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Some thoughts and observations

plowking35

LawnSite Bronze Member
Location
S.E. CT
We speak alot of how hard seasonal contracts are to sell. I have signed 5 new seasonal accounts this season alone. Here is what I do, and see if it may work for you.
When asked to bid on a site, we go and meet with the owners, we find out what their needs for plowing are, do they want black and wet, what are your trigger depths, how often do we need to service your site and so on. They we lay out our plowing plan. And at the same time show them the benifits of a seasonal contract.
Then when we send the contract in, it is laid out for seasonal pricing, with payment plan, amounts per month, and details regarding low cap and high cap on snowfall.
Near the very end is the per push pricing. Now once they get the contract in hand, I stop pushing the seasonal idea, I dont want to over sell the option. Yet everyone that I have done this to, has decided to go with that option.
In the last 5 winters, we have barely reached our average of 45" for a single winter, in fact last year we only recieved 15" of total snowfall, so it isnt because we have had hard winters that the managers are opting for seasonal. If you are confident in offering the seasonal sale, you may be surprised at how easy it is to sell it.
We also won a contract because of being a SIMA member, when the manager saw the logo on the contract, and called to find out what they were all about, and then found out we were the only members in our area, he was impressed at how we are learning more about the industry, and not waiting for stuff to happen before we jump on the bandwagon.
Dino
 

GeoffDiamond

LawnSite Bronze Member
Location
Maine
I have never had a problem selling seasonal contracts.

I have been going about it, the way you recomend for years.

I ask the customer what they want. Then come up with a payment plan.

Geoff
 

iowastorm

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
Iowa
I agree w/ all of the above (or below), but we're still fighting the old "I don't want to pay for services that aren't provided" mentality, along with the scabs that will work for gas money.

All that said, we did pick up 12 monthly accounts this year!
 

thelawnguy

LawnSite Silver Member
Location
Central CT
Well most of my customers (present and potential) still remember the budget-busting 110+ inches of 95 and would prefer to not have a financial repeat of that season. Probably the biggest selling factor for seasonal snow removal pricing.
 

site

LawnSite Member
Location
Stratham,NH
We do a whole bunch of medium and large condo associations and they are all on seasonal contracts. I sell them on seasonal contracts by reminding them how easy it is to budget for the season. They pay a fixed amount no matter what and they can budget. The last thing the president of a condo association wants is a fight with other residents about suprise bills. I've had most of these accounts for several years and I make a lot of money on them. Sure once out of every ten years I might take a hit, but the other nine will easily pay for it
 

diggerman

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
Iowa
Dino I know you like this plan and so would I but I jhave read your sample contract and you have so many loop holes written into it you can charge what ever you want so it really gives no assurence of a price per month to your customer.Which is a win win situation for you but not alot of benefit for the customer.
 
OP
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plowking35

LawnSite Bronze Member
Location
S.E. CT
Digger
You mentioned that its a smaple contract and nothing more. Do all my contracts look exactly like that with all the wording? No. But it was written as a guide to help others who dont know where to start. If you would like, fax or email me a copy of your contract and I will be glad to scan it and post to my site for another sample for people to look at.
And yes there is alot of wording to my benifit, and thats the way I like it. The value to the customer is our service. We have had no complaints to the wording we use. As a matter of fact, most all our customers are fairly uneducated when it comes to snow removal, they think we are all just plow truck drivers and that anyone can do this. As we all know that isnt true, so any angle and benifit to me is fine with my conscience. If we get a 24" blizzard,and we have them cleared in good time and ready to reopen before other stores, than I should be paid accordingly. That is why that loop hole is there. I have never used it, but I would if I had to. That line came straight from a SIMA symposium speaker Rick Kier, he had a 24" snow fall and people were calling and offering him stupid money to plow, but he did his customers first, and many complained because he had to 2 and 3x plow areas,and they didnt want to pay the extra. So he now uses similar language in his contracts, and I just plagerized the idea.
Anyway the point is, that I am a legit and ethical person and would never purposely try and decieve the customer, but I also need to CMA. I also delight in the thought that you had to make sure that you found fault in something I did this week. My blodd pressure was just about back to normal, thanks for kicking it up a notch.
Dino
 
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