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Do you per push guys that work for your money

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by LLM Ann Arbor, Nov 30, 2006.



  1. Yes

    35 vote(s)
  2. No

    24 vote(s)
  1. LLM Ann Arbor

    LLM Ann Arbor Senior Member
    Messages: 876

    Get a little tired of hearing the contract guys boast about not having to do anything to "be paid" and when they sit there and hope it never snows, when we depend on it to snow and need it to snow?
  2. dmontgomery

    dmontgomery PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,238

    per push is the only option here due to the lack of regular snow/ice events....
  3. LLM Ann Arbor

    LLM Ann Arbor Senior Member
    Messages: 876

    Its the only option for me because Im not an insurance salesman, and couldn't sleep at night sending out invoices for doing nothing or less than I should to be compansated full price.
  4. LLM Ann Arbor

    LLM Ann Arbor Senior Member
    Messages: 876

    28 views and three votes.

    Its not a public poll, it's an annonymous poll guys.

    Its a yes or no question. Whats the problem.
  5. dmontgomery

    dmontgomery PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,238

    my customers like that they only pay for work done. I understand that those who depend on the regular income have to do the yearly agreements. Customers in alot of places consider it "insurance" against weather events.... Alot of people around here use hourly rates....

    I only pushed one 5" snowfall last year..... No one would pay me a monthly fee for a season like that.

    To those who can.....have at it.
  6. Grn Mtn

    Grn Mtn PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,644

    per trip commercial, unlimited(not by choice) for residential. Its good to have a little of both.
  7. Mick

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

    I do mostly per push, but have one where he requested a seasonal price. I set the price equal to pushing his drive 12 times per season, which is what I figured the average per push would do in an average winter. Last winter, I plowed his driveway seven times, so I came out ahead by about twice what he would have paid. This winter I sent him a letter asking if he wanted the same deal with a price increase that amounted to 6%.

    I save email exchanges and this was his email to me:

    Dear Mick
    I would be pleased to have you plow this season at the rate of $ (xxx). Please let me know if two payments of $ (xxx.xx) will be ok as like last year.

    My reply:

    Yes, that would be fine. I think we did something like half up front and half in Jan or by Feb 1st?

    His reply:

    ok i will send you a check next week

    Why should I have trouble sleeping at night?
  8. LLM Ann Arbor

    LLM Ann Arbor Senior Member
    Messages: 876

    You shouldn't Mick. The client requested it, but its common knowlege that guys that sell almost specifically on contract hope it never ever snows.

    Thats a fact.

    They'll use the "it averages out over time" story....but if one charges a fair price for services rendered no one ever gets screwed and you dont have to worry about averages.

    I guess its fine if "They" want to sell it that way, and if the client wants it that way but I dont need to hear how gleeful they are when it doesn't snow when theres a lot of guys out here going broke watching it rain.

    Ya know?
  9. LLM Ann Arbor

    LLM Ann Arbor Senior Member
    Messages: 876

    65 views...five are mine and 8 votes total.

    What are you guys affraid of.

    Maybe theres a lot of guests that cant vote?
  10. Earthscapes

    Earthscapes Senior Member
    from WNY
    Messages: 577


    Per push may work very well in your area and lots of others. Around here 95% of the contracts are seasonal and have been that way for many, many years.
    I have one per push contract and thats my local 84 Lumber that I have been servicing for 4 yrs now. Last year they did great with only 4 plowable events and the year before that they lost their butt's with 27 events and 5 trips with the loader to remove snow.

    Do I care if it snows ? not really as i'm still finishing up work from the October Storm, but if it does we're ready for it.

    FYI- all my summer contracts are seasonal also. So if it rains for a whole month like it did this year and we could not get on the lawns, I still had enough to pay my help, bills and feed the family.
  11. EIB

    EIB Senior Member
    Messages: 258

    I'm with Earthscapes. I have one commercial that is per push and all residential too.
    The rest are seasonal. Propety managers around here have budgets. They want to know what it is going to cost them for the season. They are happy with that. It's not like we put a gun to their heads and tell them to do it or else. On my proposal it lists the price of both. They chose.
  12. YardMedic

    YardMedic PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,266

    Mostly per push

    I have 2 commercial accounts (2 Midas shops), and those are my only seasonal contract (they wanted it that way 10 years ago, so I haven't explored anything new). All residentials are per push, though I tried a retainer & per push combination probably 7-8 years ago that I discontinued the following year. I contracted for 5 plowings and per push after that. It helped me get rid of problem customers, so it wasn't a waste AND the upfront income was nice.
  13. procut1

    procut1 Senior Member
    Messages: 380

    So who pays for the following?

