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Specialty or Concierge Services For Residential Properties

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by XYZSnowPros, Feb 9, 2013.

  1. XYZSnowPros

    XYZSnowPros Member
    Messages: 36

    Noticing from another thread someone finally mentioned Concierge Services, I thought
    I would endow you all with some of the specialty and concierge winter services we have been
    putting into practice. This would be our 3rd winter growing these types of practices.

    The number one issue on the list is finding the right type of payers that want this nature of
    labor services. They are out there. The money is there. My city has these sorts of folk. 1/3
    of the population work in the hospital/medical sectors. 1/4 are 55 and older and just move here to be in the same city that provides the medical expertise my city offers. The rest is in manufacturing. The median income for my city I would guesstimate is somewhere around 60k+. Every single residential that we do specialty services at have been picked up through
    word of mouth, or the client was watching us do these services at their neighbors house.
    Out of the 82 residential clients we have, 52 pay for specialty services.

    Specialty services include:
    Entire driveways shoveled by hand(quickly becoming the rage). Not getting into exact pricing, it has become a monster profit generator. We have 20 clients that request only snow shovels on their drives. We accommodate them. There is 10% gratuity included in
    the bill that the client agrees to for EACH shoveler. The longest drive they do is 250ft long
    by 12ft wide. There are 8 parking slots close to the garage that ends up making it 72ft
    wide leading to the 3 stall garage. It takes the shovelers a half hour to do just the driveway
    at a 5 inch snowfall. The 2 gentlemen that hand shovel these driveways have been with us
    for these 3 years. They do not do sidewalks or walkways to entrances. ONLY the
    driveways. The entrances and walkways are done by the other 2 crews that have a driver
    for the plow truck as well as a shoveler/snow blower that rides with him. At a 1 FULL inch
    trigger and up to 5 inches, single event for that drive is 300$, not including the gratuity X2. We did that property 4 times in the last week. Each hand shoveled driveway is unique. The
    2 shovelers get paid by each property. Neither of them bat an eye for what we pay them
    for each lot.

    Snow Blown Paths In Yards For Pets(or children)
    26 clients go for this specialty service so far. Clients are given first crack at where they
    would like to have their racetrack located (95% in the backyard). We then give input based
    on how hard it will be to accommodate the area in question during the season and eat
    away at it till we come to an agreement for the service. The majority of the clients have
    medium to small sized dogs. We do not blow all the way to the grass. Always have a hard
    pack trail. Always an area for the animals #2 waste (surprisingly almost all the pets use
    this large rectangle area for their droppings). Only 2 clients have fenced in back yards. So
    to cut the length of time this service takes, this year we incorporated an ATV into the mix.
    A 2012 can-am outlander xt800 with a 48 inch berco snowblower. So far that single
    machine has saved an estimated 70-80% in production time for just this specialty alone.
    Also using it for sidewalks has improved time reduction drastically. Charging for this
    specialty service has worked out well so far by using area instead of total length.

    That is just 2 of the specialty services we offer. We make profit off 4 other specialty
    services as well. This is all before the standard driveway plowing. I will not let the cat out
    of the bag on the other 4 services just quite yet. We are building up a large cache of video
    and photographs that will bring our entire winter business front and center.

    With the right attitude, a down home confidence approach, executing services exactly as
    they are laid out in the contract, you'd be surprised at the amount of profit that can be
    generated by a 6 man crew with only 82 residential properties. Each man is compensated
    accordingly to what his labor description is worth in my eyes. Not some state or city or
    county or government labor statistic. Not some imaginary market guided by the invisible

    Feel free to ask questions.
    Feel free to bounce ideas around.
    Feel free to offer any input on services that I may or may not have covered here as well.

    TJ and Harley say Thanks for looking!
  2. Drakeslayer

    Drakeslayer 2000 Club Member
    from Carver
    Messages: 2,776

    Thanks for endowing us!
  3. BC Handyman

    BC Handyman PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,838

    Agreed, these types of services are great $ makers, I started out doing everything from hand shoveling, making paths everywhere, cleaning cars ect. just to try to make a buck. Now I've been in the biz & am a snow professional all these things cost extra. I do ALOT of this detail work(I call it) I'd say most(almost all) of my customers in some way get & pay for extra services, like shoveling,clean car, make path ect.
    Why.... My guess is I'm a good salesman/businessman & am willing to do it.
  4. peteo1

    peteo1 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,658

    I'm glad you can get that and I can see why you offer it. Here in my town nobody in their right mind would entertain this type of service but people here are pretty stingy.
  5. WIPensFan

    WIPensFan PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,468

    Driveways shoveled by hand quickly becoming the rage.......:laughing:

    I'm waiting for the other 4 "specialty services" with bated breath. :redbounce
  6. NorthernSvc's

    NorthernSvc's Senior Member
    Messages: 766


    I have an entire crew that is dedicated to these services... we make a killing on these... and so do they ( the laborers)...ive never thought about the included gratuity, but I will include that into the contract for next year... in the area we service we also have a number of residential ice rinks... we charge by the inch $20.00 and up to clear and maintain these rinks...

    if you are not thinking outside of the box than you are loosing...

