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need some help/opinions

Discussion in 'Business Fundamentals' started by BC Handyman, Oct 17, 2013.

  1. BC Handyman

    BC Handyman PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,943

    I would like the plow site community opinion on this email I got today & my response, I have had all day to think about this, I dont want to give it up but I think this is a lawsuit in the making if I went along with it, I'm hoping they let me do my thing & just space deicing charges on invoices out to 3 days. Another funny thing is last year it wasnt 2" it was .5" also it is on THE MAIN downtown street so alot of traffic. The sanding of the parking lot is not as much of an issue as the sidewalks & entrance.

    email to me:
    10/17/2013 Hi James I have finally received approvals for continuation of snow removal services for BMO Cranbrook. There are 3 significant changes this year to last as follows:
    1.Snow to be cleared from all areas and at all times upon exceeding one and one half inches (1 1/2”) in depth so as to maintain unobstructed access at all times (WAS 2" LAST YEAR)
    2.De-icing to be performed no more than once every three days unless otherwise advised
    3.Daily log sheet must be filled out for each site visit and submitted with your invoice no later than 10th of the following month
    I have attached your contract for you to review, sign and return back to me and a copy of the snow log.
    Email me back should you have any questions or send back your signed forms of agreement.

    My email back to him:
    ok, I just am concerned about #2, deiceing no more then every 3 day.... really? unless advised by who? what if conditions require deicing more then 1 time per 3 days & nobody asks for it? Am I expected to leave it unsafe?

    I can easily bill it this way but I dont see how this can be done. The point of spreading salt, melt sand ect is to minimize slippery conditions to maintain safety. The weather dictates when de-icing is required, I just try to keep it safe when is is required to ensure safety.

    So what you guys think? I know I said what should be said, but did I say it too strong? I'm waiting for there response.
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2013
  2. BUFF

    BUFF PlowSite Fanatic
    from FR NoCo
    Messages: 9,094

    Is this the same guy you dealt with last year? I ask because of big disconnect on the level of service he's looking for in comparison to last year.
    The 1.5" trigger for the lot isn't out of the norm for retail but the sidewalks in another thing, but give him what he's asking for and he’ll either have an employee take a shovel to it when it becomes a problem or drop the trigger for the walks.
    I would challenge them about the de-icing, you're the snow professional, you’ll be the guy being sued, it’s your GL that will see premium increases (if you’re not dropped). I’d hold firm on de-icing as needed (determined by you) or don’t do it at all. Make sure it’s very clear and documented in the contract: Property owner/tenant doesn’t want any de-icer, accepts all liability for slip and falls.

    I’m fairly flexible with terms, holding off till the 10th of the month isn’t too uncommon providing the pay in 15days or less.

    I see it as this guy wants to cheap out on service and hang you out to dry by doing so. This maybe bullish but you do have the option/right to refuse the bussiness if you feel uncomfortable with their terms.
  3. BC Handyman

    BC Handyman PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,943

    Ya I dont have a prob with anything other then the deicing max 1 time every 3 days bs, I never delt with this guy, he just a pencil pusher working for the banks regional maintenance, yes I will say this is a bank so nobody will be out pushing a shovel or spreading some salt at the branch. I edited my original comment so it is clearer what my first reply back to him was.
  4. born2farm

    born2farm 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,310

    Did you clarify with him that this is actually what he meant to type? The reason I am asking is because it is very common to put in the contract no more than one salting every three HOURS not days. Maybe it was a simple typo, maybe not.
  5. BC Handyman

    BC Handyman PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,943

    thats good to hear that putting 3 hours is common, I've never seen it, but I hope it was a typo. 3 days.... thats crazy talk to me, I'll email him back if he ment 3 hours. I'd feel like a bit of an arse if thats the case, I know last year there was a few days that the sidewalks got shoveled & melt applied 3 times in a day so my first thought was they trying to cheap out.
  6. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    cross it out and put in there they have to call you for ALL salting.This way it puts it on them. Since you need to send out a daily log does this mean a lot check every day?
  7. Chineau

    Chineau Senior Member
    Messages: 447

    Charge for lot check.

