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Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by emayer23, Sep 25, 2006.

  1. emayer23

    emayer23 Senior Member
    Messages: 117

    im sure this is the most common question but billing i keep hearing the 2 inch trigger which i assume mean get out when there is 2 inches of snow but if i get out at 2am plow my first drivweway 10ft wide drive i run up the drive i would assume 3 times back and forth do i charge $10 a push or a flat rate$50 to clear and what if i have to go back but now there 4 inches of snow or 1 inch of snow what do i charge then?payup payup
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2006
  2. Mick

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

    "Trigger" means an amount below which you will not plow. Say your customer wants a 3" trigger. You may plow 3" or 12", depending on how you and them set it up. Some charge a full rate for each time they're there; others charge something less for subsequent pushes. Some charge based on the total snowfall for the storm. You wouldn't plow 2" at 2:00AM if nobody wants out until 6:00. Wait until it's built up 4-6" or wait till the storm is over. I've pushed up to 14" at once, although I wouldn't recommend that for everybody.
  3. SnoFarmer

    SnoFarmer PlowSite Fanatic
    from N,E. MN
    Messages: 7,920

    If you mowed lawns would you charge by the stripe?
    Or building a house paying by the stud installed. lol
    Nope, it's by the job/push- def,
    The complete removal of snow from the drive or lot.
    Not how many passes it will take.

    Just because you can plow faster than the other guy, why should you make less?
    Snow plowing is a crises service.
    It is not you flat it snows:nono:

    It's how you make moneypayup
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2006
  4. Jay brown

    Jay brown PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,783

    every business is different. in our business we service 6 or 7 residential drives. they are never done untill it quits snowing and they are the last thing on the list. usually they get done around noon. most people would not want to be woke up to plow lights in the middle of the night. and usually they just want to have they drive cleared before they return from work. we charge a $25 flat fee. charge a flat fee because it all take the same time weather it's 3 inches or 8 inches( with skid).
  5. emayer23

    emayer23 Senior Member
    Messages: 117


    to honest i think i had a worped sense of what i would have to do plowing basicly this will be my first year plowing thats shocking huh so do you think it makes sense for me to get 5 or 6 residential customers b/c and correct me if im wrong as long as my cust. drive is clear for them to leave for work in the morn. and clear for them to return in the evening i can essentialy let it snow all night and day as long as they can get to work and return or am i wrong
  6. Mick

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

    That's how most of us started and that's a pretty common strategy. Your first year plowing, huh? I'm shocked!!! (not really - just fooling with you) Have some fun - it turns into "a job" fast enough.
  7. Jay brown

    Jay brown PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,783

    you'll get the hang of it as you go.. the main reason we wait till last on the list for res.(noon) is because most people can make it down the drive early in the morning for work and when you wait till later the streets have been plowed already(windrow in the drive) and usually the snow is over and the sun is out (helping melt) by noon. also doing it once will save the customer money and save you time. by saving time you can do more accounts.
  8. mayhem

    mayhem PlowSite.com Addict
    from Peru MA
    Messages: 1,016

    This would get you fired from doing my driveway. Waiting till it stops snowing is not acceptable for me as a customer. I need to be able to not only get into my driveway at the end of the day, but also to be able to get out in the morning to go to work...if its not plowed then I have to break out the shovel and the snowblower and do it myself, which negates the whole point of having a plow guy.

    The answer to this question from my perspective is dependant on your customer's wants and schedules as well as when it starts/stops snowing and at what rate per hour. Most will work 8-5, but you may get some who work a second shift or maybe 5am-2pm...its up to you to learn this and accomodate your customer's needs. In a very heavy storm you may also run into the very possible fact that your truck cannot push the snow out of the way if you let it get too deep...so you might have to plow a couple times just to keep it manageable. This happened to my plow guy a couple times in my driveway (350' up a very slight grade)...the 1 ton deisel Ford wouldn't move the snow because it came down so fast that it quickly got too deep and heavy...he had to call the guy with the F550 dump with the sander in the back to get enough traction. My plow guy charges per pass, so if we get a real heavy blizzard I cna assume its going to cost me $100+ for plowing that day since I know they'll visit at least 3 times, maybe 4.
  9. Bossman 92

    Bossman 92 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,768

    All my drives are my mowing/landscaping customers, when they asked me to plow for them i told them i have a full list of commercial customers to do first, but assured them they would be done as soon as possible. If someone would request it done by 7 am or whatever the price would be much higher.payup
  10. Grn Mtn

    Grn Mtn PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,644

    Generally you would set your contract up so you hit your residential's after an average of 3" of snow has fallen across your route. Its important that you say it that way because your not servicing 1 customer, your servicing many and that is why everyones price is lower. However it also means that you might be plowing someone at one end of your route at 2" and someone else at 4". If a customer wants specialized or individualized service they must be willing to pay more, but finding a contractor able to fit that into the schedule without adversely affecting the other clients will be tough.

    Also put it in your contract that clean-up work MAY cost extra. This way if the town plow goes by after you have been there and a big pile is at the bottom of the driveway, you have the choice of charging money to clean it up-nice customer=no charge, late payer or complainer=charge.

    Its hard to please every one, especially in a business where the conditions, frequency and timing are always different. Just make sure your contract spells it out so everyone is on the same page. If someone doesn't fit the bill, (like mayhem was describing) don't take them on as a customer and both will be happier for it.
  11. Jay brown

    Jay brown PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,783

    that's the difference between our regions...... people here think their waisting their $$$ plowing their drive before the snow is over. bottom line; it's all about what the customer want's. if you want me to plow off 2-3" at 7 am i'll do it, and you want me to plow off another 1-2" before you return from work i'll do it too, but it will cost you double.
  12. Mick

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

    Same up here. I once had a customer who wanted a 12" trigger. This was for a plain driveway. Then he wanted to "just call me". I plowed his driveway twice that winter. Both times I had to pull his car out before I could get in to plow. I didn't plow for him after that year, though.
  13. Bossman 92

    Bossman 92 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,768

    Its funny the people who "will call you" can never understand why they are not first, and why it always costs so much:dizzy:
  14. Superior L & L

    Superior L & L PlowSite Veteran
    from MI
    Messages: 3,035

    Commercial customers make your payment on your building and trucks ! They want there lots clear all the time = $$$$. Home owners are more hassel than there worth.
  15. basher

    basher PlowSite Fanatic
    from 19707
    Messages: 8,990

    We only do driveways in developments we have under contract. We do the drives before doing the streets. Makes clean up easier. We take the attitude if you cann't drive out of your driveway because of the snow you won't be able to drive on the unplowed roads. If in a big storm this means plowing more then once so be it. Oh, the increased cost for deeper snow offsets the extra pushes.