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Pricing, I've had it !!!!!!!

Discussion in 'Business Fundamentals' started by Eyesell, Nov 10, 2003.

  1. Eyesell

    Eyesell 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,101

    Being new to this, I can't figure it out from the hundreds of posts I've read.

    Very simply put..... if you charge by the push, ie: 2-6, 6-9, etc. and have a lot that will take 1 hr. for the experienced guy to plow, would it be better to charge by the hour vs. push. The way I see it, every post here has never addressed this in this fashion.

    Figuratively speaking

    2-6 approx. 40.00 per push
    6-9 approx. 60.00 per push

    So if I go to the parking lot that has 5" and take an hour to plow, I'm only going to make 40.00, but if I charge 100.00 and hour with a minimum of lets say a half hour ( 50.00 ) I think now I'm making what I truly deserve.

    I'm still confused on this charging by the hour vs. per push. I have a nice contract done with the exception of the pricing. I really am leaning toward the per push way but am scared of getting business that will take some time and not getting the hourly price.

    I hate beating a dead horse and hopefully I worded this so you guys can help me out.

    I have printed over a hundred pages form this site and can't believe the GREAT information !!!!!

    Thanks for all the HELP !!:dizzy:
  2. greenquestlawn

    greenquestlawn Senior Member
    Messages: 157

    It all boils down to per hour in the end. Sometimes people will be like this:eek: :eek: if you tell them your hourly charge.

    So for example if a lot takes you 30 min 2-6" then at your pricing of $100.00 per hr would be $50.00. If there is more than 6" then your pricing would go up to cover extra time.

    Hope this helps.
  3. EIB

    EIB Senior Member
    Messages: 258

    When you charge by the hour it gives you no incentive to be more productive. Why go out and purchase a V plow or Blizzard plow to save time. You will lose, because you are charging by the hour.

    If you charge per push, it doesn't matter how long it takes you. Then you can buy new equipment to save time and make more money. The time saved can be used to get new customers.

    The way I do it is to figure out how long it takes to clear the lot. Then I figure the amount per hour to charge. Then I will add in a fudge factor to be safe. I then give that price to push the lot. I do not tell them my hourly rate. All they know it is going to cost them a certain amount every time i push the lot once.

    My trigger depth is 3". I start plowing then. Unless it is in the middle of the night and I wait for my normal time to go out.

    Bottom line is if I plow the lot twice. I get paid twice for it. You have to use your judgment when the best time to plow is. After all that is what they are hiring you to do.
  4. griffithtlc

    griffithtlc Senior Member
    Messages: 213

    The way we are working it is this: If you want to make $100/Hr, and you have a lot that is set on a per push basis at 2-6,6-9, If it takes you an average of 1 hour to plow the lot at 2-6", then you should charge $100 for the 2-6" interval. Then figure the average for the 6-9" increments, (we just go by 133% of the base price). Hope this helped some.
  5. Arc Burn

    Arc Burn PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,138

    Regardless how you start,it all boils down to a per/hr amount.As stated,if you have effecient equipment(V-Plow or Blizzard)you would just charge more per hour,but first you need to have an understanding of the time involved,you need to estimate how long a given plow event will take to clear,no body here can tell you how long it will take to clear you particular lot or driveway,it's something you will learn over time and yes,you may lose money from time to time but you will figure it out.

    Estimate the time it will take to clear 1-3,howbout 3-6 and 6-9,if 3-6 takes 1 hr and you feel your worth(or your market will bear) $150/hr then there you go,if 6-9 will take an 1 1/2 hrs then it's $150x1.5.(all examples only)
    You ultimatley need to figure out what you will charge per hr,granted this is not a figure you tell your clients,if they heard $150/hr they would faint:dizzy: They rarely realize the time invoved so ther is no reason to alarm them with such numbers.
    This is how I do it and i'm sure other guys have there proven systems to,you need to find what works best for YOU.
  6. Eyesell

    Eyesell 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,101

    Thank you so much for the quick reply's, as I mentioned my contract is perfect less the pricing, I hope to take the info and turn that into payup . I will say the countless hours I've spent reading information on this site these past few days hasen't hurt either.

