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Seasonals in a light year... discussion

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by mnlefty, Jan 12, 2012.

  1. mnlefty

    mnlefty Senior Member
    Messages: 980

    First I'd like to ask that we please don't turn this into a seasonal vs. per push discussion, we've been there done that. This is a question more for those that have been doing seasonal for a long time...

    What kind of a push back have you encountered the season following a very light snow year? This is only my second year doing residentials almost exclusively on seasonal contract. Last year was a top 5 year for snowfall all-time. This year not so much. Our seasonals are 1" based on approximately 16-17 1" events, around 56" average for the season. This year we have had 2.5 events, and about 10" total. I know there's still a lot of winter left, but it feels like we might be shaping up towards a max of 8-10 events and maybe 25-35".

    I know it's location/customer dependent on weather the customer "gets it" or not regarding averages, but how much resistance can I reasonably expect next season? Looking for feedback especially from those that have been there done that on the seasonals in a very light year.
  2. buckwheat_la

    buckwheat_la 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,254

    You will get some people that are going to complain, the best you can hope for is to explain to them that last year you worked harder then average and that if they stay mulitple years that it will average out. I have had 2 customers that have complained so far, and one that decided to cancel the rest of the year, and I am fine with it, however if a client decides to go off his seasonal contract he is not allowed to resign for the remainder of the season, so if we get any bad snowfalls through jan-feb-march, he is paying the per push price.
  3. sectlandscaping

    sectlandscaping Senior Member
    Messages: 315

    This will be the first year I'm dealing with this. Typically we dont have a lot of snow anyways but its more then this. Then last year we had 3xs the normal amount of snow. So if anyone does complain, ill say I didnt complain last year? I wasnt asking for more?

    I do have a few lots on 2 yr deals so it will average out with them but the others are all 1 yr. One of them didnt want to pay till the first snow. I would still be waiting if I wouldve taken that ****.
  4. csi.northcoast

    csi.northcoast Senior Member
    Messages: 320

    i would point this out to your custoers, what is the chance of having to super light winters in a row, also point out that during a super bad year you don't ask them for more
  5. ProLawn Outdoor

    ProLawn Outdoor Senior Member
    Messages: 132

    I have the same concern. On the other side of the issue, I went from 30 percent of customers being seasonal last year, to 70 percent seasonal this year. I could see that 30-40 percent of them resisting at renewal time next year, really hope not!! I am thinking about putting together an info sheet that shows snowfall totals for the past 10 years in our area for when I go to renew next year.
  6. wizardsr

    wizardsr PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,584

    I don't expect any push back, but if I do, I just explain that it's an insurance policy. Just because you don't have a car accident, doesn't mean the insurance company is going to give you back your premium, or give you your life insurance premium back when you don't die, heath insurance premium back when you don't get sick, etc. Also explain how last year went, and that you didn't demand additional money from them when we had nearly twice the amount of snow we usually get. Thumbs Up
  7. theholycow

    theholycow PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,180

    Come to think of it, insurance companies won't fork over any refund for not having a claim but if you DO claim they won't hesitate to jack your rates...that might be worth pointing out, how it's more fair than insurance since you don't increase the rate when there's snow.
  8. twintreeslawn

    twintreeslawn Junior Member
    Messages: 10

    You will never please everyone

    It sounds like we are dealing with the same Minnesota winter. I had some people form last year switch from per time to seasonal this year. I'm sure it is based on the bill they received in Dec. last year.... Anyone who complains about use not plowing much, I use the "do have insurance on you car while it is parked in the garage"-analogy many times. And yes you do get the customers that go back and forth year to year. We have a competitor near us who charges a "monthly rate" which covers 12 snowfalls per year. If we get more then the 12 they are bill for the times they were plowed over the 12.
  9. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    No problem with my seasonal contracts,I even raise the price every year.
  10. mnlefty

    mnlefty Senior Member
    Messages: 980

    Thanks for all the feedback guys. I have used the insurance analogy among others in explaining things to my customers, and for the most part they all "get it" when it comes to seasonals...

    I guess it's just the extreme nature of the season we're having that's creating that little bit of doubt or nervousness in the back of my mind. About half of my customers are my originals from last year (100% retention, to toot my own horn just a little). I know they will have no trouble with this season... I'm just a little bit nervous about my new customers. Maybe not even so much the seasonal aspect as much as we just haven't had the chance to "win them over" with our service like we did with the near record snow last year.

    On the other hand they did call us and sign up with us for a reason this year, so hopefully I'm just overthinking it too much with all of this downtime we're having.
  11. bhmjwp

    bhmjwp Senior Member
    from kcmo
    Messages: 309

    I guess I don't have a dog in this fight because we don't do seasonals. But, it would make sense to me if you use an average, no matter the number of years, would not a low year or 2 bring that average down?

    Or are the low years just concedered a price increase.