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PITA story.

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by glenspot, Dec 20, 2004.

  1. glenspot

    glenspot Senior Member
    Messages: 255


    So, here's a PITA story. Not totally uncommon, I suppose.

    Guy moves to Ironwood from somewhere where there is much less annual snowfall.

    He has a PITA driveway, 3 cars parked in it, nowhere to push the HUGE piles, etc.

    I hit my route Sunday morning so everyone could get to church, etc.

    He calls Monday "there was no snow". Well. Yes, there was snow, Mr. Pita. As a matter of fact the municipal plow had already gone through.

    Now he wants me to call him when I'm on my way to his house (4:30am) So he can tell me whether he wants me to plow...and so he can move cars around.

    I have a 4" trigger with him.. and YES there was 4" at the front of his driveway. No, there wasn't 4" in the middle of the driveway (between the houses).

    Basically he's figured out how expensive having a snowplowing service can be. ... and I think he's afraid he can't afford it.

    So, now I have to ask "mother, may I" before I plow his driveway.

  2. The Boss

    The Boss 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,099

    My solution would be to dump him. I don't have the tolerance for people like that. :gunsfiring:
    Let him shovel it a few times and see what he says then.
  3. Mower For Less

    Mower For Less Senior Member
    Messages: 108

    Tell him that if you dont plow the snow as it accumulates, it will cost him alot more next time you have to come out and break up all the old packed driven over iced up snow. There is really no argument about it, 4" is a pretty high trigger. Did he sign a contract?

  4. Grn Mtn

    Grn Mtn PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,644

    say no to the "PITA"

    That is exactly the kind of customer you make more money NOT doing. If he wants to be the decision maker than it becomes an on call basis, usually done after your normal route and paid cash in hand before plowing at a rate of double the norm because your making a special trip and he probably has 4-6" of snow and hard pack stacked up. My contract states that if I'm plowing you will get plowed and charged, I'm not going to wait for you to move your car, and if your neighbor just snowblowed it I'll drop my blade and charge you anyway. I'm not a *****, but if you pay for a snow plow service you have to be considerate of all the other people on the route too. If I waited for everyone to move their cars, the last person would get plowed the next day :rolleyes:
  5. streetsurfin'

    streetsurfin' Senior Member
    Messages: 770

    He should have enough sense to clean off his cars and get them moved without you having to remind him. Charge extra for the babysitting if you keep the account.
  6. glenspot

    glenspot Senior Member
    Messages: 255

    Yes, signed contract. 4" trigger.
  7. NU-Plowr

    NU-Plowr Member
    Messages: 36

    Whats the exit clause on the contract? Can you notify him that you will no longer be servicing him? I would offer him an alternative of a seasonal contract (unless I missed something) as opposed to a "per push" contract. or drop it.

    just my .02
  8. computerguy

    computerguy Member
    Messages: 88

    Pita customer

    I agree with most of the rest of the thread. PITA in caps! Now it depends on you and where you are in your business. New guys might be willing to put up with this. Me? No, I would not. Time is money in our business. Seasonal contracts get preferred rates and clearing times. Sounds like he does not want a seasonal contract. And that's fine too. Flag me downs are at least 50% higher than a seasonal and it gets done after seasonal contracts. On the flip side e may feel like he got a shafting (and yes there are lots of contractors out there that will screw a customer at any chance). even though you were correct in charging he what you did. My contracts go in increments (2-5, 5-8, 8-12, etc). I always give the customer the benefit if the doubt. Yes, less money in my pocket. More referrals and NO complaints. Makes me sleep much better. :sleeping:
  9. bolensdriver

    bolensdriver Senior Member
    Messages: 603

    Eeek, I'm a bit confused. There was 4 inches of snow at the end of the driveway, but not in the middle???
  10. computerguy

    computerguy Member
    Messages: 88


    I saw that about the 4" in some places but not others. Sure it could happen. Especially the way the wind is blowing today. I take my "official" measurement in my backyard. There is a place where the snow does not get blown around much. The joys of business! Haha, Good customer are a joy to work with. PITA customers can drain your time and energy.
  11. Robhollar

    Robhollar Senior Member
    Messages: 766

    Sell his contract to the most irresponsible guy you can find for 5 bucks......Rob
  12. rtm038

    rtm038 Senior Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 231

    Survey says.....Dump him!!!! :waving:. I used to have 1 or 2 customers like that and I eventually got rid of them both. IMHO It's just not worth the aggravation for $40.00. I remember 1 lady, who's husband was a doctor, had a 50' flat/straight driveway and a brand new Suburban. She wanted it done before 7a so her hubby could get to work. I entertained the request, then thought to myself.....50' flat/straight and a Suburban, YOU'VE GOTTA BE KIDDING ME!!! So I said no thanks and sold off the account. It's people like them that "helped" me give up my residential accounts and become a sub to a commercial contractor. No headaches, nonsense, BS....just get it, drive and collect the money when it's over.