    TJSNOW Senior Member
    Messages: 374

    Whats Loosing????

    This thinking is not outside the box.....This type of service has been going for a Very long time.....The problem is it caters to a select few with the disposible income to afford....So, if your in an area that has the higher income clients you a fool not to offer "out of the box" services.....Heres another one.........Dog Poop removal.....Crappy job...But a money maker....Years ago we had a few customers that we washed their cars for them....The list goe's on and on....
  8. Neige

    Neige Sponsor
    Messages: 2,195

    I know a very high end landscaper, who has been offering (snow butler service) for the last 10 years and does very well with it. The best part he tells me is that it takes very little capital investment to do this kind of service. Each team of two only services 5 homes, and he is up to 5 teams now. This is an elite service, where 99.9% of people would not be interested in paying the premium for this kind of service. . He has a strict no tip policy, his teams are very well taken care of.

    The Question I have for you is why are you hand shoveling the drives, and using a snow blower on the walkways? The other question I have, is not using an ATV causing lawn damage? If it one thing I have learned from high end clients, they are very picky about their lawns. I would be worried at the start and end of the season when the ground may not be frozen.
  9. framer1901

    framer1901 Senior Member
    Messages: 805

    Our high end clients just heat their driveways and sidewalks.

    But seriously, a great concept - how many people do you see out shoveling their drives making them look spot on perfect, even in our area will it's gonna snow again tonight.
  10. XYZSnowPros

    XYZSnowPros Member
    Messages: 36

    Every client that receives hand care shoveled driveways also has their walkways and entrances and sidewalks done by hand shoveling. We use snow blowers and the ATV on clients that do not receive hand shoveled lots. Although most properties have either concrete, block, brick, stone or asphalt walkways that lead to their front doors and other entrances, those almost always get hand shoveled. We also use Husqvarna backpack blowers and handheld blowers as well.
    One of the best investments I think we have ever made is this Husqvarana attachment for a line trimmer - http://www.husqvarna.com/us/accessories/product-accessories/trimmer-attachments/sweeper-attachment/ . We started using them for lawn maintenance when the "grass grows". But they have become invaluable for winter maintenance. Around my parts we get a lot of events of snowfall between 1/2" to 2" and those Husqy attachments work extremely well for clearing snow that is below roughly 25F.
    Another point to be addressed with hand shoveling entire properties pertains to
    noise pollution. Gasoline equipment is loud. Funny how they can take a commercial
    airliners engine and "hush" it up quite a bit. But yet they fail in "hushing" up a 24hp
    snow blower or a 1.2hp line trimmer.:confused:

    The clients that receive snow-blown paths and racetracks would already have a
    hard packed base on their lawn. The ATV and snow blower on it still weigh less
    than your average zero turn lawnmower. And maybe a bit more than a stand on
    lawnmower. Once you have a hard pack surface in the yard, you don't ever
    dig/plow/blow lower than the hard pack. You do not ever want to see green under
    the white. As soon as you have your path/track established it is easy sailing for the
    rest of the season.

    Thank you for contributing that NorthernSvc's. Two shovelers working together with
    the right shovels, can sweep those rinks clean in 5 minutes or less.
  11. JohnDeere2320

    JohnDeere2320 Member
    Messages: 51

    I understand why a customer would want to pay extra to not use a plow on the drive way, but what advantage does shoveling offer that a snow blower with a good scraper doesn't offer? We use a John Deere 2320 with a 54 inch front mount blower and our customers love the results. It leaves nice crisp edges along the drive and sidewalks, doesn't leave unsightly piles or tear up the turf like a plow would if you get off the cement, and since we keep new scrapers on it, it really cleans the driveway nicely. Also, with the hydraulic down pressure we can generally scrape up where people may have driven on. Another bonus is we can do about 4 driveways and public walks in about the same time as it takes a competitor with a plow truck and shovel crew. These are high end residential properties that have 3-4 car garages that are in subdivisions, so we park the truck and trailer somewhere in the subdivision and drive the tractor from house to house with the shovel guy(s) riding on a platform on the 3 point hitch.

