1. Welcome to PlowSite. Notice a fresh look and new features? It’s now easier to share photos and videos, find popular topics fast, and enjoy expanded user profiles. If you have any questions, click HELP at the top or bottom of any page, or send an email to help@plowsite.com. We welcome your feedback.

    Dismiss Notice

Commercial Snow/Ice Removal - NC

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by jasond2, Feb 10, 2004.

  1. jasond2

    jasond2 Junior Member
    from raleigh
    Messages: 1

    Hello everyone. Prior to viewing this thread, I would like to express my appreciation for any help or assistance in advance.

    I own/operate a lawn care company in the Raleigh/Durham area, and typically we do not receive enough snow that my residential customers want their driveways scraped or cleared of snow. This year, we have added several small commercial properties, where we are working directly for the owner(s) of the building. Snow removal was never an issue, due to the fact that we maintained the landscape, irrigation, and power wash the front walkways bi-annually.

    Two weeks ago, we had a 2-3" snowfall, followed by a wet snow/ice storm that really iced over the parking lots. Since that time, I have had three of the commercial accounts inquire about doing snow/ice removal. I am have read the posts here and elsewhere, but am still not sure as to how to price.

    If anyone has the time...could you answer a couple questions? If possible, could I talk with someone on the phone to ask a couple questions? Like I said, I do not have the experience with pricing or even pushing for that matter. Equipment wise, we have a Chevy 1500 4x4 z71 xcab, a Chevy 2500 xcab, and an isuzu npr with dump bed, plus trailers, spreaders, blowers, etc. (one foreman and four mexicans that will work underwater without air if asked to).

    Q1 - Is the best/fairest pricing based on the square footage and snowfall/inches?

    Q2 - If ice is a factor, what is the best pricing? Base on per hour cost...due to excessive pushing (and wear/tear).

    Q3 - since I am not dealing with residential, I feel that my pricing should be comparable with other companies in the area. Any ways to get local pricing from the competition?

    Q3 - Salt will be spread on walkways and handicapped spots, but we will spread stone dust/sand on entrances and thoroughfares. Pricing is based on per ton for sand, but spreading by hand with salt should be based much like fertilization costs???

    Q4 - Priority listing - place customers in percentiles or within xxx hours of snowfall/accumulation (or perform before operating hours at night/early am)

    Q5 - Contract? Could I possibly view a couple of contracts that someone has used and are tried/true with commercial contracts?

    Q6 - Equipment - would it be best to invest in a plow (I think Western or Meyers is our choice) that mounts onto a truck, or get a bobcat to trailer to jobs? Where is a good source for used plows in the Southeast (North Carolina).

    Thanks for your assistance. I will be more than glad to assist in compensation for people who spend a great time/deal helping me with getting the information needed for this. It looks like we have another snow/ice storm coming...thank goodness that the following day it will be in the 50's, since I wont be ready in time.
  2. mole

    mole Senior Member
    Messages: 182

    do a seach for contract for ice and snow. The search function is on the top of the page. you should be able to find most of the ans to your questions by doing a search.
  3. ratlover

    ratlover PlowSite.com Addict
    from IL
    Messages: 1,325

    you guys actually get enough snow to actually stick to pavement?Unless you totaly get dumped of course......

    Maybe you could get most of it handled with just a tailgate spreader. Even with cold ground temps and cold air you can and inch to burn off with salt.

    is the 2500 4x4?

    Depending on what all your lots are and if your truck is a 4x4 or not you may want to put a spreader on the 2500 say and stuff all you hand guys in it and have them run around and shovel while the truck is out salting and the other rig is plowing. Try to make sure your plow truck isnt tied to your shovelers. JMO but its not very effiecent if your plow truck is sitting waiting for your hand crews or vice versa. By blowers do you mean snow blowers or leaf blowers? I think for most light fluffy snow a leaf blower is ok and quick, snow blowers are better for deeper snow. A motivated guy with a shovel can move snow better in alot of situations than guys with equipment.

    I would assume plowing brings a premium price since not many people do it down there??? I dont know what the local market is like though???

    If you spread salt on the whole lot it will nuke off alot of snow that you wouldnt really plow and keep ice from forming. If your customers wont handle the price for spreading salt try to sell them on using a mix of salt/sand. Try to sell them on salt though!!! It makes your life much easier as a plower(dont tell em this obviously) and it makes for a much better job and makes the lot mush safer.

    IMO if you are just going to have one between a PU and a skid steer a PU with a blade is much more efficent for just snow removal especially if you jobs are fairly spaced out. Or if you have to go out and touch up a lot or the like......or if someone with a drive way flags you down, ect
  4. DJL

    DJL Senior Member
    Messages: 343

    This is my first year in the snow plow business for myself, well my company, so take whatever you would like out of it. We, as you, started with a lawn maintenance company.

    First and foremost, make sure your insurance covers you for any and all slip/fall accidents that may happen and your autos that you are putting plows on are covered for having a plow attached to it. The last thing you want to find out is that Aunt Millie fell in the parking lot and is suing your company. The next thing you find out is your current insurance provider says, "We weren't aware you were performing snow and ice removal and therefore cannot protect your assets. It will have to come out of your pocket." YIKES!!:eek:

    For our business, the commercial auto policy covers plows attached to any of the trucks. However, we have to take out a rider on my general liability insurance for what they call slip/fall coverage.

    I would suggest pricing de-icing material per amount (weight) applied since the material and amount is going to differ for just about every storm (temperature, surface temperature, road traffic, ice thickness, etc.). On top of that cost I would include something like a minimum amount of material per occurrence or a service charge for applying the material, basically whatever it costs (include auto ins., GL ins., labor, etc.) you plus what you want to profit. Just a little bit of my advice. Others opinions can, and will, vary.
  5. Mick

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

    "IF" (1) you are only going to offer snow/ice services to your commercial customers and (2) IF those areas are fairly easily accessable and flat and (3) given that you do not recieve much snow, I would suggest a 7 1/2' plow (any make with power angling) and a single stage tailgate spreader on that 2500 even if it's a 2wd. You will need to use only dry salt in the spreader. You won't need to tie up personnel and probably cheaper than wages. I think in your situation, I would offer a seasonal contract to cover all operations of snow and ice. Go for at least a three year contract. Get historical data for average snowfall in your area. Use salt vs sand if possible - it's neater and saves on cleanup (however, when you're talking with the customer you will stress that cleanup is included). You will also want to plan so you have completed operations by thier opening time, not only for liability issues but working around employees/customers is a PAIN.

    Teach who ever is going to drive how to drive on ice and snow and get good snow tires.
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2004