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commercial plowing

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by flakesmeangreen, Nov 24, 2001.

  1. flakesmeangreen

    flakesmeangreen Senior Member
    Messages: 217

    i started plowing for myself last year doing residential drives in my community which is about 3 by 6 miles in size. it's population of about 2,500 homes is comprised of approximately 35% full time residents with the remaining percentage part timers and weekenders from areas around the city (nyc). there is quite a potential for profitable residential work here, more so than commercial. it's a pretty rural area. but you know how residential's are...plow at the end of the storm, unless big snow. i'm starting to get bored while it's snowing! i'd like to get out and plow during the storm also (& make more $).

    so far this season i've already increased the number of customers four-fold. they've all been residential so far but i put a bid in for a commercial one last week. here's the question with some info: an average drive around here runs $25/push or $250/season. the commercial property looked like it was equal to 10 drives worth of plowing (for comparison), & i priced it accordingly. is that a good way to determine a (commercial) price? there were also going to be approximately 10 additional drives within the community to be plowed at their active construction sites.

    so i submitted a bid for $225/push or $2,250/season (just for the office). i was contacted and told that it was awarded to someone else. i PR'd my way into getting the amount of the awarding winning bid & was told mine was about $1,000 high for a seasonal. the previous plower was doing it for free because of all the electrical work he got from them (it's a builder's/real estate office). don't know anything else about the new guy.

    i'm not too concerned about not getting the contract but just trying to figure out if bidding commercial is different than residential. i just can't really see doing it for that price, at least not the way i figured it. any advise is greatly appreciated!
  2. Alan

    Alan PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,393

    In this area I think that residentials tend to be priced on what the market will bear whereas commercial has to be looked at on the basis of time required X the rate you want to get for the equipment involved. I'm not sure that there is any direct area correlation between res. pricing and commercial. I know that doing residentials, with a $20 minimum will yield a better hourly return than commercials will, in this market. Commercials also generate revenue from salt applications, which is a profitable side of the business that isn't there in the residential market.
  3. jlmac

    jlmac Junior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 16


    I do not or have ever done residential plowing so I cannot speak to that issue, but have done many years of commercial plowing. From what I have learned plowing and from reading the wealth of information on this forum is that many factors are involved in determining whether or not the bid you submitted was a good price. You mentioned 10 pushes is average so you basically bid the property at $250 per push, not bad in my opinion. What is your average annual snow fall? What kind of equipment do you have, size of parking lot? Type of service they require? local competition? should all be considered. In commercial plowing it is not uncommon to see a property go for so low a price, unusual, but not uncommon. One thing for sure, stick with what you know will make you profitable and you cannot loose. Bid a property too low and you know what will happen. The contractor ends up showing up later and later each storm, and does a sloppy job, trying to break even. Not being awarded all the jobs you bid on is not a bad thing. If you have a good thing going with residential plowing and are making good money, stick with it, and expand into commercial like you are doing by submitting quality bids and you will be sucessful.


    No snow yet
  4. flakesmeangreen

    flakesmeangreen Senior Member
    Messages: 217

    i'll certainly be looking at the property to see what kind of (quality)service is being performed. that will tell me something about my price compared to his. i'm only a start up 1 guy/1 truck company (3/4 truck/8' western) and the builder is aware of the quality of work i perform as they have been referring my plowing and landscaping services to their clients. they weren't looking for salting services (& yes i have read a lot on here about liability/commercial issues and salting) but doing all residential so far i haven't had a need for salting and cannot justify the expense right now. so i was kind of happy that they weren't looking for it. although after reading all the posts about it i think otherwise. the few times i salted last year for residentials i did it w/ a push/fertilizer spreader.

    the competition around here is a lot of not-so-reliables w/ a few reputable people. the average snowfall is about 45-50"/year. i didn't measure the lot (actually 4 seperate lots on different sides of bldg) and that's why i tried calculating the cost comparing it to a driveway.

    thanks for your input