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Pricing for 22" Storm?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by JasonPC, Feb 7, 2001.

  1. JasonPC

    JasonPC Junior Member
    Messages: 4

    HI, everyone! Well, I've got a question for all of you. I've been snow plowing for 5 years and for most of my driveways I charge between $30-$45 for 1 to 6 inches. Anything over six I charge between $5/inch to $7/inch. Well, I've never had to plow 22 inches before like I did yesterday!! I feel sort of uncomfortable charging a $30 customer $110 to plow. This per inch policy I have over 6" is new for this year. I was out for 20 hours plowing this storm and had to hire an employee that I paid $175. Normally, I hire no one and am out 5 hours by myself. What are you all going to charge for this storm? And what do you think is fair for me to do? Thanks in advance!!

    Jay
     
  2. SlimJim Z71

    SlimJim Z71 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,031

    That $30 customer should be charged the $110. You have to remember... the more snow there is on the ground, the harder it is on your equipment and your truck. If that's the way it was in the contract, by all means, that is fair. Could you imagine having to shovel all that snow? The spine replacement surgery would be a whole lot more than $110!!! Besides, let's say you went out 3-or-4 times to plow instead of waiting till the end... it would be right in the same price range.

    Just my opinion.

    -Tim
     
  3. GeoffD

    GeoffD PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 2,266

    22" storm

    3 visits maybe 4. 4 visits, average a push every 5 inches or so.

    $ 30 dollars per push 1-6. = 90 to 110 dollars.

    110 is fair.

    Geoff
     
  4. cat320

    cat320 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,223

    I agree with Tim.When your truck breaks down your $30 customer will want to know nothing just when you will have them plowed out.Don't feel to bad for them becuse they don't feel bad about you belive me even the nicest people are like that.
     
  5. CCLC

    CCLC Member
    Messages: 91

    At first it may seem high, but it is not out of line. Yes there is a lot of wear and tear on the equipment. There is also wear and tear on the human body. In this case 2. I assume the 2nd person was the shovel guy doing the sidewalks and cleaning out in front of the garage doors.

    Please don't send 22" of snow to us here in Mid Michigan.
     
  6. allabout

    allabout Member
    Messages: 50

    I agree DO NOT feel uncomfortable charging $110 for 22"

    You worked 3- 4 times harder then with 6" when it's time to replace ball joints or tie rods/brakes or what ever this is what that $110 per drive is for I would send the bill if they call tell them this.

    (Here in IL. we had 15" in Dec. & no snow in Jan.)
     
  7. gardin2124

    gardin2124 Junior Member
    Messages: 1

    Maybe you could give some sort of explanation on your billing like the other guys said...22" divided by 5" equals 4 plows @ $30.00 per visit would have been $120.00. When we had a severe snow storm (20")here in northern Indiana a couple of years ago guys with skid steers were charging $125.00 per hour. One place we did that storm we ended charging them $1,000.00 for just one plowing. Another apartment complex we did that storm was $12,500!!! That was sidewalks,salt,plowing and hauling the piles away.
     
  8. thelawnguy

    thelawnguy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,011

    Am I missing something? It took me 3 hours additional to do my 40 residentials over a 7 inch storm (avg 20" this time). Including sidewalks. All but 4 complicated drives were done in 1 visit. Those 4 were done a quick, rough job at 8" to remove the bulk of the snow. I charged all residentials 50% over the base rate. The bulk of the extra time was at the commercial lots, two had to be done twice, the big one (seasonal price account)sections were done a few times and one final cleanup early Tue morning. No additional charge for the biggie as it is a one price seasonal the way they wanted it (no problem by me I am justly compensated the rest of the year).

    If I ever billed a 30 residential 110 for a storm it would be the last time I ever plowed there (and probably wouldnt see my money).
     
  9. allabout

    allabout Member
    Messages: 50

    How many times did you (jasonpc) plow these customer @
    20" I would have to say maybe 3-4 times @ 5" rate. If you plowed 4 times for the customer (per push contract 1"-6")
    I would bill four times to the customer.
    On seasonal contract I think blizzard clause would need to be in the contract to charge more (my seasonal pay very well and have never needed blizzard clause but it is in the contrat) Do what you think is right if you did a great job the customer should know your price is fair.

