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the elderly

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by go plow, Dec 13, 2005.

  1. go plow

    go plow Senior Member
    Messages: 322

    for the past 6 years ive been plowing this house , its really out of my way, but i feel bad , they are elderly, and have no one to take care of them, so for years ive plowed them last on my list, if i plow and its not a bad storm they want me to shovel around the whole house, i asked them if they walk around the house and they said no, but seeing that it didnt snow bad, they thought that they would get more out of me, they are around 85 to 90, so i just put my head down and started to shovel,,,, this went on for years, not last year, i had to get the mail for them ,no big deal, and one time they wanted me to plow and the next time they didnt, 4'' one storm and 4'' the next. they would call and tell me ( im not sure yet, if we want you to plow) and not to come at night on the big storms because we dont need to get out! i told them that i need to plow with the storm, this past storm, i had to deal with it all again, i plowed twice, we had 12'' on the ground, and i did the walks twice, i go in to get paid, the lady says, you dont need to come at night, and can you come at the end of the storm even if we get alot of snow, because your taking all my money!!!!! and because you plowed this morning and again tonight, do i get a discount???? i told them that seeing that you have paid your taxes last year does that mean you have to pay less this year???? what a joke, i guess what im getting at is that i feel really bad about dropping them, but i run a business, and i cant be guessing on who wants it plowed or not, its rather your on my list and i plow or your not!!!! but i feel bad about them, they are really nice, i do understand about the money thing ,but i drive over a half hour just to plow them out,and i charge them less money then what i would charge around my route....what do i do? i even thought of hiring some one for them ???
  2. makplow

    makplow Senior Member
    Messages: 242

    I would fell the same way you do about the situation. Maybe you could talk with them, and you could meet half way. :salute:
  3. PlowVA

    PlowVA Senior Member
    Messages: 210

    There are two ways to look at it:

    1. You can continue being a VERY good person and go out of your way to help some nice older folks. Yes, they are taking advantage of you. If you are ok with it then continue (but it sounds like you're tiring of the troubles).

    You may try bringing them some numbers (the difference you charge your other customers, the time it takes you to get out there and back, the extras they are asking you to do, the waffling back and forth on when to plow or not) Sometimes they just don't realize what it costs to do this work. They just may not understand how nice you are being. Then again, knowing some older people, they may not get it after you explain it all. But you are getting the satisfaction of doing something really nice for some elderly folks. What is the price of good karma, of knowing you are going out of your way for a good reason.

    2. Treat them like every other customer out there. Too much trouble = dropped.

    On a personal note: My grandmother lives up in CT. My grandfoather passed away a few years back. The lawn guy has taken such good care of her since then. I am so appreciative that someone is there looking out for her. He charges her half of his rate for lawn care and snow removal (from what she tells me he charges her). I ship him a nice gift basket every year as a thank you.
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2005
  4. Jpocket

    Jpocket Senior Member
    Messages: 302

    Your losing money by doing this, explain to them your situation, and move on. Not just the elderly people have no idea what it costs to be in this business.

    Not a clue, cut them lose. Your plow= 3k Plus Truck $25k+ Fuel Over $2 per gallon. They don't get that your working and depreciating this HIGH$$$$$$$ equipment, and that it DOES break, and it aint cheap to fix
  5. go plow

    go plow Senior Member
    Messages: 322

    you right, but its more like , plow 5k sander 5k truck 45k replacment cost..
  6. Fast Eddie

    Fast Eddie Junior Member
    Messages: 14

    First off, let me say that you are a good man (or woman, don't know) for doing what you are doing. If I were you, I would continue helping them the way you have been. It would be different if you had several clients that were doing this, but it is only one. We are fortunate enough to have our health, youth, and ability to assist. Don't worry, it will come back to you ten-fold. Besides, doesn't it make you feel good to help?
  7. wagonman76

    wagonman76 Senior Member
    Messages: 107

    I agree about showing them some numbers about what it costs to do what youre doing for them, without making a profit. If they cant agree to paying at least that, then they should understand that its not worth your while to do what youre doing because youre losing money.

    Instead of telling them you have to "plow with the storm", compare it to shoveling by hand. It clearly takes more work to go out and shovel 12" than it does to go out and shovel 6". It takes more work for the truck to move it too and therefore you have to charge accordingly.

