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Long Storms of 24hrs or more

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by DanG, Dec 27, 2000.

  1. DanG

    DanG Senior Member
    Messages: 240

    With customers who pay per storm
    I was wondering how you guys bill on storms that last for more than 24hrs.
    For example: you start plowing early on wednesday and it continues to snow and by the time you finish with cleanups etc.. it's sometime on Thursday.
    Do you bill it as two storms since you're plowing on two different days?

  2. Bad Boy

    Bad Boy Junior Member
    Messages: 11

    billing a long storm

    We would bill twice because two different days
  3. slplow

    slplow PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 594

    would only charge 2 times if thier was 2 lows but most of the time for that long of a storm its a big storm and big storm= big money if you charge by inch.
  4. landscaper3

    landscaper3 Senior Member
    Messages: 309

    For 1 storm over 8" we charge residential 1 1/2 charge. If its commercial same charge, commercial is paid monthly wether it snows or not. If its 2 storms that has a break in between it a 2 storm charge.
  5. Veggie Farmer

    Veggie Farmer Junior Member
    Messages: 11

    We set our accounts up on 1" or 2" triggers anytime its that deep we plow. So on one 12" storm theoretically we could plow a 2" account 6 times. That being said,we try to give each customer what they want some will get plowed every two inches as best we can others would only get two or three plows out of a 12" storm. This system works better for me than charging by the inch.
  6. plowking35

    plowking35 2000 Club Member
    from SE CT
    Messages: 2,923

    We do the same as far as accounts go. We charge for the amount of snow present at each plowing not for storm totals. I know different people have differnt pricing stratagies, and how I bill may not work for another person. But to assure service for a 24 hr period at the same rate is just asking to lose money.
    Again it is entirely possible that if we recieved a 12" snow fall, that the customer would be billed for 6-2" snow falls. that way we make money everytime we service that property.
  7. plowboy876

    plowboy876 Junior Member
    Messages: 4

    Maybe I'm not an ordinary contractor or something, but my contracts read that I will plow after a designated amount of snow.

    EX: 3" ...every time 3" accumulate, I plow and charge the agreed price.

    I only have one account that stipulates the first plow of the day is $xxx.xx, and the second for THAT DAY is 1/2 price. If a third, fourth etc time is necessary, it goes full/first,1/2 price/second, 3/4 price for each subsequent.

    I have had no problems selling my contracts. The only reason I agreed to the above contract is that even at 1/2 price, I'm in excess of $300.00 per hour.

    My average contract stipulates service after 4" is received, and each 4" accumulation after that.

    My invoices state the date of service, TIME of service, (important), and amount charged per service.

    I have been doing commercial plowing for 3 years and with no complaints from my customers.

    good luck....and LET IT SNOW !!!!!!!!!
  8. John Allin

    John Allin PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,327

    I'm with Dino....
    We charge for each plowing a the amount of snow on the lot at the time of plowing. 5 pushes in once day - 5 chargable visits.

    Per storm pricing is a fast track to the poorhouse.
  9. JCurtis

    JCurtis Banned
    Messages: 862

    I have a clause in my residential contracts, that states any return trip to the site will be billed at 50% of Initial plow price.

    If I have a driveway that bills out at $100 per plow and I have to go back an additional time , that equals $150

    If I have to go back two times in addition to the intial plow, that equals $200

    On residentials I try to be fair. I mean obviously, if we are expecting a 12 inch storm I can't keep going back every hour and dropping my plow. Most times one or two runs will suffice. On commercial accounts, I keep plowing with the storm.

    If we get hit hard this weekend, I may hit them (residentials) once early saturday and then wait until the storm ends saturday night or early sunday morning. Thats 1 full and 1 half charge. If I need to hit them a third time, so be it. I mean it is a holiday weekend afterall.

    I guess everyone bills out at whatever manner the market will bear. haven't had much luck trying to sell seasonals to residentials. they seem to have a problem paying me to plow snow that may not actually come.
  10. SLSNursery

    SLSNursery PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 140

    I think a mix of billing types is prudent.

