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Please help, what am I doing wrong?

Discussion in 'Ice Management' started by bosman, Feb 22, 2013.

  1. bosman

    bosman Senior Member
    Messages: 165

    So we had up to 1/4. inch of ice here in central ohio with rising temps last night. I went out at 3 am and salted all my properties one time and checked again a few hours later and everything looked good, so I went home, done for the night/day.
    Everyone else I know around here was salting properties 2/3/4 times for a 5-6 hour ice event and making or at least invoicing huge amounts of money. I called PM's late morning to see how things looked and they were very pleased and all thanked me taking such good care of them.
    So the question is, am I doing it wrong by paying attention to temps, knowing my product and application rates or should I have not put down enough product like the other contractors and gone back just to make a huge profit?

    BTW, I know the answer.

    Come on guys, am I the only guy with a conscience, or should I just take advantage of my customers and reap the benefits? You can answer this one.
  2. plownoob

    plownoob Senior Member
    from ny
    Messages: 128

    You are an island.
  3. bosman

    bosman Senior Member
    Messages: 165

    So I should take advantage of my customers? I love the analogy. Maybe I should just get out of the business and let the guys that "know what they are doing" take over. prsport:laughing::laughing:
  4. MetzEnterprizez

    MetzEnterprizez Junior Member
    Messages: 13

    I am the same way. Yes, I wanna make the $$$$$!!!!!!!! ........ but I definately want to do it honestly....... CONGRATZ! on having a conscience!!!
  5. Snow Picasso

    Snow Picasso Senior Member
    Messages: 250

    A "Deserted" Island!
  6. njsnowguy

    njsnowguy Junior Member
    Messages: 13

    Good for you not being honest.It is jackasses that smash their customers. After 3 combat tours in Afghanistan I would ride with you any day! People forget the customer is your lifeliine to feed you and your family.Your doing the right thing.
  7. shovelracer

    shovelracer Senior Member
    Messages: 525

    Here is my question. How are you billing for the treatment? If you are billing seasonal unlimited than it is to your benefit to hit it heavy enough to cover the rest of the event, if conditions dictate. If you are billing flat rate per application than going above your average weight puts you at a disadvantage. If you are billing volume based than you are coming up a hair in saved time.

    It depends on the client as well. Some clients want to sift through the 1/2" of salt dust after the storm left behind from gross over application. It makes them feel safe and like they got a good value. On the other hand some clients feel that if there is notable signs of application after the event that money was wasted and they are being robbed.
  8. Laszlo Almasi

    Laszlo Almasi Senior Member
    Messages: 326

    No, you are not the only one. We just had an event here and while I could have gone out and salted, I opted to not lay anything down at all. I continuously watch our weather, temps, take ground temp readings and such and my experience told me we wouldn't have any problems. Others were out salting and afterwards, my customers thanked me for taking enough care to not just go out and "create" an invoice for somethig that was obviously not needed. This is one of the ways in which you...and myself...will insure our customers stay our customers.
  9. plowzilla

    plowzilla Senior Member
    Messages: 290

    Your not alone. We had a similar event here. I put some salt before the storm and then after. For the ones that needed less, I charged accordingly. It's called honesty....something that's hard to find these days. On the other side though, you find yourself questioning to salt, or not to salt. You ask yourself, "what should I do, I know the temps are going up today, but the lot is icy now? What if someone slips between the melting time?" This sucks, consciously! You have to make a decision. I base my decision on the property traffic of the lot. I normally salt because I would be a fool on a liability stance. If I get the phone call, "Why did you salt when it is going to be 40 degrees today?", I will explain to them the conditions of the property at the time it was serviced. I then offer a discount that seems to smooth things over.
    It's one of those situations where " Your damned if you do, and your damned if you don't!!!"
    P.S. I am a strong believer in "You reap what you sow"
  10. plownoob

    plownoob Senior Member
    from ny
    Messages: 128

    If there's any doubt, I walk in and talk to the people in the store. I don't lie, but word it to our advantage and let them decide on their liability exposure in the worst case scenario if it's questionable scope wise.
  11. JTVLandscaping

    JTVLandscaping Senior Member
    Messages: 862

    If the icing lasts 6 hours, and service is performed at hour 5 or 6, then it's untreated for the first 4 hours. If these guys are servicing during the duration, it makes sense. Even if the business is closed, somebody has to pay if a person slips and falls in the parking lot, so I don't look at it as taking advantage of a customer...but rather covering the customer's backside.
  12. MSsnowplowing

    MSsnowplowing Senior Member
    Messages: 761

    I hear you.
    Several storms this year I had to plow but the temps were rising and it started to rain so I didn't salt and on the billing told the clients the reason why I didn't salt and dropped the price to reflect no salting.
    Could I have salted and charged them for, yes but it wouldn't have been right.
    I subscribe to;
    If you do the work you bill it, if you don't do the work, don't bill it.
    Being honest in working and billing your clients well retain them even if your prices may be a bit higher than others because they know you will not rip them off for work not needed.
    Have a great weekend.
  13. bosman

    bosman Senior Member
    Messages: 165

    For most properties, salt is priced by the pound, not per visit. Others are flat rate. This is part of my point. Some guys I know price per visit and deliberately do not put down enough product so they can revisit and invoice again. You know who you are. I can understand pretreating, then treating again half way though, but 3 or 4 visits, come on man.

