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Is $60 an hour enough

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by pearson, Sep 19, 2007.

  1. pearson

    pearson Junior Member
    Messages: 1

    I have an offer from a large landscaping company to be a subcontractor in snow removal.
    I have a landscaping company, but have not done plowing before.
    They would like me to put a plow on my truck, and from what I can tell a decent plow will cost me around $4000.
    Is it worth while to do this sort of work for $60 an hour. Should I ask for more? I live in Indianapolis, so maybe snow fall is a factor.
    I asked about contract work, and they said that might be an option also...so what sort of rates should I look at for that to make good business sense.
  2. CNY Plow

    CNY Plow Senior Member
    Messages: 145

    $40000 for equip; $60 per hour= 67 hours to recoup; 20 pushes a year = min of 3.5 hours per push.
    + insurance, maintenance, etc
    Do you expect to recover all cost in one year or amortize over 5, 7, 10 years - what?
  3. Mick

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

    In your figuring, why not factor in income from getting some accounts of your own? Really, what they have handed you is a good way to start out. Get an estimate of how many hours per snowfall they will have for you, then get enough of your own to bring it up to around 6-8 hours worth of work. Don't worry too much about having a full route the first year - every year you'll build a little. But you will need to buy additional insurance (Commercial Vehicle and GL specific to plowing snow in addition to what you have now). So figure your insurance as an additional yearly expense and your equipment amortized over xxx yrs and go from there. Also, if you can offer year-round service (landscape and plowing), it'll put you a little ahead of the competition.
  4. PremierLand

    PremierLand PlowSite.com Addict
    from detroit
    Messages: 1,572

    IMO you can get 80-120 an hour being a sub.

    $60 is way to low. Equipment, Fuel, Insurance, Wear and Tear, and your own time. IDK but I value my time and it comes at a $.
  5. PremierLand

    PremierLand PlowSite.com Addict
    from detroit
    Messages: 1,572

    Not to be a jerk, but its actually 670 hours to recoupe the money JUST for your equipment, not to mention fuel, insurance and all that stuff you mentioned. So just to make upthe money for the equipment alone he would have to work 33 hours per storm and have 20 storm.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 19, 2007
  6. cet

    cet PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,196


    670X60=$40,2000 I think 40,000 might have been a typo

    Are you tring to pay for the truck in one season? LOL

    $60 is a good place to start, expecially if you have never plowed snow.

    As Mick said, try and get a few of your own.
  7. mayhem

    mayhem PlowSite.com Addict
    from Peru MA
    Messages: 1,016

    40000 is a typo, he meant 4000.

    He already owns a truck, or at least already has the truck payments accounted for in his landscaping business. The equipment he needs to cover is the $4k for the new plow to hang on his truck as well as insurance, etc.

    I'm no seasoned pro, but $60 I think is bare minimum...I'd go for $80-100 an hour unless the company you're subbing for is going to put you under their liability policy and give you a gas card...as I understand it this is not typical of subcontracting for plowing...they want you to provide everything and just be ready when the storms hit.

    Definitely keep your ear to the ground for your own customer base while you're doing it...think about the cost and time required to plow a driveway in your truck so you can be ready with an estimate or flat rate when someone calls.
  8. JD Dave

    JD Dave PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,034

    We always guarentee our subs 100 hours per season, to make it worth while for them. We pay 20 hrs/month for 5 months, then at the end if they worked more we pay them the extra hours. It helps our cash flow and there's by doing it that way.
  9. jcesar

    jcesar Senior Member
    from Mi
    Messages: 492

    if you have never plowed, then you need to consider the time frame. you will be slower than the sseasoned guys, therefore on average, you will make about the same. As far as all the other stuff, such as insurance, fuel, etc.....Mick was right on. Make sure you are fully covered, and keep an ear to the pavement for your own jobs. i think you will make a couple bucks, and get some good experience.

    Good luck.

