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Do you charge the same amount for multiple plowings during 1 storm?

Discussion in 'Bidding & Estimating' started by Schuley, Aug 9, 2009.

  1. Schuley

    Schuley Senior Member
    Messages: 161

    Lets say you have a 100 dollar lot, and you need to keep it from getting too deep during a long storm. Say you plow it 3 times, do you charge $300? Maybe I have some PITA customers that I shouldn't, but I can remember some complaining about the bill because, "you told me it was going to only be $100 to plow my lot!" Or do you give them a slight discount?
  2. cretebaby

    cretebaby PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 4,162

    What is your trigger and how much did it snow?
  3. Camden

    Camden PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,604

    Do you plow the entire lot each time you show up or do you just keep them opened up? If you're doing a complete job each time then it should be full price but if you're just doing enough to keep things moving along then give a slight discount. It shows good faith in my opinion.

    I take care of several banks and there's no way I could plow the entire lot during business hours so my rate for keeping them opened up is about 60% of what I normally charge.

    That's how I do it, others might be different.
  4. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    Seasonal,plow till it stops snowing.:nod:
  5. JDiepstra

    JDiepstra PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,780

    Depends what your contract says.
  6. Schuley

    Schuley Senior Member
    Messages: 161

    I have a basic contract, and depending on who the customer is i have an add on section. It states whatever their specific proplerty needs. Like if they need to be plowed continuously during a storm not to allow snow to build up to a certian depth, or if its after the completion of a storm, or if a residential customer needs just the driveway opened up in the morning and the rest can be done at a later time.
    The contract stated that I will plow the lot during a storm to limit snow to a max depth of approx 3 inches. At a charge of $100. This year they want a different price, they think im charging too much. I can't do a seasonal contract, they wont go for it. 90% of stuff around here is per push. And its not bad, we make sweet money when it snows, nothing when it doesn't, but it all averages out pretty well.
    Which brings me to my next question.... Is anyone willing to share the contracts they use? I've been totally reworking how I do things for this winter and im working on a new contract and bidding process. The only problem is that I have no Idea what im up against with other companies, so I guess i'd like to see what some other guys do.
  7. 2COR517

    2COR517 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,115

    I think you need to do two things. First of all, talk to the customer before the season starts. Give them two prices. One "per storm" regardless of inches, and how many times you are there. Second price is per push.

    Second, you need to use some discretion. Depends on long they have been with you, how well they pay, would you mind if they called someone else, etc.
  8. JDiepstra

    JDiepstra PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,780

    Based on what you are saying it sounds like you should be charging them the full price for each push so you seem to be following the contract. Sounds like they were just complaining cause that's what everyone does!
  9. Burkartsplow

    Burkartsplow PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,246

    The per push clients dont complain when it DOES NOT SNOW, and COMPLAIN ALL THE TIME WHEN WE HAVE A BAD MONTH and they get the bill. They know what they signed up for and sometimes they ask for a discount, but will they give you more money at the end of a bad month where you only get two pushes in. The answer is NO. Same thing with seasonals. I have had some try and ask for a discount because it did not snow during the month, But they are not going to give me any more money if we get slammed. Either scenario the customer or yourself is taking a chance on what type of contract to sign on for. Good Luck, but stick your guns when it comes to contracts and invoicing.
  10. QuadPlower

    QuadPlower PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,056

    Couldn't have said it better.

    The key is communication. That is what a contract does. Make sure each party knows what is going to happen.

    You might want to give a price to keep the lanes open during a storm. Like, "The entrance, customer parking lot, and the truck dock cost $??.00 every time it snows 2". When the storm is over, it will cost $??.00 to plow every thing. Even the areas that have been plowed during the storm."

    If your lot is a place where customers are coming and going, I would do the above. If it doesn't have customers coming and going all the time, I would do below.

    My customers get plowed once in the morning (before work) and once in the evening. I bill them twice for it. Except the seaonals. I don't base it on "the storm" I base it on a 24 hour period.
  11. Brant'sLawnCare

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

    Sounds like some pretty cheap customers. Stick to your contract and don't give in. Do what some of the other guys said and give them a price to clear "lanes" and another to plow the whole lot.
  12. platinumpimps

    platinumpimps Member
    Messages: 43

    just make sure you price it per push, and have a per inch agreement, just make sure you have a good contract and cover your ass..!!
  13. LoneCowboy

    LoneCowboy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,760

    Well, I suppose it depends.

    when did you push it?
    did you push it 3 times before they opened at 9am (for example), then no, 1 push, why would you?

    or did you push it at 6am, noon and 6pm? then yes, 3 pushes..

    "letting the snow get too deep" is YOUR problem, not theirs.

    And too deep is like 12" or more, not 1", 1", 1"

    we need more info

    What type of business, what hours do they have and how much snow did you remove each time?
  14. rusty_keg_3

    rusty_keg_3 Senior Member
    Messages: 514

    We are bidding a place with a 2 in trigger... So lets say it will be $100 per push... So it snows 2 in... We come in and plow... Lets say 2 hours later its 2 in again... That is $200 for that day..... Well, hope it helps...
  15. plowtime1

    plowtime1 Senior Member
    Messages: 446

    Communication and contract language will sum it up. Always be sure to communicate with your customer regardless JMO
  16. Ne1

    Ne1 Senior Member
    Messages: 370

    Charge them a maintenance fee to come back.
  17. hdelectraglide

    hdelectraglide Member
    Messages: 62

    i have an account that will complain from time to time about multiple charges but i look at it this way they are making money when there lot is clear so charge them NO DISCOUNTS
  18. QuadPlower

    QuadPlower PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,056

    We might not, because most of us have 4x4, but how many ordanary people drive by a place because the lot is full of snow and slush and go to the next place?
    A business can loose money because the lot is not cleared.
  19. hdelectraglide

    hdelectraglide Member
    Messages: 62

    And thats why i said give no disounts!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! If the lot is clear they will spend money
  20. wizardsr

    wizardsr PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,584

    This is what we use also, an open to clear the entrances and aisles at a higher trigger, then a complete in the overnight hours after the storm is done. It works well. Opens are worth less, because you're doing a lot less plowing due to cars in the way, etc, and you still have to come back and plow the whole thing when the snow stops anyway. If we get a higher than usual quantity (6"+) during the day, we try to do the whole thing without waiting until the overnight. Gotta plow with the storm at that point.

    To be real honest though, we dont make crap on opens. Between dealing with traffic between sites, cars in and out of lots, backing out in front of you, parked in front of the piles, etc. etc. etc. we spend all our time screwing around, and can't charge as much as a full service... But, we're selling peace of mind to our customers, their business can't function with stuck vehicles, etc. Someone has a signature here saying a fair deal is where both parties feel like they're getting screwed, and I think that pretty well applies in this scenario. I think I'd have a few less customers if I was charging full service price to swing through and buzz open the drive lanes with 3" on the ground... They just aren't going to feel like they're getting a fair deal.

    Schuley, it sounds like you need to take another look at your contracts. I would recommend having a professional review them. In this business, a very specific and properly worded contract is essential to cover your butt. As for your question about others sharing their contracts, dont count on it. Most snow professionals worth their salt have spent decent money to have an attorney word their contracts appropriately, and most aren't willing to share publicly what they've spent good money on, sorry.

    Edit: Forgot to add... Residential driveways get charged the same for every visit regardless, since you always end up plowing the whole thing anyway...
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2009