Why is residential snow removal so tough to do?
If you have ever tried to find someone to shovel snow for your driveway, you know it’s tough to find someone reliable. There is a reason for that and it’s called LOGISTICS. It ultimately starts with how the snow removal business operates and the way snow removal is approached by residential clients versus commercial clients.
A snow removal business operates on weeks and months of preparation getting equipment and employees ready; building schedules and lists; and teaching employees the lists and nuances of each location. This is all so that for a 12-24 hour window when it snows, the Contractor can earn money. This window of “earning” time is limited to one long shift because after 12-24 hours employees are exhausted. So, in this 12-24 hour window of opportunity, there can be no wasted time, no wasted equipment, no wasted miles driven, BECAUSE EVERY MINUTE COUNTS. By the time the snow stops falling, most contractors have been working since the middle of the snowfall and are in the final push to get everyone finished. This is when the phones usually rings to get a price to shovel a driveway.
Commercial clients, for the most part, will call, get an estimate, and book a spot on a contractors “schedule” in September, October, or November. When it snows, the contractor is triggered at certain snowfall amounts to remove the snow automatically, every time it snows, mostly without any complications. This process has allowed the contractor to make sure he has enough equipment, employees, and efficiently organized route lists to minimize wasted time and miles. Typically if cars or obstructions are present and areas can’t be plowed the contract will call for another paid visit to clear it.
Residential clients, on the other hand, typically call 1, 2 or 3 days before it is going to snow. Many call while it is snowing or it has just stopped snowing. At this point, all the crews are out working already or almost done. This means residential clients are usually leaving a message and will need to be called back. This presents a logistical nightmare for the contractor because snow removal companies operate by pre-planning, pre-organizing, and removing all wasted time and miles from the job list. This is how they make money. When the contractor agrees to come out to the driveway 1 of 3 things will usually happen. First, many times the job is done already because every contractor who answered the phone or called back was given the address. Then, the first guy who showed up, did the job, and the homeowner didn’t call everyone else back to cancel them from showing up. Second, the homeowner wants to negotiate the price and sometimes will say “Add this or add that… or don’t do this or that and will that lower the cost?” Third, if the price is settled on, the homeowner has to “get ready” to come out to warm up and clear off the cars and move them around. Then the questions begin, “Can you clean in the street while you’re here?”, “Just clean around my mailbox”, “How about my deck… it will only take a minute”… all the while eating up the limited time that is available. A 5 minute job has turned into a 30 minute job. Finally, the job is done. The next typical response is… “When it snows next time please come to my house again”…. it is agreed and the contractor has a new customer! A week later it snows… and 1 of 3 things happen…. First, the phone rings 12 times, “When are you coming, I have to go to work?” or “It’s not that much snow, don’t come today”… Second, the contractor shows up and the driveway is all shoveled and clean as a whistle! The contractor knocks on door and says “It’s done?” and the response… “I had some time” OR “I wanted some exercise so I did it” OR “Just come next time”…. Third, the homeowner has to “get ready” to come out to warm up and clear off the cars, move them around….
These types of scenarios above dealing with residential clients makes most contractors follow the path of only servicing commercial customers. This has left a huge market under served, so we built a system to make Residential Snow Removal as easy as 1,2,3 – Read “Our Solution”