My customers pay everytime i plow. If we get 6" and i plow it twice (once at 3" and once when its done) they get a bill for twice what one push costs. if i have to go twice and clean up a few little drifts on a third trip, i charge an extra 1/2. Seems complicated, but its a system that works for me and my customers.
I usually use my jugdement to check for the third clean up, if its gonna drift then i cruise by them and check them out, if they call me the next day or whatever and tell me its drifting i go take care of it. I've also found it very beneificial to have good, or at least some, relationshipos with my customers.
Been plowing for 7 years and in my market, I've only ever heard of 3 methods: 1) by the season, by the hour, by the storm.
Never heard of by the inch. Sounds like a good method but I know my residentials would look at me like I was crazy if I tried to explain all the triggers.
Also, how do you guys charge when you get a storm that has a lot of drifting. I've had 5-6 foot drifts in one driveway and none in the neighbour's with about 12" said to have fallen
Ohiosnow.....you've got it. After seeing your 28 years of plowing note, I would take advice from you any day. This is my fifth year plowing.....Already this year I have been jammed up based on the 3" trigger crap. Two storms have been 2 1/4" and 2 1/2". I ended up doing almost all drives but was a cluster f... with phone calls and timing....This years contracts (even residential) are already set so I will go with the current 3" trigger. Next year with out a doubt I will have to go at 2" for the first push and every 2" there after. If they don't stay, I will cut the time I plow down and make more money doing it. Thanks for confirming my lingering thoughts that doing what "the other guy" is doing doesn't have to be the way.
I can't say my pricing will work in every market area because if your snow usually comes at a rate of 6" to 8" at a time most accounts won't want it done at every 2" But if your norm is 1" to 3" then it should work OK.
Believe me after 28 yrs. of being in the plow biz you do learn somethings but I can still learn from others.
I still love to plow snow but till today all I got to do this yr. was salt & clean-up. Today I salted for the ice rain & 2 hrs. later I plowed for 6hrs. & salted again. God I like snow
Not really . Like Ohiosnow pointed out, you have to take the customer's expectations into consideration. I have a 3" trigger for most cause that's what they'll go with. Most people in this area would consider it a waste of money to plow anything less. I do have two accounts that want plowing at less. One is a retired couple who live on a private road. They want access, period. Both made it plain that I was to use my own judgement and they wouldn't question it. They spend quite a bit of time in Massachusetts and want it kept plowed while they're gone. The other is a guy who has some disabilities. While he walks around fine, he can't risk slipping and falling. So he wants anything plowed by 9:00.
I've also had some in the past that tried to drive on 12". I just don't do them anymore. But I simply can't afford saying I'll only take those who will pay for plowing every 2".
i roughly have a 2'' trigger, people around here are not use to snow, drive horribly in it, get scared when walking on it. any amount up to 6'' is the same price, after 6'' price goes up $5 per inch. majority of my customers get done once per storm, if they request to be done more often they pay extra for it, for example my fire chief pays extra to have me make multiple trips keeping his driveway clean at all times, last storm we got 8'' and i made about 4 trips there.
We have a two inch trigger and we bid most work in three lifts, i.e. 2"-4", 5"-8", 9"-12", 13" and above I would charge the 9"-12" price plus an hourly rate of 180.00, which can be billed at 3.00 per minute. I use a similar formula as Mick, I take the 2-4 and multiply it my 1.7 for the 5-8 and by 2.5 for the 9-12. Now maybe that seems high to some of you, but I charge what the market will handle. We don't get a ton of snow events out here, so to handle them we charge a little more. I also have great relationships with all my customers commercial and private. I don't get all the work I bid on, but I do get the bilk of it and my retention rate for the last three years has been 100%. I'm very proud of the 100% retention rate as that directly reflects on how satisified my customers are with my services. I also have contracts that I have to clear from the time the snow starts falling and others that give me 24 hours from when it stops falling. Anyway you cut it, If you're getting the work and keeping it then you must be doing something right.