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bidding question

Discussion in 'Bidding & Estimating' started by clncut, Jan 8, 2007.

  1. clncut

    clncut PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,121

    Ive decided for next year to go strickly residential, cluster as many customers as I can in a small area. My question is for those who do mostly/only residential properties.

    My question is what is the best way for bidding residentials? Do most just plow per push with a discount for multiple pushes or per inch. How much snow does one allow on a customers drive before one plows? Currently I bid per push and try to explain that if its a smaller storm we will plow after the storm is over. If its a larger storm, multiple visits may be needed. Could you believe some customers still dont get it!!

    Just trying to keep it simple. Any suggestions will help. Im not asking for prices on drives, just how do you word your contracts.

    Thanks

    John
     
  2. YardMedic

    YardMedic PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,266

    I've had great luck using "per push" strategies with residential. I'll generally plow at 2" and anything that, left untreated, would likely freeze in the next day. I'm fortunate to have weeded out the problem customers & gotten down to a great client base. I'm 95% residential, clustered like you want to do. It's awesome because they don't need to know you have 7 in one neighborhood, 11 in another, 5 somewhere else. I figure an average southern NH storm is 2-8" so I call my regular plowing $30, 9-15" is 1.5 plowing or $45, 16" up is 2 plowings ($60). Many people cry about needing to get out for work. Basically if there is plowable snow at the time I start my route (generally about 3:30am) I make the rounds, being sure to get Midas done before 7:30. My route is done in 4-5 hours once around, and then it's back to the beginning to either clean up at the end of a storm or to keep plowing with a storm. I expect to plow a driveway in a regular storm twice (early morning and a cleanup later after city plows have done their thing). Many guys want to make $100-120/hr, and it's absolute candy if you can cluster the accounts or keep your operation in one relatively small city. As far as discounts go, I've considered this: 1 or 2 free snowplowings for every referral. It's an incentive for word of mouth, and that's the ONLY way I like gaining customers. Besides, people know their neighbors and others in the same city who need snowplowing (and neighbors know who's unhappy about their current contractor!). I haven't actively pursued new work, but if I put on another guy & truck I would want probably 15 more driveways. I haven't done contracts for residential, but it's probably an excellent idea for identifying your price policy, billing, damages, etc. Good luck with the residential ventures!

    ~Kevin
     
  3. clncut

    clncut PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,121

    Thank you yard medic for the reply, I understand that your commercial accounts come first. If you have a larger snowstorm, say 6 inches do you plow them only once because its under 8" and if so, what do you tell the customers when their drives have 5 inches accumulated before they leave for work? Do you clear them so they can get out and then once more if still snowing so they can get back in from work? And then do you bill them twice the same amount or 1.5 times the origional amount?

    Thanks
    John
     
  4. YardMedic

    YardMedic PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,266

    I'll plow most if not all of my driveways before people leave for work so there will be at least one clearing before they drive over it. If snow begins accumulating during the day, I'll plow with it days & into the evening hours so people won't have to drive through too much snow at any one time. I'm not usually worried about how much is on the driveway between 9pm & 5am, so I won't stay out all night unless I have to (I can quit around 10 & go back out at 3, which gives the city a chance to get roads clear). I'll charge the single plowing up to 8" regardless of how much I have to go back (and it all works out to about 100/hr in the end).

    ~Kevin
     
  5. clncut

    clncut PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,121

    Thank you again for your quick response, you have been a great help!

    John
     
  6. ThisIsMe

    ThisIsMe Senior Member
    from Mass
    Messages: 745

    Along with the great advice here.........

    I think giving options is the best approach. Offer the customer as many options as they want to see. Cost you nothing really to put in print more options. Look at the number of different contracts that are available to you when you sign up for a cell phone or such. Your wisdom might say that a yearly contract would be the best approach and pricing, your customers you are trying to attract might disagree.

    Point being is listen to the customers and not what you think is best. Perfect example, walk onto a plane and ask each person what they paid for the flight.

    Just my 2 cents.
     
  7. YardMedic

    YardMedic PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,266

    Options

    It's funny... I only found this site this year, and I've picked up a lot of tips from other folks out in the biz. For example, I never thought about 3 year commercial contracts that probably average out pretty good because of light or heavy seasons (and securing 3 years of work!).

    I would think maybe next year would be a tough sell for residential season contracts, given that (so far) snow has been so scarce out this way. I am not sure I'll be able to increase my commercial contract much if any if this season doesn't pick up (they might be reluctant to pay out more with a loss this year).

    We ARE in the people business. Yeah, we push the white stuff & see green falling, but we land contracts & accounts by selling the package to people. If we can talk with people (notice I said "with" and not "to") then we have a better chance than the guy who has no interpersonal skills.
     
  8. Ocean Side

    Ocean Side Member
    Messages: 51

    Yard Medic, now what are you charging for an average midas in the Conrd area, with the breakdown please if you do not mind telling me. If you wish, please pm me and I would love to hear how you base and explain your pricing to them.
     
  9. YardMedic

    YardMedic PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,266

    sent you a pm