    For our customers, we try to get a few different arrangements - seasonal/monthly, per storm, per inch. A very limited amount of on call arrangments- mostly for sanding only are per hour plus materials. We haven't had much luck locking folks into seasonal, so our customers (many have been with us for 5-10 years) sign up for what we call 'per storm', based upon accumulation amounts.

    We try to interview the customers (and review on a regular basis) to find out what their hour by hour needs are before the winter. This way, our per storm price for heavy accumulations provides us with the funds to pay for multiple visits instead of billing 5x for 5 visits. What is the difference if you get $200 for 4" and bill 2x or $400 for 8" and bill 1x. Furthermore, in a fair contract you would probably need to pro-rate any daytime visits that were not complete pushes at commercial accounts.

    For instance, a trucking depot that we service usually operates 6 days per week, 4am-6pm+. We know that that account will need more or less service depending upon how busy they are. This is built into the contract, so that the 'per storm' amount is a good base amount. If they are jammed up and need a loader, its extra. If they need to keep the aprons open but there are too many trucks in the way of plowing the whole lot, then its not an extra, just a quick drive through. This weekend they will be closed, so we can take it easy, and spend more time at a couple of churches and restaurants we service.

    I would also like to comment that we try to plow along with the accumulating snow, because its easier to keep up than to catch up. Our per accumulation price allows us the budget to allow for enough time in order to make a few visits and/or touchups in order to finish the job. In addition, we do bill separately for each Sand or Salt application.

    Our residential driveways get done at the end of the storm (we do not have many left). Any residentials who want preferential treatment get put on our commercial list and are billed out per service, plow, sand or salt. Otherwise, if you get to them too early, I find that the town will plow in the driveways, and that does the customer no good and might result in a call back.

    I guess you need to find a system that works for you. We have been working on some accounts for many years, and I don't want to change the system. Our setup seems to work well for both of us, and as Dino said, its whatever works for you that counts.

    Sorry for the long response. This thread started me thinking about a bunch of different things, and I had a few minutes.
  11. cutntrim

    cutntrim PlowSite.com - Veteran
    Messages: 248

    All of our commercial accounts are billed a seasonal amount for plowing, and a per application amount for salting. So far this has been a good year for the customers as far as plowing goes (ie. we've been out alot). But it's also been a good start to the year for us, as far as salting goes (same reason - we've been out alot). So it's up to us to estimate the number of times we'll be out plowing in an average year and then come up with a seasonal price. We may look to mix in some "per inch/per storm" accounts next year, but so far we've only done seasonal contracts.

    Residentially, we did "per storm" in the past but moved to seasonal this winter. But we have only 12 driveways so they're a small percentage of our total snow route. As with SLS we do them after all of our commercials are done.

    We don't budget any salt earnings in when figuring our bottom line (any salting is like icing on the cake), so we like knowing exactly what we'll make from plowing each winter by going with seasonal accounts. Also, since our three trucks are run by my partner, my dad, and yours truly, payroll isn't as much a concern with multiple storms as it might be with some of you other guys.
  12. DanG

    DanG Senior Member
    Messages: 240

    Most of the time I plow the 1st time for full price and then cut the amount for 2nd,3rd visits if needed etc...
    I found it's easier and better on equipment to keep on top of the storms as they come if thats possible.
    If I know it's going to be a large storm I'll go out and make a few swipes through some of the larger driveways so it's easier on the truck.
    Some of the places are tough up hills etc.. and if you let it build up to much it's almost impossible to plow them.

    My plowing is mainly residentials and some rental property's(35 total) most of which I also maintain during the summer . Right now it takes me with one truck and one helper shoveling/snowblowing 6-8 hrs to go through once and do everything including the walks

    I usually tell the people I plow this is the way I do it:

    under 3" or for sanding/ice removal have to call me

    Anything over 3" is plowed automatically
    3"-6" is one price
    6"-12" one and a half the first rate
    12"+ is plowed as needed to keep up with storms and each time I plow is billed at the 3-6" rate.

    Thanks for all the feed back.


    D.G. Enterprises
    also if called to clear drifts,driveway ends etc.. I charge full price if the plow has to be put back on the truck