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What would you do? Customer complaining

Discussion in 'Business Fundamentals' started by mustangmike45, Jan 27, 2009.

  1. mustangmike45

    mustangmike45 Member
    Messages: 72

    Just got out of a meeting with a long time customer and it went something like this:

    We are very happy with the quality of service you are providing and would like you to "keep up the good work". But, the price you have been charging us for the past 3 years is now too expensive and we need a price break. We got a few other bids and the lowest would plow the lot for $60 and sand it for $25, can you match that?

    I am currently plowing the lot for 125.00 and salting it for 150.00. I am under contract with a 30 day cancel policy and they know it. The owner stated " contracts mean ****, if you charge me if/when I cancel I just won't pay it." As stated earlier I have done this lot for 3 years with no complaints and now all the sudden they want more than half off or they will find someone else! I can't even come close to those prices with all my overhead and to top it off the lot needs to be plowed and salted by 5am so semi's can get to the loading dock. I am thinking of just telling them to go fly but don't want to loose a customer that i have had for that long.
  2. cretebaby

    cretebaby PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 4,162

    He is just fishing Hold your price and let him give you a notice to cancel if he doesnt like it
  3. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    Thank you for being a good customer and I wish you luck with your new snow removal company you hire.
  4. JDiepstra

    JDiepstra PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,780

    .... and if you don't pay your bill I will sue you.
  5. mustangmike45

    mustangmike45 Member
    Messages: 72

    That's kind of what I was thinking, with the economy going in the toilet and they are a manufacturing plant (welding) I am sure money is getting tight. Also doesn't help that we have already had 22 plowable events this year and 38 last year! I would be getting tired of bills as well but that is part of owning a business.
  6. I don't get how you can't go lower than $125 per push? You have had 22 plowable days so far? That is $2750 for a parking lot? Is this lot only done with a pickup truck or are you needing to use loaders as well? Here, in my area, for lots that take an hour or two and require a pickup truck with blade/salter get anywhere from $300 to $600 per month for unlimited plowing in the month. If we can survive off rates like this why can't you? Not trying to start crap it just seems like you guys are getting a hell of a lot of money for plowing. More than us Canadians anyways...
  7. BMWSTUD25

    BMWSTUD25 Senior Member
    Messages: 631

    Most likely the guy that is willing to do if for that price either wont last or will fail to show within the time limits. Just be ready to take a phone call when they call wanting you back and remember to charge them more. dont gouge but raise your price. and if you dont hear back from them and let them go, just search to find someone new to fill their spot.:salute:
  8. cretebaby

    cretebaby PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 4,162

    because we have winters that you only plow 4-5 times

    besides it doesnt matter what the price is if he agreed to it then he should hold up his end of the deal
  9. Oh I agree completely with this part...

    I've done my lots almost the same amount of times as you guys. My commercial lots get special attention. 1" trigger...
  10. JDiepstra

    JDiepstra PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,780

    More plowing = more costs to the operator. Fuel, wages, tires, cutting edges... I don't need to go on, you are a pretty smart guy.

    The idea is not just to survive. I would rather thrive! Ha ha I rhymed!
  11. Oh boy do I know it... I've had so many unforeseen expenses this year I'm crying myself to sleep at night. lol
  12. downtoearthnh

    downtoearthnh Senior Member
    Messages: 121

    I think that everyone has a right to try to get the lowest price, and we as contractors have to understand that there are individuals who will do whatever it takes to get an account. If you start trying to save every account, whether from pride, sense of loyalty, or some other logic, you will miss other opportunities that may be in the background. Say goodby and look for a hello!
  13. BMWSTUD25

    BMWSTUD25 Senior Member
    Messages: 631

    I have to say I do feel for you guys that are having problems with the lowballing that seems to be a growing trend. Im not sure why but around here more and more guys are willing to undercut you just to run around and talk about all the work they have. I guess it makes their D**k hard or something idk... but I'll be damned if im gonna work for less than everyone else just to look busy:dizzy:
  14. mustangmike45

    mustangmike45 Member
    Messages: 72

    This lot is rather large as well with a sunk in loading dock that is a pain to plow out and a rear area that is scattered with large metal objects (dumpsters and equipment they use.) all of this has to be plowed around as well so they can access it easily with a forklift. I plow the lot with a truck and it takes anywhere from 1 to 1.5 hours to plow on a normal snow (6'' or less). I charge what I charge so that i can afford good quality equipment that will not break and if it does for some reason then I also have back ups, there is something to be said about a professional job that always shows up on time with no issues. Also, if I am doing it for free or anywhere close I would rather sleep in and not put the wear and tear on my 45,000.00 truck
  15. BMWSTUD25

    BMWSTUD25 Senior Member
    Messages: 631

    nicely put mustangmike
  16. augerandblade

    augerandblade PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,054

    tymusicussmileyflagWhen ever I lose a account by a lowballer I always think what goes around comes around. When I initially started out I worked at cost definitely lower than the established companies. Built up my business upped my prices when the "honey moon " was over. Now I got lowballers chipping away at my snowremoval list. So now I m trying to keep the contracts on good service / equipment and working as the contract requires. I would suggest that if ya cant lower your price then part company on good terms. SOMETIMES YOUR COMPETITION IS YOUR BEST ADVERTISER!!!!!!! You may be back,
  17. JohnnyRoyale

    JohnnyRoyale 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,935

    What Grandview said.
  18. Joe D

    Joe D Senior Member
    Messages: 605

    Part on good terms. like said. Wish them luck and tell them to call you if it doesn't work out.
  19. I would explain all this too them and advise them that what they are paying for is quality service. After 3 years I'm sure you have a fairly open relationship with them so I'd even go as far as commenting that it is astonishing that they would want to throw away such a great business relationship that has been working well for both parties over a monetary figure that has never been an issue before.

    If you don't need the money just wish them luck.
  20. BlackIrish

    BlackIrish Senior Member
    Messages: 902

    I agree with you 100%, but your economy is causing havoc with everything.

    Did you explain your " quote" ? to the customer?

    Is it possible they would accept less plowing area for less $$?

    I'd prob offer him a 10% discount and lock him into next year also, see what
    happens for economy in 10/11.
    Other than that GL with your new guy.