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Curious-- As to how you come up with a price?

Discussion in 'Business Fundamentals' started by TatraFan, Oct 31, 2011.

  1. TatraFan

    TatraFan Senior Member
    Messages: 191

    I'm not a snowplow professional nor do I want to be one. I'm actually a big truck Enthusiasts and especially if they can be used off road. So I found this sight looking for information on putting a snow plow on my new toy a Tatra T815 8x8 truck ex military spec. It has a dozer type blade on it and I wanted to expand my fun to the winter as well. So I normally live in NYC, but, I just purchased a new second home in a small town in the Catskill Mountains near my home town. I got a great deal on a 350 acre farm (can you say play time with my new toy). So I have this driveway it is L shaped and it has rise of about 8% then flattens out and dips down another 8% or so and then you reach my house. I have a car park and turn around making the L shape of this drive way. 500 feet on the long leg and the turn around car park area adds another 80x40 feet roughly. So it is rather big.

    So I'm sort of curious what would charge for this type of drive way. In the town we get about 70 inches of snow annually I would guess. This is a secondary residence for me so I need to have it plowed by another person while I'm in NYC or out of the country on business. And I just realized that living in the city for the past 18 years I have no clue what a reasonable estimate would be for this service.

    Any help you can give would be great.
     
  2. fast*st

    fast*st Junior Member
    Messages: 29

    Well, again this varies, you might find a helpful neighbor! My rule of thumb is $400 an hour. but I have a friend in upstate NY where I'd charge probably 200 for his driveway he pays 35. Seems like getting a guestimate out of your area might not be valid.
     
  3. TatraFan

    TatraFan Senior Member
    Messages: 191

    I was sort of hoping that some sort of uniform formula existed in the industry actually? I figured that basically the prices were pretty constant regionally speaking. But you know after living in cities for so long I take certain things for granted.
     
  4. fast*st

    fast*st Junior Member
    Messages: 29

    Well standardized prices would be great! :) but no dice, I suppose its based on local incomes, how hard the snow plowing is on the equipment and how much snow there is annually. The only driveways all have pretty steep climbs, paved and some terrain restrictions on stacking, garages set into the ground and crap like that.
     
  5. TatraFan

    TatraFan Senior Member
    Messages: 191

    Fast*St:

    Thanks for the help...

    So I have a question what are the most important factors in determining a price of a jobsite???
     
  6. White Gardens

    White Gardens 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,665

    Time is the biggest factor.

    You could plow say a 3 acre truck terminal and charge less than you would for a 1 acre apartment complex.

    The truck terminal would be easier as most of the time you could just go in circles pushing to the outside.

    The apartment complex might involve parking spaces and long runs to push snow to appropriate spots.
     
  7. TatraFan

    TatraFan Senior Member
    Messages: 191

    That makes sense...
     
  8. fast*st

    fast*st Junior Member
    Messages: 29

    Indeed time, influenced also by customer expectation, if you can't shove it way back over the shoulders of the road you may take more time carrying it places. A dirt farm road is less concerned over a few blobs of snow that spill of the bank and more about just getting in and out.

    What the local going rates are is huge, What my friend pays in upper NYS, I can't see how the plow guys can pay for truck repairs and other sundry after fuel costs.

    Also the risk to you, two of my driveways involve severe terrain, one slip would result in tumbling down a small cliff. Every other company backed out of their agreements. I end up making a snow berm to helpfully prevent going off the cliff and will fit chains if needed, customer knowing that chains, studs and plow will leave scratches in their driveway.
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2011
  9. thelettuceman

    thelettuceman PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,216

    I use my gut feeling. Nothing scientific here. Most people on this forum will disagree with this method.
     
  10. fast*st

    fast*st Junior Member
    Messages: 29

    I don't believe you :)

    So your gut does this semi random time assessment of grade, terrain and multiplies by the square of the value of the door knocker?

    Gut is just a pre-determined formula but it has values and variables like anything else.
     
  11. Matson Snow

    Matson Snow PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,985

    I have a Dart Board....I put some Post A Notes on there with prices on them....What ever Price i Hit with the Dart....Bingo!!!...Thats what i Go with.....:eek:.....Thumbs Up
     
  12. goel

    goel PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,079

    Some poeple use the WAG method.

    Wild Ass Guessing.

    Personally, I use the SWAG method.

    Stupid Wild Ass Guessing.
     
  13. TatraFan

    TatraFan Senior Member
    Messages: 191

    That's interesting-- I never really thought about scratching the driveway up much. You know sure deep gouges in the surface seem problematic-- but scratches that seems a bit overkill.

    Sure risk has to play into the equation. So I'm curious as to whether the risk factor is out weighed by the profit factor? I mean it would seem to me that if you have to spend time building a snow barricade to keep yourself from falling off the driveway that might not be a cost effective drive way to do. In fact is that the sort of drive way you put off until last in a major storm? Say if you were going to get a 30 inch snow storm-- would that be the place give the least amount of attention to? I would because if I'm doing this drive x and all the rest which are more profitable and easier to do are filling up my routing schedule will go to hell quickly.

    I don't think my driveway poses those issues. And if you fall off the driveway you're just on grass...
     
  14. TatraFan

    TatraFan Senior Member
    Messages: 191

    That seems like it might not be the best business plan.
     
  15. TatraFan

    TatraFan Senior Member
    Messages: 191

    Perhaps you could up grade to a wheel like the one they use in Price Is Right-- make the customer spin it...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mFJCfNib2ns

    Just tell them everything is multiplied by 100x times... Also instead of cents they can be in dollar amounts 10-100.... Think of the fun you're potential clients will have playing the game!
     
  16. thelettuceman

    thelettuceman PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,216

    fast*st: actually, i do use my gut feeling. I know my cost to operate my truck per hour with labor, fuel, insurance, etc. I look at a property and think "it will take me "x amount of time to plow and come up with my price. Some people measure the square footage and other parameters to get their price, I am not knocking their method. Maybe I should come over to that way of pricing.
     
  17. South Seneca

    South Seneca Senior Member
    Messages: 474

    Here we have guys on every corner plowing driveways for fun! It's hard to make a dollar when there are so many guys plowing for nothing.
     
  18. ryde307

    ryde307 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,143

    To the OP. How about pictures of the truck sounds cool. I bet we could be friends.
    Anyways to answer your question it is hard. There are a ton of factors in adriveway much of these are quickly "calculated" in your head and now you have the price.
    Things to factor for price:
    Where can the snow go?
    is there elevation changes?
    what is the driveway made of? Gravel, Asphault, concrete pavers?
    how close to town or other possible plow sites are you? Many factor price on proximity to other accounts
    Shoveling included?
    what are you expectations do you need it done right away or since its a second home it can be done a day or 2 after the snow event.
    All things to consider in the price with not knowing any of these and being in a complete differnt part of the country i will stay play and take a guess on price.
    $80-120 per plow guessing the 500ft part is winged one way going in the other heading out. The parking area is open and good space to push snow and within 5 min from another acount.
     
  19. TatraFan

    TatraFan Senior Member
    Messages: 191


    I don't have any pictures of the truck yet... I bought it while I was in Prague on vacation/business-- right now I'm waiting for all the import things to pass and the dealer/shipper to ship to me. It should be shipped by the end of November maybe early December-- I should have it by Jan... But I'm going to be so busy in December and early Jan this year all over the place I don't think I will have much time for pictures.
     
  20. goel

    goel PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,079

    Yea, I hate having everything almost paid for and taking all summer off and chillin.