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Beginners Huorly Rate for Commercial

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by CAMP Lawncare, Sep 6, 2006.

  1. CAMP Lawncare

    CAMP Lawncare Member
    Messages: 62

    This is my first year for commercial work i have very little overhead i would really like to pick up some work but i dont want to be known as a LOWBALLER what should figure per hour?
  2. Jay brown

    Jay brown PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,783

    here $50 is the lowest you should be. i would say $100 is average for your area. BTW these are pickup prices
  3. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,477

    Depending on where you are in West Michigan, it ranges from $25\hour to $150\hour per truck. The lower end is along the lakeshore although there are a few who are trying to raise the bar.

    And you shouldn't need to worry too much about being a lowballer, just look at all the 'big' companies that were and continue to lowball in the GR area. You know, charging the same for a loader as a truck, lowering their prices just to get and keep work.

    Saying that, the minimum I would go if I were you would be $80\hour. Like Jay stated, $100 would be better but it all depends on your costs, requirements, and profit desires. I have yet to have a problem finding work and I am at the higher end of that scale. Course last year was the first year of the big lowballers. We'll have to see what happens this year. Seems like a couple of them had SMG syndrome or something.
  4. CAMP Lawncare

    CAMP Lawncare Member
    Messages: 62

    Im in the GR also thanks that helps alot
  5. GSJ

    GSJ Junior Member
    from W. MI
    Messages: 17

    I'm in GR and average about $120.00/ hour.
  6. Runner

    Runner Senior Member
    Messages: 957

    Alot of it is going to depend on how much snow you're moving per hour. Someone with a 1/2 ton truck pushing a 7 or 7 1/2 ft. meyer plow is NOT going to move the snow of someone with a 3/4 ton with an 8 ft Western with wings or let alone a 9'3" Boss V.
  7. 2003Ranger

    2003Ranger Junior Member
    Messages: 27

    So the average sounds like its $100/hr. in the Michigan area
  8. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    If you don't want to be a lowballer why did you only bid 65.oo for that parking lot?
  9. CAMP Lawncare

    CAMP Lawncare Member
    Messages: 62

    grandview i dont think im lowballing according to Mark Oomkes' $25-150/hour is the going rate in my area (post #3) i believe i can knock that lot out in an hour at that price it should cover everything if it doesnt i wont take the lowballers way out and quit mid-season or do a crap job i will give the best service i can and adjust prices next year
  10. DBL

    DBL PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,310

    im not looking to argue but what if the lot takes you longer or theres 2 feet of snow and it takes 3 hours thats why to cover yourself you do an by hour price in case it takes longer
  11. CAMP Lawncare

    CAMP Lawncare Member
    Messages: 62

    I dont look at it as arguing i look at as feedback whether negitive or positive I do have higher prices set for 6-12" and 12" and up
  12. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,477

    DBL, you're not suggesting a straight hourly price, are you? For example, $100 per hour.
  13. DBL

    DBL PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,310

    only because the title of this thread is beginners hourly rate
  14. cha-chas plowin

    cha-chas plowin Member
    Messages: 44

    I charge a flat rate is this a good thing or bad :confused:
  15. Mick

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

    If you're making money, it's good. Figure in your fixed costs, like insurance and your variable costs, like fuel and repairs and replacement costs for equipment. Add in what you want to make for a salary. Then charge what works for you. There are many ways out there to charge for services, but really depends on custom and what the customer wants. As long as you're charging enough to make a profit, it doesn't matter what anybody else does. If I could get paid in potatoes that I knew I could resell to the next guy and make a profit, that would be good. Generally, I don't like the barter system, but if it allowed me to make a profit...payup

    Now if I'm making enough to pay for the gas and a little pocket money, but not being able to replace my equipment as it wears out, then I'm essentially paying them to plow their driveway.:gunsfiring:
  16. jcesar

    jcesar Senior Member
    from Mi
    Messages: 492

    Got to agree with Mark. I plow in Gr as well, with a couple buddies too. Going rate for here is about 80 to 100 per hour.
  17. Jay brown

    Jay brown PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,783

    people here would shitt snow balls if we charged $100 per hour. funny thing is i can charge a set fee per push and make $200 per hour and that's fine. we charge $50 per hour on some of our big accounts, and our trigger is usually 1/2" and usually round our hours up a little. gotta do what you gotta do to compete with the beer money businesses.
  18. AlaskaSnow82

    AlaskaSnow82 Junior Member
    Messages: 9

    I bed to differ..... my 1500 7 1/2 would give most guys 3/4 and 1 ton 8-9 a run for their money.... Here in anchorage I have proved it time and time again LOL the truck don't mean squat unless you got the driver to go with it.....
  19. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,477

    I think we need to define hourly rate, or at least as we're using it here. Hourly rate can be 2 things, although ultimately it is used the same way.

    The way I understood CAMP's question is, what rate should I use to determine my price to a customer. This is determined by what someone charges per hour, their company billable rate: $100 per hour, so a lot that would take an hour to plow would be $100, 1/2 hour would $50, 3/4 would be $75, etc. It could also be used as just the rate that is invoiced for how much time was spent plowing: an hour would be $100, 25 minutes would be $42, 45 minutes would be $75, etc.

    The problem with the latter method is you will never make over $100\hour. You will never be rewarded for being more efficient. In all actuality, you will be penailized for being more efficient.

    The first method makes much more sense whether you are giving a seasonal or per push contract. Either way, the more efficient you become, the more $\hour you can make. If you bid a lot at $100 because it will take you an hour, and you get it plowed in a half hour, you just 'made' $200\hour.

    The only other method is square foot pricing, and this is determined the same way as the first method. You determine how much it costs you to clear a square foot and how many square feet a lot is. You base your price on that and hopefully some other factors.

    For me, I sell time, not square feet, so everything I estimate is based on how much time it is going to take me to plow, shovel, salt, mow, fertilize, aerate, prune, trim, landscape, etc. Materials are added to the estimated time.