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What is Reasonable

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by DAZ982500, May 17, 2005.

  1. DAZ982500

    DAZ982500 Senior Member
    Messages: 142

    As I have indicated in some past Post, I am continuing to seek out new accounts for the coming season.Tonight I went personally to a few new business's that had opened near my home ,to see if I could offer my services to them.The three places I stopped had already been approached by someone in the last month or so.I was alittle surprized that someone had already approached these stores have"nt been in business much longer than 1 month. I really know how competive it is now.I thought I would be a step ahead of them WRONG! Anyway, I believe I will continue to look for other places talk to people and if all else fails SUB CONTRACTING.Here is my question I spoke to a friend of mine who gave me a number of a guy that operates a company that oversees plowing at a Defense Contractor LOCKHEED MARTIN.He states that I must have insurance, check I can get as much work as I want for as long as I want.Here comes the question I must travel 15 miles to get to the sight.And the going rate is 40.00 dollars an hour.He told me 35.00 dollars an hour saying I can't remember what I quoted Rick (my friend) but we can talk in the Fall.Is this a fair going rate, (I am in NY STATE) and what kinds of things should I be thinking about with this sort of work.At the present time I plow driveways and small lots.This subcontracting work is really large lots, 6-7 lots.He states that he would pair me up with more experience plowers with this type of work on this lot.As well as inquiring if I had any friends who wanted to plow too.The only other thing I could think of was this will beat the :( .... out of the tansmission and cutting edge.Any other thoughts in regards to this, except to keep pounding the pavement and don't give up which is definitely not an option :waving: thanks Dave.
     
  2. gpin

    gpin Senior Member
    Messages: 390

    I wouldn't let my plow hit the ground for $40/hr. IMHO, you will be losing money.
     
  3. Mick

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

    I'm with gpin on this. What you say is not an option would be my advise.
     
  4. justme-

    justme- 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,138

    too cheap- especially since that 15 mile drive coud easily take you well over a hour in the season.

    BTW- when a new business opens IF you want to get them as a client be there as soon as you can, as in the day they open, or before. That's how you get new stores. Waiting a month around me guarantees the same results you got.
     
  5. sonjaab

    sonjaab PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,425

    DAZ..........Where are you at in NY?

    If your near Syracuse thats what they TRY and hire you to
    plow sub at.

    RUN......Do not walk away!

    With the amount of snow we get here your truck will be
    BEAT to death in a few seasons on these big lots and
    at $40 a hour it would be hard to pay for gas and insurance
    let alone make a profit !

    Let the lowballers have that job ! When they disappear...
    stop back and bid $80 plus a hour !....................geo :gunsfiring:
     
  6. DAZ982500

    DAZ982500 Senior Member
    Messages: 142

    SONjaab I AM LOCATED IN ENDICOTT 10 MILES WEST OF BINGHAMTON N.Y.I DON'T THINK WE ARE CLOSE ENOUGH TO THE LAKE EFFECT MACHINE SO WE DON'T USUALLY GET QUITE AS MUCH SNOW AS YOU.I AM FINDING OUT EITHER GETTING ANOTHER 20 DRIVEWAYS OR A FEW DECENT LOTS WILL TAKE ME THE WHOLE SUMMER AND MAYBE THE FALL TO EVEN GET WHAT I THINK I NEED TO CLEAR A DECENT PROFIT. I BELIEVE MICK WAS THE INDIVIDUAL WHO INDICATED TO ME THAT IT MIGHT TAKE A FEW SEASONS TO REALLY GET GOING AND I THINK THIS IS TRUE. ONCE I GET THERE , BARRING ANY MAJOR SET BACKS I SHOULD IT LEAST BE ABLE ESTABLISH A REGULAR WORK LOAD FROM SEASON TO SEASON.THANKS FOR YOUR HELP AND ALL THE INFORMATION.DAZ
     