    Maybe you and they could agree on a time each day that they would have to call you by if they needed plowed. Explain that youve got a business to run and priorities to take care of, and that you are doing them a deal.

    About shoveling around the house when they dont even walk around the house, Im not there but I dont see a purpose of it. If anything, it is a disadvantage because snow buildup around the house acts like insulation.
  8. Get Plowed

    Get Plowed Junior Member
    Messages: 21

    I agree with Fast Eddie. There are enough pricks out there already.
  9. Ken1zk

    Ken1zk Senior Member
    Messages: 192

    How about this one?

    Look folks, if God forbid you need help like an ambulance or a fire truck wouldn't you want them to have a good clear access to you and your home so you can receive the help you need in the fastest manner passable?

    You are honestly looking out for them, let them know it. I've used this and it works. As for the discount, I have always offered 10% to the old folks. Thats your call seeing how this is "out of your way".

    I salute your efforts in any event :salute:
  10. almostbk1stday

    almostbk1stday Member
    from ontario
    Messages: 33

    I agree.....take care of them. I tried to dump three seniors out of my way and my heart broke in two. I decided to keep them to help out. I try to treat each senior as if it were my mother. I want people to treat her the way I treat others. It does come back to you....but even if it didnt, isn't that what giving is about??? Good on you, and good for you!
  11. qualitylawncare

    qualitylawncare Senior Member
    Messages: 501

    BYE BYE!!!:gunsfiring:

    You should never offer a lower rate no matter who, what, or where the customer is. I don't care if they are 120yrs old. No discount from me. I pride myself in offering elite service, and if they want it, they will pay for it.

    Say you quote them $30 to plow and shovel the walks. Next week they ask you to wait until 6". Next week 12". The week after you are taking out the garbage. The next week you are giving them a complete rub down sponge bath (eww :eek: )..

    By doing this you are allowing them to set your prices. They will keep going until you finally put a stop to it. Everyone tries to take you as far as they possibly can to squeeze every damn cent out of what they are paying you. Doesn't matter how old they are.

    What if they tell their friends you are doing this, and that, and a few other things real cheap.. Now everyone wants you to work for free.

    Thats up to you. I wouldn't deal with the crap.:drinkup:
  12. jav1

    jav1 Junior Member
    from MA
    Messages: 20

    Go plow,

    I think you've answered your own question or at least, your conscience has. Just in reading your post, I can tell your a good person. What your doing for these folks has never been about a "smart business decision" and your reward won't come in cash... but it I beleive it will come.

    Consider that the reponses your getting come from 2 distict camps. Its clear to me which camp your a part of. Anyone can do the easy stuff... doesn't take much effort, or character. But doing what others won't, and sacraficing for another is what makes people, countries and societies great. One day if were lucky, we may be that age and we'll say to ourselves " I'll never do that to anyone" but the reality is that times change. We'll likely do something else that we think is perfectly normal to our way of thinking but the next generation won't think so. That old guy likely looks out and thinks "man, when I was young - it would take me the whole day to clear our driveway by hand... this guys got it so easy" - cause you show up and clear it in 15 minutes (granted with 65k worth of gear and more time invested than he sees... ). In his day, he was lucky to make .25c for his days work and now he's paying 100 times that amount for your 15 minutes.... In a sense, he's both right and wrong.

    Just consider for a moment one day when your 90 and they've outlawed vehicles due to polluttion. The new method of snow removal is an environmentally freindy laser that they just point at your driveway and 30 seconds later, the snows gone. AND, the laser only costs $500 bucks at Walmart - but only a person duly liscenced by the government can operate one. You call the guy, he pulls up in his electric scooter, points his laser pen and 30 seconds later he comes to your door and says "that will be $5,000 dollars". You have a coronary thinking about what you charged and what it used to take you... To him, it's a bargain because he paid $1,000,000 for his liscence and $2,000,000 fro insurance - but what you'll see is 30 seconds of work for a $5,000 bill- I assure you, you won't see his side... It's all realtive.
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2005
  13. Fast Eddie