    3 pushes @ $35 per visit =$105
    4pushes @ $30 per visit = $120

    (1"-5" @ $ per visit)
    (5"-10" @ $ per visit)
    ( $ per 2" over 10")
     
  10. John DiMartino

    John DiMartino PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 2,154

    I bill a 30 dollar drive at 45 for 8" or more,and 60 for 12" or more.I have never let any of them go over 1 ft,when we had our 22" in december,I did then all 3 times.The best advice i can give is dont push 22" at a time,its not good for your truck,and if the customer had to get out in an emergency they couldnt.If i was to plow 22" at a time,I would likely get 90-100 for it,but I make it clear to my customers that Im coming every 5-8 in a big storm.Ive got messed time wise alst storm at a commercial account and by the time i got to residentials they had 10".Maybe you need to get a sub lined up for next year-it sounds like you have taken on more than you can chew in a big storm.
     
  11. JCurtis

    JCurtis Banned
    Messages: 862

    On my personal accounts, I have contracts that state the pricing as follows.(dollar amounts are for sake of discussion here only)


    Base rate for plowing drive way $100

    second visit Base rate plus 50% of base

    each additional visit to site during same storm period will also be charged out at 50% of base rate.



    So if I visit a site 5 times during a storm, their bill would be $300.00

    I haven't heard any complaints so far. Its really only happened once so far this winter, and it was three site visits to each account, so it wasn't too bad.

    Other than my automatic trigger depth, I don't specify that I will plow every so many inches, just in case i get hung up on one site. Wouldn't want to tell someone I would be there and plowing every 4 inches and have someone call me moaning and groaning because now there was 5 inches in the driveway and I am not there yet.
     
  12. Frank

    Frank Member
    Messages: 35

    jasonpc dont be affraid to charge $110. if you stated your charges, thats what you charge. you paid for extra help and you spent more time on the properties. now when repairs start comming up for your truck and equipment you wont be kicking your self in the a$$ for not charging your rates. from the past posts it looks like others would agree. but all in all its up to you.
     
  13. Deere John

    Deere John Senior Member
    Messages: 410

    Like Lawnguy, I too offer an all-found contract price, without a storm clause. I do stipulate that the price is based on one service per storm event, and I will commit to keeping them open in the event of a really biggie.

    We have large storms about every three years. I cover for that eventuality by building the rates to compensate over the course of the year*s). I come out very well on the 1 1/2 to 2" storms, of which are the majority, and I work harder with the 12"ers. We recently had a 12" storm last week, and my route time went up by a factor of 1.5 - that's all.

    Now I make additional money on loader service because they are all convinced they need more room and visibility for safety reasons.

    If they demand plowing at every 5", then charge them and provide the service. But if you only go at the end of the storm and apply the per-inch rule to charge $110 when your on-site time only goes up by a factor of 1.5 to 2, and your travelling time remains the same, then I believe you are being unfair to your customer. My market will not bear that load, and I doubt many others will either.

    If your on-site time went up by a factor of 4 or 5, then, again, to be fair to your customer, why are you, respectfully, so inefficient?

    Questions to fetter more discussion.
     
  14. JCurtis

    JCurtis Banned
    Messages: 862

    Deere John,

    I am curious as to who you were respectfully calling inefficent?

    JasonPC for asking the original question? or since your post followed mine, were you addressing your comments to me?

    Respectfully, I have had no complaints from customers, have not been called back because they didn't like the job i did for them ( in fact I just received a Thank you note from one of my accounts with a check for my prompt and courteous service)

    I don't think anyone here should disparage another plow operator, since we all have different markets and different ways of doing things. We have to provide the service the customers want.
     
  15. DanG

    DanG Senior Member
    Messages: 240

    I have to agree with "thelawnguy"


    Since I do mainly residentials it's harder to justify charging those rates.

    If I ever charged a customer who I normally bill $30 a storm $110 instead Most likely i'd have a hard time getting my money from them.

    I normally charge one price for a storm and that includes going back once to clean out the ends if they get plowed in.

    If the storm lasts for more than 24hrs or is a large one such as this one. I charge them for two plowings since they are done on two different days.

    Or if it gets done within the 24hr period but is a large storm I'll charge them 1/2 the base to go back to clean/finish them the second time.

    So for this storm I'd be charging $60 for two plowings one on Monday night to take out the bulk of it and one tuesday to finish cleaning up and plowing where there were cars parked etc...

