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Infrequent snowfalls

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by guntruck, Aug 11, 2001.

  1. guntruck

    guntruck Member
    Messages: 45

    Hello gents, and before im hit with it yes i did use the search feature. I didnt find exactly what i was looking for though, here in Md we dont get much snow, in fact only like 2" last year one time and nothing the year or two before. I am to put in a proposal for my apt complex i maintain(lawn) and i was reading how many of you take the average snowfall and divide the price over the 6 month season. Well i dont think thats gonna work here because the average here is nothing!!! So i was in the neighborhood of 108$ an hour for the truck and an operator and like 42cent/pd of salt. Would it be professional to submit this kind of pricing beings we are in a place that doesnt get much snow but definetely has the potentioal for much snow at times? I could really use the help Thansk guys!!

    :p
     
  2. CT18fireman

    CT18fireman Banned
    Messages: 2,133

    I would come up with a rate per push. Then set the amount they want you to plow. Every 3 inches etc. Add salt as a seperate cost. Try to outline everything in a contract so there are no disputes.
     
  3. bam

    bam Senior Member
    from .
    Messages: 201

    For our contracts, we prepare the typical contract stating what we are responsible for doing on the property - drives, walks, parking lots, etc; plowing, salting, sanding; and a trigger amount if any.

    We bill by the hour and by the storm. In our area there are too many variables to come up with a season contract for snow.

    The client receives a price sheet which lists cost per hour of the following:

    truck, salt truck, backhoe, skidsteer, sidewalk plow, labor, supervision, bulk salt, bagged salt, etc.

    It works for us and our clients. Be sure to document everything, including when on-site, what you are doing, etc. It will help if you are sued over a slip and fall.
     
  4. John Allin

    John Allin PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,327

    Consider a 'non-refundable retainer'. Possibly two plowings (on a per push basis) up front, or one in November and one in January. You invoice against the retainer amount. If you exceed it, they pay the difference. If you're below it, you keep the difference.

    I know this works in many markets where they don't get alot of snow, but have the potential for snow. Contractor has fixed expenses that must be met, snow or no snow.
     
  5. eggy

    eggy Member
    Messages: 71

    Thats a very good idea John. In Indiana (southern) we have had very few snows as well, appx two pushable snows each year for the last three. However what is becoming very popular with commercial clients is the one stop shopping for lawn care and snow removel....I have missed out on a few good lawn contracts because I was scared to get into the snow end due to expenses, however if I could get a plan such as that it would at least cover expenses.
     
  6. John Allin

    John Allin PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,327

    More and more contractors in markets that don't get alot of snow, are going to this method. I know a couple contractors that are charging a non-refundable deposit each MONTH, and then billing against that. If it 'carries over' to the next month.... it's gone. No carry over.

    And they are getting it.

    It's a mindset. Once you convince yourself that it's the way to go, you'll convince your customers.
     
  7. GeoffD

    GeoffD PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 2,266

    Always get atleast 10 plowable events up here. So it is rare we have any problems. However sometimes we go 4 weeks without a storm, then get 4 storms in a 10 day period.

    Geoff
     
  8. paul

    paul PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 151

    We have always used a per year price, snow or no snow, you have expenses you have to cover, we also have limits on how much too, then different rates apply, It helps make up for sleepless nights when all the weather forecasters call for snow and you have to have everything running but it don't happen:(
     
  9. John DiMartino

    John DiMartino PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 2,154

    Paul,your right,I hate those nights,your scrambling,to get all trucks ready,V-boxes full,men on standby,all plows on,and your up all night every hour,looking out the window,and nothing.No snow.
     
  10. guntruck

    guntruck Member
    Messages: 45

    Good point Paul and John, but do you really think i can get away with charging just to be ready to tend to there needs? I know two local gents that just charge by the hour with a 2" trigger, and they do all the local farm stores. I totally understand and agree with you just hard to do if im gonna be one in 200 plowers that do it that way. Am i crazy for thinking this way?
     
  11. John Allin

    John Allin PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,327

    Think the fire department works 'by the job' ??

    Hope not. Gotta be ready no matter what.
     
  12. guntruck

    guntruck Member
    Messages: 45

    John you have a good point there also =).....
     
  13. Larrytow

    Larrytow Junior Member
    Messages: 28

    Hi all, Just thought I'd share some insight from the towing biz. We bill by the job, BUT, our prices reflect the overhead we incur just having the trucks and drivers availible any time you need them. So on each job we get paid for the time and expense of waiting arround for you to call. It's about the same as a retainer; just divided up among lots of different customers. We in the snow biz are a lot like the fire dept; the investment has to be made by us well before any of our clients need us. Obviously, we should be paid just for being ready to go at a moments notice. If they only want to pay me for my actual time on their job, thats fine; I expect that they will have all the nessacarry equipment ready when I arrive to plow! If I buy equipment to do a job, the job HAS to pay for it, not me.

    Regards, Larry
     
  14. BRIMOW525

    BRIMOW525 Senior Member
    Messages: 259

    how to bill

    I'm in the same boat as u guntruck. I live in Delaware. The snow season is SOOOO unpredictable here and investing in equipment is some what risky...BUT when I does snow ... there is plenty of money to be made and money is usually no object as most people are never prepared and say "yea yea, just get it DONE"! I my self charge per "push" charge. I also break it down if we only do sidewalks, salt parking lot etc. So if the job takes me 5 mins or 5hrs its the same price. Some say its stupid or too risky to charge that way....." what if we get 18" of snow?? You'll loose out!" No not really... ever heard of plow with the storm? Thats where you make money cause if we get 6-7 inches you'll plow at least twice and the second time will be easier. Just my 2 cents