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Did my 1st commercial cust. today....results

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by greyst1, Jan 11, 2011.

  1. greyst1

    greyst1 Member
    from 44720
    Messages: 72

    Hey everyone,

    So this is my 1st year plowing but been in the landscape service industry since 06 and mainly serve the residential market (which i like). Well anyhow what i thought was going to happen happened today.

    Typically i have 5 minutes of plow time on my resi's and usually collect $30.00 for plow & another $15 for salt (if wanted), not including to & from drive time. Nothing high dollar but definitely profitable. So i've been wanting to get into commercials and had an opportunity on one so i took it at 55.00/visit. Simple parking lot with 2 additional driveways to back drag behind the business that company owns. Now this was the first time on this track and i had 25 minutes of plow time and another 5 minutes for walkway shoveling and salting. So 5 times more truck time for roughly double the price. NOT HAPPY!

    After all is sad and done i still make money but i definitely see room for shave about 7 minutes off. So i see me there for 20 to 22 minutes tops once i get a good pattern down and i'm happy with that and make some good good. My concern is the added abuse on the truck to go commercial customers is it worth the added plow time/income ratio????

    Speaking in general, is it safe to assume a margin formula of 4-5 times the plow time for double the cost. Obviously tough to speak without all the specs but you pows guys who know what they are doing could probably chime in here. Not complaining, just trying to get some good forecasting data.
  2. eshskis

    eshskis Senior Member
    from 4
    Messages: 138

    Snow plowing is very dynamic every storm is different and every snow event will have different characteristics. Micro managing minutes is the equivalent to head banging a wall while simultaneously biting your wrist. You can spend 10 minutes plowing a 5 inch snow event only to get a 3 inch event later and spend 20 minutes. determine your actual operating cost knowing that and add that to your life's needs and obligations then set your pricing to meet those. So a standardized (formula) is in reality mostly useless. what ever formula you do learn about hear should only be used as a guide to determine your actual pricing..... This is only my opinion though
  3. Rc2505

    Rc2505 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,245

    Welcome to commercial lot plowing. In all truth, it's probably never again going to be as profitable as resi. plowing. However, there are plus's and minus's to each. What you will find after a couple years, is a mix of both is what fits most plowers. The fast in and out of resi. plowing is nice but, you have drive time between drives, your out on public roads more often, and there is more oppertunity to get into an accident. The large size of commercial is nice but, it's not ever going to pay what it used to, and you have more hassel to worry about where your stacking your snow. So a mix of the two is what I have done for the past 10 or so years, and I have complaints, but it could be worse. Good luck.
  4. hydro_37

    hydro_37 PlowSite Veteran
    from iowa
    Messages: 3,790

    most commercials have a lower trigger so they may get plowed when a resi doesnt.
    you still make some cash on the commercial that you wouldnt on a resi
  5. somervillelawn

    somervillelawn Member
    Messages: 61

    Unfortunately $55.00 for 30 minutes of plowing is pretty good in the world of commercial snow plowing.
  6. bristolturf

    bristolturf Senior Member
    Messages: 435

    thats what I was thinking. For your operating cost generally speaking people are in the 30-40$/hour range so your making out fine on that.
  7. maelawncare

    maelawncare Senior Member
    Messages: 871

    I dont know about you, but i make my money of salt and not plowing. I still make money on plowing, but i make almost double on salt. The beauty of commercials is they always need salt, and lots of it. While resi most the time dont. So you more than make up the money just on salt.q
  8. wirenut

    wirenut Senior Member
    from nh
    Messages: 529

    fire chief

    ok so who tried to plow the fire chief......
  9. ChicagoPlower

    ChicagoPlower Senior Member
    Messages: 147

    Good sound advice. Also,comparing micromanaging minutes to head banging a wall while simultaneously biting your wrist, that's too good.
  10. Brant'sLawnCare

    Brant'sLawnCare PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,756

    Commercials are easy. Less money, but more all together. All the commercials we do get serviced at any amount of snow. Residentials are all about 2". I like the ease and simplicity of the commercial work. Plus we send them bills for a LOT more each month than each residential. FYI, we do 40+ drives each storm, a 3 acre condo complex, a half acre condo complex, and 4 other 18-25k square foot commercial jobs. Two of the accounts are on seasonal contracts, which is a nice base each month. I guess I am more of a fan of commercial plowing. Residential plowing brings in more per hour, but driving sucks. I am going to continue to pick up more work of each, now that I am figuring out how to bid accurately. That takes a few years in itself. Good luck to you.
  11. greyst1

    greyst1 Member
    from 44720
    Messages: 72

    What? What?