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2 inch trigger?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by CNYScapes, Jan 15, 2004.

  1. CNYScapes

    CNYScapes Senior Member
    Messages: 136

    All my commercial contracts have a 2" trigger to plow the lot. Most of the guys I know in this area do the same. Then why is it that almost every commercial lot in town is plowed every time there is a 1/2 inch of snow. I do it too, just because every one else does, and I know if my customer comes in and sees the other lots plowed than I look incompetent. I just was wondering what other contractors do when there is measurable snow, but not as much as your contract calls for?:rolleyes:
  2. JMR

    JMR Senior Member
    Messages: 567

    We plow @ 1" on all commercial account. The contracts are written with a 1" trigger. Our pricing goes 1-3, 3-5, 5-7 etc. My customers understand the liability that exist if you do not remove snow from their property. They must take the necessary measures to protect their customers and their own a$$es.
  3. Big John

    Big John Junior Member
    Messages: 18

    JMR has it right, I think the 2" trigger primarily applies to residential.
  4. xlr8

    xlr8 Senior Member
    Messages: 107

    Anybody use 3" for a trigger for residential, and if so what to do about 1" 1 night than 1" the next. Still below the 3" trigger but a problem no less. Any info much appreciated
  5. PLOWMAN45

    PLOWMAN45 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,815

    1" trigger for commercial accounts and 3"trigger for driveways
  6. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    The majority of mine are residential 3" triggers. I got several snows like that in a row last year. Had a couple of times with a total of 4" and one with total of 5". I contacted the customers and let them make the decision. Let them know that no one snowfall had met the trigger, but the total was getting pretty deep. Some wanted it done and some just kept driving on it. One wound up with a really slick, steep mess that I wound up sanding the heck out of. This year they told me they'd bought a blade for their garden tractor and would call me for the really heavy ones. When they called after 20", I was "too busy with the regular accounts".

    This year I told everybody that if it looked like I wasn't coming and they wanted it done, to just call me.
  7. The Boss

    The Boss 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,099

    I've got 13 accounts that are 2 inch trigger and 2 accounts that are 1 inch trigger.:waving:
  8. gene gls

    gene gls PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 480

    I have 0 to 1" at a reduced rate to cover what ever is necessary for safe access and 1 to 3" at normal rate durning regular business hours. Residentials are 2-4" durning the day,4-6" at night. Next year I'm going to offer different package combinations for my residentials to choose from.I think some would go for a 0 to 1" reduced plan just to have the drives clean. A peice of pie is better than no pie in my book.

  9. DeereGuy

    DeereGuy Senior Member
    Messages: 346

    Gene gls,

    I'd agree with you there. (<1"agreement). I just started in this business and with only two contracts(in 2 weeks), one Commercial with 2" trigger and one res. with 1" trigger, I have already figured that I could have sold a 1" trigger to the Commercial folks but didn't because their last guy used a 2" trigger. Meanwhile the customers are skidding around his parking lot after a small storm and I can't do anything unless he calls me. Believe me, he won't call even though I've given him a big break on a less than 2" push. And If it melts and turns to ice he won't pay for sand. (Not that I have a sander.) So that's not going to be good. I'm learning but evidently not fast enough.
  10. elite1

    elite1 Senior Member
    Messages: 187

    Here is my set up.

    Large Apartment complexer with 9 different lots - service as at a dusting. Plow all the lots every inch (as long as we can keep up with it) and a final when it is done snowing at a higher rate. We also clean all the sidewalks with this same method.

    2 small 8-flat apartments at 2 inch trigger.

    1 avg. sized gas station- 2 inch trigger

    1 large gas station/Culvers restaurant- 2 inch trigger

    1 Storage complex- 2 inch trigger

    1 residential at 1 inch

    currently 35 residential at - 2 inch trigger

    3 residential at 3 inch trigger.

    Commercial lots (not the large apartments) have a max of 4 inches
    residential have a max of 5 inches
    when it gets to that amount we plow no matter what the time of conditions. We salt all areas that we work on (commercials)

    2 Trucks
    6 Toro Snow Blowers for sidewalks
  11. lawnkid

    lawnkid Senior Member
    Messages: 234

    We plow our lots whenthere is more than 1". Anything less and we just salt.
  12. Big Nate's Plowing

    Big Nate's Plowing PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,266

    ditto here
  13. DeereGuy

    DeereGuy Senior Member
    Messages: 346

    Thanks for your post. I don't want to get into all the details of all your accts but in trying to figure this out I need a little more info.

