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Why e-mail blasts are a ripoff

I think some people are getting ripped off when they hire a service to solicit business through them via e-mail blasts. Take this e-mail I received Friday, reproduced verbatim below. I wrote back to Eric, telling him his prices look fair, but ... I live in Los Angeles.

Snow Removal

Thanks so much for allowing us to give you this great opportunity to take advantage of our low snow removal rates. Below is our time & material costs for Snow Removal Services this Winter.

I also wanted to tell you a little about who we are and how we operate.

I've personally been providing snow removal services since 1963. We are committed to maintaining the price levels that we have had for the past 10 years. We also never charge travel time as some of our competitors do. We utilize approximately 500 snow plow trucks, 330 sidewalk shovelers, 59 salt/sand trucks, 52 skid steers, 28 loaders and 24 dump trucks/dump trailers.

We are also excited about implementing a "Crew Tracker" software this season which will create a more "real time" approach and accuracy to billing. As an added bonus, we provide Weather Works services to all of our clients, which provides emailed up-to-date weather reports from the actual zip code of each site, not from the airports. They also provide detailed storm overviews and accumulation totals from certified meteorologists. This helps take the guess work out of all your potential storms.

Once we receive a signed agreement our process starts by walking every inch of your site, mapping out traffic patterns, curbs, fire hydrants, and other hazards that might not be so evident under a foot of snow. When a storm is imminent, we're on the job 24/7, monitoring meteorological data and standing by with the necessary equipment and manpower to handle anything Mother Nature can throw at us.

We are also offering to waive the $50.00 minimum charge to all new clients that sign with us during the month of November.

Per Hour 4x4 Driver/Truck with Plow/Spreader - $95.00
Per Hour Driver/Bobcat - $125.00
Per Hour Driver/Skid Loader - $125.00
Per Hour Driver/3 cu yd Loader - $195.00
Per Hour Hand Laborer - $35.00
Per Hour Laborer with Snow Blower - $45.00
Per Hour Driver/Quad-ATV with Plow or Walk Behind Snow Pusher - $55.00
Per Ton (Ice Control) Bulk Rock Salt - 125.00
Per Ton (ICE CONTROL) Bulk Sand - $99.00
Per 50lbs (Ice Control) Bagged Rock Salt - $15.00
Per 50lbs (Ice Control) Bagged Calcium Chloride - $25.00
Per Hour Driver/Dump Truck - $120.00
Per Hour Driver/Tractor with Loader - $195.00

We look forward to working together with you and continuing a mutually beneficial relationship between our companies. In the meantime, should you need or want any additional assistance please feel free to contact me at .

Eric Smith
Account Manager
Superior Snow Removal
My brother James in Fargo writes, "Sounds like some decent prices...but I want the snow moved outta my way, not spread around like peanut butter!"

My nephew in Pocatello writes that Eric sounds like a pro and he'd hire him.

So would I, but I'm a little short on snow. Maybe KPCC engineer Dale Hoppert, a denizen of Mt. Baldy Village, would care to weigh in.