The Selling Season is Year Around

With the “selling season” for snow management contractors here, some things come to mind. Many think they don’t need to start “bidding” – God how I hate that word – start “quoting” new work until September or October. This bothers me. It implies we are a seasonal business, and only have to pay attention to what goes on about 6 months a year.

True - the small guys who are just looking to make a little money on the side, or guys who work as independent Service Providers for snow contractors need not pay attention to “the snow business” until just before it begins snowing – the real professionals at this - - or those who WANT to be professionals at this - - start thinking about “next winter” as soon as this past winter is over.

Progressive snow contractors are making plans now. Those plans include getting educated about the issues important to their businesses. They include planning for cash flow during the summer months, planning on how much new business they want to take on next winter and planning on what to buy to be able to service these new contracts next year. End of season customer reviews happen now. Reviewing how Service Providers performed last winter happens now too.

Good snow contractors are reviewing accounts receivable as well as who is renewing contracts now instead of in the fall.

Accounts receivable. You know what those are. This is when that customer who has not paid you a dime for the season is now whining about the number of times you plowed their site back in January on that big storm that came through and dumped half your seasonal total in a few days. He is now questioning your judgment and wondering why you plowed so many times instead of just waiting until the snow stopped – even though there was no way ANY of their customers would drive into that parking lot chocked full of snow. Of course, they did not complain when you were working diligently to keep the site open for business during the storm, and likely would have bitched up a storm had a customer gone into their retail facility and complained about the amount of snow on the lot.

But, now – when it comes time to “pay the bill” – 4 months after the snow event, they want you to cut the bill to a level they feel is “Fair”…..

Too many snow contractors get snookered by this well known tactic – where customer try to beat you down well after-the-fact. It’s sickening. It’s irritating. And, it’s down right aggravating.

What do you do? File suit ? Eat it ? I know….I know – you “negotiate”. Negotiate with someone who is not at all honest, has determined you’re someone who he can take advantage of, and he/she knows you’re hard up for money and that you can be “HAD”.

This type of treatment is unethical, immoral and should be against the law. Unfortunately – since we are ‘people who cannot find real jobs’ we will continue to have to deal with such trash, take the garbage that is dished out to us, and hope we can find customers who know the value of having someone who is looking out for their best interest as well as the best interest of those who visit sites we maintain.

This sort of thing just plain pisses me off.

I really wish there was an “Angies list” for deadbeat customers, where we could share with each other who these deadbeats are so we could avoid them, and maybe – just maybe – have THEM go out of business when their customers cannot gain access to their locations because they are not worthy of our attention.

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John Allin Consulting

P.O. Box 8503 Erie, PA 16505​​

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