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PITA Customer - schmooze or drop?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Plow Babe, Feb 23, 2003.

  1. Plow Babe

    Plow Babe Senior Member
    Messages: 218

    Ok, here's the scoop: Our contract reads that we will plow once per 24 hour period after three or more inches of accumulation; if there are cars in the way we will do what we can around them; and that plowing will not scrape down to bare pavement. This particular customer has a perfectly flat driveway, two car garage width, and about 1 1/2 car lenths long at the most. His vehicles are all 4WD. He has called EVERY SINGLE STORM so far this season with some kind of complaint and a demand that we come back, usually it is after 7 PM when he calls and we have just finished up a 15 hour day and gotten back home. Here are the things he calls about: why didn't we come plow today (1 1/2" of snow); he wants us to come back because the driveway is not scraped good enough; It snowed after we were there earlier and he wants it plowed again. It is 7 AM and we are not there yet, and he does not want to drive over the 2" of snow on the driveway because it will pack it down. This is just a sample of his whining. We have provided service within our contract terms all season, but he is not happy. I was being nice and spent 20 minutes scraping his driveway yesterday to try to make him happy. It then dumped more snow between 5 and 7 PM, and he called this morning wondering why no one had plowed yesterday. What makes it so aggravating is that he does not just call to say what it is he wants, he goes on with a really condescending attitude that we are not doing a quality service. This guy literally does not ever want to drive over his driveway if it has snow on it at all, and wants to see bare pavement. The problem is, that is not what he contracted with us for. So, do I take five Tums and schmooze him to try to keep him happy, or do I cancel his contract and send him his money back? We are at the end of month 4 of a 6-month season, so would you refund all his money, since he has not been happy, or just pro-rate the refund? He has not asked for the contract to be cancelled, and honestly I think he enjoys doing this, but I have already caught myself beginning to be rude to him and don't know how many more assinine phone calls I can take.:realmad: Suggestions?
  2. CPSS

    CPSS Senior Member
    Messages: 334

    I would continue to plow based on the terms of your contract...NOTHING more! Let him cancel your services, then don't refund anything. I think we have all had the same type of customer. We got out of the residential plowing business because of that.
  3. Dockboy

    Dockboy Guest
    Messages: 0


    Renegotiate his contract. Put him on a 1" trigger and hammer him! If he doesn't accept, :waving:

    That's my suggestion:D

  4. Karen,

    Time to give him up before it gets any worse. Explain to him you just can't make him as happy as he wants and pro rate the contract.

    The contract spells it out, period!

    Good Luck
  5. cat320

    cat320 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,224

    I would prorate the refund and send him packing.But you could also say to him if he wants bare pavement and round the clock service that's fine to just that he will be charged more for the kind of service he wants.But do it in writting and by certifed mail.And if he says the service is fine then just don't pick up when he call's :D
  6. snowflake

    snowflake Member
    Messages: 86

    aint them kinda people just wanta make you give it up.:rolleyes:
    i finish the season out with him and then send him notice after he payes you that you willl not be doin his drive next yr. people like that is one of the many reasons why i donnt do driveways either.

    sounds like a cry babiie over nothing or cannt be pleased on what you try to do go the extra mile and than stilll gett pooped on.

    CARDOCTOR PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,312



  8. BWhite

    BWhite Senior Member
    Messages: 496

    well its almost March . You could finish the winter then definitely dump him . I have had customers like that and I lose them after 2 storms they can never never be happy
  9. LB Landscaping

    LB Landscaping Senior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 324

    Next time he calls I'd tell him that maybe it would be best for both of you if he found someone else to plow his drive. Tell him you are doing exactly as the contract states and you charge accordingly. If he wants something different done then you will have to charge him for it. You are spending extra time to satisfy him so you should get paid for it. If you loose him oh well you'll find another customer that will treat you right. Good Luck!!!!
  10. sonjaab

    sonjaab PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,425

    PB................Prorate them..........Or give them
    ALL the deposti $$$$ back (if you haven't
    plowed much) and cancel the contract.
    Kick them to the curb! My crystal ball
    sez those PIAs will be nothing but a hassle !
    Been there done that !
  11. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    Apparently you have a contract that spells out trigger depth and other details. Now if he's wanting extra, like plowing less than the trigger, coming back to clean up etc, then that should be an extra charge. I had one like that, wanted plowed by a certain time for work. Then called and wanted me to come back to clear where the cars had been parked. That was ok by me - I just charged extra for the second trip. When his monthly bill about doubled, he must have decided it really didn't need to be done. I still have them and they still tell me I'm doing a good job - I just don't get called back.

