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Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by pongow26, Dec 29, 2008.

  1. pongow26

    pongow26 Senior Member
    Messages: 153

    Ok, the more I read threads the more I wonder. I keep reading that anything under $45hr is a joke or its just no worth it for less. I am a small business owner of a mini storage unit and I had to buy a plow wether I plow on the side for money or not. Also, I live in a small town, population is under 5000 last I checked. So if I charge too much I dont think I will get any business. Here all the local construction/landscape companys offer snowplowing service but the all charge $40 - $50+ so I want to be competitive. For small businesses I charge $35 for the first hr and $1.70 per minute after the first hr. For residential I charge $25 plus $1.15 per mile since most plow jobs I get are not in town and involve 5 to 10 miles of driving to get there. I know I am less than most but I think I am within the right price for the area I live in what do you think?
  2. metallihockey88

    metallihockey88 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,414

    it seems the rates all depend on your area. on here ive seen anywhere from 65-120 an hour for subs so i guess all you can really do is get the most you can get for your area. cant get more then people are willing to pay and if the amount you can get is not worth it to YOU then dont do it. everyone has a different idea of what they are worth. 45 dollars an hour isnt terrible when you think about it from a working standpoint. you figure your makin at least 30 bucks an hour after gas and regular maintanance which isnt too bad in my book its just the wear and tear on your truck. you can be fine for years but that trans you blow or those plow repairs hit you hard and fast so i guess get what you can get and keep as much as you can put aside for those inevitable days so you dont take such a big hit from it. also your residential rate isnt bad but for those businesses make sure your gettin at least 45min out of em to make it worth while since sounds like your gettin kinda hosed on those businesses. take your time and take it easy on your truck and get the little extra money you deserve.
  3. hydro_37

    hydro_37 PlowSite Veteran
    from iowa
    Messages: 3,790

    Small towns usually equal lower pay. Not just in services but also in wages paid. JMO
  4. MSS Mow

    MSS Mow Senior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 983

    I understand it's a delicate balance, but you've contradicted yourself. First, you say you know your are less than most, but then immediately say you're within the right price for your area. Also, you say others in your area are charging 40-50+, but you start off with $35??? Then go on to charge $102 per hour after that??? Realistically, you won't have many, if any places that go over the first hour, so you are low, even for you area.

    For your residential, are all of the $25 + mileage? They can't all be the same size drives, especially in a rural area like yours?

    I just don't want you to hurt your own wages, or that of the others already plowing.
  5. pongow26

    pongow26 Senior Member
    Messages: 153

    Thank you for pointing these out and I should have been more clear with my post. I say Iam less than most because everyone here in my area charges $40 to $60 because they can. The only people that really plow in my area are construction companies. There is only two landscaping companies but none of them advertise snowplowing. The reason I thought $35 is a good starting rate is because I see alot of people still shoveling and I believe thats because there isnt any plowing companies advertising here that is why and what they would have to pay to have their drive plowed isn't worth it. I had to have the plow on my truck for my business so wether I plow for money or not I had to have it. Thank you for pointing out the $102 per hour, I did my math backwards. It should have been 60 to 65 cents per minute. I'm not sure if this per minute thing is a good idea but I thought sounded like a good way to not sound expensive. Residentially, within city limits would be a flat charge of $25 since I dont have to drive that far and wear and tear is low. If I have to go out of town I would charge $1.15 per mile because gas and wear and tear goes up. Most residential drives around here are fairly close in size and I can always adjust if need be. This is also why I added the milage charge. The last place I plowed out of town came up to about $40 which puts my charge with in the range I want. SO lol here is an easier way to look at it
    first hr - $35 Per min chg. after 1st hr - .65cents (mostly small commercial 30 - 40 car capacity)
    Within city limits - $25
    Out of City Limits - $25 + $1.15 per mile

    Remember I am fairly new at this and am trying to get my rates inline with what the locals are willing to pay. Any suggestions would help alot. Its hard to gauge what the others are charging compared to what I should charge because there isnt a local plowing service that does residential. The people that do plow work for construction companies and do mostly Commercial. their rates are based for commircial plowing and I want to do residential too
  6. jkitterman

    jkitterman Senior Member
    Messages: 140

    Figure out all your costs for insurance, truck upkeep, etc and figure what you need to get.
    Search the prior posts.
  7. pongow26

    pongow26 Senior Member
    Messages: 153

    I really have no prior cost. Up until this year I have never plowed with my own truck. I worked for a lanscape company. I did all the plowing for my business with a 4 wheeler. This is the first year I have used a plow on my truck at my own expense
  8. Captain

    Captain Senior Member
    Messages: 101

    I think your residential rate is good, and maybe you should focus on more driveways versus parking lots. As long as you can stay within city limits you should be able to knock out at least 4 driveways per hour, and $100 per hour makes more sense than $35 per hour.

    I've been in business 13 years now - never let it get too big, started with 10 driveways and 2 parking lots. If I remember correctly the parking lots were $75 and $85 each and with travel took more than a couple of hours to do. These were 50-60 car parking lots. I dropped the parking lots about 8 years ago and do strictly driveways now. This year I have 17 driveway accounts, (I usually try to keep it around 15), and average well over $100 per hour depending on the size of the storm.
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2009
  9. Kenyou

    Kenyou Senior Member
    Messages: 375

    The problem with plowing by the minute or hour is that, what happens when you get a bigger plow or some wings and you can plow the lot much faster? You have just cut your own throat. You have to pay for the up graded equipment and you will get less money for the job because you do it faster. Most guys on Plow Site charge by the job. Now you still have to know in your mind how long it will take you so that you know what to charge for each job. Of course there is an exception for every rule.

    Good Luck
  10. bald-boss

    bald-boss Junior Member
    from Mn
    Messages: 4

    Your prices seem pretty fair I live in in mid MN town of 3500 or so and the bigger contractors are a lot higher here more like $125.00 per hour, but I have a few of the smaller business's and I change $65.00 they take about 40 minutes to do with a normal snow fall. If we get the bigger amounts of snow like we did last month, it takes a little longer but I just have the one charge that way there is no confusion as to why I drove slower or if I took my time. I learned right away any confusing things like charging by the minute leaves customers asking questions if they see you stop to wipe snow off or clean something off the truck they will want to know why they should have to pay for that. Whereas if you charge one rate they have nothing to think about and or complain about. Just my thoughts on it. Good luck

    2000 Ford F250 7.3, boss 7.6 v-plow
  11. MileHigh

    MileHigh PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,827

  12. bald-boss

    bald-boss Junior Member
    from Mn
    Messages: 4

    Low baller?

    I meant the price for the regular driveways not the 35 per hour that it extremely low. 65 per hour would be closer
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2009
  13. Sno Biz

    Sno Biz Member
    from Chicago
    Messages: 55

    $35/ hr is great...till your truck breaks down...then you'll be sorry
  14. RamPainting LLC

    RamPainting LLC Senior Member
    Messages: 194

    If the going rate in your town is $50-60 bucks, you need to stay in the same price range. You will have no problems getting your own accounts if there are only a few plowing contractors in your town!
  15. KL&M Snow Div.

    KL&M Snow Div. PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,616

    We have a fairly small town and I typically get about 30-40 per hour.
  16. Turbodiesel

    Turbodiesel Senior Member
    Messages: 428

    It all depends how bad they need to get their car outta the driveway to get to work .
    Sure , their entitled to shop around.payup
  17. KAG

    KAG Senior Member
    Messages: 114

    Of course as always, do as you see fit but most of the prices seem a little low.