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Free Snow Plowing

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by RB, Feb 26, 2002.

  1. RB

    RB Senior Member
    Messages: 197

    I'm from Pgh, Pa. and we typically don't get much snow around these parts. This is my 3rd year plowing and salting. So far this year I plowed once and salted maybe a dozen times or less. Last year I plowed maybe six times and salted maybe 20. I don't know what I did my fist year but I usually salt about 4 times for every time I plow.

    I plow in an area where most of my lots are about "gas station" sized lots, a lot of dr. offices and small med. centers. they usually take me no more than 30 min. to plow and I usually put down about 200 lbs of salt.

    Most of these sites have small lawn areas that will bring in about $150/mo for weekly lawn maintenance. That is my primary biz, lawn maintenance.

    What would you say if I market they sites by offering "free snow plowing," I would charge for salting. Do you think this is a big mistake? Did anyone ever do this? I know the obvious -- big snow and a lot of plowing. But remember these lots have no long runs. All easy plowing.

    I am probably not going to try this but I'm just wondering what I can do to get an edge on the comp. (superior work will not always do it).

    Ron
     
  2. digger242j

    digger242j Senior Member
    Messages: 672

    I think you'd do better to charge an arm and a leg for plowing, and give free lawn care....

    (Note my location...)

    ;)
     
  3. OBRYANMAINT

    OBRYANMAINT PlowSite.com Veteran
    from ohio
    Messages: 534

    I wouldnt give it away.........you will pull down the value....people will se it as an unskilled and un valuable service.........I know the feeling though..........if you trying to gain year round customers give them a break and raise the prices of those who do not
     
  4. Manx

    Manx Senior Member
    Messages: 115

    RB,
    It sounds great
    The only problem is that people would then take it for granted
    They would see it as free and worthless
    Why not give them the option of year round service
    and then give them a 5 or 10 percent discount
    once they sign a 1 year contract
     
  5. Pelican

    Pelican 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,075

    I agree a discount would be better than free. Maybe you could throw in a free extra, sidewalks, mulch? Free plowing is too much.
     
  6. RB

    RB Senior Member
    Messages: 197

    Thanx for those thoughts -- you're right. I didn't see it as turning a skilled valuable service into unvalued service.
    Thanx.

    Ron

    PS
    It's now Wed at 3:30 a.m. Last night our local weather guessers said steady snow showers throughout the night starting at midnight. I put my airflo MSS on "myself" and shoveled on 1 ton of salt. Where's the snow?
     
  7. Mick

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

    RB - I would see this a little different than others, maybe. Basically, you're talking about giving away something that causes you a lot of risk. You're more likely to get sued over the results of your plowing (slips, falls and accidents) than over your lawn maintenance. When you figure the cost of your insurance, the "plowing portion" should be quite a bit higher than "landscaping(?)" portion. The wear and tear on your trucks is likely greater. Also, consider the hassle of snowplowing vs lawn maint (getting up early in the AM, etc).

    I know you already said you had decided not to do this. I'm just giving my thoughts.
     
  8. Sno

    Sno Senior Member
    Messages: 320

    Just my two cents,,, Check out the thread on bad debt.

    I would be worried about giving the free plowing just to have them drop you in the spring. That could be expensive and just one could eliminate all the gains from your free service.

    Nothing is forever!

    Sno
     
  9. nsmilligan

    nsmilligan PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 704

    I do about 50% of my plowing by seasonal contract, I don't think you could talk anybody into it down there judging by the amount of plowing you do. But why not a full season maintainance contract for a lot, which includes snow removal and salting, grounds clean up in the spring, etc., at a flat fee per year billed on a monthly basis. A lot of companies ( like malls) like their plowing by seasonal contract because they know in advance what their costs are and they bill it back to the stores that lease from them, so I think a contract like that might appeal to them. Try for a 3 year contract, that way if you get caught with a heavy snow year, expenses will average out. That way your not giving "free plowing" but provideing a year around service, and charging for it.

    Bill