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Blizzard how much should I charge my customers?

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by snow4me, Feb 4, 2011.

  1. snow4me

    snow4me Senior Member
    Messages: 127

    Hey guys most of my contracts are per plow with the stipulation we may plow more than once for over 6" of snow. We just finished up clearing from a blizzard here in Lake County IL where about 22" of snow fell at such a rapid rate we had to stop plowing before we finished our first plow. My question is how many plows should I charge for if we only plowed once but ti took us 3-4x as much time as a 2-5" snowfall?

    What are other guys in around Chicago charging per plow for this storm? Most of my accounts are residential contracts for between $25-$125 per plow.
  2. Freebird

    Freebird Member
    Messages: 41

    Why did you stop exactly? Your contract doesn't sound like it has a blizzard clause in it where its a one time plow but so many inches then its more for the extra time. Without that if its my driveway and you plow once without that clause I pay once.
  3. snow4me

    snow4me Senior Member
    Messages: 127

    I had never heard of a blizzard clause until someone else mentioned it to me after this storm. I'm charging 3x the normal rate I've got mostly good customers so I don't think too many will complain. One guy I just contracted at $50 per plow for the rest of the season came outside as I finished up and asked what I was charging. I told him it took me 3x as long as a normal plow so $150. He handed me $200 and thanked me for my hard work.

    I've got another woman who is hurting financially so I told her the normal rate when she wanted to pay me immediately. She refused my generousity and paid me double. There may be some who want to get off easy and only pay once. Those are the customers I won't contract with next season.

    I've got a great reputation for top quality service at a fair price. I doubled my accounts this past year in a crappy economy with very little advertising. This can be a good way to weed out the ****** customers and keep only good ones.
  4. 2brothersyc

    2brothersyc Member
    Messages: 95

    tell them its 3 times the rate and if they dont like it you will put the snow back
  5. hydro_37

    hydro_37 PlowSite Veteran
    from iowa
    Messages: 3,790

    dont know why you stopped plowing during the storm....most guys plow all through a storm
    charge at least 2times normal
  6. PPS. inc

    PPS. inc Member
    from Earth
    Messages: 55

    They had to stop plowing due to visibility. I have a friend who plows in lake county and they had to stop too. 4 of the 6 trucks went into ditches or got into accidents. It was really bad from what I hear. When they started again there was almost 6' drifts in some spots. I would have stopped too.
  7. bristolturf

    bristolturf Senior Member
    Messages: 435

    ya there is no way we could have plowed during the storms. Im just over the boarder in kenosha wi and we went out at midnight to start plowing this hospital we do, and its 5 minutes from the shop. Took us nearly 40 minutes to get there. And we just drove around in circles for 4 hours plowing the lot. By the time we got to the starting point, it looked like we didnt even plow the lot.

    A civil emergency was declared and all the plows except for the ones around hospitals were called back to the shops or they parked at gas stations.

    We went to some sites that had drifts on the walks as high as the roofs. We just finished sidewalks last night actually. it was an intense storm. Im Looking at a storm report that has kenosha county getting 33" of snow from 7am tuesday to 7 am wednesday (it was still snowing until probably 830 or 9 heavily)

    As far as what to charge, I just throw in a extreme conditions clause on the account in which we charge $75/hour for a p/u, $90/hr skid steer, $85/hr dump (5 yd), $145/hr wheel loader, and then $50/hr for each sidewalk member. Normal rates are 65/hr, 80/hr, 75/hr 120/hr, and 40/hr in the same order.

    When they see that they are shell shocked at first but, we explain that in a extreme conditions (such as large amounts of snow accumulating rapidly, or winds forming drifts greater than 3 ft, etc, we need large machinery to assist, and its very hard on our bodies, our equipment etc.

    And I use extreme conditions clause not a blizzard. According to the NWS a blizzard is defined as sustained or gusty winds of 35 mph or more, and falling or blowing snow creating visibilities at or below ¼ mile; these conditions should persist for at least three hours. Extreme conditions could be high winds creating large drifts, rapidly accumulating snow (large amounts only, generally more than 10") etc.
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2011
  8. snow4me

    snow4me Senior Member
    Messages: 127

    Yeah visibility was about 20 yards at best. The state and county plow trucks must have quit plowing around 9pm so it was not only the visibility but all roads were down to one lane and I personally barely avoided a collision with another plow truck. One of my trucks went into the ditch and I got stuck trying to go pull him out. We decided to shut it down at midnight because our accounts are so spread out we were not even being effective. Luckily we started plowing at 5pm and each truck had nearly completed on round of plowing. The ones we never got to were really tough to plow but the ones we hit once were not so bad.
  9. bristolturf

    bristolturf Senior Member
    Messages: 435

    ya if your doing drives its not bad. commercial sucks to wait, but luckily everything closed on wednesday. All though it sucked becasue we were all starving, no place to eat, we ran out of the food we packed.

    I wish visibility was 20yds. Probably something along the lines of 20 feet.

    I got to the site, and then got called to go pull one of our subs out of the ditch about 2 miles down the road. I couldnt see anything and ended up getting stuck in a drift in the middle of the road. Luckily I powered my way out after going forward reverse for 15 minutes, right as the guy i called showed up to get me out.