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Good or bad idea?

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by superdog1, Nov 1, 2011.

  1. superdog1

    superdog1 Senior Member
    Messages: 255

    I was thinking about running an advertisement stating I will do residential driveways for $1.25 a foot. Now, before you all kill me and call me a low baller, I need to explain a few things!. I am new to the business, just bought a 93 GMC dually with a Western 9ft plow. My idea is that I need to generate some income and residential driveways are normally fairly easy (The average snowfall here is around 3" to 5 " at a time) and I would concentrate on getting as many driveways as possible in the same area, development, sub-division etc. so that I wouldn't be driving all over the place to get the job done.

    The other part of this is that I would get my name out and hopefully add some new landscaping customers for Spring work like cutting grass, hedges, hardscaping work or whatever they need? I did the math and as long as I can get 6 or 7 drives in each area, I can actually make a few $$!

    The average driveway in my area is right around 9ft wide with a few at the 10ft mark, so with one or two swipes, the work is done and I am off to the next one. It takes me less than 5 minutes to do a 10 ft long on average. At almost every location in my area, I can push it to the right on the way in, back drag it away from the garage for a few feet and then just push it left or back in with the truck and push it to the right or out in the street and then into their yard on either side.

    I do realize that in some cases I may run into a snag or two, but overall, I should be able to make it work. Any thoughts?:rolleyes:
  2. shovelracer

    shovelracer Senior Member
    Messages: 525

    From an advertising standpoint I can see how the $1.25 number might draw some attention. Once the call is made than it is all sales skills from there. You are better off pricing each driveway individually, but low numbers tend to get attention.
  3. superdog1

    superdog1 Senior Member
    Messages: 255

    Thanks, Thats what I was thinking. My closing skills are excellent, so once I get them on the phone................ IMHO, I am not low balling either. I would be collecting like $50 for a 40ft driveway and that is good money right? (At least for me it is, Lol)
  4. DaveCN5

    DaveCN5 Senior Member
    Messages: 236

    I would strongly suggest not doing this. First of all, in most states it is illegal to push snow out into the street. Secondly, snow should never be stacked at the entrance unless it's unavoidable. All it does is impair the homeowner's vision of the road when pulling out into the road, causing a potentially hazardous situation.
  5. superdog1

    superdog1 Senior Member
    Messages: 255

    I guess I should explain? It is illegal here to push any snow into the street and leave it there. In my area, most homes have large amounts of road frontage, so I would push it out and then down and back into their yards (I can only do this at maybe 70% of the locations) along the front of their properties. I do understand that visibility is important and would never do this, but I do appreciate you pointing it out.
  6. superdog1

    superdog1 Senior Member
    Messages: 255

    I can't believe that more people do not have an opinion as to whether this is a good idea or not? Since when do the members of this forum bite their tongue? Lol
  7. scottL

    scottL PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,600

    1.25 per foot at your average of 90 sq foot is 112.5 .... Is this per snow fall - which then it would be very expensive. if it's per month you are still a little high depending and if it's per season you are the worse of the low ballers.

    Driveways stink..... If for no other reason what do you do when you have an all day snow event that would produce 12 inch in total ... Do you charge per visit, per season, per month and how many times do you plow during this storm? there isn't much room for working and not getting paid.

    REAPER 2000 Club Member
    from 60050
    Messages: 2,228

    What do you do when the homeowner calls and asks for only the end 4 feet to be cleared after the city plows roll by?
  9. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    Driveways starting as low as 20.00 and go from there.
  10. superdog1

    superdog1 Senior Member
    Messages: 255

    I am hoping that it would be per snowfall and based on length only. I am not concerned about the width, as most driveways are around 9ft to 10ft wide. In other words, I am not doing the square foot, just the length. I realize that some places I may get burned a little if they are double wide parking areas in front of a building, but I am going to come out and give a firm quote. I also want to see what I am plowing on BEFORE I drop my blade. I have the right to reject any driveway I want to, so if someone tries to take advantage of me, I simply refuse the work.

    I plan on having each customer sign a waiver so that in Spring, I don't have to go back and re-coat 20 driveways from scrape marks. It will also state that I will wait until the end of the storm to do the plowing unless they direct me to do something different, that way I am only going to that location 1 time per snow event. It will also have a paragraph stating what the trigger is. I am sure that some customers will not care about an inch of snow, as that is nothing in my area. I am guessing that most will only want me to come out if we have 3 inches or more?

