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The worst start to a season EVER!

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Brian Young, Dec 7, 2007.

  1. Brian Young

    Brian Young PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,394

    Well, here goes, We were supposed to get a dusting to an inch of snow, no big deal for a area use to getting around 200" per year. I guess it started snowing at 2ish am. My 2yr old daughter woke up crying which woke us up (thank God). Here's what I went through:
    Ended up with over 12" by 1pm
    No sidewalk guys until 2-3 hrs later
    After the 156 phone calls I finally snap on customer's
    2 guys broke down, one guy for the 4th time
    Salt spreader broke 3 times (its only 3 years old and used for 1 season:confused:)
    Sidewalk guys taking 5 times longer than one guy I had last year
    Plowing a unmarked lot blew out a BRAND NEW $200 Perelli tire running over a branch covered with snow.
    Loosing a account to a guy "he forgot he signed with in the summer" "but you guys can have it next year" WTF!
    Guys pushing snow in the wrong areas even after I drew a diagram
    Flooded with calls from non-customers wanting plowed out and bitching about how long its gonna take us to get there.
    no sleep in over 2 days.
    New Fisher V blade acts like it was frozen in "V" position for about 30 seconds
    Salt spreader went down again!
    Ran out of bagged salt, now using bulk with no vibrator.
    Had to order a new vibrator wich will be here Mon or Tues.
    Businesses saying we never showed up.
    Customer's asking why we didnt back drag every parking spot in the lot every time we were ther to just keep up with running main lanes.
    Customers asking why its taking us so long to get there
    There is more but it does nothing but get me fired up again. Hope every one else had a better time than we did.
  2. iceyman

    iceyman 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,925

    hey jay sit done relax have a cold one on me:drinkup: theres always another storm.
  3. Brian Young

    Brian Young PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,394

    Now that things have calmed down I will do just that! I'm still waiting for the tire that "will be here by noon" to get here. Next is cleaning my truck, its relaxing to me so I'll be good to go tomorrow when the next storm is supposed to be here.
  4. WI OLY

    WI OLY Junior Member
    Messages: 16

    I know what you mean! When I am all done and no snow in 12 hr forecast, I go to my shop and fill the wood furnace and sit back with a Miller and drink the whole 12.
  5. bribrius

    bribrius PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,609

    i am not sure how it went from a dusting to twelve inches. sure you watched the right forcast? Sounds like you had a rough day and i wonder if you dropped the ball at all on pre season preparation. Also sounds like the help you hired and your service sucks. I think you have some organization to do so you don't start losing customers. Hope the next storm goes better for you and you get it together. Not personal but the sounds really bad like people may start canceling on you and finding service elsewhere. just my opinion.
  6. JD Dave

    JD Dave PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,194

    Making more friends I see!!
  7. bribrius

    bribrius PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,609

    well, im sympathetic for the guy but I also go by what he wrote. How do you see it?
    If you were his customer and he yelled at you on the phone after they never showed up to do the lot would you have him back? Thats what i see. The forcast thing makes little sense too.
    all good.
  8. JD Dave

    JD Dave PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,194

    I have plowed snow for a couple years now and I know what first storms are like when you bigger then a one man show. When you start depending on alot of other people sometimes you get let down by there performance and you don't know untill it snows. I also know about weather forcasts, it doesn't happen alot but sometimes they are wrong. It wasn't like he got up at 6am.
  9. Little Jon

    Little Jon Senior Member
    from Buffalo
    Messages: 139

    October 13th 2006, buffalo Ny.
    Forcast on the 6pm news "some spots may see up to 2 inches of snow"

    October 13th 2006,
    11pm "SNAP" look outside to see tees snapping because of the weight of the snow

    October 14th 2006
    wake up to 2 feet of wet snow.
  10. wirenut

    wirenut Senior Member
    from nh
    Messages: 529

    living in buff you better be ready or to bad......:nono::nono:
  11. Brian Young

    Brian Young PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,394

    Just to clarify a few things.... First, yes the weather forecast was completely wrong. They said a Clipper system was to move well south of us but apparently it didnt. One business that has 3 locations said we never showed up at one which was wrong, I even had a friend driving by and called me asking me who was plowing this place because when he drove by he didnt recognize the truck so I know it was plowed. The customers (residential's) I was somewhat yelling at were the ones calling me 3 and 4 times asking when we're getting back to them. As for the guys breaking down...sh!t happens, no ones fault just sucks in a storm this size. And I'll be honest, I had a tough time finding these guys so I didnt have much choice in who I hired or what kind of equipment they had. Its getting harder and harder finding guys because all (well, most) of the "solo" guy's think they can do it all themselves and there are a lot of solo guys around here. No one could keep up with a storm of over 12" in less than 8hrs.
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2007
  12. framer1901

    framer1901 Senior Member
    Messages: 852

    Bribuis - Dude you should just step away from the keyboard. How much plowing do you do?? Oh that's right, you work full time and plow friends and family cause you can't handle more than that..... Until you've ran a snowremoval business you'll never, ever understand the difficulties associated with it.

