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Noob looking for help understanding triggers

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by b16bri, Feb 14, 2015.

  1. b16bri

    b16bri Junior Member
    from ct
    Messages: 9

    Hey guys, I'm a complete noob and I was hoping to get some clarification on triggers. I understand if you have a 2 inch trigger you don't start plowing until that 2 inch mark has been reached. But how does this work if you get a 10 inch snow storm over the course of the entire day do you go out every time 2 inches are reached so you would plow your customers drive way or parking lot 5 times ? or do you wait until all 10 fall ? And how do you charge for this lets say you charge someone 35 dollars for there drive way in that same 10 inch storm do you charge them 35x5 (175). Also do you charge different for 2 inches vs 5 or 10 inches. I understand this is pretty basic snow removal but again im a noob so please be nice lol.

    Thanks brian
  2. snowplower1

    snowplower1 Senior Member
    Messages: 750

    Don't worry not a stupid question and you'll get different answers from everyone. First off, for a 10 in storm, you definitely don't want to wait for all 10 inches to drop because then you can wreck equipment. You also probably won't want to plow 5 times in that I'd your per trip because your customer will flip at the bill. Maybe plow every 3-4 inches so you only plow about 3 times. And for charging, I would charge them 35x3. Some here would say you could charge more if you plowed more than 2 inches but you would have to put that in contact
  3. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    Rotation,start at number 1 and go through everything and keep going till done. Now if your seasonal there is no worry plow till it stops and don't worry about triggers.
  4. Antlerart06

    Antlerart06 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,437

    Well 2'' trigger means you start plowing at 2'' and every 2'' or more plow again till the storm is over
    Charging depends what type of contract you have

    lots that has 2'' trigger I price them at 2''
    So lets say its a storm of 6'' and First visit I get there and 3'' I plow it Come back plow the other 3'' When I bill I charge for 6'' So 2'' price x 3

    Then lots has no triggers it every visit

    So depends what type contract you have .
  5. b16bri

    b16bri Junior Member
    from ct
    Messages: 9

    Great I appreciate it Keep them coming guys. So what do you guys prefer when talking about billing do you prefer triggers or charging per visit or per push for resi and small commercial what's better ?
  6. Antlerart06

    Antlerart06 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,437

    Res I price at every 4'' with a 1 '' trigger starting point

    On Com. I like per visit easy to keep track more money to be made. Since you plow during the storm bad part is, might be long day or night till you go home.
    I have one seasonal and this being a dry year for me, I'm liking it.
    Last year wasn't much profit.
  7. b16bri

    b16bri Junior Member
    from ct
    Messages: 9

    I'm sorry I'm a little confused how does that work exactly you start plowing at 1 inch but charge for 4 inches ? Does this mean you charge them for 4 inches regardless if you plow 2 or 6 Inches. Do you charge more if it's over a certain number of inches let's say you get a 20 inch blizzard storm how do you handle this ?
  8. Antlerart06

    Antlerart06 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,437

    Starting point is 1''
    Price up to 4'' so every 4'' I charge the price.
    So if I wait till the storm is over say its 8'' storm So I charge x2.
    If its a 6'' storm I still charge x2. but 5'' storm it fall in the 4'' price so it 1 price.

    Same storm I visit them at 6am and there is 5'' and come back after storm over to clean the other 3'' its still 8'' I charge x2 on the 4'' price.

    So its a light storm I only get 1.5'' I charge same price the 4'' price.
    Anything under the 1'' the home owners will shovel there own drive or they will call tell come clean it and then its still same price.

    20'' storm x5 price doesn't change $$ for every 4''.

    I only have 6 driveways I wouldn't even have driveways but those 6 own lots I clean so I clean there drives.
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2015
  9. peteo1

    peteo1 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,658

    So you're basically charging your customers for a plowing that you never did. If you have a 2" trigger and you plow 3" and then come back and plow another 3" I fail to see how that equals 3 plows. Just because your trigger fits into 6 three times doesn't mean you get to charge for services you didn't perform. I'm hoping I'm wrong and if I am, my apologies
  10. Antlerart06

    Antlerart06 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,437

    It price at 2'' every 2'' of snow
    $50 for 2'' 6'' of snow is $150 I get the same if I plow it at 2'' 3 times or at 3'' plow 2 times still same price.
  11. derekslawncare

    derekslawncare PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,003

    Well I'm pretty much going to screw you up, because I do differently than the others above. First off, all my accounts are per push/per app - no seasonal. My contracts are set up so that I start plowing my first account when the 2" trigger is reached, and I charge based on a graduated scale of depths. Soooo:

    2" - 5" = $$
    5" - 7" = $$$
    7" - 10" = $$$$
    Above 10" is X$ per hour with a 2hr minimum. I set the hour rate at half of 7-10 price, so that say it is 12" of snow that I am plowing, and it takes me 3hrs to plow, customer pays 1.5 times my 7-10 rate.

    Using above figures, customer is billed for the amount on the ground at the time I plow, so if I start plowing my first account at the 2" trigger and it is still snowing, then they pay 2" plow price plus my salt price. Then move on to the next account. At some point, through my route, if it is still snowing, I may start plowing an account that has say 5.5 inches, so they would be billed my 5-7 rate + salt app and so on until I get through my route. I have several accounts that all have to be opened up by 7-8 a.m., so I start my first account at midnight or as close to it as I can once trigger is reached, so that I can be finishing up with my 7-8 a.m. accounts on time. Then I do property checks for the next few nights overnight when businesses are closed and re-plow any that have accumulated at least another 2." So, I may have some accounts on say a 6" storm that get plowed twice and will be billed for the depths at time of plowing, while others who got started later in my route and closer to the end of the storm, may only get plowed once, but pay the higher accumulation amount.