    -The loader rental bills for the machines to be on site.
    -The Snow pushers for the loaders
    -The trucks to push the snow
    -The sanders and plows for the trucks
    -The thousands of dollars of salt in the shed
    -The office person to answer the calls and do the billing
    -Someone to monitor the weather 24/7
    -The pallets of ice melt to sit idle
    -The sales people to spend all summer bidding and selling the jobs
    -Hiring and training operators and drivers
    -The months of preparation to get equipment ready and maintained
    -Thousands of dollars for insurance
    -Overhead to maintain the business
    - office staff
    - utilities
    - equipment payments
    - full time staff

    I could go on and on.


    There is a lot more to it then just sitting home and smiling that its not snowing. We still have to get up and go to work everyday whether it snows or not. I personally think I should get a paycheck when I go to work.

    There is a lot more involved than you may think. Someone has to pay for it. Large companies are more than happy to budget and pay to get a qualified PREPARED contractor. Especially after they have been burned by a guy doing it as a side job when his one pickup breaks.

    If you do this for extra cash then thats a totally different story.

    Payroll for the guys that actually push the snow is one of the smaller expenses.
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2006

    TRUE TURF LAWN Senior Member
    Messages: 290

    i love no snow more time to deer hunt and ice fish.
  15. 06HD BOSS

    06HD BOSS 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,611

    Having mostly per push and some seasonal it really doesnt make a difference to me either way.
  16. Earthscapes

    Earthscapes Senior Member
    from WNY
    Messages: 577

    Well I think "Procut" locked this topic up.
    All excellent points and nicely said :salute:

    I guess i'm a bad person because I just came back from a residential meeting, 10 houses that want plowing and I charged them full price, even though November is over and it never snowed. Guess what I have 10 paid in full checks sitting here. Simple street too, I plow 49 of the 72 houses.
  17. Jpocket

    Jpocket Senior Member
    Messages: 302

    Personally I like a combination of both. We have a few that are on seasonal contracts, and the rest are per push.

    Like Pro-cut said above some ppl. want a PREPARED contactor . It's nice to have money coming in to cover the expense of snow equipment whether it snows or not.

    Now granted I DO hope it snows b/c I make the REAL money when it does. But if it doesn't the snow end of my business will still break even for the year.
  18. LLM Ann Arbor

    LLM Ann Arbor Senior Member
    Messages: 876

    Good post PC. Thanks. I snipped it for effeciency and to reply.

    While you make a good point about the rental of heavy EQ I trully believe that if you are bidding the kinds of jobs that require that type of equipment you should have your own. Maybe im old school. Maybe Im wrong.

    But...I can see your point vs contract pricing on that to a fair extent.

    The salt I can see your point.

    But some of the other things you listed I dont agree with IE office personell, training etc, and someone to monitor the weather??? I dunno.

    Im not oposed to the seasonal aspect of the business if the client wants it, or if it falls into certain catagories like you mentioned.

    But I'll always be oposed to those that want to gloat about their huge profits for not working and would never be so insensitive or rude to the rest of our friends that pray for it to snow so they can feed the family as it were.

    Im also a little surprised that your Labor cost is one of your least expensive expenditures. Thats usually not the case and generally its just the opposite for most companies and right up there just ahead of, or just behind equipment expense which no one can argue is always number one on the list.
  19. jcesar

    jcesar Senior Member
    from Mi
    Messages: 492

    Lets see now.....
    I use both, as Mick does. My Residential customers pay per push, as do the small commercial ones. The larger commercial prefer seasonal quotes, so that is what they get. I try to accomidate the customer, to the best of my ability, which means I give them the options that are available, and let them choose. Salesman? Not me. Crook? Wrong again.
    Business man? That is me. I look to make money, not get rich. So I figure if they make the choice, then it is theirs to deal with. Either way is fine with me.JMO
  20. procut1

    procut1 Senior Member
    Messages: 380

    It does make a difference what type of contractor you are. By that I dont mean good or bad.

    If youre primarily a lawn contrator and your commercial work is relatively small that you handle with equipment that you use all year round, then a seasonal contract is not necessary.

    If you're going to service a mall or a large property, then the only way to go is seasonal. To add a very large property like that will require a significant investment in equipment, labor, materials, and overhead.

    Larger properties require constant monitoring, a live person to answer the phone 24/7.
    You have to have people on standby to respond quickly even when there is no snow in sight should they call 2 weeks after a storm at 3am for a little refreeze.

    To some contractors, snow is a full time year-round business. If youre going to service the big boys, you have to meet these qualifications.

    It is great to have a mix of contract and per storm properties too.

    Again, if youre going to service residential, and throw in some banks, and small commercial......Then its a totally different ball game.....Per storm contracts would work great.