    I also plan on doing door hangers in places like mobile home parks, certain developments etc. so that I am not driving 20 miles one way to do a 5ft driveway, as obviously I would not make a red cent doing stupid things like that. I do appreciate all the feedback, as there is no way I am smart enough to see and cover all the angles, Lol;)
  11. superdog1

    superdog1 Senior Member
    Messages: 255

    Another quick note

    I just want everyone to understand that I have ulterior motives here. I want to get my name out and just talk to and work for, more people. As a landscaper, I am hoping that if I go above and beyond with my service that in the Spring, people will remember me? My guess is that a lot of older people will hire me, as they are the age group that has the hardest time with physical labor, and more than one person has died from a heart attack while shoveling snow.

    I am hoping that this same customer base will then hire me to cut their lawns, hedges, whatever in the future. I hope my crazy idea works and I still manage to make a buck or two?:eek:
  12. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    This is ok in the short term. What happens is after a few years you end up having a 2 tier system,meaning ,all your new customers will be paying the going rate but your first customers you have will always be at a lower rate. You can't bump them up to the going rate because you will lose them.The ones you have with the going rate will come and go because they are shopping every year and don't have the loyalty as your first customers had with you.
  13. csi.northcoast

    csi.northcoast Senior Member
    Messages: 320

    heres my take.. first off i do not do landscaping or resi... but i think i dually with a 9 foot blade may be too bid.. but that being said, you may get more bang for your advertising buck by offering them a 12 month service, do driveway at a dicounted rate if they sign up for lawn care....something like that... in my neck of the woods like grandview they are going for about $20.00 buck pp or 180-200 seasonal
  14. Jguck25

    Jguck25 Senior Member
    Messages: 591

    I disagree with a few things on here.. First, Driveways dont stink.. I have both commercial and residential, and yes I make more money from the commercial lots per storm. BUT I make a better profit on driveways. Hour to hour, I make more on driveways. I make on average 35 Dollars more an hour on driveways than I do on commercial.. Which yes, this might be my fault, but I seem to have found a good spot to lie as far as pricing goes, I am right in line with what other companies charge, maybe even a little more.

    Second, a 9 ft plow is not too big for driveways, I have plowed with 8 and 9 foot plows and now a 9'2" v plow on driveways and it is perfectly fine. MUCH better than the 8 ft. Driveways around here are twisty and every time you turn with an 8ft plow you suck in the snow you just pushed to the side with the truck and it takes forever and it is harder to get the corners clean. I love having the 9 ft on driveways, and I plow lots of different sized driveways.

    And finally, I dont know about your area, but advertising 1.25 a foot would be crazy expensive. I assume you mean linear foot and not sq ft. Most of my driveways are 70-100 feet long, so if i were to charge 1.25 a foot I would be charging 125 for a lot of my driveways and I am getting half of that now.. But yet I have a few driveways that are only 20 feet long but yet i get 30 to do those..which is more than 1.25 a foot. So just be carefull with this way of pricing, every driveway is different.. What if someone has a 2000 ft driveway, I have several that long, are they going to pay 2500 a storm? Not bashing you at all, I thought it was a great idea until i thought into it a little more..
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2011
  15. DodgeBlizzard

    DodgeBlizzard Senior Member
    Messages: 526

    If you feel that $1.25 per foot is profitable, go with it. If you're worried about getting burnt, set it up as different price per foot if it's a double wide driveway. Where in central Pa are you located?
  16. JDiepstra

    JDiepstra PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,780

    10 foot driveway? Never heard of it. Never seen anything shorter than about 30 feet. I think your price is too high.
  17. superdog1

    superdog1 Senior Member
    Messages: 255

    Yes, I meant linear foot, and now that I think about it, you are right! That is a crazy price on long driveways. I will have to re-think what I am doing. I did it this way so even if I get someone who has a short driveway, I don't loose my butt. I will have to come up with discounts for driveways over like 30ft long or something?
  18. superdog1

    superdog1 Senior Member
    Messages: 255

    I am in Lebanon. I know I can make a $$ @ $1.25 a foot on short driveways, but I need to re-think the rate for long drives? I used that price point so that people could come up with a rate in their head and think "Wow, it will only cost me X amount of $$ to have my drive done!" and call me. I hope it works???:rolleyes:
  19. superdog1

    superdog1 Senior Member
    Messages: 255

    There are mobile home parks around here that have drives just a little bit longer if not the same length as a car. With enough of these in one location, I could do well.:)
  20. justme-

    justme- 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,138

    Think about 2 things- a drive just longer than a car is a PITA because there is usually a car in it so you're opening it and either returning or waiting for the client to move it. There are lots of those drives here- the most I do for those people is to open it and they are on their own from there- I'm not waiting (which costs me money).

    The second is mobile home parks ave a company that does the whole park, usually contracted by the park owner or manager because it's easier then having 40 different things going on inside in a storm. Aside from that, unless I was doing the whole park you couldn't pay me enough to try driving my truck with plow in one in a storm. Up here there is no room.