    If you drop the plow at a dusting or 1" and you only get 1 inch how is your contract set up reguarding depth increments so the owners don't get teed off for charging them a full rate for a quick job and how does this relate to the residentials especially. I imagine your using a lot closer pricing interval than I am. I am trying to do it in 6 inch intervals. So 1-6" one price and every 6" accumulation another price. Is there a better way?
  14. chris k

    chris k Senior Member
    Messages: 204

    Residentials I tell them that as a rule of thumb if they see the town out plowing we will be out. Commercials we go out for any amount of snow. If we don't have to plow we will salt and sand. Either way we are going to do something.
  15. elite1

    elite1 Senior Member
    Messages: 187

    Residentially accounts along with most of the pay for 2-5 (2-4) when it hits that amount we plow. They get charged based on the amount of times we come to plow. If I know it is going to be a over night event I may let 6 inches come down. Just be smart about it. I never push more than that. If I plow a drive 2 times because it snowed 8 inches they get charged for 2 plowings. I know what you are saying but your clean up will take longer. So if you do a quick job the first time, the last will take longer so it's the same in the end.

    As for my larger account we take care of drive lanes, during the storm. The problem is their is no place for the snow, so you almost have to plow the entire lot. The final clean up we hit the parking spots, and dumpster areas. I charge them $150 more for the final= 2 truck hrs.

    Most don't argue because I put down the time we arrive to the property on the invoice. They just have to count the # of times we plowed their property. Not all will get serviced under 2 inches

    I don't no if I am high or low on pricing but I do know that 3 inches of snow gets me $5,000 with 2 trucks. :D
  16. CNYScapes

    CNYScapes Senior Member
    Messages: 136

    I don't no if I am high or low on pricing but I do know that 3 inches of snow gets me $5,000 with 2 trucks. :D [/B][/QUOTE] by Elite 1

    What do you mean, $5000 with 2 trucks. Is that per event, like in one day?
  17. Chaser13114

    Chaser13114 Senior Member
    Messages: 103

    I am having the same difficulty. My commercial accts all read 2 " at customers spec. They are seasonal so I price it based on average accumulations of 2" or more. The problem I had last year is one particular acct would call me saying there was 3-4 inches and they need to be plowed. I would arrive to find less than 1". What to do? This is a excelant customer so I sucked it up. This year I added a clause that calls for removal less than the triggered 2" would be subject to an additional charge. It also specifs an hourly rate for those situations.

    They still have trouble reading a rule and I havent charged any extra for it yet. My first billing was substantial with salting and heavy equipment extras. I just couldn't add in the extra plows. I feel that it will apper as unjustified or unprofessional being a seasonal contract.

    I think in the future I will submit a bid with a 2" trigger as they request and a bid with a 1/2" trigger which is more like what I am doing. That way they have the choice upfront and shouldn't be surprised when I send a bill for the additional charge if they call with less than the trigger. Anyone have any other ideas?
  18. JMR

    JMR Senior Member
    Messages: 567

    If they are always calling you at a 1/2"-1 trigger make your bid reflect that. Document this years plowing. When you met with with next year, explain that they have been calling for the pushes at the 1" trigger. Give them your new contract and price with the 1" trigger. If properly explained you shouldn't have any problem. We just set all our commercial triggers at 1". I can't believe any business owner would want the liability associated with not doing snow removal & ice control.
  19. Runner

    Runner Senior Member
    Messages: 957

    This is why I like the places like the professional centers and the medical plazas. They just say "just do it". I tell them ahead of time when I sell the contract - that my goal is to have wet pavement when they pull in at 7 a.m.. This doesn't always happen, but I am always there, and they are clear. Sometimes it takes a bit longer and a bit more traffic for the ice to melt. I have salted about 10x the amount that I've plowed this year. Residentials usually just have a 2" trigger, though most of them never mind removal of like an inch and a half.
  20. elite1

    elite1 Senior Member
    Messages: 187

    I can say the same. The accounts that let you just do it, and charge are the way to go. The only thing that you have to keep in mind is that you might only go out for that one account, so you must have a min charge.

    CNYscapes- yes 5 in one day that 3 inches of snow fall. Some of my larer properties will be plowed every inch. They want it to stay cleaner than the streets. Just did that, back on jan4/5.