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Who's to blame

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Misch-Rman, Dec 8, 2009.

  1. Misch-Rman

    Misch-Rman Member
    Messages: 70

    Lately I have been talking to alot of contractors in my area who have been hit hard,as have I this winter due to the rising number of new " low baller's" around here working cheaper then my labor and fuel cost. Well now our local snowplow dealer told me today that they ordered 500 new plows in July and have sold 475 of them... 200 in town and the rest on ebay... So do we blame the dealer for selling every one and there brother a plow or the " low baller's " they have been selling these plows too.. I guess what can ya do..... any thoughts
  2. xtreem3d

    xtreem3d PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,548

    quality truck equip?
  3. nchopp

    nchopp Junior Member
    Messages: 2

    Do work like you always have. Do a good job, be honest and fair with your customers, and don't try to lowball the lowballers.

    This economy crunch is just like any other - it will pass. The well-managed companies will make it through, the fly by nights won't.
  4. Misch-Rman

    Misch-Rman Member
    Messages: 70

    yep thats them its cheaper to buy a new plow on ebay from them than it is to walk in.. yeah thats all you can do to bad good service goes buy the wayside to price right now..
  5. JohnnyU

    JohnnyU 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,040

    I received an RFQ yesterday. I stopped by looked things over and wrote up a bid. It's a very small lot, less than 1/4 acre right next to an existing account and wouldn't take more than 20 minutes to clear in a typical storm up to 6". I bid it at $60, but was turned down as the busines owner told me that she'd received a bid for about half of what I quoted.

    I don't understand how anyone can make any money bidding that low. :dizzy:
  6. TerrForms

    TerrForms Member
    Messages: 80

    Dont' worry about that loss. Wait till the new contractor has to do repairs on the truck and plow. You'll get it back. I don't think many of the new plow owners will stay in business that long. Wait till we get some really big snows.
  7. JohnnyU

    JohnnyU 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,040

    Oh I know how that goes, trust me. I've seen a lot of guys come and go even in the last 10 years. These type of economic conditions always create a hot-bed of new guys with blades on their trucks trying to make a quick buck.

    They'll belly-up and those of us that bid with the intention of actually making a sustainable income will still be around to answer the calls that come in.
  8. asps4u

    asps4u Senior Member
    Messages: 543

    Why would you blame the dealer? It's definitely not their fault. Why shouldn't they make a buck? Why would they care who buys their products? Now, the lowballers on the other hand, that's a different story. Like others have said many times, they will screw up, crumble and move on to something else. Just keep up the good work and it will turn around for you! :drinkup:
  9. bhmjwp

    bhmjwp Senior Member
    from kcmo
    Messages: 309

    The bright side

    After 18 yrs in the business-I have always found the benefits. Business will be down about 20% this year. But next year I will save 50% on buying like new equiptment at 50 cents on the dollar. The real loser is the low baller that can't pay the credit card company back. I have upgraded plows 3x in this manor.
  10. JohnnyU

    JohnnyU 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,040

    I've seen this too. I'll be looking for a Blizzard 810 or WideOut come spring.... payup
  11. tinffx

    tinffx Member
    Messages: 68

    Nobody is to blame. Lower your prices or hire a better salesperson. Or do both. Have you ever shopped at wal-mart? Wal-mart has done more for the economicly depressed population in this country than every scumbag politician ever will by delivering goods at lower prices, and all the BS protectionists want to shut them down. Sure you can get organic cerial at Whole Foods for 3 times the price but at the end of the day either one is going to end up in the same place.
    So you see, your services are undoubtedly superior to those of the little guy, because of your capacity and experience. You can do things that the little guy inherently can't do. And there are people who don't need thier lot cleared by 5 am or 7 pm, and wouldn't suffer too great a loss if a breakdown caused their service provider to leave them hanging for a morning. You just have to go out and deliver what your customer needs. Maybe its going to be a little bit of a lean year (although from what I hear its snowing like crazy for you). Maybe you will have to figure out a way to cut costs and still deliver good service. But I doubt you will be happy with the year if you sit around and do everything the same this year that you did all those other years and not get the same results.

    When I don't get what I want my first question to myself is "where did I go wrong" followed immediatly by "how do I fix it." Mayby it's because I work in a strictly commission based industry, but I find it incredibly useless to say "what force outside of my control is ******* me every step of the way?" Good luck. Stash some cash to score some barely used equipment soon. It may be late to get on it but hopefully you get a particularly nasty storm today. It might help you get back some of those accounts that went the budget route on ya this year.
  12. Seaway25

    Seaway25 Senior Member
    Messages: 165

    I'm looking forward to buying a new used plow in April.
  13. In2toys

    In2toys Senior Member
    Messages: 319

    They are cheaper than YOUR fuel & labor cost. Their labor & fuel costs may be quite a bit lower.
  15. Misch-Rman

    Misch-Rman Member
    Messages: 70

    thanks guys
  16. ACA L&L

    ACA L&L Senior Member
    Messages: 362

    Were already seeing trucks and plows on the cheap, they bought them in the summer when they were mowing, and now they cant cover the payments because they are not making enuff after plowing for 24 hours straight. Were thinking about adding another truck and plow this month, buying outright is the way to go, some of these guys have a truck and plow payment thats more than there house payment/rent. Crazy, if u cant pay it off in 2 or 3 years u dont need it. 40- 50gs for a truck with a plow to tow there 5x8 trailer with a 12gs zero turn on it, and a $100 sears special weed whipper to go along with there $49 leaf blower. Its crazy i tell ya crazy. im gonna look nice in that new diesel.
  17. M&M

    M&M Senior Member
    Messages: 312

    I got a call right in the middle of the storm from a customer's neighbor wanting me to quote the driveway. I said my average drive is around $40 per push. She said the other guy did it last year for $25. I asked why isn't he doing it this year. Her response was because he is subbing on a huge office campus in town. My response was...There is a reason he is not plowing driveways for $25 anymore. He can't make money at that rate and that is why my rates are higher. I got the account for the season. Sometimes you need to give it to them straight.
  18. show-n-go

    show-n-go Senior Member
    Messages: 776

    M&M did it the way i do
    Profit is not a dirty word and when explained to people they will generally pay you.
  19. snocrete

    snocrete Banned
    Messages: 2,862

    John, I know what your saying. I lost some "new" bids that I put out this year to.....but you wanna know the messed up part about what I came across. It wasnt just the schmoe that decided to buy a plow all the sudden that was lowballing/scamming people....It's some of the bigger companies 2. One in particular that I bet you can guess ;).......he likes to run junk equipment and charge people for 3 tons of salt, but only put down 1.......On paper my plowing rates were comparable, but salting "appeared" to be twice what his was....when in all reality it was about the same price also, except they would have actually been getting a true 3 ton with me. Eventually he will run out of ins. companies to provide coverage.
  20. plowguy43

    plowguy43 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 5,281

    You never know, some of those people may have been laid off with no work for months and were approached by people while plowing and said "Sure I'll do it for $25" and then he ends up with 6 accounts the same way. Maybe they own the truck and plow outright and have no overhead except fuel costs, maintenance and their time.

    Personally, I bought my house and asked a few guys who plowed in the area how much per storm to do my drive. I found it was cheaper for me- who currently owned a truck - to purchase a plow and do it myself than it was to pay someone else to do it. My plow "paid" itself off in the first season. Plus my 3 year old son, who was younger at the time, love's plowing with me.