1. Welcome to PlowSite. Notice a fresh look and new features? It’s now easier to share photos and videos, find popular topics fast, and enjoy expanded user profiles. If you have any questions, click HELP at the top or bottom of any page, or send an email to help@plowsite.com. We welcome your feedback.

    Dismiss Notice

After the snow has reached the trigger?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by yardatwork, Feb 8, 2010.

  1. yardatwork

    yardatwork Member
    Messages: 64

    So I have all my clients on a 2-6" trigger. Here in western Pennsylvania there typically aren't snow falls over 6 inches at a time. So this works best for me. As many of you know the east coast got hammered this past weekend. My area was calling for 8-10 inches from Friday afternoon up to Saturday around noon...LIARS! Weather people suck. I went out around 8:00 Friday night and there was already about 6 inches. Perfect...break it into two plowings and everything would be fairly easy on Saturday...WRONG. We all woke up to about another 18 inches of snow. Here is my question...when a storm goes past the set trigger amount, do you guys charge per additional inch or do you have another set of triggers like 7-12, etc. I'd prefer to charge per inch after trigger. So what is a reasonable price per each additional inch?
  2. erkoehler

    erkoehler PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,279

    I have it broken out from 1-4, 4-7, 7-10, 10+......pricing is dependant on your area.
  3. Mick76

    Mick76 2000 Club Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 2,157

    You should have all this in your contract......if not your sol
  4. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    Looks like your plowing 18 inches for the same price as a 3 inch plow.
  5. Camden

    Camden PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,604

    I do flat rate per push pricing. My customers get charged the same whether we get 1" or 1'. I haven't lost money yet by doing it that way.
  6. TerrForms

    TerrForms Member
    Messages: 80

    I do a 3" trigger. I just stay out and keep plowing as it snows. Were supposed to get 10 inches in the next 24hrs. Just try to keep up with it and replow as many times as you need. I once made the mistake of falling alsleep an woke up to 16inches in the morning. Not Again!!!
  7. Lugnut

    Lugnut Senior Member
    Messages: 250

    I would have gone out again at the next 6 or 7...i see your predicament if you thought it was almost over, you don't want to get done with your 2nd round when its still snowing and only have another inch fall. However, I don't see too much you can do in the way of pricing if you had to plow 18 inches in the am because you were sleeping...maybe charge push and a half if you can get away with it but idk how your customers will react. I'm sure you won't be in this situation again, but I get up every 2 hours to look out the window to try to stay on top of these type things
  8. NW Snow Removal

    NW Snow Removal Senior Member
    Messages: 533

    if your contract says 2-6 inches then you should have serviced every 6 inches of snow. so if you got 24 inches that's a minimum of 4 service charges 6 inches per service. Letting it build up more than 6 inches not only places your equipment at risk of over working it and breaking down, but the property is also inaccessible, which is a fire hazard.
  9. darryl g

    darryl g Senior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 461

    We have a 2 inch trigger on most of our accounts...a couple are 1 inch and and a few gravel drives are more like 3 or 4 inches. We give them a base rate for up to 4 inches and a multiplier of 1.5 times the base rate for 4 to 6 inches, 2 times the base rate for 6 to 8 inches and 2.5 to 3.5 times for over 8 inches. We also reserve the right to use a different multiplier (higher or lower) or bill hourly. 20 inches still might be 2.5 times the base rate if it's light and fluffy, whereas we might charge 3.5 times if it's a heavy wet 12 or 16 inches. It's really based on the time and effort involved in clearing it.

    I've been keeping records of my plowing times to the minute for each storm for 8 years now and this seems to work out best. Now I make about the same amount per hour for all storms. We used to do it per push with a push being up to 6 inches, but I found that for the bigger storms I was actually making 50 percent less per hour while pushing myself and my equipment harder. That just doesn't make sense.

    We tend to get heavy wet snowfalls where I am that turn over to rain and then freeze up so I really can't be sitting around waiting for it to stop snowing. So as soon as there's 2 or 3 inches on the ground I roll out and keep going until I'm done.

    My goal is to make sure that all of my customers can get in and out at all times. If it's a big storm I don't get picky or get out of my truck and do walks or garage fronts until it stops snowing or at least tapers off. I just open things up so they can get in and out and turn around and worry about the rest later. Of course, it helps to have a tight route like mine...nothing more than 5 miles from my shop.

    One of the best things I started doing a few years ago was closing my plowing list to any new cutomers as soon as storm warnings are up. I have better things to do than running around at that point. I will start a callback list for anyone who calls after that point...basically take their name and phone number and give them a call after I'm all done with my regulars and I want some more work. The only exception if they're a lawn care customer that isn't on my plowing list. I'll find a way to fit them in. I sure as hell don't want them calling someone else.
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2010
  10. Runner

    Runner Senior Member
    Messages: 957

    Here are our numbers.
    Price scheduling per application:
    Up to 4 inches - 100% of given price.
    4.25 - 8 inches - 150%
    8.25 - 12 inches - 200%
    12.25 - 16 inches - 250%
    16+ inches - 300%

    Now, our commercials are all 0 tolerance, so there is no trigger. These amounts are for each push. If we go in during a an event and push 2 or 3 inches, they have a price. If we come in 6 hours later and move 4 1/2" more, they are charged for that 4 1/2" at the given rate.
  11. lumps

    lumps Senior Member
    Messages: 365

    You really should have figured this out a while ago. People don't generally like when you start making up pricing after the storm's over. :laughing:
  12. FisherVMan

    FisherVMan Senior Member
    Messages: 706

    Darrel G of all the posts I have ever read anywhere on the internet on how people
    price jobs and handle extra amounts of snow . After reading your post here I am going
    to say this is without a doubt the very best formula and thought out method I have see
    listed in print! And I am guessing there isnt much chance of any wishy washy
    stuff for the customers with one of your contracts! In this world of Walmart thinking
    I am sure there is just as many cheapsakes were you live as here . But with your system
    in place I think there is just no room for the customer to think it could be any other waypayup I think alot of us would be better off with your system! Great thinking!
  13. darryl g

    darryl g Senior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 461

    Thanks Fisher.

