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Questions for Residential Pros

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by MDLawn, Nov 22, 2010.

  1. MDLawn

    MDLawn Junior Member
    Messages: 21

    I currently do not provide snow plowing services but do the landscaping side of the business. I was just looking at some flyers and ads that are around my area (Buffalo) for driveways anywhere from $150-$250 for the entire year, some including walkways. I really hope this is not what guys actually charge for a year (unlimited) of snow plowing up here. But again I don't do snow removal so not sure. I'm know it depends on the size of the driveway but I'm just trying to figure out if this is reality. Wouldnt want to drop a ton of money one year for a plow to not even make it back. Not to mention being on call 24/7 for $150???? 15 snowfalls (probably not even close to what we get in Buffalo) = $10/time??? I mean yea 100 contracts would be $15,000 but I don't think 1 person could do 100, on time that is. Just looking for insight, not pricing, and I have read the threads about starting also. Am I nuts for thinking this is crazy???
  2. Rc2505

    Rc2505 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,245

    Well unfortunatley that is the price from what I have seen on here. I do not understand why, but it seems to me that if you live in a snowbelt type area, the prices are driven way down. My guess is that since there is so much snow, everyone and their brother plows, so the competition is greater. Here in Northwest Ohio it seems that the lowballers have only been crawling out of the woodwork for the past 2 seasons. What used to go for 100 dollars is now going for 50 or 60. Snowplowing is an expensive habit if you do it right. These guys just collect as much of the money up front as they can, and when the truck breaks down, it's down for the season, cause they spent the money they had on beer, and cigarettes, lol.
  3. MDLawn

    MDLawn Junior Member
    Messages: 21

    Thats too bad. I deal with it in the landscaping/lawn stuff but at least its not an "on demand" service for the most part. I don't worry too much about lower priced single ops or companies anymore as I seem to be taking more and more of their customers because of their horrible quality. I just can't believe guys are will to charge nothing to run on "on demand" business. This isnt like lawn cutting where for example you cut Wed-Fri only. This is oh it snowed on Saturday during your planned ski trip, Sunday morning during your kids birthday party, Monday afternoon, etc...... But I guess some just do it to fill a void in their income or life and have no expectations of themselves. But you are right with being in the snowbelt areas there are just more and more people doing this because of the demand. I'm ready to hire someone this cheap so I dont have to snow blow my driveway anymore! Nah, I dont trust them :dizzy:
  4. bhmjwp

    bhmjwp Senior Member
    from kcmo
    Messages: 309

    I started 18 yrs ago where you are at. Add up your costs to get in business-take a 3 year deprecation schedule and figure 25 drives and see what you would have to charge to break even. If you can't-not a good venture. I started with my lawn customers and a snow blower. After 3 yrs 1st plow. Now 4 plows and 6 snow blowers. We make good money-but not enough to stay home in the summer.

    A lot of other thing to consider, will family accept missing Christmas. No vacations during winter, ect. Are you pretty self sufficient on repairs, can eat you alive. I have always thought that anyone in the business long term-it must be in their blood. Not every year is profitable, you have to have a good cushion if its a bad winter. Up front costs can be a killer, ins, chemical, truck get ready, plow get ready.

    Work the numbers and weight the risks!
  5. MDLawn

    MDLawn Junior Member
    Messages: 21

    Too bad snow isn't like grass and you would know the days you are working. I understand the whole costs stuff. I have a buddy who landscapes and plows part time and does much better part time than his great full time job. Thats where I am, although not as profitable as him and no plowing. Plowing would only be if this ever when to full time as my full time job isnt as flexible as his to allow part time. But all the info is appreciated.
  6. ajslands

    ajslands 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,033

    Your guess would be right!
  7. BooshF250

    BooshF250 Junior Member
    Messages: 5


    I decided to get into it this year as well. I'm in Orchard Park. You wouldn't believe the difference in rates between neighborhoods and certain sections of town vs. others. The rates everyone is quoting on here that I've came upon and the same people saying it isn't worth any less than $125/hr and blah blah blah just doesn't work for our area. You know how blue collar even the white collar professionals are around here.

    From what I've derived is that everyone in OP either wants their brother in-law to do it for peanuts or a reputable business to do it for $100-$50 less than what the contracts should start out at let alone begin to be profitable at.

    I own a 1year old F250 and western 7.6. I got the plow for a steal brand new installed when I purchased the truck. I got into plowing because after a year of learning on my own properties I fell in love. I am only looking to help pay for my equipment, vehicle, taxes and insurance out of the plowing gig for half the year so it all doesn't have to come out of my pocket like the past year. I will not be profiting huge but I will be learning a hell of a lot this first year. I took 31 drives and they are all within a 1 mile radius of my home. I have minimal contractual demands - 2 pushes max per 24hr period, 3in minimum, no promises on times, etc.

    Once I started to find where the higher priced contracts were coming from, I started denying customers who were used to lower rates. You don't need to take a job just because its next to an account you already signed if its not for a price you feel comfortable with. I know that the more wealthy the development / neighborhood, the more $ contractors are getting for signing seasonal agreements. This is because there is usually longer driveways and / or more square footage per drive in those types of neighborhoods than more modest areas. Difficult drives or drives with parking pads and front loading garage bays require a lot of reverse work = more time spent and resulting in a higher rate as well.

    My advice - Its a little late to be trying to grab up contracts this late in November without even having a plow yet. This happened to me last year when I got the truck and plow by Nov. 15th. There are, however, people still shopping rates for their work this season. Most small commercial lots are already taken as well. To get a feel for your area and your current landscaping clients - just ask them what they pay now for the service and adjust for your expenses from there. I figured all my expenses and equipment costs on a three year plan so I know by the end of three years I will have hit some acceptable profits.

    Feel free to PM me if you want to talk
  8. MDLawn

    MDLawn Junior Member
    Messages: 21


    Not quite interested in plowing yet as my current job wouldnt let me be able to do it with the time demands. I would definitely ask the current customers too! I worked for a guy who does landscape/plowing in OP and he always had the good neighborhoods but even they started to cheapen up on him. I'm hoping in the next few years to get out of the northtowns and back to the southtowns. I miss being there. Just a PITA to have to start all over again getting new customers etc.... I'll keep you in mind in case I ever do have some questions. Who knows, if I can get back to the southtowns maybe we'll run into each other. Good luck this season! Looks like you'll get slammed Friday and Saturday!