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$100 per hour too much for walks??

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Jay brown, Oct 1, 2007.

  1. Jay brown

    Jay brown PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,783

    we clean apx 6-10 small to large sidewalks and after paying my worker (low man on pole) i usually net about $20 per hour profit. for this $$$ i am better off putting him in a truck being that we have plenty of commercial lots to keep all our plows busy. in order for me to keep these walks i am going to have to charge $100 per hour to make it worth our "valuable" time. anyone charge these kind of rates for walks. BTW we push walks with a Cub Cadet/plow and the good ol' snow shovel.
  2. T-MAN

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

    Wow, 100 per hour for walks ! What do you get for trucks 300 ?
    Shovelers usually bill out at what your local labor rate is. Most are in the area of $45-$50 an hour.
    Walks are a PIA that you need to figure out how to be more efficient. Problem is if you bill by the hour theres no reason to get it done quicker.
    However if you bill per event, and drop a blower, atv in there then you can make money. Just like trucks. Hourly billing has no incentive to be more efficient.
    I really doubt any business will pay $100 per hour per man. What does you local car dealership bill out per hour for a skilled tech ? Would you pay more then that ? Do youfeel that is to high all ready ? What do you think a client will say if you tell them there walks will be 1000 bucks more then it used to be ? I am gonna guess bye bye :waving:

    THEGOLDPRO PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,136

    ummm yeah thats to much
  4. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 28,362

    Jay -

    I'm with you.

    If a customer wants the sidewalks done, then dangit, pay for it.

    Why should I be putting guys on an account with a shovel for $40-50 / hour, when I can put them in a truck for $100-150 / hour, pay the guy the same $20-30 / hour, and have him 500% happier when he's able to sit in the truck the whole event, instead of freezing his butt off.

    Same for myself, if I'm shoveling a sidewalk, I look at it's taking my time away from doing other work with the plow at a much higher hourly rate.

    I just bid a Hampton Inn & Suites, new construction.

    I bid it at $425 / month (small-mid sized lot), but if they wanted the sidewalks done (hadn't decided if the hotel was doing themselves or not yet) that it would be $700 / month. They have 850' of 5' sidewalk around the entire place. It'll take as long to do the sidewalks as it will to do the whole lot, either with a smaller 20-24" blower, or by the time you figure bringing an ATV there with plow, and then taking it away when all the accounts are done.

    I figure if a customer doesn't want to pay, then it's one less thing that I'm liable for as well.
  5. JD Dave

    JD Dave PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,194

    I expect to profit the same doing sidewalks as plowing lots. All of our stuff is contracted, nothing by the hour. It is really hard to find guys to do sidewalks around here, so they are some of our top paid guys. 20 years ago almost every place did there own sidewalks, now they want us to do them for nothing. I have lost alot of jobs because I was high $ on sidewalks. When your working by the hour, can't you just do it for say 60 - $75 /hour and just add on some extra time to make it $100/hour. I think most hourly plowers embellish their hours a little, don't they.
  6. Brian Young

    Brian Young PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,394

    Its hard to find decent guys here as well in the snowbelt capital! They are paid well but 100.00per hour? and even 100-150per hour per truck? that also seems a little steep. Around here we're lucky to get 40-50.00 per hr per truck.
  7. dakotasrock

    dakotasrock Senior Member
    from MN
    Messages: 260

    go with $100 an hour.... its hard work. if you don't get the sidewalks, big deal. They're a pita.
  8. Camden

    Camden PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,604

    $100 an hour isn't too much if you can find clients who are willing to pay it. Perhaps you can include salt at that price. I talked a gas station into paying $65 for sidewalks because I gave them "free" salt at that price. I don't have any other accounts that pay more than $35 for walks so I feel like I really made a good deal.
  9. T-MAN

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

    When you say profit is that 30%, 40% ???
    Your not going to profit $50 per hour on a guy who costs $40 Its just not going to happen.
    What is your hourly rate for trucks ?
    A truck has overhead correct ?
    How can you expect a client to pay $20 less per hour for a guy standing there with shovel versus's a truck, with a driver ????

    I understand everyone wants to clean house but no one is gonna pay $100 per hour for an UNSKILLED position, Im sorry I just dont see it. You can take a good laborer hand them a shovel and see good results. You cannot drop a good laborer in a truck and expect the same. A driver is a skilled position, with a truck with overhead.
    I understand good shovelors are worth there weight in Gold, but only you (the contractor) and I see that. The client see's it as shoveling/labor.
    Look at Union Operators, they bill at 175 per hour on a back hoe, and Union laborer's bill at $65-75 . A good laborer can be worth more then a good operator any day of the week. But your not going to get $175 for them even if they are the best, Its just not going to happen. This is basic business guys. Accountants get $150 per hour, book keepers $75. Who do you think makes a bigger profit ?
  10. QuadPlower

    QuadPlower PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,056

    You need to explain how the sidewalks are bid. Do you get paid by the hour to do them or do you get paid by the event? Are all the sidewalks for the same customer or do you go from place to place?

    If you get paid by the event and you do 6-10 sidewalks for the same person in an hour and make $100. I see no problem with that.

