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snow removal pricing and contract help :/

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by jonpaul, Nov 16, 2014.

  1. jonpaul

    jonpaul Junior Member
    Messages: 5

    this is my first year into my lawn maintenance company and i dont know how to make a snow removal contract. I still need to call my insurance company today to get insurance for it to include in the cost. I was wondering how people price their contracts.
    My problem is if i do 500$ for the season, December, January, Febuary, March.
    I figured it would snow 5 times a month, so my visit price would be 25$. But i live in Ontario in the GTA and it snows a lot. What happens if they need me for 9 visits, do i lose money? how do i right up a contract so that i dont lose money like that.
    OR if anyone would share their contracts and describe their pricing that would be very helpful. (even a link to snow removal contracts would be helpful). Also im 19 and have a strong work ethic and very good at marketing. My problem wont be finding customers, i can get a bunch of customers easily, but i dont have a contract to give them and i dont know how much insurance usually costs. I also wont be plowing, only hauling my snow blower around.

    my expenses at the moment for the business and myself are:
    - 200$ /m for truck (2001 f150, already paid off) insurance
    - 350$ /m for rent
    - 800$ snow blower
    - whatever my insurance will come to.

    P.S. i ownly do residential accounts, no commercial this year.

    Edit: so i thought for a fast plan, and looking at competitors pricing, that this would work.

    ON CALL:
    30$ (2 car driveway with salt)
    25$ (2 car driveway with no salt)

    monthly contract:
    150$ /m (2 car with salt, 6 visits +20$ per extra visit)
    125$ /m (single car with salt, 6 visits +20$ per extra visit)

    seasonal contract:
    500$ /m (2 car with salt, 6 visits +20$ per extra visits)
    saves 100$

    the only problem is id like to get rid of the "+20$ per visit" but i also dont want to go out of business and fail my first year. Last year was horrific and many small business's went out of business, even commercial businesss failed and didnt make money because it snowed so much.
    I had a talk with a commercial snow remover, and he said the reason snow removal makes so much money is that your charge the client extra when it snows a lot. But i dont get what he really meant, because i thought i contract would stop him from doing so.
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2014
  2. dieselss

    dieselss PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 10,739

    Wow....Just WOW!
  3. JustJeff

    JustJeff PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,934

    Today is November 16th, and you don't have contracts locked in yet? You have to have had three or four plowable events already this Season.
  4. SnowFakers

    SnowFakers Senior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 942

    $30 with salt? 150/month? Way to low, even with just a blower you have to have a higher minimum than that. And take your average snowfall and look up how many storms come through your area. I can say that I get more than 5 a month during peak season in CT, you are ATLEASR double the snow up there. You yourself said it snows a lot so why base a contract off 5 events a month?
  5. jonpaul

    jonpaul Junior Member
    Messages: 5

    no it hasn't even snowed once yet, today and tomorrow it'll have light snow = 5cm, and then its disappear after this week. I have atleast 7 people of my lawn care customers that want it done but i just dont know what to bill them or have contracts yet.
  6. jonpaul

    jonpaul Junior Member
    Messages: 5

    thats what i see competitors pricing and all of them have that 150$ /m double car or 125 /m for single car driveways. Im not sure what to price considering i live in oshawa, a well housed city, so everyone is close, next door property attached a neighbours.

    WINKDOGG NJ Junior Member
    Messages: 7

    This is a tough area im in the same boat as you and I found some blank contracts that are flat rate per storm , some are for every 3" plus like you said with or without salt ?? anybody else chiming in would be a great help!
  8. Chineau

    Chineau Senior Member
    Messages: 446

    To find a basic contract go to local library ( I known old school) and look for a legal self help book, or if there is a book store near by check out the business section for a same. It doesn't have to be complicated spell out what you will do by when, then how much they will pay by when along with interest if they fail to do so.
    Pricing you have to figure out on your own, everybody has a different market to serve what I can get here has little or no relation to you. I will say we have family in your general area and they pay more than you are mentioning in your post, word to the wise don't undervalue your service it will feel s**tty at 4:30 am when you are snow blowing and realize you are not making the coin you desire and going forward with that customer struggle to raise pricing.
    Good luck.
  9. CHPL

    CHPL Member
    Messages: 77

    also you need to know your insurance costs.
    How can you price without knowing that?

    WINKDOGG NJ Junior Member
    Messages: 7

    i found a GREAT microsoft word doc

    I found a great "fill in the blanks" form on the web. You need Microsoft Word to edit it but most have it ! It covers everything from price to liability and our lawyer approved it as did our insurance co. I will post it when I get home its simple to add your company name and info and has blank spots for customer name , price , job details so you can fill it out "on the fly" if someone flags you down while working . it fits on one page and I am having it printed on two part form paper so we get a copy as well as the customer!

    Chineau also brought up a good point , don't undercharge because it can kill your business quick , you can always lower your price to get a job but its tough to raise your price !! Ive been self employed for 20 years and have been guilty of under charging and I just try to think about what a big company would charge even though my company is small . My whole life is my "overhead cost"! Im new to this but Im a business man and I just try to remember "the little things that add up" when I price anything! $20-$30 hits add up quick!

    Will post blank contract later, WINKDOGG NJ

  11. Chineau

    Chineau Senior Member
    Messages: 446

    Jonpaul have you considered bundling snow and lawn services so you are with your customers year round?

    WINKDOGG NJ Junior Member
    Messages: 7

    Great point!

    Im an exterminator and that's how I got all my residential accounts!