    Dan
     
  16. zipp669

    zipp669 Junior Member
    Messages: 29

    I guess the main thing on how to charge is just be fair & do it if you feel comfortable charging that pric, but here my take on it.
    Depends on how many times you need to go back & clear that drive.
    exhibit A--All of my drives are at the $10-12 min range, I keep track of the time on each one every snowfall except a light snow (1-2" no need on time for these).
    I enter my times of the individual in the computer & if the time entered goes over the min time charge they get billed by the hourly rate. THIS IS ON A ONE TME ONLY CLEANING

    if I have to go & clean it a couple times to 3 to 4 times so they can get out or in( what the hell are they thinking even leaving anyway) it would be based on the charges of exhibit a per time. they would be charged for each time I showed up. In the end on a big snowfall I would just add up the times on all & obviously charge one big sum. It also depends on how they pay, how you like them ect.

    If I only went to the individuals place one time it would be charged on the hourly rate, especially on a 22" snowfall.

    I have no contracts with anyone where I live. I do 85% of the town & when I need help the other guy who does 15% helps
    And 60% of my clients would say wait till it is over, there thought is it wont cost as much if I only show up 1 time, go figure maybe it will & maybe it wont.

    Now in Iowega we had 25.3" of snow in December which was the most snow we have ever had in any year for December & the 3rd most snow in any month ever so I dont even no what 22" would look like, EXCEPT alot of greenbacks..i wish i was there just my 2 cents---hapy plowing ...we are getting freezing rain as I type & to get 10" of white stuff on top of it...yippee
     
  17. sly

    sly Junior Member
    Messages: 15

    Although I am not in the snowplowing business (my father was for 25yrs), I can assure you that these prices just would not fly around Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. i.e. $110 for one storm. In any local newspaper in the fall I can find many ads quoting $250-$300 Cdn for the season (no special clauses). These would be approx. 2 cars wide by 2 cars deep residential lot.

    I am happy for you guys making a decent buck plowing!!!


    P.S. I am trying to get set up to plow my own laneway. (see previous posts, you'll understand).


    sly!
     
  18. Deere John

    Deere John Senior Member
    Messages: 410

    JCurtis - good morning. No, I was not referring to your post. I do not, nor does anyone else here, have the ability to insert posts where they should belong. My comments were addressed to the context I gleened from the original post. Secondly, I do not believe that I have, since becoming a member, made any disparaging remarks about anyone else here, save for 9 FOOT PILES, but that was more of a curiosity about how he/she dealt with such an obviously debilitating medical condition. Don't take any offense JC, because there was none intended.

    To all, I say: There was a thread going recently about charging per inch. I threw in my 3 cents there and said I couldn't understand the benefit of such a system - too much measuring and room to create disagreement. I still think such a system represents a lower level of maturity in the ongoing profession of snow control.

    Secondly, there was another thread that I started about Downward Price Pressures" as a result of me becoming more efficient. Response was almost universal that we should not take a hit because we have spent $$ to become more efficient.

    Now, as I read the situation, we have a gentleman asking if he should bill, applying rates that would take him off and above his billing scale, for one, big snow event. I also understood that he only went to the property once. Well, a price is a price, and is an agreement between the property owner and the contractor to undertake a job and apportion the risk. The knife that I was talking about above cuts both ways, and it should. If we expect to maintain our prices as we strive to become more efficient, then also the customer should expect not to get hammered under a contract agreement because of a big storm and the associated extra clean-up time. Never reward inefficiency.

    This arguement is based on contract prices, and to an extent, only visiting the property, in this case, on one occasion. By-the timers and those with service agreements stating maximum allowable accumulation would follow a different billing schedule, but that schedule would be stated in advance.

    I stand by my original thought that $110 is too much to ding a customer for one snow event and one visit. I don't doubt that there are some markets where this could be supported, but it still does not represent fair value.

    Lastly, I added my comments, as I stated, to get further comments going.
     
  19. JCurtis

    JCurtis Banned
    Messages: 862

    Thanks for the clarification John,

    No offense taken.
     
  20. JasonPC

    JasonPC Junior Member
    Messages: 4

    I really wouldn't call me inefficient at plowing. I have a Dodge Ram 2500 with a 9' Fisher on it. It usually takes 15-20 minutes to plow a driveway and do walkways but this storm took 1 to 1 and a half hours because teh truck was slipping and sliding all over the place and couldn't get any traction. The roads hadn't even been plowed here. Try plowing with 22" on the road and on your customers' driveways. It ain't easy! We had to snow blow an entire layer of snow off first for me to even get in to plow a driveway.

    I'm still thinking about what the heck I"m going to charge people!

    Jay