got a ton of last minute calls from the last storm, whereas I hadn't received 10% if those in the past. After speaking to the fella who owns the company that's been referring me, it's quite clear that those who were in business are slowly dropping out. By all accounts, it's insurance related.

    So that being said, the few contractors left with insurance, such as myself, will be overwhelmed with people who want their drives done, and ultimately, their cost will be significantly higher, not only due to the insurance costs being passed on, but simply from supply and demand. You want me there, then you'll have to pay a premium for it. Sad, but its going to be that way, as I was overwhelmed the last storm, and now I have all those customers again for the next. I'll fit people in, if they're within my route, but they'll also have to understand that they're last on the list to be done.

    Now that the number of legitimate contractors have dwindled, there will be a significant increase in local no insurance guys taking over. It's already begun, and already affecting me. The large commercial job I had for the last 4 years contacted me just before the last storm. They found another contractor that will do the same work for half the $$. I said.... "have fun". The guy is most likely not insured, as it's not even a real company that took over the site, but a guy with a plow on his truck. He couldn't afford insurance on his vehicle at the rate he's charging them, unless it's just a ploy to get them to use him, then charge them more. IDK.... Time will tell, but I guess $$ talks and everything else walks. If and when they call me back, I'll have instituted a new higher 2014 rate, as I've kept it the same as when I started clearing their lot, almost 4 years ago.

    It will be interesting, to say the least.
  17. potskie

    potskie Senior Member
    from Ontario
    Messages: 769

    It's pretty bad over here in Ontario. There were only 2 choices for companies when I set up my GL policy who would handle plowing and the cost ain't cheap. Even with lots of experience and a small Gross from plowing I still pay an insane amount for insurance every year.

    When I was manager for another company I went through the process on a couple slip and fall law suits and all but one I would say were frivolous. Like I couldn't believe the crap people were suing for and over. My favourite was the woman who slipped on ice on the LAWN while wearing stiletto boots who decided to sue. I'm thankful she lost or else I would have completely lost all faith in the system. I found it mind boggling the cost and time to the company it took to defend that and go through the process. I'm sure it also cost the Ins co. a solid chunk of change hence the insane cost of insurance.
  18. Dogplow Dodge

    Dogplow Dodge PlowSite Veteran
    from NJ
    Messages: 3,699

    What is your opinion of an "insane amount for insurance" ???

    everyone has different viewpoints of what a snow plow GL policy should be. .. and that's why I ask.

    In the mid west, it averages $800 or so a year for a single plow truck. I know of someone who's paying $1000 per truck per year in CT, so it's different dependent on where you go. Hell, I bet it's under $400 a year for someone down in Florida, right ?:dizzy:

    Don't know what it will be here, as I still don't have my renewal yet. With my policy, IMO, the agent is intentionally holding onto it, and I'm being "purposefully" pushed into a corner, as a deterrent for me having enough time to look elsewhere. Joke is on him, as I've already started the process, but I'm still interested in knowing what it would have been.
  19. potskie

    potskie Senior Member
    from Ontario
    Messages: 769

    My CL policy is just under 4k for a single truck operation. 60 percent is my winter operations.
  20. Dogplow Dodge

    Dogplow Dodge PlowSite Veteran
    from NJ
    Messages: 3,699


    New Jersey Rates.... Well, at least it's a whole lot nicer up there where you live....:D