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Discussion in 'Bidding & Estimating' started by lindenwood, Dec 18, 2011.

  1. lindenwood

    lindenwood Junior Member
    Messages: 13

    I am charging a rate of $25-$50 for smaller residential jobs. Last year I was charging around $45 to $50 for a very small driveway with 2-3 garage doors length. I know I am probably overcharging for this and should probably get more like $35 which I will probably charge $35 this year, because these customers have been with me for a couple of years.

    I also have a bid that a guy wants me to give on an automotive lot. He usually does not want to pay very much. So, I say that it takes me top 30 minutes, but usually more like 20-25 minutes. I was wanting to know if most of you are making at least $75 per hour plowing? I know that I have to pay commercial truck insurance which is over $100 per month and still make money too. So I was think at least $40 for the automotive lot. That would be $40 for the lot and around $15 per hour to spread salt and clear the walkway which should take less than 15 minutes. So it would be around $2-5 for the salt materials and like $4 for the labor of clearing the walkway. I just use cheap salt from walmart not the expensive ice melt. It takes me very little time and is a pretty good job, because I only have a small amount of hand work to do around the walkway and spread some salt around the walkway.

    So is $40 a good price if I want to get the job and not be underbid by someone else? I figure at $40 I won't be underbid by anyone else and still have the job. That is a little over $37.50 per half hour of work. $75 per hour is what most people charge. So I am making more than what I should for a tops of 30 minutes of work for the plowing part.
  2. Mike N

    Mike N Senior Member
    Messages: 148

    I certainly wouldn't charge less than last year. Fuel prices, insurance, wear and tear on you and your equipment adds up. If you want to work for free, knock yourself out..... I wouldn't worry about being underbid.
  3. 95HDRam

    95HDRam Senior Member
    Messages: 157

    Never lower your price. Stick to your price. If anything your price may go up due to Fuel alone. We added 15% to all of our bids because of it.
    If you get underbid at that price they won't make any money. I always factor in drive time, on-lot time, and number of trips on an average snowfall.
  4. SullivanSeptic

    SullivanSeptic PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,419

    Commercial insurance should be required. As in General Liability with an Umbrella policy and Workmans Comp. I assume you don't have it. But they may require it. If so, that will increase your cost a lot
  5. DodgeBlizzard

    DodgeBlizzard Senior Member
    Messages: 526

    I would like to give you an example and a little test I do when I have enough work. I have a lot that I got at the end of last year and I quoted $50 to plow. It took a little longer and was a pain due to tight quarters, telephone poles and cars parked in what should have been an empty lot. Since it was near the end of the year, I stuck with my price. This year I raised it to $75 figuring they would say no. I got the go ahead to do it at that price. That's a 33% increase. Another example: Another plow contractor is downsizing and giving me some of his customers. When someone does this, then tend to get rid of the low pay/pain in the you know what customers/jobs. He would tell me what he was charging for each driveway. Most were at $25. My minimum is $35 for residentials. I've gotten every one of them. Going into this, the customer didn't know I already knew the price. As soon as it comes up, I have a response. You can keep looking for a cheaper price or you can stop looking with a piece of mind. And then you reassure them by telling them what you do differently and why you charge what you charge. Example: We mark the edge of all driveways and obstacles. So you want to make $75/hr? What about time between every single job? What about time to fuel up your truck, time to estimate the job, billing the job, purchase those cheap bags of salt at Walmart and take them to your place of storage, load them up when it snows to put on your truck, wash your stuff after it snows, need I say more? Too many times, guys forget about all those indirect costs and hours that you put into this, not to mention you're working out in the worst elements that these people are paying you because THEY know it costs a fortune, plus it's too dang cold outside to do it themselves. I believe $75 an hour would be ok if you are working for someone else. But If you're the one doing the estimating, paying the insurance and doing it all for you, then you should set the bar at $150 per hour. Thank you and pay the cover charge at the door. payup
  6. agurdo17

    agurdo17 Senior Member
    Messages: 124

    don't know your location or info but we charge 150 an acre.. usually an acre an hour in most cases.