    The bottom line is I try to be fair to myself and my customers at all times. I only charged them 2.5 tmes the base rate for the 20 inch storm we had back in December (with the exception of a factory parking lot that requires stacking) even though I could have charged 3 or 3.5 times. But it was pretty easy snow to clear...nice and light and fluffy, and I didn't want customers getting "sticker shock" and dumping me on the first storm of the season. Luckily I have a DOT weather station a few miles away to substantiate my snowfall totals. I do measure as well, not necessarily every account though.

    This is the actual language in my contract terms:

    Snow removal fees are calculated based upon your base plowing rate multiplied by a difficulty factor that is dependent on the storm event. We have a 2 inch "trigger". In general, snowfall of less than 4 inches is billed at 100% of the base rate, 4 to 6 inches at 150% the base rate, 6 to 8 inches at 200% the base rate, and 8 inches plus at 250 to 350% the base rate. However, we reserve the right to apply a different multiplier or an hourly rate in certain cases, i.e. wet heavy snowfall or blizzard, in order to reflect the effort required to service the property. Snowfall totals are based on CTDOT supplied data for the immediate area and direct observations.

    Most of my plowing customers are my high end residential lawn care customers and they want to be able to get in and out of their driveways at all times and are willing to pay accordingly.
  14. FisherVMan

    FisherVMan Senior Member
    Messages: 706

    You got it wired!

    Well good luck to you as it sounds to me like you have it wired! Up here where EVERYONE has a plow and there is a lot of retirees with a plow and NOTHING to do living in this small town, I have a problem with trying to stay fair to me as we plow a storm giving them two pushes a day usually morning and eve for the same price!!! If it snows during the nite and I need to plow the next morning it is a NEW charge............. it is NOT the way to do it and make money however most people work here for $8-10 an hour and are quite poor.
    If I tryed to charge any other way there is a dozen guys that will plow it for less...................... and its just that tough . I only plow to get outta the shop and do something different as if I thought that I could actually make money on it I would be only kidding myself. My compitition upset one of his customers last week and the guy called me to look at his driveway and give him a price.......:dizzy: His drive way is 250ft long and starts out with a VERY steep grade so that you have to back right accross the road [loaded log trucks going both ways that cant stop] to get a run at it to plow thru the banks and go up into the yard then plow the 150ft 3 lanes wide and then plow about a 1/2 acre off............ it would take about 20mins to do it with 6" or less. Probably 30-40mins with a 10-12" storm.
    I bet where you are that is a $50 plus dollar push but around here $30 would be the absolute you could charge em ..................... I told him $30 bucks and he said well he guessed he would stick with the guy that doesnt do a good job as he is only charging him
    $15 a push up to 6" and then jumps it all the way up to the astronomical figure of $20 if we get a foot of snow :dizzy: How would you like to try to deal with that garbage............... then he has the balls to tell me that back in PA where he came from he would pay $75 back home to get this much plowed!!!! OH BOY:realmad:
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2010
  15. yardatwork

    yardatwork Member
    Messages: 64

    I do have in my contracts that larger storms will be charged accordingly after the trigger is reached. I've never had a problem with this. I try to keep things simple in contracts where a calculator isn't needed. I also have clients that'll crap if I keep coming back over and over. I actually pushed for a guy Friday night who lives right at a country club entrance. His drive had about 6-8 inches already and he says, "So you think we need plowed already!". I said yes...I have to keep up with the storm. We get snow, but not the 18-24" that fell the other night. People around her don't understand the concept of plowing with the storm. Honestly, everyone around here wants me to come in when the storm is over. In 12 years it's been the same story with every customer that I've had...minus the business accounts. I stand my ground and tell them that I can't do that. I don't run into much trouble after explaining over and over and over again. Like I said...I do a 2-6" trigger because that is a typical storm here. I usually just add a few bucks here and there to their per push price if a storm is over the trigger. This has never been an issue either. But, I now would like to have something set in stone so it isn't something where I add and extra $10 here, but $20 to that account, $5 to that one. I was just seeing if anyone with with a dollar amount per inch after. I don't mind percentages, but when a customer sees a set price per inch it is a little easier for them to grasp what they will have to pay. But I do agree and Like Darryl's formula. Thanks for some insight on how others do their pricing.
  16. darryl g

    darryl g Senior Member
    from CT
    Messages: 461

    Fisher - Yah, it's hard if you're in an area like yours I'm sure. I live in a pretty wealthy beach/resort/marina town where the median household income is over $70K a year. And yes, that sounds like a $50 plus push for me. There are guys doing driveways at $20 and $25 bucks a pop here but there's no telling when or even if they'll show up.
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2010