    If you get paid by the job and you pay your guy by the hour and your equipment is slow and/or inefficient, than your customer should not have to pay more for it. Give him equipment to get it done faster or pay him by the job.
  11. JD Dave

    JD Dave PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,194

    I never said they were shovelling. They might do some small areas that the Kubota can't get in but otherwise they are driving. All my stuff is contracted and around here we average about 100 hrs of actual plow time ( the last 2 years have been lighter). The sidewalk guys generally get between 2-300 hours. The guys that do sidewalks and plow for me all get the same amount of money. They get $300/week for 20 weeks standby and then $20/hour when they work. You do the math, if I don't make $100 or more an hour, I'm not doing it. You don't have any idea of pricing in our area. This is basic buisness for me and when I post I tell it the way it is, I don't embellish things. BTW I don't plow with trucks, all our places are big and we just use the trucks for our own yard and our personal drives. If a tractor breaks down we will use a pick-up for back-up, so I don't have a rate for a pick-up, but 150 sounds good. Subs with pick-up get anywhere from $65 - $100/ hour with a 100 hour guarantee around here.
  12. Jay brown

    Jay brown PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,783

    thanks for all the responses.....my only comment now is that we have to remember that someone mentioned that shoveling is an "unskilled" job, i have to disagree. i supply the sidewalk guy with as much $$$$ in equiptment as i do a snow plow operator. ( truck, spreader, salt, lawn tractor w/ plow and shovels). shoveling walks takes as much $$$ in equiptment, takes a more dedicated worker,and is 10x as hard as plowing lots. also need to remember the skill level to operate a truck plow is about the same as what it takes to operate a lawn tractor plow. lets all charge $100 per hour for walks!!!!!!
  13. T-MAN

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

    Would it be cheaper to just have shovelers with blowers, and not full plow trucks ? Maybe dedicated shovelers :confused:

    JD I feel your pain. I guess if your paying your shovelers that amount to be on call and not taking in the profit you need on them, its time for new customers or throw in the towel. Or look into better equipment. I no darn well around here you would be bankrupt real quick with numbers like that. Granted we dont see those kind of hours, but I know I could not pay those rates.
    Good luck
  14. JD Dave

    JD Dave PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,194

    Everything I have is contracted, salt, plowing and hauling. I include 100 cm in my price and every 1cm of snow fall over that I get extra $/cm. I would rather pay top $ and get top guys, then put up with unproductive people.

    Most sidewalk crews around here have a late model c/c 4x4 pickup with trailer to drive around. The sidewalks for liability reasons are more important then the lot and the guys need something very dependable.
  15. T-MAN

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

    I think maybe this thread has a bad title. What Im gathering here is "Clearing walks with equipment" is it worth $100 per hour ? That I would agree to a point. If your running a 400 series Bobcat, Holder, Vent trac I could see that rate and slightly higher. Honestly for a garden tractor or , walk behind blower I dont think that is feesable. When I stated un-skilled labor I was talking about a shovelor actually shoveling walks, not someone running a mini skid or Holder.
    I dont have sites worth dragging equipment out for so we just bust em out with the Dakota Sno blades or a toro 3650. The largest site with walks we have takes a Shovelor about 30 minutes with a Sno blade so it doesnt pay to unload/load equipment.
  16. cet

    cet PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,257

    Many threads tend to be misunderstood. Someone asks for a price for something without giving full details. There are guys salting 3 acres with a tailgate salter that takes only bagged salt. He asks for a price and a guy with a 5 yard hydraulic salter running bulk puts in his .02 and gets his head ripped off.

    A job is worth X. If you want to put 2 guys out there with plastic shovels or 1 guy with a 2 stage blower or a tractor with a 5' blade. If you all get $300 for the job I'm sure you are all making a diifferent hourly rate. You have to have enough work to warrant the equipment you have.

    Sometimes the questions need a few more details for a valuable answer.
  17. repo_man62

    repo_man62 Senior Member
    Messages: 502

    Jay ... Being from Missouri also...and knowing what tightwads these idiots can be... I would set a FLAT RATE added on to the bill... not per hour. REALLY won't make THAT much difference. MAY even get you more business.
  18. LwnmwrMan22

    LwnmwrMan22 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 28,362

    What I do, is just build it into my pricing, flat fee per month.

    I charge $100-150 / hour for a truck, whether the driver is plowing or shoveling.

    I then base the yearly price off of the average snowfalls for my area, which is 18, from November until April.

    We have a yearly average snowfall of 55", with, as I said before translates to an average of 18 events.

    I plow at 1.5". So, a McDonalds would take roughly an hour, so $150 / event. Bank, small gas station, etc., the smaller commercial accounts. I then multiply that $150 by 18, and get $2700 for the year. I then divide that by 6 months, from November until April for a monthly fee of $450 to plow and shovel the sidewalk. I'm now getting $150 / hour to shovel sidewalk, granted I'm only doing it for 20 minutes.

    Does this make sense?? Sure, I COULD say I'm charging $200 / hour for plowing, and $50 / hour for shoveling, but it all works out the same. Plus, the commercial account looks at the bill for the year ($2,700) and thinks "Holy smokes, that's cheap!!" I look at it that I know my bills are paid for the winter, and there's years like 2 years ago where I plowed 7 times, averaged $384 / hour, or there's some years I'm sure I'll plow 25 times and average $60 / hour.
  19. JD Dave

    JD Dave PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 11,194

    I agree were all not on the same page on this thread. A guy with a shovel is not worth $100/hour. A hot blonde with good assets maybe!!
  20. crazymike

    crazymike Senior Member
    from Toronto
    Messages: 639

    it's not too much if you can get it.

    To survive in business you charge what the market can bear to what you can afford. Never less, and never more.

    If I can get $150 an hour to shovel walks I'm going to take it. But if the guy next door is charging $12 an hour I'm going to re evalulate doing walks.