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Need snow event dates in Chicago NOW!!!!

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Plow Meister, Apr 11, 2003.

  1. Plow Meister

    Plow Meister PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,174

    I out sourced a billing company this year. I wanted to try it for a year and see how it panned out. Well, Every time we had a snow event, I called in my info and that company was supposed to create and mail all my billings. Turned out that company went out of business and NEVER sent one bill of mine out. Usually, wifey does all the billing so since I got this new service, she never kept track of the info. Now, I have twenty some odd clients that I need to bill out but have no idea what days it actually snowed. Actually, I know of one day, Christmas Day!

    Can anyone please help me out here??? I would really appreciate it. It only snowed 4 times (enough to justify plowing).

    Thanks in advance,

    JD PLOWER PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 751

    I would start here http://www.noaa.gov/ Try searching under snowfall amounts or snowfall history. I think the weather underground might also have some history stuff. Good luck.
  3. BRL

    BRL PlowSite.com - Veteran
    Messages: 1,277


    Click on the months you need & read away. If you need help reading the charts just let me know. Example: You got 8" of snow in December 2002 - 5.5" on Dec 2 - 3, and 2.5" on Dec. 24 - 25. You also may have salted around the 20 - 23 because you got traces of snow & rain & had below freezing temps at night at least. Good luck. Let us know after you get the invoicing done so we can lay into you about record keeping. I'm sure you're already kicking yourself plenty about the current situation without our adding to it. ;)
  4. Plow Meister

    Plow Meister PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,174

    Well, I went to that site and I found the info I needed.

    As for the lack of record keeping... I decided to out source my biling because I started a different job where I am working 10 to 12 hours a day, 5 and 6 days a week. What little off-time I do get, I didn't want to spend with my nose burried in the books. Rib all you want:eek: . I know, I know. It will NEVER happen again. Especially since this may be my last year plowing commercially. Gonna keep the trucks but sell the spreaders. Maybe do a few "driveways for baked goods". :D
  5. digger242j

    digger242j Senior Member
    Messages: 672

    My 2 cents, not for the benefit of Plow Meister, who has obviously learned a hard lesson, but for all the "new guys" who come here to learn--I'm sure the record keeping BRL is refering to is not just for billing purposes. One of the first things I learned when I started hanging around here is how important it is to record all the pertinant info, not just that we were there on a certain day. We have sheets now that allow us to go back and check which truck was at a site, for how long, and what the truck did. When the time comes to send the bill all the customer should need to know is that they got the service, but it's so much easier to convince them when you can say, "On that date our driver Joe was at your place from 5:45 a.m. until 6:17 a.m. He plowed and put down 250 pounds of salt. He returned at 12:31 a.m. the next morning, and left at 12:40. At that time he touched up the spaces where cars had been parked on his first visit. Now, what was your question?"

    BTW, I think Accuweather's "premium" service has records available that go back 10 years.
  6. speedracer241

    speedracer241 Senior Member
    Messages: 325

    Does anyone use the Blizzard Buster software?? I too hate to do the billing after the storm. All the numbers hurts my little brain:eek:
    I looked at their free download and it looks like a very good product.

    Just curious,
    Mark K
  7. Arc Burn

    Arc Burn PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,141

    Mark,do a search on that software,it was discussed a while back,i believe it was a toss up,some liked it but others had problems.
  8. Lawn Lad

    Lawn Lad Senior Member
    Messages: 407

    I started printing out Accuweather's "past 24 hour" report after each storm. And Intellicast's 48 hour report. I put this in the folder for that particular storm. I missed about 4 or 5 this season out of 70 plus events. I haven't had to use the information yet, but the 24 hour report gives the time start/stop of the snow. Doesn't list accumulation - but it does give the current weather hour by hour. This way when you go to an account two or three times in a day and they question the bill two weeks later you can justify due to continued weather patterns from the hour by hour report why you serviced a site multiple times.

    It just gets tough to remember to print out that report with in a limited time frame of when you return from plowing to capture the picture of the storm. I wish it gave snow total by hour - but that's probably asking too much.
  9. HLS Wholesale

    HLS Wholesale Senior Member
    Messages: 111

    It's funny you mention that...I'm doing the administrative work for a couple companies. We answer the phone, do scheduling, send invoices, post payments, etc.

    Keeps the owner doing what he does best...selling and customer relations.

    Seems to work out well. I'm thinking of adding a couple other companies interested in the same arrangement.

    Dan Norton
  10. BRL

    BRL PlowSite.com - Veteran
    Messages: 1,277

    Lawn lad,
    You can get that info, but you probably won't get it at a free site. There are paid weather services that can provide that info, you just have to find one covering your area.
  11. nsmilligan

    nsmilligan PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 704

    The second most important reason for accurate, detailed records, is for when the lawyer calls and says his client, the up and coming rock star, slipped and fell in the parking lot you plow, in December, and can't play his guitar anymore, and you're being sued for 10 million dollars, because he just lost his record contract.


  12. pbeering

    pbeering Senior Member
    Messages: 266

    We use an NCR printed invoice/receipt. We fill in the customer info in advance, then hit check boxes on the form. It includes time of day, amount of time onsite (for hourly customers), chemicals applied, snow depth, hand work etc.

    For the few customers who pay by check, we leave a self addressed envelope with the invoice. The rest get the recept and we hit their credit cards 24 hours after the storm.

    A colleague of mine has written a palm based billing system that prints in the front seat and uploads to the computer. We have been in alpha testing. If all goes well, we'll make it available.