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Snow Blowing

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by ResidentialSnow, Nov 28, 2012.

  1. ResidentialSnow

    ResidentialSnow Junior Member
    Messages: 4

    I have been trying to start a snowblowing service in my area for the last two years. Last year I sent out 1000 postcard to houses. I think I ended up getting 5 out of that. So this year I decided to spend more time and money. Drove around to areas with more houses spread things out a little more. I spent money on postcards and mailing. I sent out to 5000 houses 3 times once in September and once at the end of October and two weeks later. And as of right now I have 15.My price is $335 for the year. I am confused as to what the deal is, I don’t know if people are too cheap or just confused as to what this is. I am beside myself what to do next, I don’t want to give this up till I succeed. I have basically made enough to cover my costs and not pay myself this year. I have been in the commercial and residential plowing business my whole life. With my two truck I have 42 commercial accounts. I know people can be cheap but even in the rich neighborhoods where the house values are around $800k - $1.5mil. And that area did the worse. Is there something I am doing wrong? I was hoping out of 5000 I would get 100. I will try and post a picture of my flier. Any ideas would be great, I don’t know if it will just take me 5years to train these people or what.
  2. terrapro

    terrapro PlowSite Veteran
    from MI
    Messages: 3,868

    What your doing wrong? Well three options- You are to expensive, they don't care, or they don't like you. I am sure there are a few more.

    Do you honestly think you are going to train people? That is a national tactic, and it is something like 1.5% anyway and that is cumulative over multiple years.

    Cut your losses regroup and try again.
  3. Wilnip

    Wilnip Senior Member
    Messages: 583

    I sent out 300 postcards. Thus year. Got 1 customer and 3 calls. Just about hit the 1.5% average. Yard signs did well until the zoning officer called. :/
  4. Meezer

    Meezer Senior Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 291

    I would try other options such as putting together a website, advertising in other venues, etc.,
  5. leolkfrm

    leolkfrm PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,339

    the best is lots of snow piled up!...and their neighbors nice and flat because of snowblower use....take pics of both and use it for advertising
  6. KEC Maintaince

    KEC Maintaince Senior Member
    from N.J.
    Messages: 265

    Instead of a seasonaly price why not charge by the driveway per push
    Like 50 bucks per driveway up to 6 inches then like 10 bucks on top of that per 2 inch increments
    Salt or calcium extra
    People with money have money for a reason they don't spend till they have too. They see 300 bucks and say to them selves no way if they see 50 bucks the flyer will go on the refrige till it snows then if u do a good job they will call u back each snow
  7. merrimacmill

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

    It sounds to me like you tried direct mail and it did not work, so you tried it again but with more volume and it didn't work again. However, no one can really expect better than a 1% return on something like direct mail.

    It sounds to me like you need a real marketing plan, that is written and scheduled ahead of time, and has a diverse set of marketing avenues to target the dynamics of your target market. You then need to design a system to track results with real numbers, whether on paper or spreadsheet (I recommend spreadsheet). When someone calls, do you record where they heard about you? How are you tracking these results?

    What is your competitive advantage? If a customer asked you "I've had the same guy plowing for 5 years, why should I hire you?" do you have an irrefutable answer that would sell the customer based on the unique differences you offer them? If not, they just see you as another guy trying to plow driveways, but instead requesting more money upfront. These differences can create 'value' for the customer, and make the price and competition become more irrelevant to them.

    Also, at least around here, September and October is way early for driveways. People with driveways prefer to call the day before a storm, or when its under 30 degrees out everyday. I notice a flurry of phone calls whenever snow potential comes up on the news.
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2012
  8. OC&D

    OC&D PlowSite Veteran
    from Earth
    Messages: 3,064

    Usually if you succeed, you wouldn't give it up.:D

    To be clear, what exactly are you trying to sell? Are you selling a service with a truck and 2 guys with Toros, or are you selling a service with a tractor with an inverted blower? If it's the former, I'm not sure why you wouldn't just add another plow truck and seek residential plowing accounts? Maybe you're expecting there is a demand where there isn't any?
  9. KEC Maintaince

    KEC Maintaince Senior Member
    from N.J.
    Messages: 265

    So u want to add residential accts on top of the 42 u have and don't plan on adding any additional trucks??
  10. espyj

    espyj Member
    Messages: 53

    With our snowblower route, we charge $30 per push for a 2 car driveway, $35 for a 3 car. We're priced in the higher percentage against our competition, but we offer a better quality service than the one-man show with a crappy snowblower in the back of his beat up truck, too. The thing you have to remember with an account that can be done with a snowblower is that if its easy enough to do with a snowblower, most people will just do it themselves. Especially after an easy year like last year, most people figure "how bad can it be if I just do it myself?"
  11. ResidentialSnow

    ResidentialSnow Junior Member
    Messages: 4

    I am trying to get away from the whole truck and a plow. And switch over to a tractor and a snowblower. I have a new holland tv140 with a pxpl snowblower. The commercial market is really cut throat around here. As far as doing it by the time it's hard to ensure that your going to get paid, I have a lot of people now that think they don't have to pay. By the time you take them to court your in the whole. A one time fee is just easier as far as billing. I have done the direct mail and it doesn't seem to pay off, I know people in areas that I sent to 3 times never got one but there neighbor did so I don't know if the mail man is screwing me. As far as training I meant that by people in Canada seem to know that the snow blowing service gives you no lawn damage, no big snow piles. I have kept track of how people are hearing about us and what they think. From the people that have called 95% have signed up and people loved the fact that they pay once and there done, but I know not everyone thinks that way.
  12. Wilnip

    Wilnip Senior Member
    Messages: 583

    What to you do when you get that wet, heavy snow that will only clog a snow blower. Just curious how you handle that.
  13. ResidentialSnow

    ResidentialSnow Junior Member
    Messages: 4

    Never had a problem with plugging it up on the wet heavy snowfall, you gotta be smart about it. Can't always go as fast as you normally would no different then a truck with a plow.
  14. ScubaSteve728

    ScubaSteve728 Senior Member
    Messages: 459

    wealthy people usually hire landscapers most landscapers plow snow most people bundle the whole package with the landscaper.

    (nothing against landscapers)

    MIDTOWNPC PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 4,425

    if your trying for one payment and no one knows you they are going to have a hard time paying upfront.

    They think of it like cable. You watch it then you pay.
    Not like a coffee where you pay then you get the coffee.

    Some people like the small blower because that guys does around everything and probably even brings the paper to the door.