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average hourly rate

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by plow4u, Sep 27, 2000.

  1. plow4u

    plow4u PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 94

    I was just wondering if anyone could tell an average hourly rate for my 2000 Ram 2500 w/ 7.5 plow with wings and tailgate mini spreader. All of my contracts are priced per push and was ask the other day by a prospect what I would charge per hour.
  2. Lazer

    Lazer Senior Member
    Messages: 399

    Depends on how many hours a typical winter will generate for you.

    If you only make 5-10 trips in an AVERAGE winter, your hourly rate would need to be $150+

    If you make 40 trips/winter, obviously you could charge less.
  3. Alan

    Alan PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,393

    There are WAY too many variables from area to area to be able to talk "average dollars".

    PINEISLAND1 PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 664

    I know things change a lot from area to area, and we've hashed it over before, but I think if your in the neighborhood of $125 per hour with that rig for plowing, you'll be close. Now if your local market will pay that is another question. Residential and small businesses may balk in some areas at that.

    No matter what the rate you determine in your head to shoot for, most here seem to feel that translating that into a per plow or per season charge is probably the way to go. It is easier to get the general public to accept it that way, at least the ones who cannot understand the concepts of overhead and true operating costs.
  5. Lazer

    Lazer Senior Member
    Messages: 399

    It's facinating you say "residentials and small commercials".

    Around here, large commercials pay only $45-55 per truck/hour, (CONTRACT price, not subs) and we average less than 200 hours/winter.

    PINEISLAND1 PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 664


    It sounds like you have similar amounts as we do. We will get under 20 snowfalls of 1 inch per year, about a dozen to 15 two inchers.

    So you think 125 per hour is way high?

    Around here subs with a straight blade and no back blade can get 50/hr. with no problem.

    If I'm gonna sign a seasonal, I figure it at $125, to cover my butt just in case of the big winter.

    OBRYANMAINT PlowSite.com Veteran
    from ohio
    Messages: 534

    in ohio depending on the account and such i average 100 per hour gross my subs get 35/hr and no under table cash
    there are too many contractors to bring prices up i think 50/hr for sub seems expensive for reg truck w/ straight blade


    20 plows---1 to 6 inches

    40 saltings trace and up
  8. CCSwanson

    CCSwanson Member
    Messages: 38

    Not to change the topic but all I do is sub (truck & 9" blade)and I get 55.00 per hour in SW Ohio
  9. Doug406

    Doug406 Member
    Messages: 65

    2 points

    CCSwanson- yeh, I bet you are worth it, if you have been plowing for a couple of years. We pay $40 to start and $50 for experienced subs. Do you have your own liability insurance?

    Lazer- $45-$50 for hourly work? Are you in the same Michigan that I am? Our state is shaped like a hand, right? Seriously though, like I said in another post, we locked a contract for a 8 acre site that was getting done at $55 per truck hour. When I met with the supervisor and he told me that, I had to chuckle right in his face. I told him we will not even come close tohat rate, but we will do a quality, effective timely job. Well we got the contact. I work on contact/per push, not per hour; but we base all work at $115 per hour.
  10. CCSwanson

    CCSwanson Member
    Messages: 38

    Doug 406.. I have been doing sub work for about 10 years even though I have never operated with liability insurance until this year (thanks to this site) always thought that was the orginal contractors responsbility
  11. John Allin

    John Allin PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,327

    Guys still operating without liability insurance......

    Oh boy.... have we got a long way to go as an industry.
  12. iowastorm

    iowastorm Senior Member
    Messages: 358

    If you've been operationg w/out liability insurance to this point with no problems, consider yourselves lucky. Now, I'm not being critical, but I guarantee that eventually something will happen and you'll get caught with you pants down. Remember, liability insurance only costs about $500/year for around $1 million and have commercial insurance on your vehicle too. Why you ask? Not only will you cover yourself, but you will also lend yourself as a professional; contractor or subcontractor.

    Just yesterday, I met with a property manager to explain our plan of attack for snow removal service and his first concern was if we were going to spend TOO much time there (unfortunately, this is a T&M job). I explained to him that since I have been hired as his professional snow and ice management contractor, I am not only potentially liable for slip and falls, etc. but the quality of work we do will reflect upon our company and his complex. Therefore, my plan was to do everything possible to ensure the job was done right and that the quality of work/timeliness would outweigh the cost. In fact, after I explained my position, he completely changed his attitude on the matter.

    In regards to the average hourly rates, here in Iowa the T&M scabs work for anywhere from $30 to $65 per hour. In fact, I agree with the others that we, as professionals, should charge well over $100/hr. on average. This is why we have completely quit bidding T&M jobs; they're simply a waste of time. It's my opinion that many customers don't really care about the quality of the plowing job as long as the lot is open and nobody complains or gets hurt (cost over quality). What they can distinguish is how we present ourselves, how often we show up during a snow event to offer our services and the distances we went to ensure their satisfaction. The end result from our professionalism will be a quality job and satisfied customers.
  13. GeoffD

    GeoffD PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 2,266

    John, agree with you, about having insurance, there is no way around it you have to have it. However i don't care if your the president of SIMA or not, there is no need for the remark in your post.

    Guys still operating without liability insurance......

