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Reality is tough

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by LoneCowboy, Jan 15, 2008.

  1. LoneCowboy

    LoneCowboy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,760

    So, this property management company that we plow some of their properties for gives me a call today.
    "Can you go look at this property and give me a bid over the phone, we think our current guy is too expensive"
    Sure, so I drive on out there and take a look.
    No sidewalks, (tenants have to do it), pretty simple and straight forward, some backdragging, but not a ton, Probably 45 minutes, maybe an hour. but for sure once you get good at it, 45 minutes.
    I add a little for my time to get there (about 15 minutes out there, but should be able to pick up other sites out in this area over time)
    I call back give her the bid.
    1-4" $175

    She calls me back an hour later.
    "that's great, start thursday (Of course, it's supposed to snow tonight (tuesday night), but whatever)
    So, I ask, how much was the other guy charging?
    For at most 1 hour of work.

    He's out, he's probably on here right now writing about how some lowballer is taking his business. :rolleyes:

    Snow removal is overhead for any property owner, some plowers better wake up because they aren't going to have any business pretty soon.
  2. bribrius

    bribrius PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,609

    a. are you sure they are passing the money you are saving them on to the property owner?
    b property management companies are overhead (and a waste in many cases).:rolleyes:
    c. the other guys was billing it for twice what you are charging. i wouldnt say he needs to wake up i would say he had a good profit. payup. Bet you wish you bid it higher. :eek:
    d. before they called around they probably tried to get the other guy to go lower. Hope your not missing anything on that bid that would justify him having it where it was.

    other than that........congrats.

    p.s. if the economy goes where the tv news just said it was most snow removal companies wont have a job anymore. grab the cash while you can get it. lol.
  3. LoneCowboy

    LoneCowboy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,760

    I bid it at a fair price, where I can make money and a reasonable return on my investment and time. That's all I really ask. I don't overcharge people (or undercharge them, I'm certainly not the cheapest guy around, i lose my share of bids too). That guy is making nothing now. And how many more jobs will he lose? Property managers know lots of people.

    It's my overriding belief that what comes around goes around. I treat people right, I show up when I promise I over deliver on what I promise to do and I charge a fair price. I expect to be treated right. Generally I find that's true.

    BTW, this is all over the phone. I do a couple thousand a year with this company and I've never even met them but over the phone. No contracts, no lawer-talk. Just a simple phone conversation usually followed up by a snail mail letter that says what my bid is and usually just sending the bill which is always paid within a few days. That's how I want people to do business with me, and that is how I do business. Other people have a different approach.
  4. bribrius

    bribrius PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,609

    sounds like you have a good business relationship going.
  5. jrush

    jrush Member
    from ct
    Messages: 41

    No contracts??? Hell, I contract a $35 drive, just wondering, and in no way being judgemental, you really don't contract these places? I don't work on the honor system cause my bills always get back burnered, people drag a*s when paying me etc.. Really?
  6. Brant'sLawnCare

    Brant'sLawnCare PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,748

    I use my descretion as far as contracts go. I picked up a new customer doing lawnwork this fall, and she paid me the same day I was there. I felt that I didn't need to make her sign a contract because I wasn't worried about getting paid. But some people, are a little more iffy.
  7. Jay brown

    Jay brown PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,783

    price is all relative to the situation.....you might be profiting more $$$ than he was if his overhead is higher...somday "jaybrown" will come along and bid it at $100 and he might make more profit than you????
  8. NLS1

    NLS1 Senior Member
    Messages: 311

    I am so mad, some dude came in and lowballed me...:mad: Just kidding:jester:
    I price trucks, tools, etc. at different locations a little bit. I expect that companies and homeowners do too. BUT when I find someone that offers me really great service then price is not as big a deal as convenience and quality. I am sure that most people or companies feel the same way with what we do. If they find reliable and quality service that makes their life easier and they still feel that the cost is within reason, then price is not the only concern.