  7. T-MAN

    T-MAN PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,363

    These guys are right Dave 40 bones to be out all night is low even in the snow belts ! Why bother you can make $7 an hour else were. You would probally be lucky to see that even. Oh and the big lots are were its at for optimum truck life. :) Shifting F-R-F-R and going slow, pushing from a dead stop is what thrashes transmissions. What could be better for your truck then rolling, dropping blade, looping it around dropping blade, keep the momentum movin. I love the giant parking decks, you can fly. Also stacking is usually a none issue, as it is either loader work or moved with a blower. keep trying like Mick said it takes time. Just remember all it takes is one good account to pay the bills, so keep trying you will get there eventually just keep with it.
    Todd
     
  8. sonjaab

    sonjaab PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,425

    Waaay down south huh? Another member here called TJS
    is down in Kirkwood...................

    Your right about the "lake effect" machine !

    Those long flat pushes also wear your rig out............
    Esp in the V mode with a giant load ahead of ya !

    All in all $40 is too little.......Heck you could just about get
    that per driveway !.........geo :drinkup:
     
  9. Mick

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

    I do - for a driveway that would take about 15 minutes.

    Think about it. I'm paying a high school kid $7 an hour now just for labor to help me cut firewood. For that $40/hr, you have to supply your own truck and equipment, insurance (vehicle and general liability) gas, repairs and snacks.

    If you plow for five hours a storm and get an average of 12 storms, that's $2400 for the season. With a 30 mile round trip commute, that's going to leave very little opportunity to develop your own customer base in your area for any other income. Have you figured your fixed and variable expenses?

    My number of storms may be off for your area, but five hours seems to be an average route for a subcontractor from what I remember of a poll in the past.
     
  10. sonjaab

    sonjaab PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,425

    NOT to mention how many gallons of gas used per hour ! :nono:
     
  11. T-MAN

    T-MAN PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,363

    That was pretty much how I came up with the $7 bucks an hour theory.
    Insurance could be more then the entire years take.
    My truck commercial 1500 so 125 a month for me multi business rig. x4 so 500 for season. Another 400 for liability, an add on to my contracting insurance. ( this is cheap, I know the New York guys pay way more) Fuel I average 5.50 an hour so 33 an event. truck wear and tear 14 an hour could be way higher on an older rig. So what we have for 10 events, 6 hours of blade time at 40.00 .

    2400 total gross for season
    900.00 for insurance
    330.00 fuel
    840.00 general maintenence
    330.00 left for the driver
    5.50 an hour not to good for being on call 24/7 for 4.5 months

    5 is average Mick, but some guys will give you more if you like. Even with out any insurance it is not worth getting out of bed. Allthough those days (no insurance) are coming to a screaching halt also. Snow Systems ( my previous employer) as of last season required all there subs to carry liability with them named as an add on :rolleyes: The sad part was guys dont realize there rig is not covered in any way shape or form with liability. You need commercial to cover your truck while making money with it. I have allways carried my own liability as a sub just to cover my butt.

    Geo the long rough pushes on the big lots is just your first pass, then your windrowing like a plowing fool. No Turkeys permited remember were talkin subbing here. Get her done but not to fast LOL.
    Todd
     
  12. sonjaab

    sonjaab PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,425

    TODD......I hear ya ! After I make my first few cuts I remove the
    left wing and push right to left with only the right wing on.
    NO spillover !!!!!!!!!!! :nod:

    Still pushin' a load in front tho...........I just keep the tow/haul
    button pushed in so it stays in 1st.

    With the lake effect we get and the cheap SOBs around here
    they won't pay to plow WITH the storm........Just after !