    Hey Grandview do you have a separate charge just for lot checks? How do you manage that?
  8. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    I don't because I salt upon request only. Only time I check my lots is when it starts to snow and I plow them. I do one final check on them on the way home. There are guys on here who charge for lot checks.
  9. BC Handyman

    BC Handyman PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,943

    I got a reponse back from them this morn, yup it is 1 time every 3 days max, I'll explain more after work.
  10. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    Great,now I'll have to sit here with a 2-4 and wait till you get home from work!:cool:
  11. BC Handyman

    BC Handyman PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,943

    Well I'm home from work, GV should be intoxicated now so here is what was said today.

    My email to them last night:
    I was just reading the contract & I assume in your earlier email you ment to type, do not do deicing more then 1 time every 3 HRS not days. If this is the case I'm sorry my earlier email was wrong(I take safety serious), max 1 time every 3 hrs is easily doable while ensuring safe conditions, but every 3 days.... I would not be able to ensure safe conditions. Please clarify if you ments hrs not days. Thank you

    Thier response:
    Hi James unfortunately due to abuse of this service in the past limitations were instituted. Some vendors were charging for salting 21 days in a row because the temp was below 0 even though no snow fell during this time. So it had to be put under control. Yes salting to be done every third day unless it has snowed again. Then the 3 day cycle starts again from the last time it was salted. Note that terms include providing on site deicing container for those times in between deicings for bank use. Should the site require additional work we will contact you. Trust this clarifies your concerns

    My response:
    ok, unless it snowed part I missed, so I should be able to deal with that to keep it safe, I will ask though unless advised by who? XXX? the bank? the city? who makes this call?

    their response:
    The city would not normally get involved if it is only for de icing. Either way should any addition work be required those directions will come thru XXX only. In the event you are contacted directly by anyone other than XXX with a service request you must contact XXX first for clearance before proceeding. Sorry but we need to follow protocol and diverting may cause costs not previously approved to be rejected.
    Trust you are understanding of the progressions of approval we all have to follow.

    I think I can deal with this, even though the 3 day thing is in the contract, also in the contract is I'm suppost to ensure that everything is safe at all times as well as I'm suppost to provide a bucket of melt left on site for the bank to use, fair enough if they paying for it....I think,they think I'm suppost to keep it full at no extra cost, this aint a seasonal it a per visit account. Leaving a bucket of melt will keep it safe? Not if nobody spreads it. I'm thinking I'll just charge them an extra salting for each bucket of melt I got to provide, or should I tell them they got to pay per pound for what they use, I think just charging them a salting would be easier, I wont lose $ either way, but If I have to include it at no charge....no way!!!
    What are these idiots trying to pull this year.....GRRRRRR
  12. Dogplow Dodge

    Dogplow Dodge PlowSite Veteran
    from NJ
    Messages: 3,699

    Can I ask you a question ?

    What is your "GUT FEELING" with this ? Whatever it is, go with it.

    I walk away from situations as you've described. IMO, it's not worth it, but then again, I have other ways of making money in the winter, so I can pick and choose.

    For example... Crazy woman stops me at shoprite while I was picking up food for dinner. Asks for card and says she's going to email me her contact information. Says she lives with her 87 year old mom,and since she's disabled, she can't shovel herself.... so I wait.

    I get this email:

    Good morning

    Met you in Shoprite other day. Would appreciate obtaining a quote on removing snow from walkway & long driveway this winter. Cannot do shoveling myself & definitely will not have my Mom do it as she is 87.

    Whenever you are in area pls check out & let me know cost either by return email or calling. Definitely need someone who is reliable.

    Thanks much


    I had already been to the house as I remembered the address when we spoke in the parking lot. I sent her this reply..

    Hi XXXX,

    I stopped by the other day, but did not venture onto the property.

    I would like to clarify exactly what you need done, and what I would need done as well.

    From what I can tell, the driveway goes all the way past the rear of the home. Do you need the entire area to the side of the house cleared, or just a pathway to the back ? My plow would take most of the parking area in the rear easily, but the side nearest the street would have to be done by hand, as I cannot fit my truck into that front corner near the house.

    Secondly, can you confirm you want the sidewalks done as well, both by the street, and up to the front door.

