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A different perspective on pricing

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Woodman, Sep 10, 2002.

  1. Woodman

    Woodman PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 14

    I thought I'd share a different perspective on pricing. Unlike most here, I'm a homeowner plowing my driveway (gravel, around a 110 yards long).

    Over the last 5 years (see the info below my name) I figure it costs me about $42 per push. This cost DOESN'T include the value of my time, gasoline, or vehicle insurance.

    The message: Don't short-change yourself on the value of the service you provide!

    I was originally quoted $35/push from a reputable company that I use for other services. I thought $35 was outrageous. Wrong!!

    Turns out I like plowing and use the truck for firewood and other projects so I'm OK with how it worked out.


    The info used for the calculation:

    1. Truck is an '84 F250(351W 4 speed MT) and 8' Fisher plow.
    2. I did all my own mechanical work (except clutch replacement)
    3. Timeframe is ~5 years
    4. I figure about 14 pushes per year (which may be generous).

    5. Original cost for Truck & Plow $1200

    6. Truck Maintenance $1370
    (Includes starter, h20 pump, floor panels, cab corners, carb rebuild, tune-ups, clutch/pressure plate & labor,various chassis electrical, clutch, couple used tires & rims, slave cylinder)

    7. Plow & Hydraulic Maintenance $400
    (Includes new belt driven pump, cutting edge, sandblasting & repainting plow & A-frame, various seals & hydraulic fittings)
  2. guido

    guido PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 261


    I've never heard a homeowner argue for higher prices before, you should be well respected around here!

    I think we may all pitch in and pay you to go around and talk to other homeowners for us! :)

    Thanks for understanding!
  3. SnoJob67

    SnoJob67 Senior Member
    Messages: 384

    At first glance, it appears the contractor would have lost money since it cost Woodman more than his per push price. He would not have lost money. Let me explain why.

    If the contractor is able to plow 20 (arbitrary # I picked out of mid air) driveways on his route, his costs will not go up anwhere near 20 fold. He is able to divide the costs of the equipment among 20 accounts. So, the $42 per push cost of owning and maintaining the vehicle would only be $2.10 per push if the additional plowing didn't cause more wear and tear.

    Woodman's post doesn't have value in trying to determine an individual contractor's business costs, but it does have extreme value in showing what a bare bones homeowner setup would cost for an individual to maintain and use.
  4. Mick

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

    And he didn't put any value on his labor. I have a customer who called me this year saying he'd bought an old Ranger and plow and was going to do his own drive - he'd call me if he needed me. I figure I'll hear from him about January.

    Thanks for the words of encouragement, Woodman.
  5. digger242j

    digger242j Senior Member
    Messages: 672

    It's like I pointed out in the "areas with lots of snow" thread. Sometimes you're competing with the property owners themselves. If more of them had Woodman's insight into their actual cost they might think otherwise about how competitive a professional's prices actually are.
  6. SnoJob67

    SnoJob67 Senior Member
    Messages: 384

    Not that anybody asked me, but...

    My clients have no interest or desire to do snow removal. If someone is hedging at your price when your price is valid, move on to a more experienced client. Don't plow for someone who has no idea what the value of your service is. Anyone who thinks they might do their own plowing is not a prospective client.

    The sooner you accept the fact that "some will and some won't" as John Allin says, the sooner you will be able to more directly market your services to QUALIFIED individuals whether they be a homeowner or a property manager for a large commercial account.
  7. tkrepairs

    tkrepairs Senior Member
    from maine
    Messages: 186

    i have a customer that argued with me over my price that i quoted him. he thought i was crazy with the price i gave him. he insisted that he pay me $15 more than i quoted! ive already figured my costs and what not to give him the price, and he is paying $15 more per storm. apparently he appreciates the work i do :)
  8. bribrius

    bribrius PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,609

    so start plowing your neighbors out too. It will help. pretty much how everybody gets started.