  13. DJL

    DJL Senior Member
    Messages: 343

    It is YOUR business. Last time I checked it wasn't regulated so you can pick and choose your customers. I would politely explain your business does not operate in that manner. Inform him you can easily null and void the contract so both parties can get what they want. IMHO, nobody needs customers like this...the old saying"you get what you pay for" seems to apply in this case.
  14. The Boss

    The Boss 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,099

    Definition= drifting.
  15. bolensdriver

    bolensdriver Senior Member
    Messages: 603

    Yes, but why is he mad about that? I think he needs to explain it better, or something. Maybe someone near me was smoking pot, I don't know. I think he needs to organize the paragraph so I can understand, it's not arranged correctly, I think. He goes from one thing, to the next, and back to the first thing.
  16. cja1987

    cja1987 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,407

    Well when the town plows come, they throw some snow into the end of the drive, making it deeper then it would be at the middle which is unaffected by the plow that passed 25' away from it.
  17. glenspot

    glenspot Senior Member
    Messages: 255

    ALL of the above

    There are 2 houses very close together and very tall trees. The snow level in this part of the driveway perhaps was not @ 4".

    But, in the area at the end of his driveway...where snow is free to fall at will. There was at least 4".

    In addition to all of that, the municipal plow had come through and left a burm at the end of the driveway.

    The PITA's complaint was that..he could SEE..by where I back-bladed..that there was not 4" of snow. Because I inched in as close as I could to his car (which was parked in the middle of the driveway) and dropped the plow..giving him a clean slice of snow to measure. This spot was not at 4".

    So YES, there was 4" of snow at the end of the driveway...but not in the middle.


    My business is new, so I need all the customers I get. I really want this guy's money. And I'm sort of willing to bend the rules for him. So....I've decided that I am going to call him next time I need to plow. 4:30am.. get him out of bed. I expect him to say "you don't need to plow...catch me next time".

    I'll kindly tell him that I NEED to plow. That he and I entered into a contract. That contract protects him as much as it protects me. It clearly states that I plow at 4" of snow. If I don't plow then I will be in breach of the contract, and I don't want to let a customer down.

    Then I will continue... Perhaps we need to come up with a new contract? Then I will present him with the revised figures. Current $$ amount for up to 4". Then price increases based on additional accumulation. Basically making it better for him to continue with the current contract.


    And whether its a good idea or not, there is NO out in the contract. None for him, and none for me. I will provide a service "snowplowing @ address for $$" He will compensate the total amount due.. sent by monthly invoice and payable upon receipt.
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2004
  18. DJL

    DJL Senior Member
    Messages: 343

    This could be just the tip of the iceberg. You've made your decision. Make sure you are willing to live with it.
  19. Frozen001

    Frozen001 Senior Member
    from Rome NY
    Messages: 908

    If I were you I would call him up and tell him if he does not like your current arrangement you can draw up a new contract where he calls you up for snow removal. In the new contract make the prices MUCH higher because it will be for an on call basis, which is a PITA for you since you will most likely get the call when you are done with your route, or no where near him. Maybe also include in the new contract that the snow depth will be determined by the highest level (which in his case would be the burm left by the road plow, or the highest drift). If people went by the lowest point of snow accumulation, then in windy areas you would never have to plow. (I have seen large lots have bare spots from the snow blowing off the pavement).
  20. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,250

    If I remember correctly from my Business Law class in college, a contract is not a valid contract if there is not an 'out'. Which makes the contract invalid in the first place. Maybe this is not true, but that is what I remember and it was taught by a practicing attorney in the state of Michigan.

    You do not want or need this customer unless you educate him. If they are from a lower snowfall area and don't understand the need to plow when you determine it is necessary, they are going to complain every time you perform services. Probably even after you both agree plowing is needed. Try educating him first, if that doesn't work, walk away, it'll be better for your health and company.