    Oh boy.... have we got a long way to go as an industry JA

    I respect and commend your efforts in attempting to improve the snow removal business. Only some guys just don't know all of insurance, rules, and regulations out there, and it's not like it is being taught all over the discovery channel. John i know you have been to the rich part of Maine, Portland and Rockland. Take a trip into the into the western mountains, and you will find bondo buckets, and tons of guys with out insurance. However these guys are plowing just to keep food on the table ( its sad but it's true).

    I am just a little upset with that response, yes there are a lot of people out there with a lot to learn. It just the way you said it appeared a little negative to me. Maybe i am reading this wrong, i am sorry if i am. Today was just not a good day ( thank god it was just something a little stupid, and didn't involve family or business).

  14. diggerman

    diggerman Senior Member
    from Ames
    Messages: 700

    I guess having liability insurance somehow comes about when you know you have more to loose than a rusty 71 chevy pickup with a bed made of two by fours and a wrecker off a 51 chevy 2 ton chained to the back, a plow cobbled up to fit,that used to be on the 47 powerwagon you used to use.And going to jail bugs you because its not where you have been for the past three years anyway for beating up your exwifes boy friend who now is getting what little money you do earn to feed your kids that you don't feel should be your responsability.Point is having insurance sets you apart from the other guy in just one more way,and just because he does'nt have insurance maybe "just where he's at right now",but he'll have enough to join SIMA next year.(He just wants the bumper sticker.)
  15. mckaylawnboy

    mckaylawnboy Junior Member
    Messages: 2

    Well said DOUG406, I live in south east Michigan and I base all my contracts on $125 Hr. All three of my trucks have 9'2" Boss "V". The only time I ever was sub contracted I got $600 for work that took about 8 Hrs. with one truck.
  16. GeoffD

    GeoffD PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 2,266

    My point was simple. For the record i am insured. However at least where i am from, maybe your luckier than i am. There are severals guys out there that don't plow big stuff, just drives for cheap, just to survive.

    Does it bother me? No because they take the crap jobs, however give them time and they will learn. Or they will give up plowing, all i am saying is if the guy is just trying to survive don't knock him. Maybe i am just too respectfull i don't know.

    I mean i just don't want to worry about them, because their problems are not mine. There will always be low balling guys, unprofessional, guys like that out there.


    [Edited by GeoffDiamond on 10-01-2000 at 03:10 AM]
  17. John Allin

    John Allin PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,327

    Upset or not, it isn't good for the industry to have guys out there "competing" with us, and don't have insurance. It's like guys in the landscape business out there cutting grass for $10 a hit because they don't have an insurance premium to make - or paying "employees" under the table to avoid the taxes and workmans comp. It upsets ME when people justify others being out there without proper insurance "just because". It's one of the things that sets the "professional" apart from the "plow jockey".

    Does the statement have negative connotations? You bet it does. However.... let's give the guy credit for being on this forum. He can learn from everyone here, and maybe he will learn that having the proper coverage will set him apart from the one truck operators that charge peanuts and damage the 'industry' as a whole.

    I'm not the least bit offended that you were upset. The fact that it sparked something in anyone is good enough reason to continue making it known that operating without proper coverage is not acceptable in the business world.

    Maybe, just maybe, he'll raise his pricing to cover the cost of being in business.

    Ok, ok.... you got a point. If it is someone who is plowing a couple of driveways to make a little extra bread to put food on the table - I understand and condone that. We (you and I) arn't trying to compete with that. However, if this fellow goes and plows a $100 plaza for $40 bucks because he doesn't have a premium to pay, isn't reporting the income, and is circumventing the business process - that's not right.
  18. diggerman

    diggerman Senior Member
    from Ames
    Messages: 700

    Sorry, Geoff I think you took me wrong,I was trying to drum up a mental picture,not really for or against them just realizing that these guys are out there trying to do there thing for better or worse and Liability insurance is the farthest thing from their mind,let alone insurance on their vehicle period,often doing us a favor buy showing those companies that want to get off cheap just why we charge what we do.No offense intended just a reality statement.
  19. John Allin

    John Allin PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,327

    I wasn't trying to offend anyone either. And my position with SIMA has nothing to do with it. If I offended, my apologies.
  20. Greenman2ooo

    Greenman2ooo Banned
    Messages: 107

    Having insurance doesn't make me better than anyone else in this industry as many people try to imply. I'm not singling ANYONE out here, because I've "heard" discussions at this site in the past that complain about uninsured, unlicensed operators, etc. I DO carry insurance and feel it is a good idea. Mandatory, by my way of thinking.

    I don't carry insurance because I want our industry to be better. I do it because I don't want to risk losing everything I make now and in the future because I am unprotected.

    Maybe those who are trying to elevate our industry should start by letting others know "what's in it for them." That is the fastest way to persuade other to change. No amount of name calling or accusations will bring about change.

    I don't believe potential customers think ill of uninsured contractors, rather they don't want to assume the additional risk of lawsuits.

    By the way, my <$500 per year liability insurance premium hasn't caused me to raise my prices. A little less than $10 a week doesn't affect anyone's bottom line. Therefore, the contention that others who charge less are doing so because they aren't paying insurance premiums doesn't make much sense to me.

    Stop pimping subs like they are five dollar street walkers and you won't have to complain about YOUR profit margins. I see where a person could get the impression that half the going rate is a reasonable rate since it is good enough for a sub.

    [Edited by Greenman2ooo on 10-01-2000 at 04:01 AM]