    WINKDOGG NJ Junior Member
    Messages: 7

    Blank snow removable contract for Microsoft Word


    I changed a few things around and added more detail to the liability part at the bottom .

    Here is my finished contract:

    Techno Pest Mgt. & Snow Removal
    Snow Removal Contract

    _______________________, hereafter known as “Customer,” agrees to pay Techno Pest Mgt & Snow Removal the quoted price for snow removal at ________________________________________________________________

    • Customer will pay $_____ per 3” of snow (includes 1-3” snow fall) for the following services:

    Plowing , snow blowing and shoveling , ice mgt.

    • If Customer requests additional services, these will be written up in a new agreement, to be approved by Customer.

    • Payment must be made according to the following plan:

    • Techno Pest & Snow Removal agrees to pay for any damages caused by equipment and/or negligence, provided that Customer documents the damage within 72 hours of occurrence. Without written evidence Techno Pest & Snow Removal, will not be obligated to pay for any damage.

    • Techno Pest & Snow Removal will repair any documented damage once the snow has melted and the area is entirely visible.

    • Techno Pest & Snow Removal is not responsible for any damage caused by piled-up snow, or damage to any items that are not visible due to snow coverage. Techno Pest & Snow Removal will do our very best to keep your property safe and accessible but due to freeze and thaw will not in any way be liable for slip and fall or other damage to persons or items on the above stated property. We recommend you keep a small quantity of salt or other de-icing substance on the property .

    ___________________________ ____________________________ Customer Name Customer Signature

    ___________________________ ____________________________ Company Representative Name Company Representative Signature

    I would suggest you start with the link and just put all your personal info in you just click on the area (in Word) and make it say what you want .


    WINKDOGG NJ Junior Member
    Messages: 7

    Chineau what do you think about my contract above? feel free to mention anything you don't like . Our lawyer and insurance co. approved it but it would be nice to hear from a guy in the business for a while! I did large commercial snow removal but all I did was operated a front end loader and a tri axle dump truck to dump the snow in the river :) the small stuff is new to me !!
  15. jonpaul

    jonpaul Junior Member
    Messages: 5

    yes i have, but since this was my first year, im just writing down how the season go around my area. And a feel for how to price. Next year i will have all year around contracts. But to do that i need to have a better feel for winter pricing :).
  16. jonpaul

    jonpaul Junior Member
    Messages: 5

    Also, WINKDOGG NJ, you are the best thanks mate.

    WINKDOGG NJ Junior Member
    Messages: 7

    Thanks buddy

    Come on snow!!!!!!!!!!!


    WINKDOGG NJ Junior Member
    Messages: 7

    Letter we sent to our existing customers, TO GET JOBS!!


    Techno Pest Management
    Residential Snow Removal
    Its going to be a long snowy winter so let Techno keep you warm and safe .
    We are now offering snow removal for our Marlton & Medford area customers! Prices starting as low as $125 for walk clearing and driveway/parking areas . With record snow fall predicted (108") let us do all the work to keep you safe and warm . No more back breaking shoveling or getting snowed in , count on us to keep you moving safely . Most estimates can be done by phone because we already know and care about your yards , if need be we can come out for free estimates !

    Feel free to contact the office at ***-***-**** for a free estimate or to schedule before we run out of room on our busy schedule.

    Thanks From the Techno Pest Family we look forward to serving you all year around !

    Thank you , Rick and Brian
  19. andersman02

    andersman02 Senior Member
    Messages: 696


    Not a bad place to start for a contract although that is pretty much it, a start.

    I would reword your damage clause, to only include specific types of damage... damage to grass, sure, damage to garage door, sure, damage to asphalt or cement? heck no, not if your using a plow.

    Here is how we word it:
    "Landscape and turf damage- we will do our best to keep plow and salt damage to a minimum. If an unnacceptable amount of damage is seen at the end of the season, XXX will repair said damage. This term will be waived if proposal is not signed prior to first event of the season."
    "Pavement and Object Damage- XXX will not be held liable for normal wear and tear on hard surfaces due to snow removal equipment and salting, XXX will not be held liable for damages to hidden or buried objects if proposal is not signed prior to first event of the season."

    Still leaves wiggle room but is more specific.

    Here are a few other things we have
    -Start stop dates
    -Payment info (due by XX days)
    -Objects- will not plow within 2' of objects
    - completion time- 6 hrs expect more for heavier storms
    -And a new one we will be adding to our seasonal accounts (after all this NY stuff) is a extreme weather clause- Anything over xx" (probly 12-18") will be subject to an added few at of XX$/ 1" over 12/18"

    If this is just a residential contract, I would not make the contract more then a page, commercial you can add or subtract as needed.

    How we did it is use a template with all the legal stuff and general stuff on it, left a large blank box for work to be completed (as no 2 properties are the EXACT same) and left blanks through the wording such as All proposals valid Nov 15th 20__ to april 15th 20__.

    There are 100's of different things you can add to a contract but these are what I would say are the bare minimum and make sure there is something in there about slip and fall as you already have

    Hope that helps
  20. andersman02

    andersman02 Senior Member
    Messages: 696

    another tip on how to price, search on this websight, there are 100's of threads asking how to price. here are the basic ones
    Seasonal- average # of plows at a certain trigger each year X per plow price
    Per push- $xx per time you visit the property
    Per event- tiered pricing which in my opinion is better then per push as it gives the contractor the freedom to push at 6" if its light or 3" if its heavy wet. $xx1-3", $xx 3-6" $xx6-9" etc etc
    Hourly- $x/ hour with a XX minimum of minutes - this IMO is a poor way to bill as you do not get any bonus for being efficient