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Is Per/Hour Charge Worth It.

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by White Gardens, Nov 13, 2008.

  1. White Gardens

    White Gardens 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,665

    This is the first year I've started to "really" push the snow removal end of my business.

    I've done a couple of bids for some commercial properties, I'm thinking that they've been way too high.

    My question is. If you have an 8 foot V plow you can obviously push a lot more snow in a shorter amount of time compared to a 6 foot strait blade.

    So do you charge more per hour on bids for the better equipment, or do you throw a "ball-park" estimate out there.

    Sure, you can look at a place and say X amount of time, but shouldn't you always try to make the job go faster to be more efficient without sacrificing profits???

  2. DirtyJerzey

    DirtyJerzey Senior Member
    Messages: 358

    What you need is to set an hourly rate that you want to make yourself. Most people contractors/customers prefore the per push rule which basically is in a sense based off her your per hour rate. A lot of people like to make around $150 an hour per truck so if you think the lot will take you 30 min then you charge $75. The whole idea with a bigger plow is obviously to get the job done faster so that you can charge less and get the winning bid. Commercial plowing is all about doing it quick, cheap and efficient...
  3. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    Most places could give a rats butt what your using to plow the lot with. Just because you have better equipment doesn't mean you charge less. And if you do charge less how will you maintain and upgrade if your on a smaller profit margin?
  4. NoFearDeere

    NoFearDeere PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,709

    Nobody cares about what blade or size you have except for very large companies or condo assoc. Most areas is anywhere from $70 per hr to $150 per hr for each truck.
  5. ford550

    ford550 Senior Member
    Messages: 407

    Basically you need to figure time to clear the lot in one push and if they need you to be maintaining open drive lanes thoughout the storm, figure that out as well. Then just increase it as snow gets deeper and harder to push, multiple pushes, etc. It is very hard pricing this way if you don't have historic data on this type of plowing. You should try to get one of those bids, price it to make a couple bucks, but not a fortune, this will allow you to get some good data, so that in the future you will be able to accurately price and make a lot of money. Education is expensive, but in the end you will recoupe that expense. Per inch/per event can be very profitable if you know how to price it.

    Agree with everyone above. The company doesn't care what you have to plow with. As long as you do a great job and are reliable no matter what happens. With that being said, that's why I run with only very new and reliable equipment. Snow is one of those things that you can't skimp on, you will eventually get caught and lose your business.

    Last edited: Nov 13, 2008
  6. azandy

    azandy Member
    Messages: 73

    About 2/3 of our jobs are by the hour. Many years ago when we bought our first V-plow this caused a problem. I think the rate then was about $50.00 per hour. We were getting some of these lots plowed a lot faster than in previous years. With the advent of constant cameras, we sure couldn't cheat on our time. The next year we increased our hourly rates and explained this to our customers. As we fazed out our 7'6" straight blades, we just figured a little less time on those trucks. This seemed to be the best way to handle this. As posted above, Most people don't know if your in a pickup truck, or in a grader. All they know is at 7:00 AM when they get to work, they don't get there $250.00 shoes wet.
  7. White Gardens

    White Gardens 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,665

    I understand that complexes don't care what type of plow you do have. I'm sure they would only care if you have a small truck/plow that your charging $85 an hour, takes you forever, and it jacks up their price.

    The only thing I'm trying to say is, I feel that bidding on an hourly basses, only causes faster plowing, quality is lessen, and it puts a "cap" on the what you can bid to stay competitive.

    I'm just wondering if bidding by the hour is becoming antiquated, and hurting the industry as a whole. ( I would like to see low-ballers raise their prices)
  8. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    I should mentioned I only do seasonal contract.
  9. PLCI

    PLCI Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 31

    First off you need to find out what it costs you per hour for the truck, equipment, overhead, labor, profit. Yes its good to know what the going rate on market is, but should not be the deciding factor of what to charge for an hourly rate! The cph of a 7' 6" Vblade will increase slightly compared to a 8' strait blade blade, but the efficacy will inrease as mush as 30%.

