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No service below 2" and no salt

Discussion in 'Business Fundamentals' started by jeffslawnservic, Feb 12, 2011.

  1. jeffslawnservic

    jeffslawnservic Member
    Messages: 70

    Next year will be my first year plowing on my own and I have already started to talk with a few business owners about bids for next winter. One thing I have run into is a few people who don't want there lot touched if we get below 2" or snow. No salt, nothing. Also other people who do not want salting at all. What can I do to protect myself from getting sued for a slip and fall at one of these lots. Can I put in my contract that i am not to be liable for a slip and fall accident.
  2. mikegooseman

    mikegooseman Senior Member
    Messages: 123


    First off you can explain how their property will not look like the one across the road or beside them. If you have to rely on them making the call to pull the trigger, ask if they would like a wake up call at 3am when its coming down real quick ! ( don't think any property owner or manager would like that ) lol.....Or ask them if they will sign a waver excluding your insurance in the event of a slip-n-fall.....or finally maybe you as a business owner with your main goal is to be profitable and protect your a$$, look at a totally different scope of work , seek better all the time....IMO.....Your company/business will reflect on what your client list consist of and to how you want people in general to talk about you as a contractor....:salute:

    Best of luck to you...
  3. FordFisherman

    FordFisherman PlowSite.com Addict
    from 06611
    Messages: 1,613

    You need complete control to assume full liability; you will be held responsible either way. No salt, no deal. Let someone else get sued. Run away.
  4. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    Mine don't get salt unless they call me. Haven't had a call in 10 years.
  5. blee1ash

    blee1ash Senior Member
    Messages: 107

    Mine also don't get salted unless they call and request it. Salted 2times in the last 2 yrs. That is pretty typical for my area. Lots don't get salted unless it's a major ice storm. The only one around here that is regularly salted it Wal Mart.
  6. Rc2505

    Rc2505 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,245

    Almost all of my lots get salted, with very little complaints from customers. However, I haver a clause in my contracts, as well as a seperate addendum that addresses liability in case they don't want salt.
  7. elite1msmith

    elite1msmith 2000 Club Member
    from chicago
    Messages: 2,762

    Nope,never never again. If they don't want to pay for it, try to build it into your plow price.... But get 2-3 storms at 1.5 inches followed by 15 degree teems with no melting.....ummmmm then 6 inches on top of all that new ice.......super bad. Run. Find other business. Because when that happens, will you be required to clear all the way to the pavement? Good luck

    NICHOLS LANDSCA PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 4,362

    Don't do it, you will end up with ice, ruts, and a huge mess
  9. Dr Who

    Dr Who Senior Member
    Messages: 637

    Dude, I know how you feel here..
    I have only been doing this for a couple years, mostly as a sub. This year I picked up some of my own nd I have the same problem.

    I have one that is 1" trigger, but they said "ABSOLUTELY NO SALT EVER" the rest of mine are 2" triggers. Have couple that are call me when they want it deals, salt when they ask for it..
    I have one client with 4 duplexes that it a 2" trigger, salt when I plow. Well I got in trouble, kinda with them as I did not salt it after an 1' snow, it melted off by noon every were in town, but there drives were solid ice, I was not told till 3 days later when we got another 1" snow. So I went out, shoveled off the 1-1.5" and salted the crap out of it. I will probably loose the contact for next year, but I was never told to salt them unless I plow, I a only to plow at 2"..

    Its a mess, I have no idea how to protect myself other then having insurance, but if the client will not pay for it, I am not going to do it. If the client says to plow at X" that is what I am going to do, If I need to salt only at X" then I need to be told....

    contract, have it clearly stated what you are to do and when, other then that I am lost...
  10. qualitycut

    qualitycut PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 24,231

    After two 1.5 snows you would be over your trigger wouldn't you? That's how we plow
  11. wastedwages

    wastedwages Junior Member
    Messages: 25

    Being I'm on the other side of the coin. Meaning I'm the customer. I have my contract set up as no service under 2''. Only because it really depends on the temp and winds if it needs any attention or not. Also this is the first year with this guy. So we need to learn each other. But I do work closely with the guy who does the plowing. If the lot looks like crap and needs some attention I just give him a ring and let him know. But I also keep one foot in the real world. I realize he has customers who contracts require care at at first snow flake. Those should come before my needs. I'm fine with waiting until he gets to me. So far it has worked out well. I did this because last year I signed a deal the contractor took full responsibility. He took great liberty with shoving his salt truck up my butt. I have surveillance video of clear pavement and no precipitation in the forecast for almost a week and he was still giving me the salt job on two consecutive days. He became real defensive and gave me some jib jab about the requirements from his insurance company. I tried to reason with him, but it just was not going to work. I have been really happy with this years contractor. Next year I'll sign a contract without the no service under 2" clause and just tell him to be fair and treat me right. I know it's not easy and not everyone is always happy. But geeze lets just talk about it and move on...
  12. qualitycut

    qualitycut PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 24,231

    to bad not all customers are understanding like you.
  13. elite1msmith

    elite1msmith 2000 Club Member
    from chicago
    Messages: 2,762

    Depends on you you define 2 inches in your contract. Is it a 2 inch snow fall, is it an accumulative 2 inch snow fall. Is it an acreage snow depth on property of 2 inches? 1.5 inches after walked and driven over is like 1/4 inch of ice.....so no you would be below your 2 inch mark
  14. SSS Inc.