    Third, is there a secondary path needing to be shoveled in the rear of the house? I did not look so, if the front is sufficient, I have a general idea of what to do.

    And finally,

    Your driveway is being encroached by shrubs on the right, and a tree to the left. Both would have to be trimmed back, as I just had my truck painted, and I'm not willing to work in areas where I would jeopardize my new paint job...

    Please answer the questions above, and I can give you an estimate.

    Thank you !

    She replies back today...

    Thought you would be using a snow blower rather than a truck with a plow attached to the front. Not too keen on having a heavy plow going down the driveway and down the back .

    Thanks anyway & hope you have a good day.. XXXX

    In no way did I ever say anything about a "snow blower". My truck has the words "SNOW PLOWING" written all over it....

    Wack-jobs! they're everywhere....:dizzy:
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2013
  13. BUFF

    BUFF PlowSite Fanatic
    from FR NoCo
    Messages: 9,094

    BC, You say "I think I can deal with this" sounds like you're trying to talk yourself into it. If that's the case then don't take it.
    This guy sounds like a total tool and is an expert in anything he does.
  14. MSS Mow

    MSS Mow Senior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 983

    Based on everything you have said here, RUN away, FAST!!! They want you to only salt once every 3 days yet keep the place safe at all times?? Those two will at some point contradict each other. And it won't have to snow again for that to happen. A little melt and refreeze, which can happen many days in a row depending on how the property is setup.

    RUN AWAY!!!!!
  15. thelettuceman

    thelettuceman PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,218

    You said it best....Run Away !!!
  16. basher

    basher PlowSite Fanatic
    from 19707
    Messages: 8,993

  17. BC Handyman

    BC Handyman PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,943

    I talked to them again this morn, but first I'll say:
    Dogplow: gut says....do this only if I can get a few things changed.
    Buff: maybe it's a little talk myself into it....really I think its more find a way this can work.
    MSS,Basher & lettuce: first instinct is to run..... but insted I'm going to walk slowly, carefully watching where I step.

    So I will say I got a signed contract with this bank as of today. I did not take it as they gave it though, I stood firm with a few things. First thing, I aint paying for people that dont know squat about melt,calc or salt to spread a bucket of deicer on a sidewalk I'm responsible for nor am I willing to only do deicing 1 time every three days. If it needs salt, its getting salt!!!!
    So buckets of onsite salt, they paying $20 for every bucket I fill for that site, I can & will be using this to ensure walkways are safe. So I'll spreading their salt when I'm not allowed to spread mine & charge them, downside is I'm spreading it at ne exrta charge. Ya I'd like to charge then $5 to do it, but atleast I can keep it safe & they paying for salt. Also the sanding fee for there 4 stall underground parking helps cover the extra walkway salting application & attendance. Yes you read that right, I get to sand & charge for a 4 stall 85% underground parking lot.
    So after everything said & done it is the service level they need & the price I need, as well as the service will work for me & they good with the price. Like most of my jobs I'll end up taking a few of min of my time if I have to just to ensure site is left the way I want. Thanks guys for your input on this.
  18. Dogplow Dodge

    Dogplow Dodge PlowSite Veteran
    from NJ
    Messages: 3,699

    Well, that's good ! I like to think that NOTHING is black and white, but a combination of both.....sometimes, light silver, sometimes Gun Metal grey (like a newer generation Corvette). It's cool when you find a common ground. Gut feelings tend to work out in the end..for me, at least most of the time.

    Wish you all the best and hope it works out in your favor.Thumbs Up
  19. thelettuceman

    thelettuceman PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,218

    BC .... Glad you found common ground. Lettuce know how this works out 4 u. I am always looking to learn something new. Good Luck
  20. BC Handyman

    BC Handyman PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,943

    Well, I talked to the assistant maneger at the bank, looks like he would be only guy that might spread salt, he says no one else will, he will aslo bring my bucket of salt in the bank so it dont walk away overnights. Since I got to provide a bucket of de-icer I thought I should let everyone who sees it see my name, so I got a few vinal signs made up to put on my salt buckets, I'll also prob stick a few on snow bucket & plows.

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