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What are the most frustrating parts of owning your business?

Discussion in 'Business Fundamentals' started by BossPlow614, Dec 27, 2015.

  1. BossPlow614

    BossPlow614 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,870

    Just curious to see what everyone else faces that drives them up the wall in the day-to-day operation of the snow & management sector of their biz.

    For us:

    1. Customers that don't read the 5 page contract they signed and call/email as to why their property wasn't done within an hour of the snowfall stopping - page 1 clearly shows the timing for when their property is done, same with trigger depth, a 2" trigger will only be done when there's 2" of snow! Not 1", not 1.75", etc.

    2. Invoicing - Quickbooks is great but having to convert 40-50 invoices to PDF's after each event and/or each month, then upload them as an attachment to each email message to a customer is a pain

    3. Routing - my accounts are a mix of commercial & residential. The timing of storms greatly affects what property is serviced when - some commercial are zero tolerance, need to be plowed when there's a specific amount by 4am in order for the property to open at 7am, etc.
    My employees sometimes don't think these things through so it's definitely time consuming to have to make changes to the excel sheets (job tracking sheet) before everyone heads out for the event.

    How about you guys?
  2. JMHConstruction

    JMHConstruction PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,722

    For me personally (and I am no where near as large as most of you guys) it's getting guys for my sidewalk crew. We are about to get a storm and out of 6 guys I finally got a hold of the 3rd..luckily one of my managers has a few buddies that are going to fill in.

    Also, all my guys wanting to make more money. They assume I make a huge stack of cash, but don't watch me spend hours doing paperwork, load and unload the truck with salt, shovels, yada yada. They also don't pay insurance. If you want to make so much more, then go start your own company!
  3. Snow Commandor

    Snow Commandor Senior Member
    from 07666
    Messages: 443

    Ditto JMHC. My biggest problem is getting shovelers lined up to work. Add to that the fact that half my route doesn't require any major shoveling, so how do you justify paying a guy $25 an HR to just ride along in the truck half the time while you're going through the route?
  4. iceyman

    iceyman 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,925

    The weather
  5. BossPlow614

    BossPlow614 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,870

    The weather affects everyone and we can't control it, so let's go with problems we can control - personnel, customers, administrative tasks, etc.
  6. beanz27

    beanz27 Senior Member
    Messages: 984

    Employees. Got to the point this year I said screw it, cut back from 4 trucks, 2 skids, and a loader to 2 trucks and a part time loader. I do all my walks and fill in when needed. Sad part is I pay nearly double what my competition does for employees, but I can't find guys that will work.
  7. info4tim

    info4tim Senior Member
    Messages: 235

    Chasing my money of course!
  8. Wilnip

    Wilnip Senior Member
    Messages: 592

    Do you know you can email an invoice or statement directly from QB?
  9. Whiffyspark

    Whiffyspark 2000 Club Member
    from SOMD
    Messages: 2,403

    You can email straight through quick books.

    Look into maybe hindsight for routing
  10. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,235

    Just because it affects everyone and can't be controlled doesn't mean it isn't frustrating. For instance:

    Is it going to accumulate?
    How much is it going to accumulate? Just a salting app or full plow?
    When will it end?
    Will wraparound or lake effect kick in at 5 AM and cover everything we have clear?
    (today) How much freezing rain are we going to get? How much salt should I order? Do I have enough salt? Will we be able to make 2 rounds once the roads turn to crap?

    No, I can't control it, but it sure frustrates me.

    Additionally, customers and employees are frustrations. ;)
  11. KildonanSnowRem

    KildonanSnowRem Member
    Messages: 92

    Haven't read the full thread, sorry if this is addressed already BUT Quick Books Online does this for you. All you have to do is fill out the invoice and press send. It automatically fills in the message and converts to PDF.
  12. Snow Commandor

    Snow Commandor Senior Member
    from 07666
    Messages: 443

    Yes, as many others have said, QB emails your invoices without having to jump through hoops. Just one click and you can email a whole batch of invoices @ once!
  13. BossPlow614

    BossPlow614 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,870

    I can't say this is much of an issue for us at all. The contract is very detailed and we stop service if their bill (net 15) becomes 10 days past due. This works very well especially when there's a bigger storm coming.

    I am using QB's desktop version for Mac & don't use the Mac's email system, I use the one from my web host.

    I'll look into QB online.

    There really aren't many solutions to fixing the issues with weather since this is a weather based industry.

    What about customers & employees cause frustration?
  14. leigh

    leigh 2000 Club Member
    from CT
    Messages: 2,342

    Same old same old- getting a reliable sidewalk crew. We only get 10 or so events so I use relatives and fellow self employed contractors.Its the most stressful part of the whole operation.Plus half the time the 4 of us plowing are getting out and clearing walks when we should be plowing when the crew gets behind! Glad its switching to rain tonight!
  15. Triple L

    Triple L PlowSite Fanatic
    from Canada
    Messages: 6,078

    Don't need quick books online, what year quick books are you using? It works through your Web host not thru anything else
  16. Whiffyspark

    Whiffyspark 2000 Club Member
    from SOMD
    Messages: 2,403

    I just tested it on my qb13 desktop edition and it's fine. Nothing's changed
  17. Philbilly2

    Philbilly2 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,764

    x2 on that. Must be an old version?
  18. jonniesmooth

    jonniesmooth Senior Member
    Messages: 296

    I had 2 seasonal accounts that didn't pay for Dec (they were due by the 10th), One I serviced on the 1st and 16th, then when the Jan. invoice was sent out on the 23rd I suspended service till paid. The other is a minimal service contract for 4" or once/week service. It snowed on the 1st, but not 4", so I waited till the 7th (one week) when I got there it was done. The second service would have been the 16th, but didn't do it due to non payment

    My sub frustrates me. He is overly cautious, and not very mechanical, every event I am running to hold his hand about something he should be able to handle.

    Small mechanical issues, blown fuses, fouled spark plugs, hood latch that won't release to change the fuse. Flat tire on a trailer. Garage door frozen to the ground.
    Even broke the reclining seat latch in my truck (I backed into a tree, with the rear bumper, no damage to truck or tree.)

    Thankful my problems are small ones, but still frustrating.
  19. unimog-guy

    unimog-guy Member
    Messages: 31


    Why don't you do what a local lawn company did to me when I was 18.... He didn't pay overtime until after 50hrs worked. He figured out during the course of a 40 hr work week we rode around for 10hrs. I understood and didn't have a problem with it.
  20. John_DeereGreen

    John_DeereGreen 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,908

    Good luck explaining that to the department of labor when the wrong guy gets pissed off and turns you in.

    On the clock is on the clock, doesn't matter if it's billable hours or driving hours.