Sometimes clients can be just as fickle as the weather. And just as every storm is different, so are the needs of every customer. Standardizing production and costs and pricing is great, but the fact is these figures sometimes need to be tailored to a particular account.

This is perhaps most commonly the case with clients who require additional pushes within a snowfall range; for example, a church or hospital that requests to be plowed-out three times in a day. In those cases, Robert’s Nursery charges for each push even if the total snowfall remains within the base zero-to-three-inch range. It’s critical to put this in contracts, Robert Kozol emphasizes.

After 25 years in business, Kozol is convinced of the importance of using detailed contracts that spell out everything that’s included and everything that’s not included: “The goal is not to burn our clients; it’s to make sure that they fully understand what we will and will not do. And one of the biggest lines in there is, ‘If we have not described it, it is not to be assumed that we will do it.’”

While Dan Sneller with Sneller Snow Systems prefers the seasonal-with-a-cap model of pricing, he says the reality is “that sometimes the client dictates the way they want it, and we’re OK with that.” In the big box store market, for example, clients tend to want all-inclusive pricing with one flat price regardless of what happens with the weather, he says. Because that approach can create an expensive problem for the contractor in heavy snow years, he says many snow removal companies limit the number of these clients they’ll take in their portfolio. Still, making accommodations in pricing isn’t all bad, he notes: “By having a mix of different pricing, it does provide some stability for us.”

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