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Charging a Minimum?

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by MJLsLawnCareNmo, Nov 29, 2007.

  1. MJLsLawnCareNmo

    MJLsLawnCareNmo Senior Member
    Messages: 125

    First year doing snow removal and I am focused on doing residential snow removal which will mostly consist of a driveway, the sidewalk by the street, the sidewalk up to the front door, and a porch, but not necessarily. I've been giving it some thought, do you guys recommend charging a minimum price that I would charge to come to a customer's property and do any form of snow removal? So regardless of having a 1 car driveway or a 10 car driveway I would charge a minimum to come and do the work and then the price would increase for larger jobs. Also what would be a good price for the minimum charge?

    I know people are going to say it depends on the equipment you are using and your competition, the area, etc. I realize this but am just looking for a good starting point and will go from there. Thanks
     
  2. Camden

    Camden PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,598

    My lowest is $25 and the only time I'd go under that is if the person once saved my life, served my country or gave birth to my children.
     
  3. MJLsLawnCareNmo

    MJLsLawnCareNmo Senior Member
    Messages: 125

    Thanks yet again Camden for posting in another one of my threads. So when you get a call you tell them you charge a minimum of $25 regardless of what they have before you even drive out to give them a price?
     
  4. SnoFarmer

    SnoFarmer PlowSite Fanatic
    from N,E. MN
    Messages: 8,436

    $35 minimum,other wise i stay in bed.:sleeping:
     
  5. theplowmeister

    theplowmeister 2000 Club Member
    from MA
    Messages: 2,548

    You cant give a price without seeing the property. so you must be talking about an initial phone call. I say the price starts at $35 depending on size, shape and the difficulty of where I have to put the snow.
     
  6. Camden

    Camden PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,598

    I had to sift through your posts to see what previous threads I responded to. I didn't realize it was you because this thread has nothing to do with snowblowers :D

    Anyway, whenever new customers call they will talk to my wife first because she handles that end of things. Everyone wants to know "what you charge" and her stock answer is that there's a $25 minimum and it goes up from there. If they aren't scared away she gets a name and address then I go out and give them a firm price.

    :waving:
     
  7. MJLsLawnCareNmo

    MJLsLawnCareNmo Senior Member
    Messages: 125

    Yeah I was thinking somewheres between $25-35 minimum price and have it go up according to the actual property if it is bigger or difficult to do. My sister lives in a manufactured home park and I asked her what she thought the people who live in those kind of homes would most likely want to pay and she said maybe $20. I asked other people who live in different types of homes too and they said a min of $25-30 would probably be a good minimum price to start with. I know one thing, I'm not going any lower than $25 min, I don't care how small the removal. By the time I drive out there, run any equipment, pay an employee, cover my business costs, it's not worth doing it for any less. The way I see it is either pay some kid with a shovel to do it or do it yourself if $25 is too high for someone. Might sound harsh but I'm not working for free and it is only going to hurt this industry if I do.
     
  8. MJLsLawnCareNmo

    MJLsLawnCareNmo Senior Member
    Messages: 125

    Yup, that's exactly what I'm talking about.Something to let the customer know when they call at least what it will cost for me to come out. Just wondering if having an initial minimum price is the way to go and adjust it higher for difficulty/larger size. I can't tell you how many people who find out that you run a certain type of business and right off the bat ask what you charge for a service. I get it all the time with lawn care. "How much do you charge to cut a lawn?":realmad:
     
  9. MJLsLawnCareNmo

    MJLsLawnCareNmo Senior Member
    Messages: 125

    Yeah not this time at least :p

    I kinda thought this method would work well that way I can help sift through the customers without having to waste my time and effort to find out I'm too high after driving out to give an estimate. Less surprises if you will.
     
  10. DeereFarmer

    DeereFarmer PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,296

    I have a $35 minimum in my head, but never tell any customer that. I'll let that slide a little for friends, neighbors, or veterans. I tell every customer if they can find two other neighbors to hire me I'll knock $5 off of everyone. Keeps my routes tight and the money flowing.
     
  11. cod8825

    cod8825 Member
    Messages: 91

    I've posted in other threads that I wouldn't charge less than fifty and that is true for customers for most customers but I do have a few 40 and 45 dollars places. I have an ATV with 5' blade and one other guy with me.

    I sell on the guarantee that I will have it cleared by 7am or 5pm and that my price includes scrape around two cars, sidewalk up to 25 running feet and ice melt after I am done. I do not advertise much for residential but I do get them and once they see all that is included in the package most ask for the contract.

    I have to have three on same street to offer discount of five to everybody and it is written in the contract as such and I have it set up that it is automatically done in my computer so they do not have to be notified.

    Matt
     
  12. Banksy

    Banksy PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,113

    I never did the town sidewalk by the street. Only the driveway and their walkway. I never plowed any real huge driveways. Usually just small two car drives and my minimum was $25, average of $30-35. I took care of one little old lady and her drive was a straight push in and it took five minutes with the walk. I think I did that one for $20. I used to like opening the end of driveways for people for like $5. They would wave me down and it would be one push to break up that big bank the town leaves behind.
     
  13. fordzilla1155

    fordzilla1155 Senior Member
    Messages: 127

    call a plumber or an electrian to your house and you are charged a service call fee. Why shouldn't a plow housecall be any differnt?
     
  14. ECS

    ECS Senior Member
    Messages: 485

    All I do is residential and I have an hourly rate with a minimum of 1/2 hr. I only get out of my truck at 3 places to shove,l which is extra. I will not take on a new customer if they want any shoveling done.
     
  15. MJLsLawnCareNmo

    MJLsLawnCareNmo Senior Member
    Messages: 125

    Thanks for the post. Do you find that not telling customers upfront it will cost a minimum (even if it's only in your head) have sticker shock when it turns out to be $35 or more for their property?
     
  16. MJLsLawnCareNmo

    MJLsLawnCareNmo Senior Member
    Messages: 125

    Thanks for the post Matt. Offering that gaurantee would kind of have me worried. Just never know sometimes. I guess offering the deicing on top of everything else is pretty close to what I've been hearing.
     
  17. MJLsLawnCareNmo

    MJLsLawnCareNmo Senior Member
    Messages: 125

    I'm not positive about this, but I think it's some kind of law or a common township law around me that sidewalks have to be cleared for pedestrians. Question for you though. For the driveways that you clear, how do you work it when the city plows and blocks the driveway. Do you have it written in an agreement that you will come back and clear it as part of the initial plowing cost or do you charge extra for it if you come back? Obviously you don't wait for the city to plow before you clear the driveways :dizzy: Thanks for the reply.
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2007
  18. MJLsLawnCareNmo

    MJLsLawnCareNmo Senior Member
    Messages: 125

    I agree. Just didn't know if most guys quote exactly on how big the removal area is (could be a $5 porch) or if they have a minimum and it goes up from there. Thanks for the reply.
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2007
  19. MJLsLawnCareNmo

    MJLsLawnCareNmo Senior Member
    Messages: 125

    Thanks for the reply. If you don't mind me asking what is your hourly rate? And how do you work the additional shoveling rate?
     
  20. ECS

    ECS Senior Member
    Messages: 485

    I charge $75/hr with a half hr minimum. This gives me, on average, $185/hr plowing.
    The little shoveling that I do, I just charge them a flat fee for shoveling each time. My shoveling averages out to $75/hr
    The average for last winter, 2006/2007 snow season, for plowing and shoveling was $165/hr.