    We bid our lots (not hourly) using the production rates of a 8' strait blade. The we will look at different trucks & equipment to speed the process up and increase our profits. If we dedicate a loader w/ a push box on the property we have just increased our efficancy 10 fold. If the loader is down or un available and we have to use a truck w/ a 8' blade we won,t loose any money.

    In our market there are very few hourly accounts and these are reserved for "specialty" properties (hospitals, 0 tolerance facilities, etc.) most of the work around here is contract or per storm. So yes in a way "bidding by the hour is becoming antiquated"

    The point I was trying to make is know your costs...
  10. mike33

    mike33 Senior Member
    Messages: 335

    I have been plowing for 15 years and have around 30 comm. accounts. I would say im down to about only 10 per hour. The business has changed and i found out i can make more per push. However i have 1 large lot that recquires at least 1 truck plowing from start to finish and the second truck to help finish. That is a prime lot to charge by the hour because you cant loose. Smaller lots go by the push you can make double or better than your average hour rate. My area doesent produce the big bucks you see on this site due to location, my rate this year id 75/hr when i go by the hour. last year i was 65 and still one of the most expensive. in my area.
  11. tilawn

    tilawn Member
    Messages: 55

    when I have to charge by the hour I base on the size plow, For my 10 foot I get 100/hr but for an 8 foot i only get 80 then i also charge 60 per hr for shovelrs. But i also prefer to do a per push rate instead of hourly. sometimes that doesnt help depending on the type of snow we get here, sometimes wet and heavy and others dry and fluffy but it usually washes out by the end of season
  12. bribrius

    bribrius PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,609

    excellent postussmileyflag
  13. dr.lawn21

    dr.lawn21 Senior Member
    Messages: 225

    I have started pushing seasonal contracts, and love the idea. No snow in Nov....well I still get paid. payup
  14. White Gardens

    White Gardens 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,665

    What kind of pricing per month are you pushing for seasonal contracts.
  15. hotshot4819

    hotshot4819 Senior Member
    Messages: 231

    well jesus, thats a broad question. compare an dunkin donuts to walmart lol, aint going to be the same price per month.

    i try to keep a 50/50 personally, if it snows im making good money for per pushes, and if it dont, then im making good money doing nothing.
  16. White Gardens

    White Gardens 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,665

    Alright, It was a broad question, fair enough.

    Approximately what parameters do you use to come up with a good monthly charge. Square footage, average snowfalls per year, etc....
  17. mike d

    mike d Junior Member
    from IL / WI
    Messages: 10

    the only time i charge by the hour is when we are removing snow from lots . We charge 150.00 hr for a loader to be out there and the clocks running the whole time. Even when the dumper is on its way to the field to dump the snow .
  18. Get Plowed AK

    Get Plowed AK Member
    Messages: 78

    What i have found to be the most profitable in my area is to bid per plow/sand with 1.5-2" trigger unless the customer requests otherwise (rare) carrying seasonal contracts. Some are for a term of 3 years but thats their system. The snow doesn't melt for 6 months up here then its a month of sanding almost every day. I bid on size, and how technical the job is. I try and bid so I get around 170 an hour per truck. Shoveling included. And if you do snow removal you can take it easy on making room for to much snow accumulation where you can. If you can book 8 hours of removal time for about half of your big timers it really help justify the equipment if your seasonal like me.
    I commercial fish in the summers! The only hourly i charges are parking lot sweeping, snow removal and hand work. We dont use salt or anything on ice up here just sand so its win win. I throw it down then sweep it up. I base my business on quality, reliable and not affordabilty. It works great for my stuff. As long as the quality is maintained. I have yet to lose any customers to lowballers due to my exceptional service.

    Hope it help and Good Luck!
  19. Get Plowed AK

    Get Plowed AK Member
    Messages: 78

    Oh and spend the money to get the best! One down day can cost you way more than money you saved on the cheaper equipment! ;)