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Strickly Residential

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by DAZ982500, Aug 8, 2005.

  1. DAZ982500

    DAZ982500 Senior Member
    Messages: 142

    After,several months of bidding and seeking commercial accounts I have decided that I will concentrate my efforts with homes.I know that profit wise, I will most likely not be able to do as well as those who land commercial accounts, however, my goal will be developing a larger client base.A few questions what I have done in the past was to run an ad in the local paper, 43.00 1 week, to generate more people.I would like to get a closer route.How many have tried flyers to generate more work, and have they been successful.Also, if I do run the ad should I decline the people who are not close to me or jack up the price to cover gas.In lawn cutting, I will raise price to accomodate this some.... bite some do not.Also,I have not charged people for shoveling on top of the plowing what is rerasonable here.Third, I have people who have requested me to care for driveway and sidewalk but only want snowblowing and thoughts on this ,i.e. prices,whether to except .Also, when,time of year , is the best time to begin pursuing new residentail accounts,i.e. paper ad, flyers.Thanks DAVE. :waving:
  2. pbeering

    pbeering Senior Member
    Messages: 266

    You should develop a flyer and start with your green accounts. Offer them some sort of discount and maybe a referral credit for each neighbor they hook up.

    Distribute your flyers (either outside the mailbox) or via mail to folks in the area where you already work. Remember that you can't bill for drive time, so try to keep driving to a minimum.
  3. Mick

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

    Dave, when I started, I took whatever came up and just adjusted the price to allow for drive time. I've still got several who pay me those adjusted prices because they'd rather have me than a more local person. Doesn't really matter to me if I get paid for driving or plowing - as long as I get paid. Just make sure you price each one as if it was the only one in that area cause in the middle of the season it might be.

    As for shoveling or snowblowing - charge the same as you would for plowing. If you think it will take an average of 30 minutes for a particular sidewalk, charge whatever you'd charge for plowing a driveway that would take a half hour. If they don't want to pay it, pass. Let them hire someone else for the shoveling or the whole thing. You might get a chance at another driveway, but can't take it cause you're tied up with that sidewalk for $5. I don't shovel - period. Don't even generally carry one on the truck. Somebody on PS once called me lazy for that. But that's ok. It's real easy to say "Oh, well, it's only ten minutes". Then it's ten minutes on this one, ten minutes on that one until you're eating up two hours shoveling for $20 when you should be getting $250 (at least) for plowing those two hours.

    SIPLOWGUY Senior Member
    Messages: 678

    My Son used to hand out the fliers as he Trick or Treated.
  5. Killswitch

    Killswitch Senior Member
    Messages: 246

  6. justme-

    justme- 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,138

    never be afraid to turn down a customer- you have to in order to grow as a business. Increase the price for distant accounts to cover the gas at least, enough to cover your added time to get across town if there is only 2 customers is ideal. I have 1 customer a ways off my route and he pays a fair amount additionally for that.

    Carry a shovel at all times, you'll regret the one time you need it and don;t have it, stuck in a bank at 2AM with no help. Shoveling is your choice, I agree with Mick- plow if you can, but if you want to shovel make it worth your while. I do shovel a couple accounts, but they are seniors and they are the only ones I will shovel for. I don;t snowblow drives- again your choice buyt make it worth your while. I can;t get enough here to blow it for my time versus plowing. If it's not plowable I don;t do it.

    I hand out flyers along my route to the houses I 'want' to plow but not every house is plowable. I advertised in the local paper (not the news paper but a mailed out thing) when I started, and will probabily have to this year again- been 6 years on referrals only, but too many moving over the summer this season. I also put flyers up at the supermarket, diner, etc anywhere there is a community bulletin board. It works!
  7. MickiRig1

    MickiRig1 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,617

    No doubt carry a shovel! A garden shovel or entrenching tools a good idea too. I got hung up on a pile last winter and thank God I had a garden shovel to dig out and not a plastic snow shovel. The plow tripped and I climbed the pile then it "un-tripped" and I was stuck!
  8. salt shaker

    salt shaker Member
    Messages: 65

    Mass Mailing

    We did a mass mailling last year. Bought a program that gave us all the addresses, and names of all the streets and potential customers on those streets. Sent out a flyer with a contract and gave a date as to when we needed them back. Out of 2000 and some maillings got 192 of them back. Flat rate price for all except the ones we knew were going to be more money. After getting them back, put a route together and came up with 5 routes all within a 5 mile radius. This is how we made up for those that were probably priced too low. Dense routing, less travel and all drives were done insided of 4 hours, (except for the first and last snows of the season where we got 20' of wet slop in a 24 hr. period.

    This year we will do the same. Made some adjustments to the drives that we know needed an increase and we will see how it goes. We also dropped some of the streets that we felt were too far from our targetted area and also dropped some PETA's that I don't ever want to do work for again. Remeber when you work for residential customers, as in our case, we had 192 people who thought they could plow snow better than we could and everybody wants to be first on the route. FOOD FOR THOUGHT (FFT). By the way we did not shovel either, we lost some potential clients but feel the same as Mick
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2005
  9. cet

    cet PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,196

    If you are going to do some snow blowing, they may not like it if you start up the blower in the middle of the night. We have found that handing out fridge magnets works well. In the beginning if you buy blank magnets and stick your business card on them it is a little cheaper. People will put these on the fridge and when they need someone they will look at the magnets and phone. Your flier will most likely be in the garbage. Around here most people have metal front doors and we just stick them on the door.
    Try to keep your route tight but in the beginning it is hard to find enough customers. Don't under price your work, if you work for a fair price and show up on time the referrals will fill your time in a year or two.