    Not trying to say my way leaves a better quality result than those of you who offer shoveling-only services, just kind of curious why a customer would be willing to pay so much more for shoveling over a snow blower.
  12. scott3430

    scott3430 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,003

    I'm not sure I could convince my emlpoyee to go out and shovel driveways - instead of putting him in a nice warm truck to plow with.
  13. XYZSnowPros

    XYZSnowPros Member
    Messages: 36

    I am not the customer. In my opinion any machine with substantial weight while also
    scraping surfaces with metal will eventually degrade that surface. Shoveling with
    plastics is going to be much less devastating over the lifetime of the surface.
    It is kind of like driving a 1200 pound zero turn on the lawn endlessly. Week after
    week. Year after year. You don't think weather and erosion + your machine are not
    going to have an affect on the property? Cause and effect.
    Also noise is a huge key factor. We can shovel 24/7 and be within the bounds of the
    law as well as keeping neighbors and clients happy.

    Every human is different. Some are lazy. Some are driven by fitness and hard work
    as well as seeing their finished product and it bringing a smile to their faces. Would
    your employee like to make close to 100 dollars an hour for this type of work? Get
    paid after every single day they work? May or may not change his mind.
  14. BC Handyman

    BC Handyman PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,838

    I'll give my 2cents(or my nickle now:laughing: since Canada don't have pennies anymore)
    For me the reasons can be because customers:
    don't want noise
    dont like pollution
    afraid of damage(with no reasoning/assuring them)
    afraid of damage(with good reason, cause of expensive or decrative objects & surfaces)
    can't access area's with the blower easily(up stairs, between tree's with root ect)
  15. Neige

    Neige Sponsor
    Messages: 2,195

    Quote The 2 gentlemen that hand shovel these driveways have been with us
    for these 3 years. They do not do sidewalks or walkways to entrances. ONLY the
    driveways. The entrances and walkways are done by the other 2 crews that have a driver
    for the plow truck as well as a shoveler/snow blower that rides with him Quote

    Just wondering why these 2 men would not do the walkway, why would you be sending in another crew?
  16. StuveCorp

    StuveCorp Senior Member
    Messages: 341

    :salute: Never would have thought of something like this.

    I also ask why the driveway guys don't do the walks?
  17. BC Handyman

    BC Handyman PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,838

    good queston Neige, I missed that part, why wouldnt they do the walks while they there?:confused:
  18. XYZSnowPros

    XYZSnowPros Member
    Messages: 36

    Fabulous question!
    Those 2 gentlemen are the hardest physical laborers we have working for us. They
    sweat hard hard in those work hours not including windshield time from job to job. Just busting your A$$ for as long as it takes without killing yourself but being efficient and keeping pace and working together, takes all their energy for one single driveway. After you shovel through a driveway with 5 inches of 28F snow on it, the last thing you want to think about is the sidewalks or entryways. It takes a lot more movement and thinking to do the smaller objectives at the property. Burger yourself out doing just the driveway, then relax and move onto the next one. I guess the way I feel when I figured out this "exercise in labor" is kinda of like a cool-down between sets when you are working out. Once you get acclimated to doing it, it does become easier as you will become stronger, be able to take in and break down more oxygen and hook up good blood cells. Live a healthy lifestyle,
    and you shall be rewarded for your labor.

    The other monster reason they do not do sidewalks and entry or approaches is
    because we have to snow blow or plow out the ends of the clients properties after
    the city or county plows come through. You know what it is like trying to shovel a
    2 inch storm after the city plow comes by and leaves a 3 foot wide and 2 foot tall
    hard pack barrier at the end of the driveway. Sucks don't it. So the plow driver and
    his shoveler/snow blower sidekick will be at the same property sometime anyways.

    The drivers of the plow trucks(I am one of them) don't sit all cozy and warm all day
    in the cab doing nothing. We get out and shovel or run a backpack or hand held
    blower, and also the Husqy sweepers throughout the entire event shift as well.

    Everyone understands the big picture. Everyone pitches in to achieve the same
    goal. Work hard. Get done in a timely fashion. Quality. Pride. Organization. Treating
    each and every guy with respect and without favoritism goes hand in hand with the
    best run companies on the planet. Mine works without the greed of capitalism.
    Mine works without some white collard suit and tie wearing person who actually
    does nothing and reaps the most benefits. My company works on equality.
  19. RAZOR

    RAZOR Senior Member
    Messages: 342

    How long are these customers willing to wait after a good 6 inch snowfall to have their driveway cleared by hand? If my route is not done 4 hours after it stops snowing I'm sure my phone would ringing off the hook.
  20. OrganicsL&L

    OrganicsL&L Senior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 253

    Having just got in from battling a 30+inch blizzard.....couldn't imagine this service right now....maybe after a few hours of sleep!