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Chicago area pricing

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by jbis1782, Oct 23, 2009.

  1. jbis1782

    jbis1782 Member
    Messages: 44

    Lately we have been getting killed in the bidding wars. What is the average price for a truck with 8' plow on it? What is a fair price for subs with 8' plow. My machine rates are around 100 an hour for skid with 8' push box, and loader with 20' blade is around 150.00,truck rate is around 90-110 an hour depending on the truck. subs are anywhere from 65 to 80 an hour depending on length of time with us and type of truck and plow. Am i overpriced, paying subs to much, or getting low balled? I understand if numbers are not given, just give a high, normal, or low (which apparently i am not)
    Thanks for the help:help:
  2. ADBsnowremoval

    ADBsnowremoval Member
    Messages: 43

    Chicago are pricing

    You and I both. I cannot believe how low ballers are messing up the industry. Some say wait till next year and things will get back to normal, but I do not believe that at all. Once people start bidding low, the property managers are going to have expectations that it should stay that way. This might sound mean, but I hope all those low ballers get snowed in or broken down. I know that me and my crew will be just fine with our skid steers on hand.:angry:

    I need not stress so much, I am going to give myself a heart attack at such a young age.
  3. ADBsnowremoval

    ADBsnowremoval Member
    Messages: 43

    sorry i forgot to say that I think your pricing is right on. Although I would think a front loader with a 20' push box would be closer to 180/hr
  4. Bird21

    Bird21 Senior Member
    Messages: 539

    Nope your prices are right in line with the old going rate. There is an abundant amount of " hey I got a plow on my truck and I will beat anyone's prices" guys out there right now. I have been lucky to retain and gain all my commercial accounts. But wtf is with the guys willing to do driveways for these prices. I only do large neighborhoods where I can do alot of homes close together to eliminate drive time, these guys are coming in at half my prices. What has happend here and everywhere is real simple----- Alot of guys outta work willing to do whatever they can do to make ends meet, so why not plow snow.. Don't get me wrong I admire people with work ethic and with a drive to support there families, but do your homework guys-- Plowing at 1980 rate with 2009 costs and liabilties will not cover your costs or provide enough profit to pay for that brand new plow on your truck. Oh and I haven't even figured your insurance or lack there of. So I am sticking to my guns and I will not lower my prices to compete. Wait till the first storm, I hope it's a big one, then the clients will get it when there lot is not cleared or there cars are stuck in their driveway.

    Just an example------ Large brick paver drive-- done with ploy cutting edge

    My price 85.00
    Lowballers 22.00

    Go figure!!!!!
  5. snow patrol

    snow patrol Senior Member
    Messages: 163

    I seen this coming for a while now. We do landscape maintenance and the same thing happened over the summer. a $30.00 to $35.00 per visit mowing started going for $25 at the beginning of the season, within a couple of weeks there were flyers advertising $22.00 then $20, eventually seen a flyer for $15.00. Like Bird21 said, a lot of out of work people just trying to survive. Whats worse is that the last couple of years we had heavy snow winters so no doubt many are thinking they are going to make a fortune on plowing, so they run out and get a plow on their trucks and all of the sudden they are professional plowers. The reality however, in many cases, they wont be able to recoup their investment for at least 2 winters. I mean if it costs some 5K for a plow, at $70 per hour, you'll need to put in over 70 hours just to pay for the plow, plus fuel, breakdowns, etc, etc. True, we had a heavy winter last year and not to bad the previous, but for several years in a row before that, there were only a handful of plowable snow events. I know, I know, nothing I'm saying hasn't been said a million times before.

    I think Next year may be a little better, but it will depend greatly on what happens this winter. If we have a light winter, then many speculators will not be able to make it thru till next winter and they will loose their trucks or need to sell. Come spring truck trader/auto trader will be full of used plow trucks. If, however, we get a heavy winter then some may be able to pull thru, and hopefully start to price their service more appropriately. Guess we'll see.

    By the way, I think you're rates are pretty much on the mark give or take a few $$ per hour.
  6. jbis1782

    jbis1782 Member
    Messages: 44

    You have to wonder how some of the huge companies like arctis and gasaway can keep the clients that they do with out loosing them to a lowballer. By the way, anyone work for arctic or gasaway before?
  7. snow patrol

    snow patrol Senior Member
    Messages: 163

    Arctic and Gassaway handle very large commercial, retail and office park type locations. Its a little bit harder to be low balled when you service this segment of the market. Its not like a guy in a pick up truck will be able to handle these types of accounts. Where as they can handle smaller locations like driveways, strip malls, gas stations, etc. In most cases, they are competing against other very large companies with similar cost structures. Furthermore, they have multiple year contracts, which again makes it hard for another company to get their foot in the door. But most importantly, they KNOW their costs and they KNOW how to plow and salt as efficiently as possible, which make it possible for them to know within a very close margin of error, what their brake even point is. This is very very powerful. Just think of how many jobs you have lost over the years only to say, after you knew what the lower bid came in at, "I should have bid it a little lower". I'm not saying this will always be the case, but if you know your bottom line, you'll be able to give your best price, or walk away with a smile knowing that there was no money to be made on the job.

