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Whats a good perhr pay for plowing

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by pats plowing, Aug 14, 2002.

  1. pats plowing

    pats plowing Senior Member
    Messages: 281

    My city always needs more snow plowers for residential streets. They rent trucks and operators. I was told it would be best for me to do this since i can plow when there is no school and not have to be out doing drives when i am at school. For a 3/4 ton with 8ft blade you start at $50 an hr. You can go pretty darn slow as well. I am new to plowing but many plow operators including city workers said it would work best for me. Is it worth it for my first year? I know it will put a lot of strain on the truck but my truck has recently been rebuilt(engine) and auto trans replaced. By the way my truck has never been worked before.
    thanks again guys
    and on my other post i have decided to go with a fisher plow $3600 installed sound fair?
  2. wolfie

    wolfie Senior Member
    Messages: 174

    Which Fisher plow? I paid $3800 installed last November for a 8'-6" EZ-V. But that was the price when buying the truck too... So I imagine there was some money to play with on the dealers part.
  3. SnoJob67

    SnoJob67 Senior Member
    Messages: 384

    $50 per hour sounds impressive...

    I don't know how much snow you get on average, but I know you have undependable winters just as we do in the midwest.

    For argument's sake, let's say you receive 24" of snow for the season of 2002-2003. Lets say each 2" represents 4 hours of plowing. You have 12, 2" accumulations, with a 4 hour minimum each time out (I don't know their terms, but I'm doing this to illustrate) that equals 48 hours you would plow.

    If you charge $50 per hour, that is $2400 before taxes, insurance, repairs, etc. etc. etc.

    Your plow is going to cost $3600 alone. You can charge $50 an hour for a snowblower. How can you afford to run a plow truck as cheaply as a snowblower?

    I'm not being critical, at all. People who have large businesses in my market do snow removal in that price range. I guess they figure it is a way to keep seasonal help busy. I won't move a truck unless I get quite a bit more than that hourly. In my market, there are buyers at every price range. Most of the competition charge what equals out to about $80-$90 per truck hour when I divide it out, but hourly pricing in my market ranges from $50-$60 per hour, too. Only a couple of them, though. I've done my homework and gotten a good bit of pricing information about my competition.

    At least for my market, I consider the ones charging $80-$90 to be the ones starting to get a clue.:waving:
  4. snow

    snow PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 1,002

    Before you get into plowing for the town, the first thing i'd check out would be how much insurance you need in order to work for them. It could be standard truck insurance, or $1 million liability. Our town used to have people with pickups plowing, until some contractor doing town work hit an unmarked gas line. They since raised the insurance premium, so only contractors with whatever the insurance amount is are plowing.

    You should check into that to see what you need.

    $50 an hour doesn't sound too bad. I remember you mentioning you have a 460 in your truck, so that might take a lot out of the $50 per hour.

    Some food for thought,

  5. Mick

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

    I'll throw in my .02 worth, too. I agree that $50/hr is pretty low, however I think this would be a very good way to get the experience this year without the commitment that you would have if you lined up drives and lots. You may not make a lot after expenses and may lose money for the year, if you consider the cost of the plow. However, you're gaining valuable experience to go out next year or so and price your own work. Plus, you've still got the plow. If nothing else, you can sell the plow if you want. Your profile shows that you're 16 years old (by the date of birth). I'd wonder - Can you even get insurance to cover plowing? Can you plow under someone else's insurance (like the town's)?

    If you can do it, I'd say stick with the town plowing, even at $50/hr.
  6. nsmilligan

    nsmilligan PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 704

    Part of the problem with a per hour rate is what is the rate for.
    e.g. Most assume that you'll only get paid 50/hr for actual time plowing, but what about travel time, fueling time etc. If I was charging my equipment out to a town for plowing the rate would be charged from when I left my shop till I returned. If you had an established route to plow then I also wouldn't be doing it in a rip and tear fashion, but slow and careful, also there wouldn't be any part hours. I think you'll have to look carefully at what the contract calls for, to decide whether it will work for you. But the other posters are right #1 check out the insurance costs, they look at the exposure of plowing public streets in a whole different light.


    JD PLOWER PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 751

    In Boston if you plow for the city the rate varies from plow size. The rate you quoted is about average for that size plow and truck. Plowing for the bigger and wealthier cities can be a fairly lucrative since they tend to pay you from well in advance of the storm. For instance if a storm is predicted to start at 6pm they call you at 1pm that afternoon and tell you show up here (city yard) at 3pm. Your paid from that time on, even if the storm turns out to be a dud and they don’t even use you your guaranteed 4hrs pay. Worcester might have a similar setup to Boston. And as others have mentioned you’ll need to check on insurance rates and coverage’s but as Mick mentioned this could be a very good way to gain experience since many contractors may be leery about hiring a teenager for work.
  8. landman

    landman Senior Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 185

    A buddy of mine plows for a local board of ed and he is responsible for 3 lots at the schools. The janitors snowblow the walks and all the detail work. he takes his time and they pay him $65.00 per hr and he is covered by the towns insurance. he also gets paid from the falling of the first flake till all the lots are black. sometimes he will sit idle on site for 3 hours before he actually drops his blade. like he says average storm is about 12 hrs and he pays no insurance. only drawback is you have to wait 60-90 days to get paid.
  9. Pelican

    Pelican 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,075

    The rate for a pickup is still $50/hr??? I was paid that 20 years ago when I subbed for a local contractor. Trucks back then were about $8500 with an 8' plow, now they push $40,000. What a sin!

    You will gain a lot of experience on someone else's dime, but it didn't take me long to figure out there's more money to be made. Sub for a couple years and learn what can go wrong, then you can start making your own route.

    Some food for thought: I put more time in sanding for the municipality than I do plowing, a slide in sander might be a wise investment. They send my small truck to do the cul de sacs that the big trucks can't turn around in. We also spend a lot of time on "standby" with the clock still running. We had one long ice event last year that lasted 23 hours, it helped a lot to have that sander with our dry winter.

    Before going any further though, you better check into any age restrictions in subbing to a municipality, I've got a feeling you're going to be disappointed. Around here they require 2 million in liability.