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Drift Pricing

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by concreteguy, Feb 7, 2011.

  1. concreteguy

    concreteguy Senior Member
    Messages: 130

    With the recent snow in the Chicago area, if the properties are a per push on an inches basis, how do you charge. The snow amount totals are 20", but the drifts are 6ft-8ft and the parking lots are on an average 44" across the parking lot. Most, if not all the lots I did, needed machines.What's fair, to base on the 44" or charge for the 20" and the time spent to clear the lot, charge them for machine time to compensate for the drifts and extra snow. Just wondering how to charge to be fair to the customer and me.
  2. leon

    leon Senior Member
    Messages: 872

    snow and more snow


    Its only fair to charge for the removal and the
    hourly rate for the machines if you had to
    use them to secure the parking lots and
    the 20 inch base if you expect to be able
    to hold on to good will of this customer.

    More of your credibility depends on whether
    the machines were rented by you or you
    own the machines you used.

    In order to create the good will you need with
    this customer you should just charge for the 20
    base and the hourly charge for the machines
    to remove or push back the snow accumulations

    Using UCR- using the "Usual and Customary Rates"
    based on the per hour charge on machinery is easier
    and more user friendly to explain to the customer.

    If you cannot afford to discount the payment reciepts for
    prompt payment within 10 days-

    they will expedite the paymment to you unless they "age"
    thier entire accounts payable load if it is a national or
    regional chain.
  3. lawnsrusinc.

    lawnsrusinc. Senior Member
    Messages: 141

    We are having a meeting about this subject today but we are leaning towards hourly for the trucks there. The snow was so deep that we had to send everyone out in pairs to help pull one another out.
  4. blowerman

    blowerman PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,261

    On this subject, I find the question is usually being asked by someone that typically uses trucks.
    If you are in the business of clearing snow, that's what you should do.
    While I understand we had a blizzard this past week, my customers should not and will not get special charges because they had drifts in the 5' plus range.
    While hauling and load out are different than not being able to properly clear a customers lot, I'd be ticked off if I hired you to plow and had to listen to some excuse about drifts and such.
    When using bigger (proper) machines to clear a lot, this problem doesn't come up very often for us. My theory is: use the right machine for the job & you won't have a problem. Just because a guy has a pick up or maybe even a skidloader doesn't mean he can handle the job.
  5. bristolturf

    bristolturf Senior Member
    Messages: 435

    I know some people dont like them, but I use them for non seasonal accounts. An extreme conditions clause stating that in extreme weather such as rapidly accumulating snow (such as the blizzard) or heavy lake effect, or extreme drifting, we reserve the right to bill hourly for the site. We also in clude in every contract our hourly rates, even if the site is per push. But it just helps to cover us during snows like we just had.
  6. Eronningen

    Eronningen Senior Member
    Messages: 442

    You need invoice it as you bid it. Plain and simple. Not to be smart but I would take into consideration this kind of stuff upon bidding.
  7. bristolturf

    bristolturf Senior Member
    Messages: 435

    I agree 100% eronningen. I always laugh about it when I am on this site, and after people get slammed with 26" of snow they ask what should i charge them, my contract only states pricing up to 12". Guess what, you loose out and only can bill them for that. I learned that 1 time the hard way. Thankfully it was only a few residential drives, got hit with heavy snow, like 18". Contract stated 1-6 then 6.1-12 nothing after that. I billed them all for the 12" pricing. Right away i drafted new contracts for the following year stating the extreme conditions clause, and that has been in place since i started commercial work.

    When you make your contract you need to make sure everything is in there and that its spelt out clearly.

    Our Extreme conditions clause reads like this.

    In the event of extreme conditions such as a blizzard providing large amounts of rapidly accumulating snow (12" or more) or rapidly accumulating lake effect snow (12" or more) or extreme winds causing drifts exceding 3' in depth, contractor may be unable to provide service in a timely manner due to hazardous conditions which may effect the safety of our employees, our clients, or others. In these types of events, contractor reserves the right to charge client at the hourly rates for the trucks and machinery listed above.

    Even if we are doing a site on a per inch push contract we will list the prices for that and then we say or if hourly, and list all the machinerys hourly rate, skid loader, wheel loader, dump truck, plow truck, walk ways, etc.
  8. Eronningen

    Eronningen Senior Member
    Messages: 442

    I'll also note that there is many snowfalls of 4-10" we will plow twice or 10+ we might plow it 3 times or maybe only just once. Timing is a variable to consider. If the trigger is an inch or two and its there by 2-4am and still snowing we go. If it re-triggers and stops any time during the day we'll plow that evening or overnight. If it re-triggers during the day and the forecast is a bunch more we'll hit it again during the day to open up driving lanes and sidewalks but not charge in full as there is many parked cars, than come back when it quits and do a full plow, shovel, and salt. When we do the latter we will be charging the incriment rates.
    Some potential customers insist we plow only upon the snow being done and that is how I bid it and typically don't get it or want it.
    My customer retention is very high due to our communication. None of this is a suprise to them as we do it. It is as we discussed prior to contract signing. Sometimes there is too much to incorporate into a contract and meeting with your customer or personally calling them to discuss snow operations goes a long ways.
    All this ranting of mine above is based upon commercial lots.