    Any and all large continuos snowfalls result in negative calls for all sorts of reasons. I don't care who or how big you are, a large continuous snowfall that starts at 2am will cause you problems in February, let alone December.

    Snow removal - as a business, not the ten driveway guys - is a complicated dance that requires great timing with every imaginable varible. A cut tire alone throws a minor complication into things. New employees - how the heck do you pre test their snow shoveling abilities?? New drivers

    You have no clue, go sell some mortgages.
  13. mike psd

    mike psd PlowSite.com Addict
    from pa
    Messages: 1,028

    brian are still hiring LOL ? might need take a few months time off work and come out the western half of the state
  14. Brian Young

    Brian Young PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,394

    LOL, come on down or over?
  15. dfdsuperduty

    dfdsuperduty Senior Member
    Messages: 597

    Brian sit down relax look at as a learning experience that we all have had..... I wish i could be a weather man be wrong 90% and still make close to 7 figures a year what a job
  16. LoneCowboy

    LoneCowboy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,760

    weather forecasters suck.
    My dog does a better job (when he's covered with snow, it's snowing, when he's wet, it's raining, etc)
    Bummer to hear about the bad start. A big storm as the first storm always sucks, and yeah there's no way to keep up.
  17. TEX

    TEX Senior Member
    Messages: 606

    bribrius how in the world do have the nerve to tell this guy that?

    moving on. look at it this way next time a few things go wrong it will fell like nothing. now that you have had tp get threw this, it will be better next time.

    i cant think that any weather man will be making close to a million dollars. maybe you ment 6 figures.
  18. bribrius

    bribrius PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,609

    Because i don't understand the problems. I was doing industrial lots over ten years ago working for someone else. I didnt even do it for two full seasons and i didnt run the show, granted, but i noticed things. Like the company trucks ran eight or ten plies and ran over things all the time. They had a bin full of salt mix ahead of time waiting. Whether it was two inches or twelve inches things had to be ready because either way your probably going out. I was the most inexperienced person plowing back then and kept getting the truck stuck. But even i didnt need anyone to draw me a diagram on where to put snow and then screw it up anyway. Had a service truck for breakdowns. BACKUP equipment and if a truck went down most people had another one sitting home that doubled as a extra vehicle or backup anyway. If more were needed seemed like everyone knew somebody with a plow truck. Had a extra dump truck in the back of the yard too. Only thing there wasn't a backup for was the loaders but loaders dont come easy or cheap so what can you do? I am sure someone knew someone that had one if they needed another. And these people didnt even consider themselves a snow removal company! It was winter work to kill time! Then i have Framer here telling me i have no idea i should go sell loans? You kiddn me? Yeah, i didn't run it and was basically told "go plow lot", but it's kind of hard not to notice how things are done. I caught on to that on my first snow.

    I'm guessing Brian Young is on a smaller scale and just building the business and having a hard time finding good help. Thats all i can gather and from that perspective i can understand since i cancelled my own business plans before i even got them really going..
    finding good help is something hard to control and i can understand that. I really just didn't grasp the original post completly. And NO Framer i didnt run my own snow removal company so i won't know the full story or headache of it. Give me a little credit though anyone watching things happen can see how things work to some extent.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 8, 2007
  19. YardMedic

    YardMedic PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,266

    In the fire service, we have a basic theory that transcends into every other profession. We can check and run equipment daily, but there's absolutely no guarantee that it's going to work when we need it! Beyond that, there are only so many ways to create redundancy to ensure uninterrupted service. Then you have to figure that many plans are on paper or discussed ahead of time, and storms are ALWAYS dynamic requiring changes in the best-laid plans (and face it, how much can guys plan on subs having breakdowns??). Not only is it a management nightmare, but then it becomes the customer relations headache, and it's all in how we manage both that determines whether we fade away, maintain, or grow. And remember too that Rome wasn't built in a day.

    Brib... I get abrasive, often in your postings but sometimes elsewhere. The difference is, I do have more experience with every aspect of this business, I respect senior guys in the trade, and don't ask the loaded questions or make the blanket statements without a pretty good bit of knowledge behind me.

    SNOWLORD Senior Member
    from MN
    Messages: 610

    I have had those days and believe it or not ive had much worse but you gotta just keep slugging away I feel your pain