    Thanks again and keep the replys coming.:)
  7. bterry

    bterry Senior Member
    Messages: 183

    Sorry, but I have to object - there is no such thing as a perfect contract, especially one without price. Keep in mind what a contract is for, part of it should be covering one's butt when things go wrong. Also, a contract which favors you may not be perfect for your client.
  8. Ohiosnow

    Ohiosnow Senior Member
    from Ohio
    Messages: 415


    Say what ?? can't you read he said

    :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

    Like any business makes a contract to favor the client :rolleyes:
  9. bterry

    bterry Senior Member
    Messages: 183

    OK, I need to explain my post, some people didn't get it.

    I realize you have yet to insert your price. But think about it for a minute - before jumping down my throat - How can you write a perfect contract without knowing what method to bill? - the real meat of the contract would be worded totally different.

    Also, a contract is no good unless both parties sign it. It must be fair for both, and in making the contract fair, you obviously assume some risk. Hence the phrase no perfect contract. Ask a good lawyer about a perfect contract, if he's really good - he can get around it. I'm not saying to favor the client - everyone knows that.

    I hope you were not offended by my contract objection. You indicated that you are new to this and just don't wan't anyone to get burned.
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2003
  10. Eyesell

    Eyesell 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,101

    My contract is perfect in my mind less pricing, from the stand point of slip and falls, tearing up concrete with plow, personal property damage, etc. Your contract can be ok in this instance cause the only thing your going to add is a push price or a flat rate, something along that line.

    My contracts were finished printing today, I ended up going with push price for commercial and flat rate for residential depending on the length of the drive.

    I'm like 99.9% of the other contractors out there, I was told to remember one thing in this business, that's the "CYA" rule, as I'm sure all contracts have loop holes, if someone wants to sue me they probably will.

    What else can I say, I hope we all have a successful payup and safe winter.

    Thanks again for the replies, I very much so appreciate the time you guys take to post answers for us newby's.
  11. J HIsch

    J HIsch Member
    Messages: 66


    Here in Southern IN we don't get the 100.00 per hr rates, but what we do get is 70 per hr with 70 minimum. 60 for some accounts. so if it takes us 20 min we still get the hourly. therefore on property that takes longer we are still covered by the one's we clear quickly
  12. lee157

    lee157 Junior Member
    Messages: 23

    I push in Evansville IN

    Down here we are never guaranteed a snow, some seasons we never push. I like to buy 2 yr old plows for $1000 from the guys who were going to get rich quick. So we have an unusual market, some people are willing to pay well for good service and others will drop you just to save $5 on the job and don't know the difference between same day cleaned and 2nd day cleaned. Everybody expects to be first,,,,,,,, If I get dropped I never return to that business no matter how many times they call. Just my part in spreading the fear of being stuck without a plow contractor,,, makes others happy to stick with good service and forget price shopping.

    Anyway we price by the sq ft we use a multiplier for difficulty and for depth, we move it as fast as we can and get the #$%^ on to the next one,,, with that I feel screwed if I don't average over $200 an hr on a truck. I have made $400 an hour (not a night average) in my truck but my drivers aren't as fast as me and a few cars left on the lot can really screw things up. I HATE the goof balls that follow behind you and then when you stop to back up they just sit there.

    We only clear at night when the lots are empty and might hit 40 mph on a few lots. Study your lots for hazards before it snows, bid lots that you can clear fast,,, man the list goes on but preparation is the biggest word in the game. NEVER DO APARTMENT COMPLEXES!!!!!!!

    People want a fixed price, they don't want to wonder what it will cost and they sure as hell don't want to hear what you make an hour that just tends to **** them off.

    Don't be one of those IDIOTS that work for half of what I charge,, hell I'll do the contracting and all of those guys can just work for me,, I'll even pay them better and still make more money than them without pulling my trucks off my property.

    Bottom line; Charge what you can and keep them happy if they agree to it. They are paying for the service not the plowing.

