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Competition Taking Your Business?

Discussion in 'Business Fundamentals' started by MIAWPUKEK, Feb 17, 2005.


    MIAWPUKEK Senior Member
    Messages: 267

    Anybody else having any problems with increasing competition in your area? This year, I lost alot of business because there have been approximately 4-5 new plows (trucks) introduced this year. :eek: And in a town of less than 1000 people, thats alot of business gone! :cry: The only thing that saved my a$$ this year is that I got the contract for the Ambulance/Emergency Staff. payup
  2. Dwan

    Dwan Senior Member
    Messages: 879

    I sign my contracts for 5 years so it is never a problem.
  3. Mick

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

    No. It seemed like there wasn't any competition. If I got called, I got the job. Never "Well, I'll get back with you". Most of my new jobs were from referrals, though. I'm about the only one around who is able to respond immediately, available on-call 24 hours/days and doesn't do things like "pushed snow up against my building" or "ran into my garage". Plus, I had the only ad in the paper for this area. I was getting calls from so far away, I started a network of my own so I could refer them to someone.

    Next year, I doubt that I'll advertise at all.
  4. SkykingHD

    SkykingHD Senior Member
    Messages: 368

    More Snow Plowers

    In Akron Ohio area there are more snow plow contractors. In 1972 there were 12 or 13 in the phone book and now there are over 50. This does not equate to the total amount of snow plows in area. There are so many people with a plow it is unreal. The bad part of this is a lot of them do not know how much it costs to run a snow plow truck. A job that went for $85 7 yrs ago is now down to $30. Another job that was $175 last yr is now at $100.

    We had an area management company come in and bid 40% under the next bidder to get the Post Offices out of the Cleveland area.

    We have found owning a snow plow truck does not mean you can plow snow. Cleveland PO had 55 out of 60 docks shut down during a snow event.

    Yes competition is taking the price of snow plowing down. In some cases it is under the cost of equipment operation.

  5. gt_racer50

    gt_racer50 Senior Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 484

    And the only thing that we can do is hold our ground and not lower our prices no matter what. They will be back sooner or later. Once you start lowering your prices, that's when you start getting $5 for a bag of salt spread, and $35 and hour for plowing. I will watch TV and drink beer before I go out for that kind of money. Let them charge those prices, and after a storm or two, your phone will be ringing off the hook. I try to let them grovel a little bit before I let them back into my fold, so that they won't be so quick to leave next time. Hate to be an as****e, however it is my livlihood.
  6. QCPride

    QCPride Junior Member
    Messages: 15

    Glad to hear there are others out there not willing to reduce their prices cause the jack hole down the street bought a shovel. I am new to the site, nice to join ya!! I have been in business for 8 years now all commercial, every year there are at least 30 new companies iching for our accounts, and every year at least 28 don't make it past the 15th of December. Hang in there--get paid what you are worth or the job isn't worth it

    PAPLOWER Junior Member
    Messages: 18


    COULD not say it any better my self!!!
  8. DJL

    DJL Senior Member
    Messages: 343

    Let your quality of work/dependability sell your work...not your price!!
  9. Italiano67

    Italiano67 Senior Member
    Messages: 638

    Right on!

    You hit it right on the head!I am sick and tired of lowballers!I deal with it the summer with my dump truck business too. It seems like anybody that can drive truck feels like they just found their calling when they here our hourly rate. It is such a joke.A new dump is 140,000 but they think if they buy a truck for 30,000 they are smarter than you and will work for nothing. That is until they are in it for a WHILE AND SEE THE EXPENSE with running equipment. Its the same with plowing snow. There are to many parttimers in this business plowing for beer money and to justify to their wives their Duramax diesel trucks. it screws the rest of us doing it for a business and trying to be profitable. Oh well, I for one will hang in there like a rusty nail and will be around to see the next crop of wannabes come around! :gunsfiring:
  10. Ken1zk

    Ken1zk Senior Member
    Messages: 193

    Here in the Buffalo New York area we have a lot of competition, and a number of lowballers, which affects the price you can charge. In this area almost everybody prices by season to avoid the pitfalls of losing customers during the season to a lowballers price. I have to strongly agree that reliability and quality are what you have to build your business on, you have to promise it right in the agreement and you must deliver it when the snow falls. Do not cut prices just to get work or soon you will end up working for almost nothing. I would rather have fewer customers and make more on each account as opposed to working my a$$ off to try to make the same amount on volume. So I too will hang in there, operating a professional business, delivering quality service, and watch the low end boys come and go, as they have done every year since 1985. :salute:
  11. winterangel

    winterangel Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 51


    Just as DJL and everyone else has stated, quality and dependability must be your asset than competition. I believe it can be safely said that because of the early snow storm that alot of 4x4's and plow's were sold. There will be a bunch sold this spring because of the winter we have had and these others will see it's tough to make a living. Rather, it's a quick money maker, and a chance to just play with the big toys.

    What they don't realize, or maybe a % does it's a tough one income supplement. People rely on them in the morning, night and in between. If these other % want's to :sleeping: in and not face the cold than the clients will than understand the difference between price verse Professionals. We Professional's who are here for the good and the bad times will perserver and then receive the phone calls that the snow cowboys let down. ;)

    In short, don't lower your price to get the client's, you in a sense are lowering your standards to compete against the snow-cowboys. We are professionals and do this for a living and so figure your cost, and what you need and set the price from there. Quality and Dependability will get you the jobs in the long run.


  12. Mark F

    Mark F Senior Member
    Messages: 101

    Summit I believe that part of the problem is out of your control. First you live in A small town. Everybody knows everybody and wants to hire their friends or family. This happens all the time in my town, which is a little bigger, about 30,000 people. We have no road out of here, its fly or boat in, out only. So eventually you see everybody or recenise them whether you know them or not. Its kind of human nature to keep your money as close to you as you can, even if your giving it to someone else. Just hang in there, the lowballers will lowball them selves right out business real soon trust me. Just keep say'n hi to those old customers at the store every time you see them, so they don't forget you. And when Mr lowballer breaks down or folds up they'll call you. Customers are like Fish, some times you got to let them go. But then you can always catch them again.

    MIAWPUKEK Senior Member
    Messages: 267

    Good Advice!

    Thats some real good advice there Mark! I got a feeling that the other guys (1 in particular) are going to have problems with their truck and/or plow pretty soon if they keep going the way they do now, "Dude, its not a front-end loader!!" I'm sure next year I'll be seeing some old customers again. payup
  14. Mark F

    Mark F Senior Member
    Messages: 101

    Your Welcome.
    I've also found that lowballers can't afford to fix their junk. Cause they don't charge enough
    Good luck.

    MIAWPUKEK Senior Member
    Messages: 267

    I started this thread by talking about how I was losing so much business this year due to more people in my community getting plows for their vehicles. But in the past week, I added another client to my first contract bringing that one up to 5 driveways...(hold on, hold on it gets better)..... and then recently I picked up another contract. Living on a Indian Reservation, our Elders have special privileges, they used to get their driveways done by the Public Works (Band Government), but they don't have time anymore, so they asked me to take over....35 driveways! :eek: Not bad for a guy with one truck and a 7 and half foot Western!
  16. djd427

    djd427 Member
    from NEPA
    Messages: 98

    Good for you Summit!! Glad to hear about all the work you got. Sometimes it pays to complain a little :)