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Customer with a long driveway.

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by Brant'sLawnCare, Nov 26, 2007.

  1. Brant'sLawnCare

    Brant'sLawnCare PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,748

    I got a call from a lady that needs her driveway done. It's 1200 ft. long, with a circle in front of the garage. She said she's looking for someone else, because the guy that's been doing it keeps getting less and less reliable each year. She said that they were paying him $35 each push, and it needs to be done by 6 in the morning. I told her right away that I couldn't do that big of a drive for $35. She said that they'd be willing to negotiate a new price. I didn't shoot a price, but I'm thinking between $55-65 each time, this may even be low. She said it doesn't need to be perfect, just a few swipes so that her husband can get to the hospital. I'll just tell them that I'm reliable, and will guarantee to get it done by 6, there fore the higher price. Anyway, it's my first year, and this would be a good job for me. Her husband is a doctor, so I'm sure they can afford it. I just don't wanna get jipped, but I don't want to rip them off either. So, boys, am I in the ballpark? Everyone chime in!

  2. MNBOY

    MNBOY Junior Member
    Messages: 20

    I don't really get how people can guarantee plowing everyone out by 6am. What if it is a small storm under 4 inches that doesn't stop until 4am? I wait until 4am in that case and then start plowing. What I guarantee is to plow everyone out by 7am or 5pm whichever is more condusive with the snow storm. If it is a large storm over 4 inches then I plow with the storm making multiple trips. Anyway, stick to your prices that you need to cover your expenses and make some money on top of that. There are plenty of people out there willing to pay you what you are worth if you do a good job. If they are not willing to pay you what you need, move on to the next one.
  3. Mick

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

    That's 1/4 of a mile with a circular parking area. You didn't say how much, if any, backdragging by the garage or house. But, assuming no backdragging, for me the parking area would be approx $35 by itself. The driveway/road would be based on my rate for a private road. Assuming it's approx 12' to 14' wide and flat/straight; it would be $135/mi or $33.75 rounded to $34 or $35. Total of $70. So, yeah, I'd say you were in the ballpark. Especially considering you're just starting and really want the job.

    Make sure you discuss trigger depth, level of service and that deeper snows will result in higher charges.
  4. Brant'sLawnCare

    Brant'sLawnCare PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,748

    Mick, I was gonna use 8 inches as the maximum for the base price. How much on top of that per additional inch should I charge? $10 per inch?
  5. Camden

    Camden PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,594

    1200' long and how wide? Would you be able to do it with one pass in and another one out or would it be two passes each way? The answer to that question would tell me if it's worth it or not. I'm going to assume it's gravel so that's another thing that I would take into account.

    I think $65 is low but if you're new and looking to establish a client base I would take it on and then knock their socks off with stellar service and then next year come back with a higher price.

    Additionally, I would dismiss anything she said about it not needing to be "perfect". Give your best effort every time you show up. You want that woman to tell her friends about the great service she gets from you.

    Good luck
  6. Brant'sLawnCare

    Brant'sLawnCare PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,748

    Hey, thanks. I hear you. But, the thing is, I'm not really sure if I need it. I have a fairly full schedule. I just thought that it may be nice to have a "good" paying account like this. I have room for it, and it would help me pay off my startup expenses. And I still have low overhead. I already turned down 10-15 other accounts (didn't really think about getting another truck, because these calls kinda trickled in) that were a little far away. Now I wish I woulda ed them all up. :gunsfiring:
  7. Mick

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

    I'd say $5 or $7. But play around with some scenarios and see if they work for you. So if it snows 10" are you going to plow it all at once or something less? Are you going to charge one price for every time you plow or charge for the total amount of snow for a snowstorm?
  8. Brant'sLawnCare