  10. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,480

    You need to find out what the going rate is in Indy before demanding $X.XX\hour. And then determine if you can make a living on that hourly rate multiplied by actual amount of plowing time.

    I can guarantee if you hold out for $80-120 as a sub on the West side of MI, you won't be plowing anything but your own driveway. $60 is on the high end even. It's just like plowing, the rates vary from region to region. And as has been stated, you won't get top dollar because of your inexperience.

    For that matter, we have contractor's bidding at $60 per hour per truck and less the farther west you go, so don't use someone else's numbers that is 4-5 hours away and has no idea of the pricing in your market.
  11. Snowpower

    Snowpower Senior Member
    Messages: 636

    Thats a fresh approach and I like it.
  12. Gicon

    Gicon Senior Member
    from MA
    Messages: 989

    What kind of truck are you going to be plowing with. Toyota tundras cant work or bring as much money as GMC 7500's If you catch my drift. I wouldnt put anything of mine out for $60 an hour, but thats just me. Diesel here is now $3.15 a gallon. I dont know what the hell is going on but I thought diesel was supposed to be cheaper than gas. Learn how to plow on their time and their accounts. Think hard all season long how you can expand your business NEXT year. Use this year to watch the pros and see how they do things. The education is worth something as well. $60 might not be a bad start for you, depending on what kind of truck you are running.
  13. REAPER

    REAPER 2000 Club Member
    from 60050
    Messages: 2,228

    $60 a hour for Indiana for your 1st year is great money and you should grab it asap.

    I have yet to meet the sub with just a plow anywhere that is getting $80 - $100 a hour.

    Maybe if you were in NY city or Boston or Chi Town but for your area $60 is dang good and if you are just learning great.

    Get a couple of years under the belt and add a salter then start thinking of the $80-$100 a hour range.

    Remember with your own account it means more insurance more costs to you and time billing and taking care of complaints. On your own time.

    I have done both and as I get older I enjoy subbing more and more. What I get paid now and what the guy I work for gets for the lots I do, to me it just is not worth the extra hassle of billing and bidding and being the one that gets the complaint calls.

    I made $30k Gross last season and for what I did and after expenses I feel I got the better end of the deal. Some will argue about getting it all. But in that argument they fail to tell you the extra work involved with having your own accounts.
  14. T-MAN

    T-MAN PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,363

    As long as they pay what your owed. In my experiance get your money as quick as you can. If XYZ company has a bad year, under priced some accounts, or blew a seasonal bid, who do you think will not get paid ?

    Reaper, Chi town starts at 60- for no experience, your truck, your gas.
    30K as a sub is huge money, is that for 2 trucks ? I dont think I ever grossed more then 9K subbing in one season. That was a good year with 15 pushes, subbing for 2 companys.
  15. REAPER

    REAPER 2000 Club Member
    from 60050
    Messages: 2,228

    One truck with salter.
    We did have a record year up here last year and went out twice even in the middle of April. In February I went out 4-5 times a week either salting , plowing or both.

    It was my best season ever I admit but it still beats doing all the billing and bidding and collecting.

    You are right about getting paid. Above everything make sure who you work for pays their guys. Long ago I was stiffed. I got my money eventually but it took 6 months and the cost of a lawyer to make a call with a threat.

    And that amount was gross. Subtract gas (a freaking ton of gas) one cutting edge. Insurance. Shift linkage I had to replace after the season. Starter I had to replace. I am in the process of repainting the plow as well now. I am pretty sure I have to replace the bearing on the spinner of my salter as well. That was my 4th season owning it so that isn't bad. Subtract all of that and a few misalliance things and I still did pretty good
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2007
  16. T-MAN

    T-MAN PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,363

    Im not far from you, yes last season was my best too.
    I did not realize you salted as well.
    We put down alot of salt, hopefully this season will be as good.payup
  17. JD Dave

    JD Dave PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,034