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Re-Frozen, Never plowed, Driven on Drive

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Bob V, Jan 11, 2003.

  1. Potential new customer calls

    I get to the drive and see it was never done yet this year. Thawed, driven on and snowed and refroze. She asked me what I would charge to plow it, (straight in, one car wide, push twice to the end, 100' long, no garage) on a per trip regular basis. I told her and said I might not be able to get to the bottom and she was OK with that, as long as she could get in the end and said forget trying to find the turn-around, so I didn't look for it since I was only getting regular pay for a tough job. She was happy and paid me.

    Went by 2 days later when it warmed and was daylight to try to find the turn-around (at no charge) and saw I could probably get it down to pavement with 2 pushes. BOY, what a mistake! 1st push in and started to back-up. She came out and was yelling "I didn't call you" several times and I said " I know I was just in the area, NO CHARGE". She continued to get upset, yelling "I didn't call you, you know", I repeated, "NO CHARGE MA'AM" and said "I'll stop if you want, but NO CHARGE". Now she started to understand and said "OK, as long as you don't charge me, my daughter is on her way over". Was that a threat?

    I was so burnt to think she reacted like that, wait till she calls again. If she ever does. I told my wife and she said the lady was not use to some one being nice to her. Ya, Right!

    Sorry so long, Bob V.
  2. Mick

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

    I'd agree with your wife, the lady probably figured you were trying to get more plowing in. You might have let her know what you were doing before you started. But I have done things like that myself - doing touchup work without charging. One place the guy looked at me suspicious until I let him know I was there just "fooling around", another one was when I caught my moldboard on something and now the hydraulics won't work. (No good deed goes unpunished). The comment about the daughter may have been just a coincidence - she was on the way over and could use that turn around to park in.

    Use this to your advantage - show that you go "above and beyond". You might just pick up a good customer and good word of mouth advertising. I imagine she's already flustered that she jumped to conclusions.

    File this experience away for future reference.
  3. BWhite

    BWhite Senior Member
    Messages: 496


    you should have got out and shoveled a bit too....... hey my as well go all the way to care for your neighborhood shouldnt you have a contract for freebie work too ?
  4. I agree with Mick. Many people have been taken advantage of and are afraid of trusting anyone. Ask yourself this. Why hadn't her driveway been plowed, and why did she let it go so long?
    She probably had a bad experience in the past or knew someone who did.
    She may be on a limited income. My mother is and I know it would scare her to death in that situation. For them it is a big step to call someone to plow.
    From what you say here, I can see she was short circuiting as she didn't comprehend what you were saying so she was probably pretty upset.
    After she settles down and sees how nice her driveway is she will probably bake you something the next time you come.

    Thats what happened to me...

    (Home made rolls)
  5. fordman

    fordman Senior Member
    Messages: 327

    I agree, she probably thought you were trying to rip her off. I also do touch up work for free sometimes and have gotten similar reactions from customers, however once they understood I was not charging them everything was fine.
  6. gslam88

    gslam88 Senior Member
    Messages: 168

    I see that I am not the only one who does some touch up au gratis (sp), but may I ask if you are going to the customers site to check on the driveway and see it state i.e. making the rounds of your customers anyway or is it a specific trip to clean the driveway...

    I usually am checking on my customers when the snow it's just around the an 1” or a little more. Some of my northern customers may need to be plowed, but other customers near the water do not... I usually just touch up what can be done in a min or less to get the site in better shape for the customer. Clear out what the road crews have thrown at the end of the residential driveways… things like that.


  7. windmill

    windmill Senior Member
    Messages: 224

    I'm with all of the above, I'm sure it was the thought of another gouger trying to make a buck that sent the lady into a tizzy. Send her an invoice with a big N/C and smily face letting her know that your first concern is the customer's satisfaction and your detail for their safety. I would think she would be quite embarrased after she thinks about what she said. The daughter was a coincidence what could she do, . . unless of course she had a BIGGER truck?
    We've all probably been confronted by a concerned client while trying out our wings . . . new edge . . . or what have you when they didn't see the need for it (and rightly so) not knowing there would be no charge.
  8. Chief Plow

    Chief Plow Senior Member
    Messages: 201

    We do the same thing quite a bit. Do a little touch up here and there... N/C for that work, we do tell them before we do it though. Just so they are not suprised. My 2 cents

  9. mike9497

    mike9497 Senior Member
    Messages: 466

    well i use to go the extra mile for my snow plow and lawn customers.well the people that i went the extra mile for never made there final payment for lawn cutting.people that where snow plowing customers never paid or dropped my service.because they thought i was charging them extra because i use to stop by and do touch up.maybe in your area there are some nice people,but not here in the new haven county area.then customers that i have wonder why i go up so much in my prices year to year and why i have contracts.yes it feels good to do a favor and go the extra mile,but i no longer do anything unless im getting paid for it and its going to be the price for my going rate not what the last guy or the handy man use to do
  10. BWhite

    BWhite Senior Member
    Messages: 496


    I have to agree Mike business is business and people do understand it
  11. mike9497

    mike9497 Senior Member
    Messages: 466

    well because i went the extra mile i almost lost everything this year do to lack of funds that came in.but i guess you gotta be a D*** to make any money in this field?