    Brant'sLawnCare PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,748

    I'm not sure if they want me to plow each time we get a certain amount, or once at 6, and then once at the end. I'm going to call them tomorrow and shoot them a range price (ex.$50-70 each time) just to see what they say, and then go look at it, and give them a better price. So, I'll keep you posted.
  9. hydro_37

    hydro_37 PlowSite Veteran
    from iowa
    Messages: 3,790

    I charge the same price each push. If I plow it two times in a day due to a storm then the customer is billed for two plows. Never had anyone complain yet.
  10. Mick

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

    Normally you will have a "trigger" or amount under which you do not plow. Say the trigger is 3". If there is less than 3" inches in a snowfall, you do not plow; but if it hits 3", you go plow it before 6:00. There may actually be more than 3" when you plow, though. The trick is not to let it build up too much or it's too hard to plow. especially if it's a wet, heavy snow. They may want a trigger less than 3"; some want 2" and I had one private road that wanted ANYTHING plowed and sanded. I once plowed 1/2 an inch. This "trigger" is really the first thing to discuss with them. The rest will depend on what they want here. My advice is if they want a 3" trigger, then have your base price at 3" to 6". If they want 2", then 2" to 5". If they want you to just want to plow once for any snowstorm; I'd walk away -those will get you in trouble quick.

    Forget that "few swipes" crap. Her husband is a doctor and will be on-call. He needs to be able to get out at all times, which means you will need to keep that driveway cleared during the night. I've been through exactly what you're going through and mine was the first year, too. This was a housing development with a long private road with doctors, nurses and highway patrol needing 24 hr access. What got real stupid was when they said they needed "zero accumulation", then wanted to pay for one push per snowfall. I finally shot them an outrageous price and "walked away".
  11. Brant'sLawnCare

    Brant'sLawnCare PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,748

    Hey, I called the guy today and told him that I would have to charge between $50-70 each time. He said that he wasn't expecting me to do it for $35, or for anything close to that. He also said that it doesn't need to be perfect, that he can finish up with his lawn tractor's snowblower later. I'm going to tell him that I will do it near (as close as you can get to) perfect. There is no reason not to. I mean he's going to be paying me pretty decent money to provide him with a service, so it should be done right. Anyway, I'm going there to get a look at it tomorrow. I'll let you guys know what happens. Oh, by the way I think that he want's a 3 inch trigger, so that's pretty normal. Most of my other jobs are 2 inches, but it's not a big deal, because it's a little out in the country, and then I'll just get done a little faster.
  12. gene gls

    gene gls PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 480

    Go look at it before you quote any price so you have good idea as to the requirements of the job to be compleated at a satisfactory level. I would say you will need to make 4 passes on each push to get the snow back far enough. Make sure you don't get behind on a big storm or you will be beating on your truck big time. These long driveways are a pain in the butt with a pickup truck.
  13. Brant'sLawnCare

    Brant'sLawnCare PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,748

    Thanks for the advice. I will give them a price when I look at it. I just wanted to make sure he wasn't looking for cheap service. As far as getting behind, it shouldn't be too bad, I'll be doing his around 4 in the morning. He'll be about my 4th on my route, as he'll be my best paying account. I'll be startin my jobs at 3, when that's possible. All I have is a pickup for now, but next year looks bright for getting a bigger one.
  14. Peterbilt

    Peterbilt Senior Member
    from IA.
    Messages: 745

    In my experience People that have money (Doctors) are usually the cheapest and complain the most.

  15. TwistedMetal

    TwistedMetal Member
    Messages: 48

    is that drive/road paved or gravel? ..
  16. Brant'sLawnCare

    Brant'sLawnCare PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,748

    I just looked at it today, and it's all paved. It's no more than 10 ft. wide. With my 8 foot blade, it will basically take one pass. There is a little bigger driveway than I originally thought, but I think that I put a good bid on it. I bid 65 each time, and said that we may have to come more than once. He said that he has a few other companies looking at it. He said that one guy bid it at $60 each time, so, I don't really know what will happen. But I'm happy with myself, because I didn't budge with my price. I looked around at his property and figured that he could afford that price. He's supposed to call me in a day or 2, so I'll keep you all posted.