    $40 bucks a hour............EEEEKKK!.......... :angry:
     
  13. DAZ982500

    DAZ982500 Senior Member
    Messages: 142

    After this discussion I have concluded that the subbing with this particular guy is out the window.OK, so with the existing accounts, based on what I have gathered and completely agree with is I need to jack up the price.Heres the situation in NY State my cost is, this total insurance for the year thats GL + TRUCK=1800.00 GAS 30.00 EACH STORM WEAR 1000.OO A SEASON MAINTENCE 150.00 THESE ARE THE BASICS FOR ME. =1800.00+30X7=210+1000=150=3160.00 JUST TO BREAK EVEN.SO WITH MY SUMMER PEOPLE TOTAL DRIVEWAYS(LAWN MAINT.) I HAVE ABOUT 15. THE PRICES RANGE FROM 20.00-40.00 ON THE SMALL END IS ONLY I CAR LENGTH ON THE BIG END DRIVEWAY TAKES 1/2 AN HOUR. INCIDENTLY THE TRUCK I AM USING IS NOT EASY TO WORK WITH ON SOME OF THESE ACCOUNTS, 1998 DODGE 2500 7.5 MYERS 8FOOT BOX EXT CAB LOOOOONG TRUCK SMALL SPACES.HOW SUCCESSFULL, IF ANY OF YOU HAVE ATTEMPTED THIS,HAVE BEEN WITH PLACING FLYERS IN DOORWAYS ,LEAVING BUSINESS CARDS WITH FRIENDS, IN GENERATING ADDITIONAL WORK.DO YOU EVEN BOTHER WITH SMALL JOBS LIKE ONE CAR LENGTH DO YOU GET OUT OF THE TRUCK TO SHOVEL WALKWAYS AND HOW MUCH MORE DO ASK FOR THIS. THANKS DAVE.
     
  14. T-MAN

    T-MAN PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,363

    For advertising try everything you mentioned. It is cheap to print flyers and hand out business cards. Word of mouth is the best so talk it up with everyone you know,IF they have a guy they use chit chat a bit about there service and what they pay. It all will help you in the long run.
    As far as small driveways with the big truck your lucky its not a Ford lol. That Dodge is actually fairly nimble for her size. One car length drives should not be sneezed at ( as they still pay your set minimum rate correct ?) Set your minimum and stick to your guns just because it is small does not mean you cannot charge a set rate. I dont know what your average driveway price is but set that number for your minimum. So what if your done in 3 minutes instead of 5. You still drove over there on time at 5 am so they could get out. Service is what you provide in a timely profesional manner.
    Shoveling is tough to make money on. Avoid it if at all possible. Your a plow driver push snow with the truck to make money. Your worth how much in that truck ? People usually wont pay that rate cause the kid up the street will do it for 5 bucks. If it means landing a good account and bing paid fairly for the shoveling then okay.

    Good luck
    Todd
     
  15. Mick

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

    I'm agreeing with Todd right down the line. A couple of things, just to reinforce:

    Set a minimum and stick with it. Nothing worse than lowering the minimum, then having to pass on another account because you're tied up with this one.

    Try anything and everything for advertising (except Yellow Pages unless you're a real big outfit). You'll figure out real quick what works best for your area. Don't be afraid to ask people how come they called you. Explain to them you're doing research to best spend your advertising dollars. You might have to take a couple that are somewhat out of the way the first year or so. You can drop them later.

    Driving around for "flag downs" after a storm - I did that once and it was a total waste of time and gas. I even plowed out the ends of a couple driveways and cleared the mailbox of people shoveling, to get some exposure. Didn't get one dollar from this and never got a referal. But I 've heard of others who make big money from flag downs, so I guess it depends on your area.

    Shoveling - I don't shovel, period. Some do. I guess it depends on your area. But you want to charge for this equal to what you'd get for the same amount of time plowing. When you tell them $20 - $25 for a sidewalk that would take ten minutes, they'll suddenly remember the neighbor kid. But it's unlikely that the neighbor kid can plow the driveway.
     
  16. nekos

    nekos Senior Member
    Messages: 586

    i know this is an old post but Tman i work for snow systems also. i was getting paid $55 an hour.
    i had my insurance < $340 a year and it does cover my truck ! > i will get the name of my insurance company if you want it.
    last year i made well over $6K with slightly over 100 hours . i spent just under $1k in gas for the season plowing. i don't know how you think sub's are working for $7 a hour.