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Residential snow removal worth it?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by specializedpest, Aug 25, 2010.

  1. specializedpest

    specializedpest Junior Member
    from Utah
    Messages: 2

    Our company is currently looking to offer residential snow plowing services. Probably a lot of small jobs. Are people willing to pay for the service and what are they willing to pay? Anyone with experience doing residential snow plowing that can give me some positives and negatives and advice and what equipment you use for it? Thanks
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2010
  2. redman6565

    redman6565 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,411

    when you say removal, you don't mean plowing the drive way do you? a lot of poeple throw around the term removal when they mean plowing.

    and no, not that i've experienced. for the few residential's we used to do, they always expected us to stack the snow but would never pay us to remove it.
  3. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    When you say company,do you mean you have a few trucks or you and one truck?
  4. specializedpest

    specializedpest Junior Member
    from Utah
    Messages: 2

    I have one truck with a plow but several others that could be used for hauling blowers and shovel crews to residentials, also have some ATV's and UTV's that I could put plows on?
  5. merrimacmill

    merrimacmill PlowSite.com Addict
    from MA
    Messages: 1,822

    Around here residential is very easy to get yourself into. When I first started out I put an add on craigslist and got 15 driveways in the first week. Now, I constantly get calls for residential driveways but I no longer do any residential so I have to turn them down.

    There is money in it as long as you are charging right and can get a tight route. Having a really tight route is the best way to ensure your profitability, esp in the residential market since we aren't talking about a serious amount of money there.

    The reason I no longer do it is because with how my company is set up its just not worth it to me anymore. I have almost as much equipment (tractors w/loaders and skid steers) as I do trucks. I have a hard time pulling myself away from a $45,000 commercial account to go plow Ms. Jones $35 dollar driveway... Naturally my commercial stuff began to take high priority over my residential customers and I just did not think it was fair to them to be paying top dollar when I had much bigger priorities than them. At that point I found a local guy and referred them all to him. But I found starting out in the resi market to really be the only way to get in the game of commercial stuff. After the first season of being in business I dropped all but 2 driveways (which were owned by people we plow commercial lots for).

    But I know several guys with one truck and a plow that will pull 25K in a season doing residential alone on a good winter.

    Wait till November or whenever your winter really starts there and put adds on craigslist, flyers with tear off phone numbers in pizza shops and markets, news paper ad in the business directory. Also if you want to get real serious and target a specific area, use direct mail. Also, make sure you have all these ads in place when the first big storm hits. You will be sure to get a lot of calls then.
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2010
  6. Neige

    Neige Sponsor
    Messages: 2,195

    When you say truck, do you mean a 4x4 3/4 ton pickup. Sorry could not help myself, yes there is money in residential, in my market it pays better than commercial.
  7. Matson Snow

    Matson Snow PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,985

    You should look into joining SIMA......They have great info there....They also have a GREAT webnar on residential plowing By some guy...I think his name was Neige..You should check it out..Very useful info....:salute:
  8. IMAGE

    IMAGE Sponsor
    Messages: 1,736

    For resi's to be profitable you need a very tight service area.
  9. SServices

    SServices Senior Member
    Messages: 161

    I'm not too sure how it is in other areas, but in the twp I work for and some other surrounding community's the local govt does a "senior plow program". The city or twp is divided into different zones and they contract plowing driveways out for qualified senior citizens. Its only opening up driveways ( no sidewalks) just open it up and go. Each contractor depending on their size can average between 10-30 drives. Last year it was $10 a drive, again though just to open the drive. Its a safety thing so if emergency services need to get into the home, or if they have a care taker, etc. I the trigger was 4", they usually called the contractors out around 9am, by then all of their main accounts were done.
  10. jlouki01

    jlouki01 Senior Member
    Messages: 198

    I used to turn residential's away. After getting some years under my belt plowing comerrcial and expanding out to 4 trucks etc. I have decided I would much rather do driveways some days than commercial properties.

    What I like about residential driveways:

    1. Easy. 15-20 with a nice single stage blower.
    2. Most pay on the spot. ( find a commercial customer to do that )
    3. I like helping people. I ended up with a lot of seniors who turned into green customers very easily.
    4. Hardly any equipment on the ground. I make a lot more margin on drives than on commercial lots.
    5. Did I mention I get paid immediately in most cases?

    I charge 60.00 for a small two car drive. That gets you real clean and a half bag of ice melt. Never one time last year did I get any haggling on price. If you show up do a good job it wouldn't be hard to make a decent wage doing driveways. I know as a business with a lot of overhead I look towards the residential portion of my business for more and more work these days.
  11. JayD2

    JayD2 Senior Member
    Messages: 309

    I like you input! I was wondering also, do you change any pricing if the snow is deeper? Or how about when you get there and the plow truck has been by and now you have a mound of snow at the end of the driveway?

  12. ajslands

    ajslands 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,033

    Dam straight.
  13. oil2k6

    oil2k6 Junior Member
    Messages: 2

    I am new to the forum, and in Canada, but I concentrate solely on residential. Tight route, all customers pay flat monthly removal rate (average start price is $150 per month for sidewalk and walk to front door, driveways and back yards extra.) One guy can easily handle 30 - 35 accounts on a tight route within a reasonable amount of time. Overhead is basic, only equipment that is regularly used is shovels and scrapers. All clients pay to play, that is all accounts are settled at the beginning of each month or no removal happens. I have found it to be a very enjoyable side business, and advertising is simple. Basic flyers to homeowners, tear off flyers in public places, kijiji and craigslist. Phone local landscaping companies for quotes in potential neighborhoods to get a starting price for your service. Identify your target neighborhood carefully (higher income + education level, well-established seniors areas, etc.)
  14. JayD2

    JayD2 Senior Member
    Messages: 309

    Good input! Do you use shovels on driveways or something else?
  15. lawn king

    lawn king PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,070

    We don't plow driveways, however, on the last service of the season (lawn) my clients receive mention on a lawn instruction sheet. If they find themselves overwhelmed with snow piles, we will come remove them. This leads to some substantial revenues on a heavy snow winter & makes you a valuable (year round) asset to the client!
  16. theplowmeister

    theplowmeister 2000 Club Member
    from MA
    Messages: 2,511

    So you truck the snow away "on call" where do you take the snow?
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2010
  17. lawn king

    lawn king PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,070

    Most of the time i can dump for free on an associates commercial property, if that fills up i pay @ a snow dump in weymouth ma.
  18. oil2k6

    oil2k6 Junior Member
    Messages: 2

    Only use shovels. When you factor in load/unload times, shovels work way faster than and throwers can.
  19. JayD2

    JayD2 Senior Member
    Messages: 309

    OK, I know this may sound stupid, but what is SIMA?
  20. RLM

    RLM PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,270

    Snow & Ice Management Association= SIMA