To Plow or not To Plow??`

Discussion in '<a href= target=_blank ?>Sn' started by HandyHaver, Dec 12, 2000.

  1. HandyHaver

    HandyHaver LawnSite Member
    Messages: 112

    I'm looking for some advise here. I have 18 res/drives accounts signed up for the winter so far. In my contract the billing starts at 2"-6". We my get some snow tomorrow night, possibly 1-3". (depends on what forecast you look at). It's supposed to turn to rain and get into the mid-40's in the afternoon. I know there are alot of variables and "what if's" but if it should happen the way I just described, do I plow or wait it out..........

  2. cat320

    cat320 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 823

    well i would wait it out .your customers will call you if it need to be done but you should of put some type of clause like that into your contract for these snow or no snow storms. it always hard to tell when to plow when there that small

    PINEISLAND1 LawnSite Member
    from WEST MI
    Messages: 201

    I go through the same thing here. I have a few customers that want service, for whatever reason (usually cost), at 3 inches.

    If they are on a per plow billing then that is exactly what they get, even to the point of measuring each time and driving away when its not 3. I don't want to be accused of running up their bill for my benefit.

    If they are seasonal customers, and I'm out doing everything else anyways, I will do them. Its much easier on you as a plower to keep them as clean as you can, as often as you can.
  4. Alan

    Alan Member
    Messages: 1,185

    That's always hard to call. Our residentials don't kick in until 4". The problem is complicated by the way snowfall tends to be heavier on the other side of the river. Something about the way the valley channels storms coming in off the lake vaeely, I think, but there is consistently more snow out where most of our residentials are clustered. I've been lucky though, only had one customer question the necessity of plowing and since they were a good customer (4 rental units) and paid promptly I offered to split the price of that one plowing. We both came away happy.
  5. HandyHaver

    HandyHaver LawnSite Member
    Messages: 112

    Well I've already heard from 4 customers and they want me out at 2". Gonna wait to see what tomorrow brings and then just start calling everybody if it's still questionable & let them know I'll be out. Have to wait and see what Mother Nature dishes out. Thanks for the feedback

  6. John Allin

    John Allin LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,488

    Our contracts specifically state (in the terms and conditions noted on the rear portion of the contract) that WE make the decision if plowing is necessary. Period. By signing the document, they automatically agree with our decision. No negotiaion. Our decision. Doesn't matter how much snow has fallen. If we decide that plowing warranted, it's a done deal.

    We have had people question that (after the fact) by stating that they didn't think plowing was necessary. We do not budge. Ever. And on those rare occassions that people want to argue with us, we (respectfully) point it out on the contract terms. We have yet to lose the arguement, and (interestingly enough) have never lost a customer over it either.

    I know it's arrogant and high falutin, but it works for us.

    My suggestion... if you think there's enough to plow it when you are there - do it. I've been there when rain has been predicted after the snow, and then it doesn't rain. If we all relied on the weatherman to decide if we would work or not, we'd all look like buttheads more often than not. Unless, of course, you're weathermen are of that rare breed that acutually does it accurately most of the time. Mine don't.
  7. jrblawncare

    jrblawncare LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 445

    This is a great thread,I may be faced with this Wednesday affternoon,spoke with a client Today about it,its my call,2" to 3" I will push at the transition to rain or mix to get it cleaned off,commercial mainly.
  8. HandyHaver

    HandyHaver LawnSite Member
    Messages: 112


    I sat down tonight and made a bunch of calls and after explaining that if we get more than predicted, if it doesn't turn to rain ect.. ect... ect... Most were understanding, some difficult. I told them I would be out and will stop. Next year I will add a few extra clauses in the contract. Most of these accounts are good size drives on the main line and they like to bicker. They also like to back the Mercedes or Jags out of the garage and "stop" at the end of drive. Sometimes damned if you do & damned if you don't, so you might as well do!!!
  9. Matt

    Matt LawnSite Member
    Messages: 161

    I'll admit that we too have those terms in our terms and conditions, I wonder where we got the idea? Thanks John! Like John stated you can never trust the weatherman and you never know what the future may bring. Since we are the ones that have many $ invested in the equipment then I quess we should be the one that decides if plowing is warranted. We have had customers ask us to wait until the end of the storm and we tell them that we will start plowing at 3 - 4" and plow how ever many times it takes until the snow stops coming down. The beginning of Thanksgiving week we had accounts that received 22" while other ones received 36 - 40", you think I am waiting until the end think again. We also have in our contract that the $ charge is for accumulations up to 8" additional accumulations are done at a prorated rate of the agreed upon price. That way when the lake effect machine kicks into high gear and we start getting 1 - 2" a hour and it takes 9 hrs. to get route done we get paid for the additional accumulation. I used to try and think of the charges a customer would receive and would try to wait awhile before we plowed, then the phone would start ringing. Were stuck when are you going to plow, since we started making the decision no complaints about having not been plowed and no complaints about when we plowed. We are the professionals that they hired to provide them with access to their property, the way I see it if we wait until they can't access there property than we haven't held up our end of the deal. Customer satisfaction is the name of the game and when they can get in and out of there property they are satisfied.
  10. thelawnguy

    thelawnguy LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,411

    For residentials, I always plow for a "marginal" storm, if the customer beefs, hey I will be a nice guy and eat it, its more cost-effective for me to plow 2 inches on a driveway (2 min tops) for free than spend all day on the phone with customers, hearing "well I dont know Ill call u back..." most folks just pay the bill and say nothing. Commercials are now all seasonal contracts so they are either plowed or sanded with any accumulation.

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