    Fast Eddie Junior Member
    Messages: 14


    No seriously, you couldn't have painted a better picture if it was on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Your literary skills are unreal. Props man, props.
  14. douglasl330

    douglasl330 Senior Member
    Messages: 356

    I'm with fast eddie on this one--Sorry Quality! I do offer seniors a discount most 25%-As for shoveling around thier house find out what thier need is(Do they rake thier roof?). You may have to explain to them what your going rate is and how you really are taking care of them. I'm sure thier on a fixed income, but your cost rise to. How long have you had them as a client, do they pay right away. We see that its bothering you, maybe you could pass them on to someone who is just starting out, who may be willing to do the extras and put up with the plow and no plow conditions! Sad to say but the elderly in our great nation aren't looked after all that well- I think social security cost of living raise was less than 22 bucks a month. Sad situation for all that are involved! Best of luck with whatever you decide!
  15. THE BOSS 1975

    THE BOSS 1975 Senior Member
    Messages: 120

    sometimes its the elderly you have to watch!!!!!!!payup
    but i do give discounts to Seniors that are willing to contract.
  16. Laughterman

    Laughterman Junior Member
    Messages: 19

    I know exactly where you are coming from. You go out of your way to be nice to these people but yet they can't see what you are doing for them. I had a little old lady last year who acted like she couldn't afford to pay me my minimum so I cut her a deal but it was understood that she was on the last part of my route and she wasn't going to be done by 7 a.m. Every time it snowed she was on the phone wondering when I was going to get there. She called again this year and I told her upfront what time it would be before I could get there. She asked me for names of other people who could clear her before then and I happily gave her a couple, but warned her that the prices would be a lot higher than what she paid me last year. Haven't heard back and I am glad. It wasn't convenient for me to get there before I could but that doesn't mean that it wasn't for someone else. Call other plowers in the area and see if someone else can take care of them easier than you could. If you can't find someone else just do your best to reason with them. I don't have a problem if an elderly customer wants me to grab the mail or something. I would hope that when I am that age that someone would do it for me. But just try to reason with them about the number of pushes or shoveling around the house if it is really a concern. The elderly are sometimes hard to deal with, but they are the ones who need the help the most and just think of them as your family. You may be doing them a favor and sometimes you just have to feel good about it and let it go at that. We discount for elderly and veterans and have had pretty good referrals from them. payup
  17. CrazyCooter

    CrazyCooter Senior Member
    Messages: 119

    For those of you who say, "tough" to the seniors, perhaps you've heard of the word "community"?

    When I was a younger Crazycooter, and had a paper route, there was one little old lady that I would get her mail every afternoon and take her trash cans in. God knows who she got to take them out, but I wasn't too concerned about that. Maybe it was the morning paperboy. I dunno.

    Anyway, I did this, and the little old lady whose house stank of dead cats would shuffle to the other room to get my newspaper money and another nickel for me for helping out and as my tip (I'm not that old,this was only 15 years ago, so it's not like you could buy a new car with that, skeezits). Most people tipped me a buck for just delivering the day-old news. This would generally happen in the middle of my route and add 15 minutes to my time, making me come home in the dark in the fall and winter.

    Point is, we're all out there to make money. But sometimes, a helping hand is worth more than a few bucks.
  18. killed300ex

    killed300ex Senior Member
    Messages: 293

    i give alot to the elderly i feel its the least you can do. These are the people that fought for us in wars and honored our nation. Beside that wouldnt you want someone to do the same when you grow old. Every storm i have 4-5 accounts that i do for dirt cheap always try to keep the number of pushes down to save them money. I also always shovel them out, the last thing i want on my mind is that they died from a heart attack shoveling around the front steps or in front of the garage because some cheap plowman couldnt spend the 5 minutes to do the job complelty.
  19. ECS

    ECS Senior Member
    Messages: 485

    That says it all.
  20. ToolMaker

    ToolMaker Member
    Messages: 84

    One thing I try to keep in mind when dealing with the elderly is , thats all they have going on , (no jobs to go to ,nothing to do but worry about stuff ). A lot of them are early risers so by the time you get there it seems late to them , and you just might be the only person they see that day or the last person to see them alive . So I try to cut them a little extra slack out of respect . jm two cents