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2012-2013 Prices

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by chrissoda, Sep 23, 2012.

  1. chrissoda

    chrissoda Junior Member
    from Chicago
    Messages: 4

    I was on craigslist yesterday looking at different ads for snow plowing. I saw atleast 10 different postings that advertised prices starting at 35 dollars per push for a commercial lot. WTF? What is going on? 35 dollars? It's not worth leaving the house for 35 dollars. So I guess my question is, how much have you had to drop your prices to compete with these guys?
  2. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    No drop ,always raising my prices every year,
  3. DodgeBlizzard

    DodgeBlizzard Senior Member
    Messages: 526

    $35 for a residential might be ok, but not for any commercial lot. Why would you want to lower your price to meet others? Let them go make no money on their own.
  4. 95HDRam

    95HDRam Senior Member
    Messages: 157

    All of our accounts got an increase over last year. It is bad for business if you try to undercut to match a low baller.
  5. plowmanben

    plowmanben Member
    from MI
    Messages: 95

    I had that happen to me last season. There was a few stores that said they got a price of $30!!! They said the lot is yours if you can beat or match that price, I told him to go pack sand that won't cover my cost. He said he didn't care if I had insurance or not, because the other guy did not! He won't care until something happens.
  6. shovelracer

    shovelracer Senior Member
    Messages: 525

    I suspect this year will bring a lot of irrational behavior. Coming out of an unusually low winter, and almost equally dry summer I suspect that the general consumer will postpone hiring and will equally be looking for low rate services as they will have been far enough removed from the heavy weather patterns of prior years to have forgotten how important it is to have a reliable service. I suspect that this season will not be off the charts, but may very well separate the men from the boys on a few occasions. I predict that all this postponement and irrational pricing will end up in a chaotic mess come the first heavy storm. The $30 plow guys will ditch signed accounts for callers waving $50-100 in the air. I suspect that an unusually large number of people will be unprepared without shovels or readied snow blowers. Lastly I predict that an unusually large number of people will be in the market late in the year because of broken equipment, no show contractors, or general poor service. I also predict that this will lead to price inflation and a higher than normal amount of deadbeat, late paying, unlikely to renew consumers in the market.
  7. Plowtoy

    Plowtoy Senior Member
    Messages: 929

    If the lot is 10 spaces, takes you 15 minutes to plow, thats $140 per hour. Commercial lots "STARTING AT $35" doesn't sound all that bad to me.
  8. Longae29

    Longae29 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,953

    $35 to plow $135 to salt. sounds perfect for a small lot right next door to another and another and another. payup payup payup
  9. BillyRgn

    BillyRgn Senior Member
    Messages: 728

    Just out of curiosity is there any one that hands a new customer an information sheet about the business when giving a new customer a bid (not the big commercials but the small business and residentials) something that says who you are how long you have been plowing, state of your Equiptment, references, tips on what to look for when hiring a contractor.(insurance, licensing, references, years in business, what to expect, what not to expect etc. etc. I was thinking about putting something together but looking for thoughts and ideas before I decided wether to do it or if it would be a waste of time, just thinking about a little something to give myself the extra bump that shows I give a shi* and plan on doing this a long time to come
  10. RLM

    RLM PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,270

    We do, if your in SiMA you will find most of the larger contractors will tell you they do. I can't say it helps...but it can't hurt. Mine isn't fancy, includes a equipment list, references, generic insurance certificate and cover letter, Then put contract in with it, I just get cheap pocket folders & put my stickers on them.
  11. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    Yes and yes. If I'm sending a contract out to someone new it will have some info on my company/
  12. thelettuceman

    thelettuceman PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,218

    Agree completely with this ... and I do not lower my bid to get to the lowballer zone
  13. BillyRgn

    BillyRgn Senior Member
    Messages: 728

    Thanks, I've started to put something together. If anyone has any ideas on what to put please chime in. Thanks
  14. basher

    basher PlowSite Fanatic
    from 19707
    Messages: 8,993

    That's not $140 @hour, you need to consider travel time. Time is a perishable item in a snowstorm, every minute you drive is a minute you aren't moving snow/making money.

    Note the "STARTING AT," that's a good way to get your foot in the door, but I bet not many qualify for that rate.

    But your 15 minute to push commercial lot @ $35 @ for every 2" with a $35 to salt and salting every time you plow with a minimum charge of $70 a visit (to cover just salt only runs,) every 2" equates to $140 dollars for both plowing and salting or $280 in a 8" storm. Kept the route compact and you could make money.

    I see "commercial" lots smaller then 10 cars all the time. I can think of 4 locations locally that have offices in converted houses with 3/5 parking spots at best. any one of them I would do for $35 /$35 as I drive by them anyway.
  15. basher

    basher PlowSite Fanatic
    from 19707
    Messages: 8,993

    A SIMA membership will get you professional templates and guides that cover all the bases or you could reinvent the wheel;)
  16. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    Worth a try.

  17. BobbyZ

    BobbyZ Junior Member
    Messages: 9

    Lot of lowballers in our area too and yes last Winters lack of bang has and will make it even tougher this year but as always we will not lower our rates to try to compete with them. The lowballers will eventually hang themselves (normally in the middle of an 8" storm) and the customer will come begging for quality and reliable service.

    Death to all Low Ballers
  18. KYsnow

    KYsnow Member
    Messages: 76

    Lowballers are a different animal. Most commercial accounts won't go with a one truck single guy low baller for liability reason and dependability. If they do there is a reason (the low baller is a neighbor, family member, son in law etc) and they will get burned. Most low ballers are doing driveways and distress properties where a lot is not expected or received. I wouldn't't worry about anyone who is charging less. As long as you are staying busy the only reason to care what others are charging would be to know if you need or could raise your prices.
  19. 95HDRam

    95HDRam Senior Member
    Messages: 157

    We raise regardless what others are doing, usually dont try to find out what others are charging. Typically two of our gas stations get low ball bids every year but the manager always tell them "No thank you, we have someone". Guess quality and timely service still pay off.
  20. clark lawn

    clark lawn PlowSite.com Addict
    from NE ohio
    Messages: 1,233

    Ya right, try again. I have been plowing for almost 20 years. In the last few I have seen more lowball single truck operations on commercial lots than ever before. Unless its some big corporate lots and even then sometimes all they want is the cheapest guy they can get. I know of a plaza that I did in the mid 90's goes for less now than it did then. Been a one man show there for past 3 years. Couple times a winter it doesn't get done til couple days after the storm but for what they pay they deal with it.