    Really, you might want to coordinate a referral to a smaller contractor who can give him the personalized attention he wants. That's what I do (give personalized attention) and charge accordingly.
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2003
  12. mike9497

    mike9497 Senior Member
    Messages: 466

    i had a customer like this.last week the night of the blizzard we went to do are first push,but his car was in the way.after keeping his number on speed dial for like 3 hours he finally picked up.he did nothing but b$@!& about how i always do him last and why my driver couldn't walk up the hill to his house.im like first off its a blizzard and im not going to put my driver at risk by walking in 2FT + of snow and maybe falling on your steep drive and breaking his legs.second he was the first on the list for his area and commercial accounts come first which it states in my contract.so he still kept on going with how hes last.so i told him well get out that old rusted shovel because your not getting done at all click.i had another old lady who thinks shes my only customer and because she lives across from a school she needs to be done before it opens.well i checked with her town and they give you 24 hours after the storm to have snow removed in all areas.its on the towns website so i made a copy of it and when i got over there at 3 PM i handed it to her.it stopped snowing at 12 at night so my commercials got cleared first then we started the res at noon.i use to put up with peoples crap and try to make everyone happy.i found out know matter what you do some people are never happy with what you do.i say drop them
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2003
  13. Plow Babe

    Plow Babe Senior Member
    Messages: 218

    Thanks for all the input. After spending all day today thinking about this while I was out plowing and all evening considering it, I decided to cancel his contract and refund him for half the season. This gives him an extra month's worth of refund, so it is in his favor. I don't think I could remain professional in dealing with him any more. I am really a very sweet person by nature, and hate it when I feel myself turning into a B**** so would rather lose the $150 and not have the frustration. Lesson to me in this is if this happens again I will cancel the contract right away instead of trying to please the unpleasable for four months first.

    Attached Files:

  14. Pelican

    Pelican 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,075

    I was typing a response earlier when I got called out for sanding. Hope I'm not too late.

    I've run into people like this, no matter what you do it won't be right by him. What I would do is stop answering his calls and continue to plow according to contract. This way you've upheld your end of the bargain, make a few bucks, and don't have to deal with him. Then next season just let him know you have no room for his account. This would put you at less risk of him soiling your reputation since you've fulfilled your contractual obligation.
  15. LB Landscaping

    LB Landscaping Senior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 324

    Karen , that letter is very good. Very professional, nice job. Let us know if you hear from him.
  16. cat320

    cat320 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,224

    Karen ,very nice letter,very professional response You did the right thing in my opinion.
  17. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    Agreed. Nice letter. He simply didn't fit with your company. You offered him a solution. Now, knows what to look for when he contacts someone else.

    DIESELRAM30 Member
    Messages: 53

    I say if he is gonna complain and make you comeback to plow again and it is not in his contract charge him mor for returning to plow, if he does not agree it gives you the chance to terminate his contract with out having to worry about refunding his money because you already provided him with a service.
  19. Pickering snow removal

    Pickering snow removal Senior Member
    Messages: 151

    Karen i think you handled the situation very well the letter is very well put . Isuppose minus the cust name all of us could at one time or another used your letter has a template, Last year i had a commerical acount very similar i put up with the guy the rest of last season sent him a letter saying i was sorry to have disapointed him , this past year i get a call from him wanting to know when we were sending out proposals i told him i didnt figure he wanted to use our service this year , so anyway long story short some tweaking and wording in this years contract he is actually back on the good list, he is a salt cust this year has well so alot of salt apps this year and 6pushes maybe iam speaking to soon. but anyway you handled it the way i would of.
  20. Strongmd

    Strongmd Member
    Messages: 43

    That letter was perfect.