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Customer wants an hourly price.

Discussion in 'Bidding & Estimating' started by Bossman 92, Jul 29, 2009.

  1. Bossman 92

    Bossman 92 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,771

    I have a customer that we have taken care of for the last 3 years. The lot is decent sized with not alot of places to pile the snow. On an average 2" snow it takes me about 35 mins to plow.

    Yesterday I received a call from the manager saying they needed a price for this year and it needed to be per plow truck per hour, and a price per salt truck per hour.

    I don't bid anything by the hour, especially somthing this small. It takes me only a few mins to salt so I am not sure how or why anybody would charge per hour to salt.

    I stay away from hourly rates due to the fact that there is no real way to be fair. I have a high hourly rate for my area, but we are legit, expercienced, have reliable machines.

    I talked to a local guy a few years ago. The guy didn't carry insurance had junk trucks with 6' plows, a real class act. He started telling me how they plowed Lowes and how he was really making some money. THe guy told me they charged an hourly rate of $25 an hour. I told him there was no way I could work that cheap he let me in on his little seceret :D he told me they were running 3 trucks while they were there, so they were really making $75 an hour!

    I am not really sure what to say or what to do now :confused:

    Any advice would be great..... Bossman
  2. RLM

    RLM PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,270

    Ask him what size truck (compact, 1500, 2500, 3500, etc.), what type of plow (V, straight, expanding, with wings/with out, etc.), same with salter (V box, tailgate, etc), what type of operator( 5 year experience, or the rookie). Basiclly point out how many variables there are to hourly. If he still wants hourly give him a quote & send you least effcient guy there.
  3. bigmudder77

    bigmudder77 Senior Member
    from wooster
    Messages: 125

    what were you making and how many hours did you think you had in it?

    just take the total you made and the hours spent on it (or an estimate) and then divide it and there is your hour rate you can give him. and if you have 3 truck divide the total you get (when you divide the money made and hours spend) divide that number by 3 or how ever many trucks you used

    but that would just be for plowing not salting so not too sure about how to price that
  4. bigmudder77

    bigmudder77 Senior Member
    from wooster
    Messages: 125

    or do what rml said lol
  5. Bossman 92

    Bossman 92 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,771

    At least you guys know what I am trying to say! :dizzy:

    I am giving these clowns a hell of a deal on both plowing and salting. It sometimes is a PITA to do this place, but it's work and we also take care of their landscaping.

    Bigmudder, you enjoying this rain too? :gunsfiring:

  6. Bossman 92

    Bossman 92 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,771

    Hey RLM, thats a great idea! That way I can say all I need to say without taking shots at this other guy!

    Thanks Bossman
  7. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    Give him a minimum charge for 1 hour.
  8. cet

    cet PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,257

    That's the best way and it doesn't sound like a long time.

    I would never salt by the hour.
  9. Bossman 92

    Bossman 92 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,771

    Grandview, I don't think I understand what you mean. Could you give me an example?

    This is a new woman I have to deal with this year. :rolleyes:

    I am not saying that women can't do a certin job, but I have a mowing customer that the guy I had been working with retired and now the new woman is trying to tell me how I should be doing my job, and how they need me to check in each time so they can keep records of when we are there. She must not understand that, when the big yellow machines fire up and there is no longer trash in the front yard, WE ARE THERE!

    Sorry for the rant, it's just been a banner year for PITA customers.

  10. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    So is this lot a seasonal contract? Or per plow? If it's per plow tell her it costs for ex. 50.bucks each time. If she wants an hourly charge it's a minimum 1 hour charge (ex.) 75 bucks And if it's seasonal tell her it unlimited plowing regardless of how many times its snows.
  11. Montosi82

    Montosi82 Member
    Messages: 62

    Don't forget S.T.U.D. time

    I believe I picked up this term from a landscaping site but it still applys.


    As we all know there are many more hours of work that go into an efficient plowing operation then just the time on the lot. The one hour minimum could also be effective. good luck
  12. QuadPlower

    QuadPlower PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,056

    Tell them you don't plow by the hour. Give them a set price for the lot and a set price for salt.

    Plowing by the hour doesn't make you efficent. There are only so many hours in a storm to make money.

    OR give them the prices per hour for each truck and driver. Make sure it is high enough. Then give them the set price per plow. They will see that it is easier and cheaper to go with the set price. Then you can do it as fast as you want and they won't see the bill go up or down depending on how long it takes you.
  13. slongfellowii

    slongfellowii Senior Member
    Messages: 157

    Tell the customer the your business is set up for efficiency. McDonalds doesn't charge you by the hour for a hamburger does it. He will just wind up with someone plowing his lot with a 6' strait blade on an S10 for 2/3 your hourly rate that will take 3 hours in stead of 35 minutes.
  14. bigmudder77

    bigmudder77 Senior Member
    from wooster
    Messages: 125

    ya this rain kinda sucks i got another calf last night and i had to clean out a building before the rain and man that sucked huge little 15min storm but good thing was i got the building cleaned and the new calf in

    but other than that its been raining like every day i have free time so kinda sucks and then after the rain it gets so muggy

    but this might turn in to a pia plowing account
  15. pohouse

    pohouse Senior Member
    Messages: 322

    Sometimes these new managers micro-manage everything, trying to cut costs which look high on paper. If your good with people, I would talk to the manager and explain why you don't charge hourly and the pitfalls of doing so at their location. Ask her why she is requesting per hour. A little communication and pubic relations can go along way with micro-managers who need to understand where their money is going. Maybe the manager received another bid which quoted an hourly rate, and she's just trying to compare apples to apples.

    In the end, if she has to have an hourly rate, divide it out like the guys mentioned above.