    As far as clients wanting to walk though 1/2" of salt to feel safe, maybe that's a Jersey thing. I can almost guarantee that would be the last time you worked for that client here and would have a hard time getting paid for that one.
  14. bosman

    bosman Senior Member
    Messages: 165

    That's not what I referring to, some guys would pretreat before, then go back every 2 hours and hit it again and again and again. I could have done my places twice and am not knocking anyone who treated places two times. But three or four applications is a bit crazy. Hell, I have a large chain of corporate owned restaurants, that didn't want any salt applied. Their places were extremely dangerous until early afternoon, I'm sure people were falling at everyone, but they didn't want it, so I didn't do it.
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2013
  15. racer47

    racer47 Senior Member
    Messages: 381

    i went on salt run, did all my lots and walks. when i was done went back where i started and had to resalt walks and around buildings and spot salt 4 lots . 1 lot had to be resalted and walks complete. they were on west side of town, it got it worse i ended up using around 1350.lb more salt on them 5 places. so i charged them a little extra 50 a site to cover my salt and time been doing the same lots for years and they no what to expect .1 site got charged for 2 saltings .it sets right along highway gets all the wind chill hard one to keep melted off ..we all no it takes more salt to melt ice than snow..most customers dont .if you want to keep customers happy. dont over charge to much and be honest . we salt on every event so it basically evens out in the end. some take more than others, unless your talking more than 1/8 inch ice .and even when its going to get above freezing that day ice takes a long time to melt compared to snow . if i wouldnt of salted my lots i would not have any lots left to do ..but that little ice storm only gets i run . (((you only have your word and reputation in this busniss))) remember that and you will always have good work .:drinkup::waving:
  16. bosman

    bosman Senior Member
    Messages: 165

    Thanks Racer, I know i'm not the only one with a conscience. It seems like you did everything the right way and did not take advantage of your customers and I applaud that. Its too bad the competition doesn't think like us. I've never been fired from a job and have a near perfect customer retention. The ones I've lost, I had to stop servicing for lack of payment.
  17. Burkartsplow

    Burkartsplow PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,246

    I had to salt all my properties 2 or 3 times between the hours of 6 am to noon yesterday here in Cleveland. Everything had a heavy application by 6am and then the precipitation started. I then had breakfast and started checking lots again around 7 to see how they were holding up. Most were doing okay but all walks needed another heavy app and ran the lanes again with salt. Stuff was melting and freezing back up pretty quickly with the rain/ sleet and the winds we had. Hit everything like this again and went back the first lot to check. Hit it with another app and a few others and then the ground temps finally started to rise. I was using plenty of product but it just kept icing over. And I have a mix of seasonal and per service and seasonal ones were the ones that ended up with 3 treatments and only one of the per service had a third and the rest had 2. So it is not like I was trying to take advantage of the situation but it was just how everything worked out and I won't feel bad for sending out he invoice for the event. In the end no one slipped or got hurt so I did my job exactly as specified. And I don't use regular rock salt my lots. It is treated clearlane which costs more per ton and is supposed to work better then regular rock salt.
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2013
  18. bosman

    bosman Senior Member
    Messages: 165

    I've been reading your posts for several years and know you are experienced and did what you had to do to prevent accidents. I watch the weather up north as well and wish I could have the same winters as you. Your temps didn't get above freezing until long after ours. Job well done, if you were contracted to plow for me I would not question your decision.

    Let's here from some local guys, central Ohio.

    My only reason for starting this thread was to make people be more honest and do the job the best they can, even if it cost them a little more per application. Don't half a$$ it to double your profit.

    Thanks for the response.
  19. joe2025

    joe2025 Member
    from NEPa
    Messages: 56

    I always have the same problem with my conscience when it comes to salting or not to salt. I have a client with several apartment complexes in the same general area and there is another contractor that services some of them. I find myself questioning what I did when I drive by one of these other properties and I see nothing has been done. But, I have had these complexes for some years now and the owners have always told me that they feel comfortable with being safe than sorry. So I use my own experience and judgment weather to salt or not. Most times I may only spot salt the lots and walkways and I bill accordingly. The owners appreciate it and have given me references based on the fact that they know I will not take advantage of them by servicing accounts that do not need to be serviced several times during a storm. I would rather keep my clients confidence in my company than risk losing clients or worse yet the reputation of my company by trying to squeeze a few extra dollars out of an event. Some of you may feel differently about it and that’s your decision to make but for me I get a feeling that this is what separates my company from the “beer” guys out there in my area that call themselves snow management companies.
  20. rblake

    rblake Senior Member
    from dayton
    Messages: 293

    I am here in central ohio and had to salt most of my lots two times during the ice storm. I didnt salt twice to take advantage of my customers who i have kept as clients for an average of 8 years, but to keep the lots safe and clean. I didnt skimp on the salt on the first pre treatment. I actually used about 25 percent more than normal. Did i charge them extra - no.

    How do i charge for salting - flat rate per salting. We use bulk salt, so how i am i suppose to charge by the pound. Tell me how you would honestly measure the amount of salt you would use at each lot if you used bulk salt.

    Maybe we are not cheating our customers, but have customers that have high expectations when it comes to service. I know that i would never have a customer that says " i do not want salt"