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What do i charge????

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by kenmoore, Nov 19, 2010.

  1. kenmoore

    kenmoore Junior Member
    from 57783
    Messages: 6

    So I am new to plowing although I have run equipment for others. I live in the Black Hills of South Dakota and I really don't know what to charge/ minimums etc. Can anyone give me some ideas. Thanks in advance
     
  2. Rc2505

    Rc2505 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,245

    You need to figure out your costs, to be able to know what to charge. Truck payments, Insurance, Workers Comp, Fuel, Wages, Plow costs, Salt and spreader costs, I mean everything, put all that on a piece of paper, divide up your yearly snow fall, and how many contracts you have, then come up wit hyour hourly costs. At that point you can bid accordingly and not be in the dark as to if you'll make money, or lose money. Every single person, or company has different cost, and different mark-up's so I can't tell you what you need to charge without knowing your costs. Every area of the country has different rates as well depending on snowfall amounts, availabilty of plowing contractors, and the economy. Cost, vs profit is a hit or miss deal, and very easily can turn the wrong way quickly. So figure out your costs, and go from there.
     
  3. hydro_37

    hydro_37 PlowSite Veteran
    from iowa
    Messages: 3,790

    depends on what your plowing and for whom your plowing for
     
  4. Tubby's Snow Plowing

    Tubby's Snow Plowing Senior Member
    Messages: 199

    Well of course, and answering with the obvious doesn't really help the OP. Perhaps expanding on your answer would serve as assistance.
     
  5. hydro_37

    hydro_37 PlowSite Veteran
    from iowa
    Messages: 3,790

    ummmmmmm....ok then smarty....what do you charge?
    The OP never said what he was plowing so it is very hard to give an idea on pricing


    and since your answer never even came close to giving him and answer.......dont give me crap
     
  6. kenmoore

    kenmoore Junior Member
    from 57783
    Messages: 6

    New here, sorry to cause such a stir. I was just curious about charging like for an average fast food restaurant with no obstructions or an average residential driveway. I have heard guys say that they "won't drop the plow for less than" a hundred bucks. Is this kind of the standard??? Just starting out, your help is appreciated. I don't have a lot of overhead. My truck is paid for, my insurace is about 4 bucks a day, of course fuel will be a cost. This is my first year and I don't want to make things more difficult than they need to be. Thanks to all for your help.
     
  7. Tubby's Snow Plowing

    Tubby's Snow Plowing Senior Member
    Messages: 199

    I have three rates for the customer to choose. I only do residential.

    Hourly charge is $100 or per event charge is $30. Customer selects the trigger. I have some that only need help with the big storms since they don't mind shoveling most of the time or their setup can't handle big stuff like we get, so they only want me to come if it snows 6 inches or more. The event only customers are usually those stuck in a storm or snow bunnies (seasonal residents) that come up for snowmobiling and need their cabin cleared before they arrive. The hourly are usually contracts.

    Quick Clear is the commuter's special at $100 per week with 2 inch trigger. All I do is clear a vehicle wide path to the street. Nothing fancy, usually goes like this: angle blade to push snow off to side, straighten blade and backdrag, angle blade to push snow off to side, then get out with the shovel and push it along the garage door pitch that snow in the yard and done. This is mostly for the people that don't have time in the morning before work and will come home after work and do the major work themselves. They just need a little help in the morning. If they call me for a later in the day return trip during big snows, I give them a healthy discounted hourly rate.


    Yes, that is correct. Giving a ballpark example such as "well I do only residential driveways and my brother's auto mechanic shop. I charge X hourly or X per drive. My brother just takes me out to lunch that day and I'm good." helps.


    My response wasn't an answer to the OP, so it negates the rest of that line. Anyway, water under the bridge.

    Market price varies and doing some searching here will illustrate a few pricing programs for you.

    Now, remember just because your overhead is low NOW, it doesn't mean that will stay low in the FUTURE. Take advantage of that and don't sell yourself short.

    Your truck is paid off but will need to be replaced in the future, so factor the replacement cost of your next vehicle into your operating costs for this current vehicle. That is to say if a replacement truck will cost you $300/mo for payments, use that figure now to factor your overhead.

    If your plow is paid off, same thing. Factor replacement cost into your current overhead.

    For insurance it seems like you just have a rider on your personal policy for about $120/mo so factor that.

    Then remember maintenance, mostly front end suspension, perhaps an alternator, battery (good to keep those two things in stock for spares). Get a rebuilt alternator and buy a battery but keep it on a storage charger. Get a dead battery you'll be up and running in no time.

    Hard to estimate gas consumption. Going conservative is best as it's more time than mileage.

    Marketing, etc will add cost money too. All other aspects of business such as accounting software and office supplies add up too.
     
  8. kenmoore

    kenmoore Junior Member
    from 57783
    Messages: 6

    Hey thanks that will help out allot. Now i know enough to see i wont be going to disneyland this summer thanks for all the help.
     
  9. Tubby's Snow Plowing

    Tubby's Snow Plowing Senior Member
    Messages: 199

    Well, you still can. If you price so you make money worth your time PLUS enough to save for next season, you should be OK to have summer fun. This goes with any business.

    Just remember to keep it simple, factor every consumable for overhead, and make sure you're making a profit. Be careful about taking on too much work if you're not experienced running your own operation. Remember to save some for emergency repairs but also reinvest some profit to make more money.
     
  10. TSherman

    TSherman Member
    Messages: 74

    Dude, don't worry about what to charge...you can nail it down close writing down your expenses and asking yourself what do I want to drive away with for me after this push. Then take a few stabs at potential clients and see what the market bears. Its really easier than you think, but it takes a few to get there.
     
  11. Tubby's Snow Plowing

    Tubby's Snow Plowing Senior Member
    Messages: 199

    Pretty much. Cover expenses then figure what your net will be. Run with that figure and see where the market takes you.