    I agree that highest prices are not usually the best way to make more money. Fair prices on the higher side of average, along with awesome quality and service are however. They allow more efficiency thru up-selling and word of mouth. People that trust you because of the way that you treat them will spend way more money than people that you rip off. And they will be happy doing it, and you can sleep well at night too.

    just waxing poetic.:D

    REAPER 2000 Club Member
    from 60050
    Messages: 2,228

    And you would know this how?
  10. theplowmeister

    theplowmeister 2000 Club Member
    from MA
    Messages: 2,511


    I now have have 96 accounts, been plowing for 22 years. I have never had a contract, just my word. This year I have my first customer (ever) to sc**^% around with paying me.

    I tell them what service I will provide, and provide it. if they have a complaint they call me and we work it out.... And dig this when I started plowing 1986 I decided I did not want to argue with a customer, to that end I have informed ALL my customers that "If for any reason they are unhappy with my service they do not have to pay for that storm (period)".

    In 22 years of plowing I can remember only 1 person asking for that. I have had calls with complaints but they still want to pay for my work, depending on the complaint I may deduct the plowing from there bill even with out them asking for it. I have never had anybody take advantage of my policy.
  11. bribrius

    bribrius PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,609

    economics books, watching financial programs on tv, reading newpapers, and a crystal ball.
    or it could all be hoopla and be over after the election and a democrat could end the war. oil could drop, the value of the dollar increase.
    when the banks don't do well it becomes serious. It means the people that owe money to the banks arent doing well. Higher unemployment, more debt unpaid, delinquencies.
    Not a healthy environment for any service including paying snow removal since most snow removal isn't a necessity it is elected and a choice. Unfortunatley we may need a recession now to cleanse from the earlier speculation the realestate/construction and i dont think the dow ever really corrected to where it should be after 911. or we may be in worse trouble in five years from now. i dunno. check your crystal ball you tell me.
  12. REAPER

    REAPER 2000 Club Member
    from 60050
    Messages: 2,228

    If a dem is elected this country will fall into bankruptcy within 5 years I agree.
  13. MickiRig1

    MickiRig1 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,617

    The reason the banks are not doing well is home loans. They got greedy and gave loans to just about anybody that had a job ! My first 2 home loans they looked at me under a microscope. I had great credit too, 2 credit cards and 3 on time paid off car loans.
    There's more to owning a home that making the payment.
  14. LoneCowboy

    LoneCowboy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,760

    Snow, pasture work, all of it. Some bigger places require their contract and that's fine. if they want to do business that way, I'm here to please the customer, I'll do it any way they want. I'll sign their contract, but I don't have one for my company. I have written estimates of course and some people want those (some don't) and bills are all written up, sometimes insurance certifications are sent, but actual "contracts" no, I don't do that from my end.

    In 5 years I've had one non-payer (this fall for $150). I'm not happy about that $150, but I can live with it (and trust me, it's going to collections, they'll hound him til he dies, and i"m ok with that :gunsfiring:).

    I can't tell you how many jobs I do just over the phone, I quote it, they say yes, I do it and I bill it and I never meet the people and I get it year after year. And some of these can be huge bills (couple thousand dollars in pasture work).

    I guess I want to do business with places like this and so if I don't do it, who will?
  15. LoneCowboy

    LoneCowboy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,760

    snort, pretty funny. :rolleyes:

    You got it. That, in my opinion, is exactly it. Exactly.
  16. Brant'sLawnCare

    Brant'sLawnCare PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,748

    Ding ding! You are 100% correct. You should see how many 300-400 grand houses my old bosses landscape business gets to mow, due to forclosure. Wayyyyy to many!
  17. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,420

    LoneCowboy, get ready for all the naysayers that are now going to accuse you of being a lowballer, you could've\should've made more money on this account, blah, blah, blah.

    FWIW, I agree, make enough money to cover your costs, overhead, profit. If it's reasonable for you, that's what matters.

    PS If you want some interesting reading on this very subject, last year there was a long, long thread on the company that was featured in one of the trade mags and how they WERE unconditionally lowballers and their business model was absolutely impossible to make work. Here's the link: http://www.plowsite.com/showthread.php?t=41959&highlight=magazine
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2008
  18. MickiRig1

    MickiRig1 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,617

    We have a big paving company in this area that has been low balling a bunch of contracts.
    The people I have talked to say the bid works out to about $35 an hour on these properties. They have done them for many years so they know how long they take and how much salt it takes. With the last 2 years of little snow events this big company will make out like a bandit !