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What's your minimum?

Discussion in 'Bidding & Estimating' started by Bossman 92, Sep 12, 2007.

  1. Bossman 92

    Bossman 92 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,768

    What is your minimum price to plow somthing? I spent a few hours today pricing some smaller accounts near my existing customers. A few of them I could plow in just 5 minutes.

    I might be answering my own question here, but I have other accounts down the road that only take 5 - 10 minutes to plow and I get anywhere from $40 - $60 for them. I would like to add 10 or 15 more accounts this year and I think these smaller gold mines are the way to go. (Not a ton of big commerical lots around here)

    Just figured I would ask you guys how you worked things. My cheapest lot is $30, but that is for about 15 parking spots, in a row, right next to a $60 lot.

    Any thoughts??

    Thanks Bossman
  2. Camden

    Camden PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,594

    $25 is my lowest and those are the ones that take 5-10mins. If you're getting $40 for doing 10 minutes of work I would say you're doing better than most.
  3. Bossman 92

    Bossman 92 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,768

    Kinda what I thought, but just checking. It seems like the bigger companies around here won't touch the smaller lots. The Guys plowing for :drinkup: beer money don't show up, so I don't have too big of a prolbem getting into these places. I average more than $150 an hour plowing these smaller places, payup

  4. SnoFarmer

    SnoFarmer PlowSite Fanatic
    from N,E. MN
    Messages: 7,921

    I agree with you on everything but your prices.
    Maybe for your market?
    For less than $75 they can hire the low-baller.
    It just keeps them busy as I do the more lucrative lots.
    (the over paid part;) )

    I will not get up at 12mid night after watching the weather all night then get up again at 1:30 to see if I have to be out plowing at 2am or not.
    (the lazy part)
    Have the proper INS, vehicles and equipment to properly service your drive or lot for the prices you guys charge and I own all of my equipment my plowing business is only about $3k in dept:dizzy: big deal I know.(the American way)
    But I can't see plowing any thing no matter how small or easy or right next door for anything less than $35. This year I'm thinking for people who just call it will be a minnum of $50... for a drive and a minn $75-85 for a lot then it better meat the criteria above...lol

    A word of advice if you give a bid that is to good of a deal they will be wondering why and how?

    Don't under bid your self.
    Get as much as you can why leave it on the table. sell your service.
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2007
  5. basher

    basher PlowSite Fanatic
    from 19707
    Messages: 8,990

  6. BlueRam2500

    BlueRam2500 Senior Member
    Messages: 765

    Here in NJ, I average about $50 for my customers up to 10" of snow. This is for driveways only. My commercial accounts are priced depending on the lot size and how long it takes me to complete the job. My commercial lots are pretty good size so I have someone doing the walkways as well as laying salt down. Hope that helps you.
  7. badger

    badger Junior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 13

    whats your minnimum

    I try to get 30.00 min. Alot of guys wont go for less than 40.00 We also have more than enough lowballers in the area.
  8. NoFearDeere

    NoFearDeere PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,709

    $25 is the minimum for anything here....wont lower the blade for anything less;)
  9. Bossman 92

    Bossman 92 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,768

    We have our share of lowballers here also, I talked to a guy recently about plowing his business, I got the plowing @ $40 then I figured I would ask about the mowing. The owner says the company doing it now charges me $12 and if you can do it for that you can have it. :dizzy: I told him that was a great price and as long as he was happy with the service he should hold on to them. :D

  10. TurbDies2500

    TurbDies2500 Senior Member
    Messages: 188

    I have about 40 Driveways and my lowest no matter what is $30. I dont think its worth it to do anything less that 30. Most of mine are pretty good size and average about $50 a driveway.
  11. bribrius

    bribrius PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,609

    25. no backdragging. small single car driveway.
    we actually have people in the area that will drop the blade for less than that with old trucks and no insurance. whats sad is i cant even say they are lowballers because there is so many of them. the new trucks guys in business are one market. the old trucks with no insurance are another. low ballers dont really exist because like i said..... there are SO MANY of them they created their own market and i guess you could say have already set the price?\
    i seen a guy plow nice big driveway last year for someone for fifteen dollars. and he had to backdrag it. no insurance. old old chevy. and that was one drive out of fifty i think he had on the route.:dizzy:

    i just talked to another the other day about the coming winter. he drives a old truck he uses just for plowing in the winter. said if he spent the money on the insurance he wouldnt make any money. gotta love it. then all the new truck people with insurance charge more and TRY to make the payments on the vehicle and insurance?
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2007
  12. basher

    basher PlowSite Fanatic
    from 19707
    Messages: 8,990

    Remember that your insurance man, equipment maintenance/salesman, fuel supplier and auto dealer don't care if you're doing 1 car lots or the local airport it won't effect the price you pay.

