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What would you guys do?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Mike Fronczak, Mar 11, 2002.

  1. Mike Fronczak

    Mike Fronczak Member
    Messages: 64

    On Wensday we had a day time snow. I went out around 7-7:30am checked some properties 1-2", forcast temps to rise, snow to stop. At 10 am we had 3", got a call started plowing. By 2pm down to 1.5-2" temp was 45 out, stop plowing.
    I get a letter today from one of my properties claiming they had 3" on they ground, 4-5" in some areas at 7:30am. I did not check this property at 7:30, but went out there at 2pm they had 1.5-2", very wet, & hard to plow property would have torn up major lawns.
    They have a 3" season contract, they want to deduct 5% of the contract because they think we should have plowed.
    Thanks for any advise, we also do there landscape work, property is worth good money. I don't want to piss them off, but don't want to get walked on either.
  2. stslawncare

    stslawncare Senior Member
    Messages: 142

    thats a tough call. if it was in the contract and they may have had it and they said they did its ur fault, u shuold have checked. i guess.
  3. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    Just my opinion, Mike, but I think you need to decide if the account is worth keeping. I had a similar thing earlier where I plowed and sanded a property. The guy called questioning that it needed sanding. I wrote a letter explaining my reasoning for sanding; that I was simply going by our agreement and giving the best service I knew how but told them to forget the sanding charge. Amounted to $5 but kept them as a customer. Still a good customer, too.

    Given the circumstances of the event - maybe if you wrote it out in a letter they would understand what happened (that you couldn't get there until PM and the snow depth had fallen below the 3" trigger) and that you were really looking out for their best interests. Then decide if you want to agree to the 5%, a lesser amount or not at all.
  4. CT18fireman

    CT18fireman Banned
    Messages: 2,133

    Any formal agreement in writing?

    Are there any properties close to that one?

    I doubt that they really had that much but since you did not check it I would say that it is your word against theirs. It would have taken an oddity in the storm to deposit that much in one location. Not unheard of but would surprise me. However if all your accounts had that much snow at 7am would you have been able to get them cleared? Sounds like the temps went up.

    Unless you can really prove that they did not have that much snow and you want to keep the account then I would try to work something out with them. Be sure when you word the contract next year try to be more specific. Maybe hold them accountable a little. I stress in my contracts that during business hours the owners should call if they have any concerns. Did you get a call from him?

    Last, I think that many people do not realize how much 3" is. On commercial properties that I have contracts I start service at the first flake. We spread first then go to plowing usually at 1-2" Unless it is after business hours we never let the snow accumulate that much during a normal storm.

    PINEISLAND1 PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 664

    Personally, I would write them back, explaining the fact that you monitored the storm the whole day, and the conditions of the contract were not met. Explain to them that if they desire a contract with a higher service level, that you think it would be a wise decision. Recommend a 1" trigger, as most commercial locations have, and offer them a new contract starting right now, lasting three years, 1 " trigger, and give them however much the 5% figure amounts to in a coupon for $ off the new contract on signing.

    They get their discount, however it will be towards future services, and you do not concede to any errors in operations. You get a better contract, and they will ultimately be much more satisfied with a 1" trigger.
  6. Mike Fronczak

    Mike Fronczak Member
    Messages: 64

    In regards to your guys questions. I have done the following.
    1. Called a friend of mine, plows the next property over I know they plowed it, trying to find out what time & how much snow. He has a per trip with them & is tring to push limits for trips because we haven't had any snow here (2-3 pushes on most stuff) we average 15, last three years over 20.
    2. E-mailed TV station that has "weather watchers" to see how good they keep records.

    Even if I had gone out there they would still be pulling this stunt.
    They think their getting take because we haven't plowed much. When we have they've been morning/day snow falls so it takes forever to get stuff done. They still haven't been done more than 8 hrs from when we started.
    They did call at 12 am, left message at office.
    The 5% amounts to $ 400.00
    Yes I do have a signed contract with them. States" Contractor shall perform services at a time convenient with its schedule and, at least between the hours between 5am and 12 pm, except that all dwellings shale have service provided no later than 8am following an overnight qualified snow event. Both parties further understand and agree that, due to the nature of major snow events, which may simillary affect other clients of the contractor, road travel, government restrictions, etc. the contractor may not be able to respond timely to perform the services agreed to , herein."
    They are not a business, it is a Senior complex of houses.
    Durring this storm I plowed two commercial locations, went to another complex, then went out to plow them, was there 4 hour from when I started.
    I have a two season contract with them. So discount for next season seems impratcal.

    OBRYANMAINT PlowSite.com Veteran
    from ohio
    Messages: 534

    OBVIOUSLY AS OTHERS HAVE STAted if the trigger was three try to get them to lower it in the future. I always plow it a bit sooner than i need to and then the customer will never complain about service......no matter how much you charge it seems like they will sometimes question the price(especially a customer with a high trigger...if i were too lose it for price i would be sad , but if i lost an account for lack of service i would be pretty mad at my self.......I am not saying that you did not service them as they asked........many times some customers you just have to "feel" out over time

    see if they will split the difference anfter your explanation

    you may spend more than 400 to find a similar customer,weigh your options..did they pay on time?

    I'd give them half and if they pressed it I would do as they asked but would definately address the problem in the negociations so it never happens again