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Whats the best way to get commercial work?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Sealer People, Nov 23, 2009.

  1. Sealer People

    Sealer People Senior Member
    Messages: 207

    Canadian company,

    Hi everyone, Im having the hardest time getting commercial snow plowing contracts.

    I considering getting into the landscaping business for summer work just so I that I can have dibbs on the winter work.

    We contact property management companies & have had minor luck.

    Most of the commerical places we work for are actual building owners. Not management companies.

    We're pricing out at $100.00 per hour on the trucks & then $130 for a yard of salt.

    We're in Canada keep in mind.

    Are our prices too high ?
    Anyone have any advice on a better way to contact these management companies.

  2. shovelracer

    shovelracer Senior Member
    Messages: 525

    I'm sorry, you are saying your getting 130/yd of bulk salt applied? And canadian $ to boot? I cant tell you what your area is charging, but you wouldn't last around here with those prices.
  3. Wayne Volz

    Wayne Volz Senior Member
    Messages: 694

    May be a little late for Ontario

    You might be a tad late for putting on work this year.

    As far as pricing goes, do you know your actual costs per hour to run your truck, spreader and plow? If not, check out our website for a snow & ice management estimating package @ www.profitsareus.com. This package includes a comprehensive manual and two CDs.

    Cold calling may be your best bet this late in the fall. Have a packet of information that you can leave with the gate keeper about your service. This will be the beginning of a new relationship as well as possible setting up some current work. While you are there, you may possibly get to talk to the person in charge of the snow & ice management for the facility. If not, at least get their name for future contact information. Included in the above package is information on Marketing and Advertising.

    Good luck.
  4. Sealer People

    Sealer People Senior Member
    Messages: 207

    This is my 3rd year snow plowing.

    I mentioned $130 per yard,, it's actually $120 - $130 per ton.

    That's what Im hearing from people. Ive seen many quotes.

    You say we wouldnt last where your from??

    Are our prices high or low ?

    Keep in mind we're in Canada, here we're paying $95 per yard for bulk salt.
  5. doo-man

    doo-man Senior Member
    Messages: 387

    Per yard or Per Ton ???

    I know we are paying anywhere from $85-110 per ton.
  6. Sealer People

    Sealer People Senior Member
    Messages: 207

    We pay $95 per yard

    Im charging $120 - $130 per ton.
  7. shovelracer

    shovelracer Senior Member
    Messages: 525

    I think it is low. I dont understand how you can justify 30-50 bucks for picking up, applying, cleaning equip, and taking the liability on each ton regardless of where your from. I dont want the world to know what I charge for salt, but it is between 4 and 7 times your rate. Have been getting this for years. As far as getting new work this time of year, well it is usually the ones that just dont get it. Cause well maybe this year it wont snow. Door to door and cold calling should work. Had an ex employee that filled a 2 truck route from nothing last Dec. doing just that, he went broke within 60 days though.
  8. badabing1512

    badabing1512 Senior Member
    Messages: 370

    shitt you can come salt my lots for 130 per ton... if i was paying 95 a ton id be charging at least 200 BARE MINIMUM...
  9. Silentroo

    Silentroo Senior Member
    Messages: 147

    ASK the manager you do sealing work for.

    In any business it has little to do with price. Most of our costs are going to be similar so not a lot different.

    Some managers like a year round vendor, some refuse to have only one.

    In any business you gain new accounts by

    1. Providing either a better price, better service, or a better personality than the current vendor.

    2. Making a change is a major deal for these managers. If you wait until mid to late fall you are a shark. I contact managers starting in April. I will contact with information about my company and information on their industry. I have talked to several Managers. Why would they change from a known vendor if I do not develop a relationship with them. I had a principle in CTMT tell me If I am not contacting his managers bi weekly all summer I might as well not bother. 10 to 15 meaningful contacts, at a minimum. If all you know about a property manager is their names and the property address YOU HAVE FAILED! I would not change to your service why should they. Would you change vendors based on one call and a bid? Leave a vendor you have used for 5 years?

    3. Know their language and what is important to them. Bottom line they are purchasing from someone. If all you offer is a price there are 10 other companies offering a price. This year I helped a Property management company take landscape bids and picked their vendor who I managed for them. I had 18 Bids on 1 property. They ranged from a 1/2 page listing of hourly rates to a 25 page outline of service, and 6 page color brochure in a professional folder. However none of them listened to me. Wanting to see the competition and know the competition I wanted to see if they could sell. Only one out of 18 could. 5 of the 18 are the biggest names in our town. None of them. The guy who got the work took the time to explain why he was different (not better), what he promised, and references that said he would do exactly that. Know what every month we sat down and talked about what he promised and what he was delivering.

    4. It is not what you know it is who you know. Most changes come because of a reference. Property managers talk, both good and bad. If you have good contacts ask them for help. Ask them for their worst property to prove yourself on. Ask them to mention you to their business associates and friends.

    Above all remember it takes time.
  10. Sealer People

    Sealer People Senior Member
    Messages: 207

    I couldnt agree more.

    But thats the way things are around here.
    we have guys going in at $75 per hour for plowing & as little as $100 - $110 per ton for salt.

    You take into consideration that you dont always throw a ton
    As far as making 4 times your money, I've never heard of anyone charging $300 - $400 per ton. If you got them, thats great, but that dont fly around here.

    There's no control where we're from.

    Example: Theres a parking lot I priced out. One hour of plowing & atleast half a YARD of salt. I lost it to a contractor who went in at $160 per visit,,,( plowed & salted ) walkway included. I was at $220.00 & I originally thought I was cheap.

    Anyways, thanks for your tips.
  11. Bajak

    Bajak Senior Member
    Messages: 999

    Wasaga salt or Goderich salt? Me... I use Wasaga Salt.:D
  12. Wayne Volz

    Wayne Volz Senior Member
    Messages: 694

    Something to consider

    Pricing has always been and always will be all over the board regardless of the market you are in. There will always be the "cheapest" guy and the most "expensive" contractor in every market. As well as many different prices in-between.

    The most important question you need to ask yourself is what profit margin do you want to try to maintain. After answering that question, ask yourself "What type and size facilities will fit into that margin. Don't try to be everything to everybody. Whether you are a one-truck operation or a multi-crew company, define your niche and go for it. What do you do differently and better than your competition in that niche?

    After you decide on your niche ask yourself if you "fit" into that market at the price you want to charge. If not, pick another niche and go for it. Available profit margins will be different for different niche's in any specific market. Regardless if you are in Michigan, New York, Ohio, Kentucky, Illinois or anywhere else, certain margins for certain types of clientele are available.

    The nice thing about snow and ice management is that we only need hours of work per piece of equipment not days of work like many other services we offer. That in itself allows us the opportunity to be more niche specific and get more PROFIT for our deicing, anti-icing and plowing services.

    So know your costs, decide on your niche, add margin and most importantly follow through with the service you sold your customers. If you need help establishing your actual costs per hour of operation for plowing, deicing or any other service you offer, check out our web site at www.profitsareus.com and look for our 'Know why you charge what you charge CD." This Cd calculates your break-even point for the services that you offer and then you add any margin you want to add based on the service and clientele you are servicing. We do not tell you what to charge because of the above factors, however we will give you a simple , accurate and professional way to calculate your break-even pint so you don't under-sell your services. I am not suggesting you sell for break-even money, but you will certainly not short-sell your services by knowing your real costs.

    Good luck and have a profitable year. Let it snow!
  13. Deco

    Deco Senior Member
    Messages: 453

    tip....start chasing leads in september. advertise