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Skipping small storms...

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Buswell Forest, Jan 2, 2014.

  1. Buswell Forest

    Buswell Forest PlowSite.com Addict
    from NH
    Messages: 1,668

    How much is too much to skip?

    I had a customer have a hissy fit on the phone tonight because I plowed 2x @ 3 inches...he said it would have melted...and it has been below freezing all but 6 days since dec 1....

    Said 3" is too little. I told him there was a 10" berm of snow from the town plows at the entrance of his drive after 3"...
    "My 3000 pound car can drive right over that!"

    He insinuated that if I kept plowing @ 3" he would find a more reasonable plow contractor. I held firm, gave him all the reasons why I plow 3" and up...he was not happy.

    Mind you, this is a second home on the lake...13k a year tax bill.
    The driveway is 150', with a wider spot at the end for 2 cars, and 2 other parking spaces off to the side...and I am charging him 27 a push...because I held the price that the retired plow contractor had for them last year!

    If this were a cold call for service, I would tell him $35..

    So, how much is too little for you? Is 3" for a residential second home gouging?
  2. Antlerart06

    Antlerart06 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,437

    I don't know about you But if I come back see the berm I clean it for free on a drive or a lot

    My drive I have now or the tons I had in the pass Its a one time cleaning for every 6'' with a trigger of 2''
  3. Buswell Forest

    Buswell Forest PlowSite.com Addict
    from NH
    Messages: 1,668

    I would clean the berm up free too. But in a total storm snow depth of 3 inches....would you just skip that?
    And if you do, at what point does the cumulative amount become enough?
    We get snow then rain, then ice, then snow....it's a yoyo here. If I skip 3" today, and it rains 2 days from now....I get to be plowing cement at some point..scrue that shat.
  4. JTVLandscaping

    JTVLandscaping Senior Member
    Messages: 862

    What did you guys agree on before the season?
  5. kg26

    kg26 Senior Member
    Messages: 314

    3" can be done all at once.
  6. BC Handyman

    BC Handyman PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,943

    I think, 2 plows for a 3" storm is ok if the storm streched out over 30+hrs, if it dropped it in less then 24hrs I'd only plow 1 time, but leaving 3" is not a good idea, but it depends on what was agreed to, I do got a few that I dont touch unless it's more then 3", but thats only cause thats what the customer wanted despite my warnings & disclaimers of ice build up.
  7. JCByrd24

    JCByrd24 Senior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 232

    I believe you are saying this has happened twice (two 3" storms) not that you plowed/charged twice for one 3" storm. If that's correct you are right, 3" is too much to leave, too much chance for a mess with the drive or the berm. Not a lot of melting so far in the NE this year!! Just ice. Tell him your price is already a favor and you won't risk messing up your equipment but will keep an eye not to plow when melting temps are forecast.

    Plowing a 2nd residence twice during one 3" storm (or up to 6" in my mind) would be excessive in my opinion. Just wait until it's done snowing.
  8. MattR

    MattR Senior Member
    Messages: 218

    So maybe you needed to be more clear when agreeing to plow as far as what the customer expects, and what you expect. I know what my customers expect and they are also clear on what I expect too, since it is all written down on the contract.
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2014
  9. Buswell Forest

    Buswell Forest PlowSite.com Addict
    from NH
    Messages: 1,668

    One push at storm end.

    I told all of my clients that 3" was my trigger for a push, and they would get one push at the end up to a 12" storm.

    I did tell him I can't be skipping a 3" snow unless it was clear that it would melt soon.

    It comes down to him being a skinflint. He spent $108 for December. 25" of snow in December.
  10. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    This why you go seasonal,no one ever complains your plowing to many times.
  11. Mr.Markus

    Mr.Markus PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,780

    I plow drives over 2". The best retort I have to customers who gripe like yours is "I don' t get these complaints from my seasonals who are all getting done today, but you want pay as you go and want to micro manage the way I do things." Say it with a genuine smile on your face not in angry resentment tone.
  12. Mr.Markus

    Mr.Markus PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,780

    Damnit GV, your scraping the pebbles out of my pavement.!!!
  13. ServiceOnSite

    ServiceOnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 950

    And starts one of the many reasons people give up residential plowing. To many head aches for to little money.
  14. SnowGuy73

    SnowGuy73 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 24,870

    There is no reason to plow twice for a 3" snow fall, unless you are coming back to clean up where the city plows came through. In that case you do it for free or you don't do it at all.

    Read your contract that I'm assuming you wrote.... What does it say?
  15. Glenn Lawn Care

    Glenn Lawn Care Senior Member
    Messages: 552

    I'd be mad too if someone came and plowed my driveway twice on a 3" storm. All my residential customers agree to a 2" trigger.
  16. OC&D

    OC&D PlowSite Veteran
    from Earth
    Messages: 3,064

    These were two separate events. I think the issue is that the customer thinks that 3" is too little to plow.

    Personally I wouldn't ever have a trigger greater than 2", in fact my contracts don't even allow for it. I'm assuming you don't have a contract with this guy because if you did, these issues would hopefully be addressed thereby avoiding this disagreement in the first place.
  17. OC&D

    OC&D PlowSite Veteran
    from Earth
    Messages: 3,064

    He didn't. It was two separate 3" storms.
  18. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    Like pricing,triggers are different all over the country.NJ or Fla. people think they will be trapped with 2 inches in their drive big snow areas think its fine to wait till there is a foot of snow before you need to plow.
  19. Buswell Forest

    Buswell Forest PlowSite.com Addict
    from NH
    Messages: 1,668

    I took over a route from an elderly neighbor. All but 2 were agreed to by phone.
    Nobody asked about contracts, and time was so short that I didn't bring it up.
    But next season....every customer will sign a contract. Several will agree to an increase, or they can get larry lowall to come do it with his 1983 D100 with the rotten wooden body on back..
  20. GMCHD plower

    GMCHD plower PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,831

    I gotta ask... How does one come up with a price of $27 to plow a driveway?