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Sidewalks and/or steps

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Joel B., Jun 30, 2002.

  1. Joel B.

    Joel B. Senior Member
    from MN
    Messages: 233

    Do any of you also snowblow/shovel sidewalks and/or steps when you plow a residential driveway?

    I thought this might be a way to break into the business by offering something a little extra, but now I'm wondering if it would be too much of a pain and increase my liability.

    Thanks again,

    Joel B.
  2. Yes: our residential crews will do sidewalks and steps for a fee, but we offer the service free to the 65 and over customers within reason.

    Steve :eek: :rolleyes:
  3. plowking35

    plowking35 2000 Club Member
    from SE CT
    Messages: 2,923

    The problem with doing such is time. Do you add a helper to do the walks, or do you do them yourself, and decrease the amout of drives you can do in your window of time.
    You will need to charge at least the same amout for the walks as you do for plowing the drive as it will take as long if not longer than the plowing itself. In my market I strive for 150.00 per hr per truck, and we average 4 driveways an hour,that includes travel time, for an average of about $ 40.00 per driveway. So if I take 15 min to shovel a walk,that is the time from when you put the truck in park till you are back in and have it in gear again. I would need to get at least $ 40.00 for that service, and not to many people are willing to pay that. So I stay in the warm truck and move onto the next paying customer.
  4. CT18fireman

    CT18fireman Banned
    Messages: 2,133

    I know that some towns in CT require sidewalks to be cleared. West Hartford for example where snow removal contractors make more money on sidewalks because people have small driveways and lots of walkways.

    I think if one can market something right and has the right equipment then it can be profitable. Instead of blowing maybe use an ATV or something to plow the walk. Much faster this way.
  5. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    It depends largely on your market area and the customer expectations. I'd clearly charge for the added service. In my area, I don't even offer shoveling. I have one house that I do clear the area in front of a basement door rather than get real close in backdragging. But it only amounts to scraping two shovel widths. Like Dino said, you make more money faster by plowing than shoveling. Less work and why would you want to get out of that nice, new, warm 2500 anyway:drinkup: ?
  6. Pelican

    Pelican 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,075

    I offer sidewalk service to my customers, but only a few use it. Like Dino said, you have to charge the same rate that you get for the truck or you're losing money. I don't get that many takers as a result.

    I use a Toro 2 stroke blower and shovel combination to do it, the blower weighs under 30 lbs and is easy to throw in and out of the truck. It doesn't hurt to get out and stretch your legs once in a while either, it's even better getting paid to do it! With my combination I can knock out a 30' sidewalk with 2 steps & stoop in about 5 minutes and charge $15.
  7. cat320

    cat320 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,222

    I do not do walks for the very reason that Dino pointed out.Time is money .And no one wants to pay for the service ,but all want it done.
  8. Lawn Lad

    Lawn Lad Senior Member
    Messages: 407

    I started in the snow business with two snowblowers and a 2 wd Ford Ranger for residential snow removal. So sidewalk clearning was a push for us and we got a lot of customers as a result.

    When we started to plow the next year, and over the years, our service has evolved. We used to shovel at each house we plowed - in front of the garage door and to the back or side door as a part of the contract. Front sidewalks (city and/or service) could be added.

    The shoveling required that I have a second man in each truck. At each property the plow driver would stop the truck and let the guy out, work to avoid hitting him as he shoveled and then either wait those awkward few moments for the shoveler to finish or if there was enough to shovel - the driver would get out for a minute or two and help.

    I've trimmed back my shoveling at homes to about 25% of what it used to be. I'm happier having fewer guys to call in for a snow event - and simply just got out a plow than worry about the walks. The heavier the snow - the slower the shoveling.

    I would offer this suggestion - shovel walks if you want, but charge a per time rate, assumming your driveways are a mix of seasonal and per time. You can make some additional money at shoveling walks - but just charge enough for them. ANd enough is like Dino said - charge at least what you would for similar truck time.