    All but two of my accounts are closed from Friday evening to Monday morning, so if storms fall during the weekend and it's a deeper storm, say 8", then yes they will sit and not get plowed until Sunday night or as soon as it stops snowing, so they may only get plowed once, but they will pay the 7-10 rate. My customers like it this way, because they aren't paying for snow removal all weekend when they aren't there and could care less what their lot looks like, so long as it's ready Monday a.m. Yes, it's harder on the truck to wait and plow once it's deeper, but that's why they pay the higher amount, because it takes me longer to do.

    If the storm falls during the week or during the day when they are open, then I run my route and then start over again at the beginning after my last account to keep them opened up. I bill on the same graduated scale, but at a lesser amount due to half the lot is covered with vehicles and thus not getting plowed, just keeping the drive lanes, entrances/exits and walks cleared. So on my contracts, I have two pay scales - opening up and full lot, each with their own graduated pricing. Works well for me, its the only way I've ever done it and my customers seem to like it as they keep coming back. Most all my customers that I service, I have had since I started plowing in 2006, so they must be happy.

    Hope that didn't confuse you toooo much. :nod: Now go make some payuppayup
  12. Antlerart06

    Antlerart06 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,437

    All I can say is Wow
  13. derekslawncare

    derekslawncare PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,003

    Going off our past discussions in other threads, it is no surprise to me that you wouldn't like my way or my understanding/definition of the word "trigger." What part of my way is so shocking? The part where the customer pays for the work that is ACTUALLY DONE vs your "I'll see how many charges I can squeeze into what I'm doing?" or the fact that I would leave an account untouched during the time period that they are not open for business and don't need anything done? Since one man/one truck can't be at all 9 accounts at the same time so as to start all of them at 2", how else would you expect it to be done? Again, my customers seem to like my system or they wouldn't still be with me for 9+ years now. :salute:
  14. Antlerart06

    Antlerart06 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,437

    easy now I didn't say any thing bad
    Just said wow

    I understand it but Wow

    Your system works and you like it That's kool
  15. derekslawncare

    derekslawncare PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,003

    SORRY. I mistook your WOW to mean, "What planet is this guy from?" Sorry if I misread it. :drinkup:
  16. Antlerart06

    Antlerart06 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,437

    Over years I seen it done different ways I have changed twice I try fallow what others are doing in town.
  17. montanazach

    montanazach Junior Member
    Messages: 10

    All of this is great advice but im still having trouble how the hell to easily explain this to the customer. I come up with a pricing scheme i think would work good and then i think of how im going to explain it in easy terms to the customer and its back to the drawing board. so how does everyone explain their pricing to the customer in easy to understand terms.
  18. BUFF

    BUFF PlowSite Fanatic
    from FR NoCo
    Messages: 6,771

    Put the scope of service and all the terms in your contract, submit it and if they ask for an explanation you give it to them.
  19. derekslawncare

    derekslawncare PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,003

    Not sure what the confusion is. A properly written contact should pretty much be self explanatory. It should spell out trigger depth, prices for services preformed, payment terms, who is responsible for deciding on services needed for conditions present (should be the PROFESSIONAL snow contractor) and penalties for late or non payment. If you write it correctly (in plain English and not legal mumbo jumbo), then they should be able to read, sign and mail it back with very little explanation.
  20. MSsnowplowing

    MSsnowplowing Senior Member
    Messages: 688

    I subscribe to the K.I.S.S. theory. Keep it simple stupid.

    You look at a site and figure out how long it will take to plow it.

    The minimum is half an hour, so the starting price 2-3.9 inches would be based on how long it takes you to plow it.

    Sanding is added in after, and the price varies depending on the site.

    Short, sweet and easy to figure out.

    So here you go for Per storm

    Plowing only & Sanding is extra

    2”-3.9” storm $50.00
    4”-6.9” storm $100.00
    7”-9.9” storm $150.00
    10”-12.9” storm $200.00

    If we get X amount of inches then you charge the client this amount.

    We get a 5 inch storm you charge $100.00

    The trigger would be when you start.

    So if your trigger is 2", you would go to this site and plow it 3 times.

    Once at 2"
    Second time at 4"
    Third time, storm is done and you finish plowing and cleaning the site.

    If your trigger is 3" you would go to this site and plow it 2 times.
    Once at 3"
    Second time, storm is done and you finish plowing and cleaning the site.

    if sanding is required, then you sand and charge for the product and that gets added into the price.

    So if your charging $100 for sanding the final price would be $200.00 for the 5 inch storm.

    Now the pricing above is just a quick example, the starting price could be higher.

    Depends on the size of the lot,
    how many curbs cuts are there,
    how much back blading,
    how long will it take you to plow,
    how much is your product costing you for there,
    is there sidewalks -(are you doing them add them into the price also)
    Is the place open 24 hours, is there a lot of traffic, etc...
    All this needs to be factored in.

    Your hourly rate is what you need to make per truck to make money.

    I know guys that plow for $50 an hour and make money, I know other guys that need to make $150 an hour to make money.

    All depends on your needs and what you have to make.

    And don't low ball just to get accounts, your not doing yourself a favor in the long run, better to get 5 decent paying accounts than 10 low ball accounts.

    Work less for more and the way to do this is to provide quality service.

    One last thing, this is for commercial accounts not residential.

    Whole different ballgame between C and R.

    For Residential talk to someone else, I only do 3 every year and I just do them to pay for my gas and food during storms.