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Clean up rates or replow rates.

Discussion in 'Business Fundamentals' started by daninline, Nov 24, 2004.

  1. daninline

    daninline Senior Member
    Messages: 430

    1st I new to this site and new to the biz of plowing for the most part.
    So any help would be great but I do have a question.
    When setting up contracts how do you handle clean ups and more the one push jobs (before work and after work so they can get in and out).
    Let's say it's a $30 driveway 4" on the ground over night.
    it gets cleaned up then during the day 4" falls so I go back to push that also do most of you charge full price each time or give them a discounted rate?

    If you give them a discounted rate what would you do if it keeps snowing all night would you start the new day at full price ( I would)?

    I just got 5 calls in one day for service :eek: and I want to do the best for both sides. (mostly me :rolleyes:

    If I need to reword this just let me know.

    1999 F250 PSD
    1994 F250 5.8
    1986 Ranger 514cid
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2004
  2. gmack616

    gmack616 Member
    Messages: 37

    i know exactly what you mean, and i have wondered myself how to handle this. first, i simply ask them what they want me to do. if they want me to plow accumulation even if it is still snowing, some people do, some will ask you to wait after it stops. for those that need a repush i am give them half off. thats a win- win situation. so for a $30 driveway, you end up getting $45 and they have a constantly cleared drive. for those that want to wait after the storm, ill still get the $30 and only have to make 1 trip.
  3. plowed

    plowed Senior Member
    Messages: 344

    When we did residentials it was all per push. Trigger was 3", and we'd plow every 6 inches or so for larger storms. Push in the morning to get out, bill 'em. Push in the afternoon to get in, bill 'em again. No discounts.

    Some people would say that they wanted to wait until the end of the storm, which was fine if the storm was small enough, usually no more than 8". If we were in for a larger storm, we would plow with the storm and bill them for every time we were there. I wouldn't plow 12"+ at the end of any storm. For one, it can be a pita, especially trying to move that much snow at once in a driveway, and I would explain to them that God Forbid and ambulance or fire truck had to get down your driveway, they wouldn't be able to do it in 8"-10"-12" of snow.

    good luck.
  4. DJL

    DJL Senior Member
    Messages: 343

    I handle like this:

    We do a 2" trigger. In other words, We will not show up if the snow accumulation is less than 2". Now, I price according to a snow index. For 2-5" its X amount, for 6-9" its 1.5X, for 10-12" its 2.5X. Basically, I'm charging for two visits from 6-9" and three visits from 10-12". For storms over 12" I charge per hour and minimum one hour per visit. We will wait till after the storm for a final visit. If the township plows haven't come and you get snowed in after we leave then call backs are 0.5X.

    Some business' run it differently, this is how we handle it. don't know if this helps any.
  5. daninline

    daninline Senior Member
    Messages: 430

    That info helps me out alot.
    I like the per push pricing since it could be a 2 day storm so the 1/2 price thing could start to hurt.

    Well I went to one customer who called today kind of in the back woods about a 200ft drive real easy one just push to the end no cleaning of parking spots plenty of space to push the snow.
    So I tell him $30 per push so he tells me this how about $50 and you plow me before 6am I was like I think I can work this out :drinkup: and offers me a beer while we look over the drive to put markers up on the sides and places to be left open.
    I wish they could be all like this.

    I guess I need to just stick to my :gunsfiring: guns when it comes to prices as I have seen a lot of people will try to talk you down.

    Thanks for the help.

    1999 F250 PSD
    1994 F250 5.8
    1986 Ranger 514cid
  6. Dwan

    Dwan Senior Member
    Messages: 879

    Per push price is just what it says. price per push. 10 pushes per day get 10 bills. If you feel you want to offer a discount then make it expire in not paid in say 10 days.
    mY PRICES ARE HIGH ENOUGH i CAN OFFER A DISCOUNT BETWEEN 2% AND 10% IF THE BILL IS PAID WITHIN 10 DAYS OF BILLING. (oops damm caps lock key) also flagdowns and one time callers get charged by the hour cod. $150.00/hr. with a minimum of 1/2 hr from my shop back to my shop.

    most all my plowing is done by the hour so no mater how maney times I show up or how deep the snow is they get charged for the admount of work I do.
  7. gmack616

    gmack616 Member
    Messages: 37

    .... my policies may change when i get a large customer base, but for now as an up and commer im gonna do the best i can to keep my prices low and still be able to make $
  8. glenspot

    glenspot Senior Member
    Messages: 255

    Second Push

    I have a day job, and sometimes I plow before the "city" plow has come through.

    To address this I am up front with the customer....I tell them that if I come through before the "city plow" goes by, I will clean up the end of the end of their driveway in the afternoon without an extra charge.

    However if we get plowable accumulation, and I need to come back...it will be a second "occurance" and is the same price.

    At this point I ask them if they want to be cleaned up more than once a day, or just once. For the most part, my residentials want to be cleaned up only once a day--In the morning.

    My only commercial client has a small lot and wanted to be cleaned out 3 times a day if needed. (When their shifts change). They are the same price all 3 times, if needed.

