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Confused Residential Pricing

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Tim C, Sep 3, 2004.

  1. Tim C

    Tim C Member
    Messages: 70

    :help: After 3 years of plowing, I am still confused on pricing. This is what it was-
    ex. 2-4 = $40, 5-7=+20, 8-12= +20 total = $80 for 12". My quistion is would it more profitable to charge a flat rate for each time I plow the driveway ex.1-4= 1push, 5-8 =2push, 9-12 =3push. This would be $120 vs. $80. I plow in Mass. between Worc. and Boston. 35 driveways 41/2 hr rout time avg. 35-40 per. drive. What would be the best way to go. Any feedback would help. I know from doing theadsearch that priceing is plowers choice. It would be nice if there was a standard method of plowing Residential customers. Other members plowing methods would be appreciated. payup :drinkup:

    Getting for a prdicted snowy winter!!!

    Let It Snow Thanks Tim C
  2. Dwan

    Dwan Senior Member
    Messages: 879

    I like it simple how about $120 per hour.

    then it don't make any difference how deep the snow is or how wet or light
    You get paid for the admount of work you do and the customer pays for the admount of work done. it is as fair as it can get.
  3. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    Tim, I've put my method on here many times, but to reiterate:
    (with a 3" trigger):

    3" to 6" - base rate (ie: $40)
    over 6" to 9" - base x 1 1/2 (ie: $60)
    over 9" to 12" - base x 2 (ie: $80)
    over 12" base x 2 + Y per inch over 12" (ie: Y = $2, for a 16" snowfall - $88)

    I liked this method over the "so much every time I'm here for a full push" Because it allowed me to decide how many times I should plow any given snowfall. I may want to plow every 4-5" of a wet and heavy snow or wait till 14" of light and fluffy was done falling. I would just bill the total snowfall for any given storm. I would specify that billing was for any 24 hour period. Twenty four hours after the snow started would start a new billing cycle. Obviously I would use common sense, too. If it snow real lightly, say 3" the first day and kept falling another 3" the second day, I would likely have plowed once on the second day and billed once for 6". But this depends on local preferences. Some areas would want continuous plowing.

    Something I started last year and it seems that most people prefer is one price for anything from the trigger to 12". I set it higher than the "base"; generally the second range. We get quite a few more snows in the 3" and 4" range so I think that generally I'll come out ahead. I've run the figures through for the past three years and they came out pretty close to what I actually got. The customer prefers it, since they can simply keep track of how many times I was there (most generally I wait till the snow stops falling) and know how much they'll owe.

    Good Luck with getting any kind of a standard. Even plowers in the same area can't agree on a single method. There are guys up here who will charge $10 for a driveway I would price at $40. I once did a half-mile private road with two driveways, each about 1/4 mile. That was my first year and I hadn't set the price before I started. He'd only pay me $40, saying that's what he "always paid". The following year he called after a 14" storm. I told him it would be $100 and he freaked. Told me he'd only pay $40 and acted like he really expected me to agree. I told him to get someone else. When I drove by about ten minutes later, sure enough there was another guy out there plowing it. I talked to the plow guy at the restaurant and, yep, he'd done it for $40.
  4. Remsen1

    Remsen1 Senior Member
    Messages: 188

    I've often thought about this very same question. I've charged per plow, per hour and per week, month and season, (never tried per inch). So far I have found that the best way for me, for billing and accounting and for steady cash flow is charging per week/month/season regardless of plowing frequency and/or time spent.

    I went with this cause I didn't want customers questioning how much time I spent on the property, or yes, even how many times I serviced the property. After sending a bill I kept running into scenario's where they seemed doubtful that I serviced 4 times when they only saw me there 3 times. Like when I plow once during the overnight hours then again after 8 AM then again before they get back from work. They may have woken to see me plowing at 3am, they were away from home after 8 AM, then they get home to a spotless driveway, but haven't a clue that I plowed it twice. I also ran into (using the same scenario) being indirectly questioned about why I plowed when I should've known they were at work. I also got thinking about all the little things that residential folk can't and shouldn't have to comprehend. Things like wet snow takes longer "yes, even for a truck", very deep snow takes longer, skipping a snowstorm is not a good idea, waiting till the storm is over is not always a good idea, "yes, there really was 6", not just 2""

    To avoid all of this I have come up with a formula that works for weekly billing that makes all my customers happy, no huge unexpected bills and makes me happy to. In my area I have averaged 2 plowable events per week from 11/15 - 3/30. If a customer's drive would normally be $40 per push, I charge $80 per week, starting 11/15. In my mind they are building a credit for the first few weeks, then during the middle weeks they go through the credit and then they start building a balance, then the last few weeks they pay the balance off while I mostly just spread deicer.

    I also try to entice them into paying early. Now you may say that I will loose if it snows too much, but I do roof shoveling too, and make great money at it so I welcome. I do well weather is snows a ton or less than normal :)

    We always have real winters in my area :)