    Getting back to the efficiency thing. Randy, the owner of Arctic thinks snow all the time and I believe is always looking for ways to improve his operations and make things more efficient. Take for instance the sectional plow he designed. Have you ever seen this thing in action? Its really a remarkable piece of equipment that increases productivity and, yes, reduces the amount of rock salt needed.
  8. Bird21

    Bird21 Senior Member
    Messages: 539

    Never heard of Gasaway before. No I have not worked for them before. I was at Adams getting parts the other day and it was like a noob meeting guys walking around asking " What plow should it, it's my first year plowing, and do you take credit cards????" Too funny..Again I feel bad for people outta work but I am not gonna drop my prices. I just bought another Boss xt 9'2" V plow and wow that's a big check, if I was outta work.

    Best to all and good luck bidding!!!
  9. jbis1782

    jbis1782 Member
    Messages: 44

    Ya i saw how it works, and it is a good design. he does a jewel parking lot around me with just a skid and a 10' sectional plow. i guess i will have to keep even tighter records to streamline the price. One day i would like to have a few accounts like that in the future. For know i will stick with what i know. Bid the right way and get low balled to death.
  10. jbis1782

    jbis1782 Member
    Messages: 44

    Thanks Bird21, good luck to you. hope we get buried with snow

    NICHOLS LANDSCA PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 4,362

    I only WISH I could get that kind of money around here. There are guys around here at $40/hr for a truck, now try and get more accounts when they juat look at numbers :dizzy:
  12. Knockah22

    Knockah22 Senior Member
    Messages: 245

    Its happening all over. Even larger retail/commercial properties we are bidding are getting bids for half of what we bid. We just try and sell them on quality of work. In the end, most property managers will see what kind of service they get for low baller prices. Although we get this every year, this year is so much worse with the economy the way it is. One light winter will weed out all the low ballers.

    Your rates seem fine, but with so many excavation companies out of work, there are all more people willing to do it for less. Just do your best to sell them on your service.
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2009
  13. newlooklandscp

    newlooklandscp Senior Member
    from Midwest
    Messages: 476

    My prices are way higher than you stated. Maybe its the customer base your chasing that are willing to go with the low baller and not care about the actual service.
  14. jbis1782

    jbis1782 Member
    Messages: 44

    Maybe i am chasing the wrong accounts. But i am at the point that i want to make the jump to compete with big companies, i just have to get figures down to a science. The problem is i can't get an account to figure how many square feet each loader can push with the different types of blades and so one. I do have the salt numbers down.right now i figure it is this many hours with this machine. It gets me close but need to finetoon them. Guess i have to hope for calls from people when the lowballer doenst show
  15. pushin 4 u

    pushin 4 u Member
    Messages: 82

    Just remember

    Just remember when we were broke and started plowing, I totally agree with the homework thing 100%!!! but like it was said before food on the table comes before a sensible decision. To a point I can't blame those guys, and it will SUCK for all of us, but look at the bright side. If we get a light winter....we'll all be able to get new equipment come spring!!!! I'm all for working to make some extra scratch, but lets think this through...if we are all on the same page we all make more payup. Good luck this year boys.....and girls!!!
  16. ADBsnowremoval

    ADBsnowremoval Member
    Messages: 43

    I am with you jbis, We handle a sizable shopping center along with some private roads and other offices. Looking to get more competative with the bigger companies and start making a run on multiple large complexes. I would love to get an idea what these large companies are charging a square foot for these big complex's. I know we can handle it, just not sure how to bid it; but good things come with our hard work.
  17. ADBsnowremoval

    ADBsnowremoval Member
    Messages: 43

    bump bump bump
  18. odonovanlandscp

    odonovanlandscp Junior Member
    Messages: 1

    In tough times it is vital to stress the service and quality your company can and will provide. The property manager as of lately has had many faces and has worked in many areas. The good ones who stay put are usually more experienced and know the difference between choosing dollars over quality and service, and their wisdom is noted when the first snowstorm arrives. I agree, in any lean economy, the lowballers make it difficult for the rest of us who know better. If they only realized how much they hurt rather than help the situation we are all in. If they did the math, they would know that their actions are more like the grasshopper than the ant.