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Charge per minute?

Discussion in 'Business Fundamentals' started by woodchuck2, Feb 7, 2011.

  1. woodchuck2

    woodchuck2 Senior Member
    Messages: 304

    I got into an argument with a customer the other day about clearing his driveway that has not been touched this year and has approx 24-30" of snow, is about 150' long, closed in by tree's on the sides and has about a 4-5% grade. He wants a set price and of course as cheap as possible and i told him i would charge by the minute because i did not know how long it would take. So he asks what my rate is and i tell him $2.50 a minute, this guy flips out screaming i am a thief and do not bother. He tells me he knows for a fact the going rate is around $1 per minute. Am i off base here? I figure my two trucks with plows and the one sander are at least $120k to replace, fuel is $3.95 a gallon right now and i do not work for free. I figure the maintenance, operating cost and profit margin is close to my figure. What are the charge per minute rate out there in other area's that you fella's are using?
     
  2. JRS Landscaping

    JRS Landscaping Senior Member
    Messages: 103

    All depends on what your using and how much it costs to operate it. Truck you have to find out how much it costs you to operate it. fuel/insurance/depreciation/ replacement cost /repairs etc. I think 2.50 is a little high id be more around 1.75 a min for a truck. if you were using a machine it wouldnt be uncommon to charge of upwards 5-6 a min . it all matters on how much it costs you to run it and your profit margin. personally if people say they are going to go with the cheapest price, i tell them right there that im not going to be the cheapest and walk away, its not even worth my time to deal with that. personally i wouldn't be ramming my truck into a 30" wall of ice ( at least here) id tell them they need a machine to move it and give em a price for a skid to come in and move it.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2011
  3. RLM

    RLM PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,270

    Your probably high. In Rochester the hourly rate is anywhere from 50-100 per hour for a truck. Personally we pay our subs 50-65 per hour. But all most all our trucks (& subs)are V plows. That is probably a job left to heavy eqipment anyway, pushing that much snow, that has settled, refrozen, etc is how stuff gets broken on trucks. Best to leave that one alone. OR What would you have charged him to date to plow his drive ? Charge him that since your removing that amount of snow in one shot.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2011
  4. woodchuck2

    woodchuck2 Senior Member
    Messages: 304

    I have not done the driveway and probably wont. I already plow the road that he lives off of and several other driveways in there. This is all part of a HOA and this guy chooses not to pay the HOA rates for road/driveway maintenance. This guy is well known to drive on the snow until it gets too deep and then he opts to have a sucker come in and plow. As far is clearing the driveway i know i can do it with no damage but it just takes time. What this guy does not understand and i guess most people do not take in account is the drive time to and from the customer. He lives 20 minutes from me so i am figuring 40 minutes drive time and probably an hour to plow the drive which would be approx $150. Now we have had 5 storms this year already that has accumulated and if he had paid the per storm amount of lets say $30 per push than he would be at the same money. At his figure of $60 per hour then i would make $60 total for 1 hour and 40 minutes time minus fuel costs and even at $15 per hour to operate the truck is only really making around $30 for its abuse.

    I would like to think our time and our equipment is worth more than that?
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2011
  5. JRS Landscaping

    JRS Landscaping Senior Member
    Messages: 103

    that is why when people let they lawns grow high or wait for a few good storms to get snow removed i shoot them a high price. more than what it would have cost them to get it done every week or storm. i have to make it worth it for me and the wear and tear on my equipment. If they don't like it they can go elsewhere. they need the driveway cleared/lawn cut more than i need to beat my equipment for their money. i have plenty of well paying customers that want and need me to come every storm.
     
  6. qualitycut

    qualitycut PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 24,227

    The price is what ever you want it to be in my opinion. I did a walk the other day hasnt been touched all year and the finally got a letter from the city I charged him 350 brought the skid in and salted I had to make it worth my time I wasnt going to charge him the normal rate of say 40.00. If he doesnt want to pay what you want for it let someone else do it.
     
  7. peterng

    peterng Senior Member
    Messages: 249

    first off shut it down at the first sign of an impending arguement. you can not win. Do not tell them your per minute charge, it inevitably sounds crazy. I charge $1.50/minute for plowing or handwork. I never tell anyone that. I tell them first time is free, then I base the rate on that. From there on in The charge is variable based on how long it takes. Mag from push spreader is $1/lb. traction sand from push spreader is $.50/lb. $60 is minimum charge for a mid season one time push charge, and even then I don't want to do them. I want seasonal or per minute repeat customers. I'm not cleaning up someone elses mess at my equipments expense.