    The more lots you do the greater your liability exposure, don't under price.

    The more lots you do the more travel time you have, you need to account for this time in your billing.

    Small lots can be very profitable but be careful not to under price your service.

    If nobody wants the smaller lots then they should be a premium.

    Example You drive to one large lot, It takes 1 hour including travel time an is 10,000sq ft, you bill it at 200 bucks, you are doing 166.66sq ft @ min. at a cost of $.02 @sq ft

    You can't do small lots @ that price. if you do 3 small lots 2,000sq ft taking an hour including travel time an you charge the same rate $.02 you are making less money. when you figure your avaridge income for your total time worked you are getting paid for doing 100sq ft @ minute at a rate of $.01sq ft. You have spent more time at risk (traveling) and unpaid to earn 40% less. To earn the same hourly money you need to charge .03333sg ft.

    You need to figure your hourly $ requirement and price accordingly, if it only takes 5 minutes to plow but 30 minutes to get to and from then you need to make enough to pay for 35 minutes of your time.
  13. Scottscape

    Scottscape Senior Member
    Messages: 662

    24hr emergency calls outs are a minimum of $75 visa/mc only and thats for a driveway.
  14. QuadPlower

    QuadPlower PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,056

    Call me a low baller if you want, but my minimum is FREE! (wife's grandpa's driveway)

    Otherwise I won't get out of bed for less than $175 per hour. ($30 / driveway)
  15. Bossman 92

    Bossman 92 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,768

    Nice point basher.

    I average more than $150 per hour, starting from the time I leave, to the time I get home.

    Most of my smaller lots are located within a few miles (in town) of each other.

    I just wandered if you had a minimum to drop the blade. I sent out just over 100 letters of interest to ALL the bussiness around here, that tells you how many people I have to chose from. :rolleyes:

    Thanks Bossman
  16. framer1901

    framer1901 Senior Member
    Messages: 805

    Bribrius - aren't you in the no insurance group??? Common everyday truck insurance WILL NOT cover you if you are plowing for money...... Wait till you hit something or seriously hurt someone, see if they cover, they won't unless you make false statements.
  17. framer1901

    framer1901 Senior Member
    Messages: 805

    BTW - the little lots can earn more $/hr than a Sams Club or mall every day of the week if they are routed close together. If we pick up a small lot, we flood the area with probably lower than normal prices for us but in the big picture, we earn about 40% more on those routes than a bigger lot route......... The downfall is all the billing, but I'll do it for the extra profit.
  18. bribrius

    bribrius PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,609

    i cant afford the insurance. im too poor. there are too many lowballers. i may just not be able to plow. :cry: however, if you felt so inclined to send me five hundred dollars it would aid in my affordability of commercial insurance and it would be greatly appreciated.
    :cry: :cry:
  19. Silentroo

    Silentroo Senior Member
    Messages: 147

    Often I do better on Small lots than bigger ones. We find that in our market the 1/2 to 1 acre lots get overlooked. I look around what I am doing, Generally I try to get a sub a route with in one square mile. It may mean several small lots but both of us can make great money. I give a main lot and a couple of smaller ones....

    We have a minimum we charge which makes bidding very easy. Our professional level comes through in the proposal. I have lots of guys who say we are double what they where paying but wanted to not have to think about it...
  20. kah68

    kah68 Senior Member
    Messages: 236

    tymusic I run a 93' Dodge, and a 2001 Dodge, old trucks by some standards, but very well maintaned and fully insured. My maint. cost are a bit higher than maybe a 'newer' truck but they are both paid for so the $1,000.00 or so a month truck payment doesn't effect me, plus I have a 2nd 93' parts truck and plenty of refurbished parts shelved for both trucks when things break, that being said I will walk away from anything under $ 30.00, I have had plows for years from my own 5 acre lot, home, and families drives but this year I am talking on a few clients (who approached me) and I won't do it at a loss and it will be on my terms or I will just go back to doing my own stuff.
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2007