    If anybody is interested in driving or subbing in EVANSVILLE INDIANA just email me. I pay well for good drivers but if you wreck my truck you better hide and if you don't show for work just forget my number because I done forgot yours!!!!
  13. J HIsch

    J HIsch Member
    Messages: 66

    Evansville Plowing

    Lee, I dont have a clue who you are but I cant beleive anyone is subbing in Evansville. Unless your Jerry David and I am sure your are not him. SO my question is who are you? Becasue you are not listed under snow removal in phone book. And if your running multiple trucks I would know who you are.
  14. lee157

    lee157 Junior Member
    Messages: 23

    Well eveidently you are looking in a different phone book because I just checked and I'm still in there,, you had me wondering for a minute,,, I have been in there for quite a few years,, if your age (29) is correct I started moving snow while you were in high scool. It's obvious you don't have a clue as to who all moves snow in Evansville,, the largest snow mover in Eville is Chris Combs I didn't even know Jerry David moved snow,,, Blankenberger is pretty heavy into it, they do Eastland Mall but yes I am one of the 5 listed in the Yellow pages as always. If you are interested email me Lee157@evansville.net

    We work the North East side only.

    To put it in perspective for you I do just over 40 acres of parking lots every time we get 2" of snow and I can use some dependable help as we are turning new work down and have been all year even dropped some contracts. I really am not looking to add more eguipment to my fleet, we run 5 trucks now and if it gets bad we break out the yellow equipment.

    I'll be looking for your email,,,,
  15. thannigan

    thannigan Member
    Messages: 44

    Hey guys-
    As well as being new to this forum I'm also new to plowing because I'm only 15. One question I had is, what is the best way to find out the best price for a driveway, and how do I go about pricing it?
    Right now I only have 3 driveways but get a few new offers here and there, and usually don't accept them because they are too far away to plow with a tractor. These questions are just for the near future in hope that my buisness will grow.
    thanks, TIM
  16. lee157

    lee157 Junior Member
    Messages: 23

    Hey Jason!!

    If you are out there I tried to reply to your email but I guess something is up with sigecom as I get this message;

    ----- The following addresses had permanent delivery errors -----

    Would like to talk with you, if you have another email or can figure out what's up with the address you mailed me from.

    I take it you are a West Sider so I'll type slow!!


    Would like to talk business with you if you are up for more work, I have too much already,,,, just sometimes find it hard to turn down.

    Just got off the phone with D-Patrick,, they are looking for somebody for all the stores,,, told them I couldn't help

  17. gpin

    gpin Senior Member
    Messages: 390

    Try to stay out of the competition and sell your work not your price. I have been a commercial GC for 20 years. I only have 4 clients who own multiple office buildings. My price is based on trust and the hard work I have put in over the years. The managers and owners depend on me and are unwilling to price out my work. I'm also fair with them and don't try to retire on one snow. It also helps that I plow the owners and building manager's driveways for free. SO work your business NOT your price. You are of no value to your customer if you cannot afford to maintain your equipment. Profit is the only incentive to doing a good job in nasty weather. You also have to work with the client. I have an owner who had tremendous vacancies last year and I had to be patient waiting to get paid. BUT, it also cemented my relationship with him.
  18. scottd

    scottd Junior Member
    Messages: 2

    can anyone let me know what the average per push price for driveways and apartment parking lots is in the capital region, ny.
    have been plowing properties i manage for several years but this is my first competitive winter.
    thanks and good luck to all Sunday/Monday!
  19. gpin

    gpin Senior Member
    Messages: 390

    ScottD, see above. Work with your clients, let then know what you do for them and that you are there for them 12 mos a year. You might lose a lot or two temporarily, but they will come back. Sell your client on the overall picture and ask what it will cost them if the job isn't done correctly.
  20. phoenix827

    phoenix827 Member
    Messages: 98

    Now THIS is an add-on I like! If they are close, and not a "plow from hell" I think that is a great bonus! It's dosn't cost you much, and gives them a "freebie" to keep you in their mind! Good thinking!