    SSS Inc. PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,376

    "Depends on you you define 2 inches in your contract. Is it a 2 inch snow fall, is it an accumulative 2 inch snow fall. Is it an acreage snow depth on property of 2 inches? 1.5 inches after walked and driven over is like 1/4 inch of ice.....so no you would be below your 2 inch mark "

    In Minnesota we tend to get some 1-1.5" events all in a row. It usually doesn't have time to compact and turn to ice. We use our own judgment after a couple small storms and the customers are almost 100% on board with our plan. If there is some question whether to plow or not a quick phone call usually takes care of that. As far as salt, we don't salt anything unless called. I'd say 90% of the lots in the Minneapolis area are covered with a thin layer of compacted snow all winter long. Keep in mind our temps don't don't flirt with the freezing mark very often, we are usually much colder. Different regions have different expectations and around here most people have given into the fact that winter is what it is and we have all adapted to it.
  15. elite1msmith

    elite1msmith 2000 Club Member
    from chicago
    Messages: 2,762

    How does it not have time to compact ? Don't cars drive on it? I think part of that is where you come from, my guess is snow by you is a part of life, people own 4x4 vehicles and they deal with it. As funny as this sounds out here snow is "an emergency ". Even a 2 inch snow fall causes a normal 45 min commute for people into a 3 hour hell.
  16. procut1

    procut1 Senior Member
    Messages: 380

    There are parts of the country where the standard of service is different. Its weird to go some places and they dont see the roads all winter. Its just expected in the winter you drive on snow.
    Some places the highway departments still use sand. Plow it off and spead sand over the snow pack.

    Around here a dusting is an "emergency"

    Anything less than clear dry pavement requires attention. It sucks at times.
  17. IMAGE

    IMAGE Sponsor
    Messages: 1,747

    I flew out of msp a few weeks ago. From the air it was easy to see which customers wanted black bare pavement. If your looking for more full service accounts just hire a small plane for a couple hrs to do some scouting. You will be able to see which customers are willing to pay for salt pretty easy.
  18. merrimacmill

    merrimacmill PlowSite.com Addict
    from MA
    Messages: 1,823

    Around here snow is an emergency as well. Especially if its the beginning of the year. If our first storm is over 2 inches, usually someone flips over on the highway and dies. Its crazy.

    But anyways, I don't have a single lot that doesn't want salt every time it snows, usually we salt once mid storm right before the busy hours (5am to 8am or 4pm to 6pm), and then at the end of the storm once everything is cleaned up. But I also have a medical building and we salt that all day long (if its a business day storm).

    I can't imagine not having to salt and having to leave snow pack on a parking lot. I even turned down a large shopping plaza this year because they could only use sand and I can't imagine how terrible that would leave the place looking. I didn't even want my name on it because of that. I envy you guys that don't have to salt because you don't need to think about 10,000 to 15,000 dollar salt bills at the end of the month, but I don't envy the money your missing out on.
  19. SSS Inc.

    SSS Inc. PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,376

    I should have clarified more, of course they compact where the drive lanes are. Many lots will still have parking stalls or areas not used often 90% untouched. What I was trying to say is that none of our properties would be fully compacted curb to curb. Every so often we get these little clippers rolling out of Canada at a rate of 2-3 a week, if each one is an inch our customers want it plowed. And your right, it is part of life here but most people are still bad drivers. We even have have a few weather people that will refer to 2" as a flurries and one guy that always calls plowable 3-4" or more.

    As far as flying out of msp, yes you see a lot of clear lots. Most of these are the large retailers and Malls and some smaller places(more so in the suburbs). It depends on the week too. Sometimes the sun comes out for a while, sometimes its 25 below zero and nothing works. If you were to drive around I think most people would be surprised at what isn't salted around here. Its slowly changing but we're a long way from salting everything that gets plowed. I know some guys that do it around here but they service a different area then we do(suburbs vs. city). The city doesn't even salt the road in front of my house. If is super cold and snowing every few days it can be a losing battle unless your customer is willing to pay for a whole lot of salt. And yes, some people will pay for it around here. On a related weather note we have had our first string of 5 days above freezing, first time since the middle of November.
  20. snorider075

    snorider075 Senior Member
    Messages: 316

    We just introduce them with our service plan on we plow at an inch we apply chemicals at under an inch. during open hours its every 2 inch. then every 6 inches over night lots get plowed. keeps it simple and able schedule accounts and routes.