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Acquiring New Accounts

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by dodge2500, Oct 19, 2009.

  1. dodge2500

    dodge2500 Senior Member
    Messages: 229

    I was just wondering if anyone had any input and or advice. I am 25 yrs old and have been plowing snow since I was 16. First as a sub and for the last 5 years on my own. I have 7 trucks and 2 loaders with 10 ft boxes. All my equipment is late model and every truck is 3/4 or 1 ton. Loaders are a John Deere 2555 tractor loader with mfwd and cab and a Gehl 6640 with 2 speed.

    Anyways, I have had a good group of core jobs that I still have but i have the equipment to take on a lot more. I put out around 50 new bids this year and only have picked up a handful from that. The biggest being 3 large grocery stores in our area. I bid $65.00 per hour for trucks and $85.00/hr with the loaders and $0.18 per lb on salt. Needless to say I didn't get them. I was just wondering if people are honest when they use per hour and per lb bids?? I generally don't bid this way but was asked to. Are a lot of these business owners just price shopping with my bid and letting the other guy see it? I am just curious as this year was the first year I really went after stuff. Most of my other jobs just happened word of mouth. Thanks for the input.
     
  2. dfdsuperduty

    dfdsuperduty Senior Member
    Messages: 597

    from my experience what little it may be since we are about the same age is that the property managers want solid numbers. I have a radio station that I plow they wanted an hourly rate on plowing and a solid number for salt. I explained to them that each application could be different depending on melting snow, shade, ice storms etc.... they stated that if i have to put down one application and come back 15 mins for a second application and charge them for 2 apps then so be it but they wanted solid numbers for each application. I may get a lot of feedback from this but I also have a policy that if i am there and only do 1/2 of an app i only charge them for 1/2 unlike some companies that will charge for a full application again this is just one example. I say give it a shot and see what happens the worse that will happen is the say no
     
  3. jbis1782

    jbis1782 Member
    Messages: 44

    Some people give their current contractors last look at the prices. New accounts are hard to get unless they come to you. I am in the same boat you are. Next year i have to start to get new accounts.It kind of gets depressing after a while, but you have to just hang in their. Some new accounts will come after the first few snowfalls due to lack of services with the low numbers.
     
  4. jbis1782

    jbis1782 Member
    Messages: 44

    I forgot to tell you. If you want to know other peoples numbers, go to a pub;ic bid. They read the numbers out loud, and some bids are per hour. That can give you an idea of what other people are charging
     
  5. dodge2500

    dodge2500 Senior Member
    Messages: 229

    Thanks for the replies. It is super frustrating to put so much time into it and not get hardly anything. I have great references with the Mayor of our town being one of them. I know that my pricing isn't far off because some people have said that I had a great price. I don't know anything about the public bids. Where would you find out about these??
     
  6. Bajak

    Bajak Senior Member
    Messages: 999

    If they are happy with their current service provider they don't always just take the lowest price either. Where I worked before I went on my own, we kept all our accounts for years and I would not doubt that some other companies were "cheaper on paper" than we were.
    Some people will always stick to the evil that they know rather than risk the evil they don't know..
     
  7. Bajak

    Bajak Senior Member
    Messages: 999

    Hardly anything is still something and to me that's still success.:nod:
     
  8. dodge2500

    dodge2500 Senior Member
    Messages: 229

    That is true I just had some people who said they were not happy with the contractor last year and yet they still ended up going with them again. I just really feel that some of the big contractors in my area are making it sound cheaper than they really are. I have heard of one contractor in my area coming in with low prices but then jacking up the hours and salt they used and charging a lot for any extras that they might have to do like complete removal of snow. I charge $165.00 per hour for complete snow removal which includes a large payloader and a semi with a 40' dump trailer.
     
  9. jbis1782

    jbis1782 Member
    Messages: 44

    Public bids are advertised through the newspaper and local papers. Just keep your eye open for them. They are usually for government parking lots and schools. As far as your price for the removal, you are cheap in my mind but you r in a different area. Most people around me charge 130-150 hr for a 3cy endloader alone.
     
  10. dodge2500

    dodge2500 Senior Member
    Messages: 229

    I might be cheap for the removal but I thought it might help get my foot in the door. I know I am still going to make money at that rate..
     
  11. jbis1782

    jbis1782 Member
    Messages: 44

    Smart idea keeping it cheap and making little money. Some guys around hear bid to break even to get thier foot in the door, then take out a mailbox or hit a car and end up backwards and loose the account the following year. You sound like a good business man eventually the accounts will come around. Keep putting your name out there
     
  12. Peterbilt

    Peterbilt Senior Member
    from IA.
    Messages: 745

    Don't feel to bad about all the bidding. I have over 150 out as of now and I have yet to hear back from some of my core accounts.

    I am hearing "We are going with you guys" but I have yet to get it in writing.

    I have brought in 10 new accounts so far, so not all is lost. So my goal of 75 total commercial accounts is well in site.

    J.
     
  13. dodge2500

    dodge2500 Senior Member
    Messages: 229

    That's what I am trying to do, get my name out there. However, I refuse to work for free and beings that snow plowing is just a side line business to what I do, I will let the equipment sit if I have to. I have made a ton of contacts this year and many who had contracts already but want to talk next year. So I guess picking up 5 or 6 good accounts on top of what I had isn't too bad.
     
  14. dodge2500

    dodge2500 Senior Member
    Messages: 229

    It is just depressing to hear about some of the stuff that is happening in this industry. Why is it that we are making the same money or less than what people were 20 years ago? There are many costs that go into this and I think some of the companies willing to do it for nothing need to go to business 101 or something
     
  15. LHK2

    LHK2 Senior Member
    Messages: 205

    Every one is making less money because they are willing to do it cheaper then the next guy and the owners and property managers know that. If everyone just stuck to there guns, property managers and owners wouldn't't be able to put us through that. Here in Cleveland, we have a couple of guys charging as low as 35 hr. A guy was advertising 39 month ( 4 months) for unlimited plowing for driveways. Really!!
     
  16. dodge2500

    dodge2500 Senior Member
    Messages: 229

    I am not willing to always be cheaper than the guy before but just last week I did pick up a big account because last year the people who did it were completely dishonest about hours and the person in charge went on vacation and subbed the job out to another company and the other company was even worse. They checked my references and went with me even though I was more expensive. It just seems really hard though to get some of the accounts away from other companies even if they are doing a poor job. I don't know if there are under the table deals or what..
     
  17. big acres

    big acres Senior Member
    Messages: 653

    If you can land 8-10% of the bids you put out... your doing alright. You're in the 10-12% range, so that's not bad. Sharpen your sales pitch, put out more bids, and always chase the best leads first.
     
  18. dodge2500

    dodge2500 Senior Member
    Messages: 229

    Thanks for the advice Big acres.
     
  19. Scott's

    Scott's Senior Member
    Messages: 416


    Sounds like you just need to lowball all your local contractors that have been in this line of work for years.
     
  20. Scott's

    Scott's Senior Member
    Messages: 416


    WOW it sounds like you are trying to under cut everyone in your area. Im sure glad your not in my area