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Problem with Apartment complex contract...Advice needed.

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Moosehunter, Jan 24, 2005.

  1. Moosehunter

    Moosehunter Member
    Messages: 75

    Howdy All...

    I've got a sub job that consists of an apartment complex. A main lot and rear single row parking areas. With our last snow event, a typical 4 hour push ended up taking 3 trips with a total of 9 hours due to all the lot traffic and parked cars. I'd say 2/3 of my time was just trying to horse my truck into positions to plow. When I took the job, I was told that most events consist of busting a path through to allow residents to get to their garages. Then after the snow stops, the lots would be cleared of parked vehicles and I could plow it curb to curb.

    Friday... 4 hours of basically cleaning out as many spots as I could get to.
    Saturday... 5 hours doing the same thing waiting for the cars to leave the lot.
    Sunday... Went back with hopes of finally finishing the job... No luck.

    I took this job for a bit of extra cash. I haven't bitten of more than I can handle. If the lot was "car free" as agreed to, a typical 4-8 push would be a cake walk. I feel that all this wasted time will eventually end up causing problems with my long time residential clients. Not one has complained YET, but it bothers me that with this sub job I can't give my "regulars" the attention they deserve and pay good money for.

    Financially, the extra cash is a good thing, but I can definitely survive without it. Ethically, I'm sort of riding the fence. I do have a contract with the service provider and have NEVER in all my years in the business, broken an agreement. BUT... if I'm doing my part, and they aren't doing theirs... What's a guy to do? Emotionally, I want to dump these bozos like a bad habit. I feel like I've been "had". I also have reason to believe they've been low-balling all over the twin cities area. After our first "real" snowfall (oooo.... 7" of snow!! oooooo) I heard a bunch of people on some of their other crews walked off the job. why? I don't know.....yet.

    So what do you think? Do I honor the contract that they don't support? OR... Drop the bozos and stay with my own clients that have been loyal for years?

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
  2. IndySnowPlow

    IndySnowPlow Senior Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 214

    Does your contract with the "contractor" have a provision for parked cars ? Only empty stalls will be cleared ? Is it a per-push rate or hourly ?

    I would suggest using a skid-steer....much faster and more $$$ for you.
  3. Moosehunter

    Moosehunter Member
    Messages: 75

    Does your contract with the "contractor" have a provision for parked cars ?

    Yes it does. It's worded so basically I do what I can initially, punch driving lanes and clear as many empty stalls as possible. Then follow-up the next day for completion. This plan would work great with my current residential route. Problem is, the cars only get shuffled around and never moved out.

    Only empty stalls will be cleared ?

    Only on the initial plow.

    Is it a per-push rate or hourly ?

    Per push. If it was hourly, I'd be a rich man!

    I would suggest using a skid-steer....much faster and more $$$ for you.

    I'd love to. BUT... I sold mine last season and the "contractor" will not allow me to use/rent any of theirs, nor will have they made an attempt to "give me a hand" as I was told last Saturday. Aside from the access road, this whole job could be done with a skid-steer much more efficiently and should have been that way from the start.
  4. Ken1zk

    Ken1zk Senior Member
    Messages: 192

    This is exactly why I avoid apartment complexes, always the same old story, cars Will always be parked in the way. Theres always the issue of return trips, day or nite with these complexes. My advice is pay good attention to those regulars, they'r your bread and butter payup
  5. Wesley's Lawn

    Wesley's Lawn Senior Member
    Messages: 394

    Hey moose I feel ya man im in the same dam postion with a apartment building and on top of it theres no where to put it all. They say they are going to move there cars but never do, and the contractor doesnt know what the hells going on half the time anyway. Did they tell you a time to come back to finish up? or do you just half to guess?
  6. Wesley's Lawn

    Wesley's Lawn Senior Member
    Messages: 394

    Also whos the contractor you working with it sounds like it could be the same company im doing some work for?
  7. Moosehunter

    Moosehunter Member
    Messages: 75

    Oh I have plenty of places to put the snow... If they'd just move the damn cars I could go curb to curb and this place would look SWEET!! The contractor has no clue as to what's going on. The best info I've got to date has been, "do the best you can". So I did. And it looks BAD!! I have no clue as to when "they" want me back so I just go the next day.

    I've tried to call three times today. That's my limit. All during businees hours. All leaving both call back numbers. Did I hear anything? NOT A PEEP!!

    I faxed in my log sheets and charged them for two complete plow events. Maybe the old dollar sign will get their attention. I also included a "poisoned letter" that gives them a week to figure it out. Which I'm almost sure to get a bunch of lips service on. That's IF they even call me.

    All I know is that this I'm not losing one minute of sleep over this. My clients (my friends) on my residential route are more than happy with my services and I'll be damned if I'm going to let any one of them down. What troubles me is that this will be the first time, EVER, I'll willfully be in breach of contract.

    I'd rather not say who this contractor is on an open forum. PM me and we'll talk.
  8. Mower For Less

    Mower For Less Senior Member
    Messages: 108

    You say your in breech of contract, but if the contract states the cars will be moved, and they are still there, then I think THEY are in breech of contract. Dont be so hard on yourself about it. Extra money is great, but not at the expense of ticking off an established and loyal customer base.

  9. Frozen001

    Frozen001 Senior Member
    from Rome NY
    Messages: 908

    I plowed an apartment complex for 3 years, while I was working on the maintenance staff, and I can tell you I feel for you. Cars do not move into cleared spaces, or they pull out and clear there car off in the area you just plowed. We even buried a car the was not parked in a space after we asked several time that it be moved... it was great watching them dig it out. The one thing that help me was that I was there most of the day so I could do several space clearing runs during my regular work day.