  9. Buckeye Chuck

    Buckeye Chuck Senior Member
    Messages: 157

    Hey DJ, if you plow the guys drive every 2" or so, how does it get to the 6"-9" mark? As long as the roads ok to get out, isn't it your fault if it gets to 6"? Is there really a difference between 2-5 and 6-9 that we should charge more?
    I'm new at this, can you educate me? :)

  10. DJL

    DJL Senior Member
    Messages: 343


    I do NOT plow every 2". I quote according to total snow accumulations. I add to the cost a 2nd trip from 6-9, a 3rd trip from 10-12, and do straight hourly for anyting 12+. This enables me to plow at any snow accumulation, not just at a set accumulation total. It enables me to change my route according to the storm. As an example...

    Its 5am and there is 2" of snow on the ground. I'm heading to my first account which is a 24hr convenience store. By the time I finish their there is 3" of snow on the ground. I'll then head over to the gas station cause they open up at 6am. Now there is 4" of snow on the ground. I finish that up and I'm able plow Mr. Doe, even though there is 4" accumlation on the ground and get him out for work. He leaves around 7am. Storm is ending. I'll go to the rest of my route and clean up the rest. Now, since I got Mr. Doe safely out of his driveway I can wait till later to finish up since he doens't return from work until 5pm.

    And YES, there is a difference between 2-5 and 6-9. It requires a lot more force to push 9" of snow than to push 5" of snow. This is especially true if you are pushing uphill or if you are attempting to stack the snow. I prefer not to push more than 6" of accumulated snow per visit. Your truck, and plow, will take more abuse from pushing 9" of snow than from pushing 5" of snow. That is why I build in multiple trips according to total snow accumulations
  11. plowman350

    plowman350 Senior Member
    Messages: 125

    per season

    I've plowed for 6 years, but this is my first year working for just myself.

    I don't mess with per inch/per push crap. That just gives the customers something to argue about later down the road when they realize they spent too much on Christmas and don't want to pay your bill in Jan!

    I do one flat price for the season. Figure out your average number of snowfalls, the average accumulation, multiply it out to an annual fee. That way you'll never have a customer call and say that it didn't need plowed and they're not going to pay. Also, you'll never show up to a 2" job and find that the homeowner already shoveled to avoid paying you for such a small job.

    My theory is this: I bought a new truck and a new plow. I have to make those payments year round whether it snows or not. I would rather know that the money is in my pocket before the first snowfall, than hope that the weather cooperates. Now, you may work harder for your money if you get lots of snow, but at least the money is in your pocket.

    Whether you go per push or per season, somebody will come out ahead. That's the nature of the business. Just make sure you get enough for yourself, and over a few years, you'll have harsh winters and mild ones....it'll all average out to the same income, but that income will be guaranteed and in your pocket without relying on the weather to pay your bills!

    Hope it helps.
  12. mister_snowplow

    mister_snowplow Senior Member
    Messages: 173

    Hey Daninline,
    This winter is my first year also. I charge per push (visit). I do like DJL's pricing method though, maybe I will try it next year. (For 2-5" its X amount, for 6-9" its 1.5X, for 10-12" its 2.5X. Basically, I'm charging for two visits from 6-9" and three visits from 10-12". For storms over 12" I charge per hour and minimum one hour per visit. We will wait till after the storm for a final visit. If the township plows haven't come and you get snowed in after we leave then call backs are 0.5X.)

    Daninline, where in Thompson do you live? I grew up in neighboring Putnam, CT. My Grandmother actually lives in the white house at the top of the hill on Blain Road in Thompson. I hope all is well back in NE CT. :waving:
  13. DistinctiveLawn

    DistinctiveLawn Junior Member
    Messages: 2


    I agree with you. I am from Holland Michigan and ALL of my residential customers are on a seasonal basis. In Grand Rapids we based seasonal for residential on 25 pushes per year, in Holland we base on 38 pushes per year.

    Residential are just gap fillers for us. We do mostly Large commercial and some smaller commercial. Too much $$$ is lost in drive time, thus having to charge higher prices to make the same amount of $$$ as doing the larger accounts.

    I have just sent out the first billings for snow this year and have had 7 calls pertaining the pricing on their bill. ( Commercial ) Why did we salt when it was 40 the next day and so on. People always are looking for ways to keep costs down, so we try to work with there budgets.

    03 GMC 2500HD Duramax CrewCab 9.2 Boss V
    02 GMC 3500HD Duramax Dump 9.2 Boss V
    00 Dodge 2500 8.2 Boss V
    99 Chevy 1500 Short 8.2 Boss V
    99 Dodge 2500 8.6 Boss Striaght
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2004
  14. daninline

    daninline Senior Member
    Messages: 430

    mister snowplow I live down by the Rod and gun club by the track I think I know the house I'll give her a discount rate :D

    All was well till tonight when this big deer ran right into the side of my Jeep and messed it up a bit, and he took off kind of a hit and run :cry:

    I want to expand on your question lets say you have a 3" trigger and over night it snows 3" but it's going to snow around 5" or 6" total for the day do you go and plow in the morning and charge them and then come back at the end of the storm and plow and charge them?

    When you have a 3" trigger will that mean as soon 3" are on the ground you plow?

    I just want to do whats right for all parties.

    I almost had a deer for the season with out a gun :gunsfiring:
  15. Buckeye Chuck

    Buckeye Chuck Senior Member
    Messages: 157

  16. Norman B

    Norman B Junior Member
    Messages: 18

    you should let them know when bidding it will be billed per 3" or if they want one price wait til the storm is over and charge them accordingly. I don't do any driveways until my commercial lots are cleared. Thats well after the storm is done.