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Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by CT18fireman, Oct 30, 2001.

  1. CT18fireman

    CT18fireman Banned
    Messages: 2,133

    Had a customer call me today asking me to price their drive. This is a segment that as I have previouy stated I think is in needed in my area. Very few companise do driveways. Most driveways are done by independents. As a company I feel that people may feel more secure with an insured contractor with experience.

    Anyway the lady wanted to know what my prices was for a certain drive. I told her that I had a minumum charge just to start but that each one is priced according to the size and layout. She told me that the drive was about 50 feet long. I told her as I do everyone that I would come out and look at the drive before we made an agreement.

    When I go to her house I found that the drive was about the size she had given me but that it was a very steep uphill grade with little room to push the snow. After I gave her the price she commented why was this so much more then old house with a longer but flat drive. I explained to her, nicely, that when she bought her nice house with a great view she lost some practicality The drive will require a lot more work then her previous home.

    Now I have been plowing for quite a while and I know that you can not always meet every customer. My main thought is something that she said, "you should have a set price list". Does anyone do this? I would never even consider it in my area. To many different designs. The only was I could see it would be in a development where all driveways are of similiar design and terrain. Anyone have any different thoughts?
  2. speedracer241

    speedracer241 Senior Member
    Messages: 325

    i charge $25.00 for just 1 or 2 shots and stack it along the road or whereever is practical and it better not take more than 5 minutes.
    it all goes up from there. sidewalks usually $10 or $15depending on length. most homeowners here will pay $30-$35 for snow removal.
    hope we have a winter like last year, kept very busy.
    mark k
  3. GeoffD

    GeoffD PlowSite.com Veteran
    Messages: 2,266

    Yea I got a price List,

    Right in my head. The final price isn't set to after I talk to the person. After I see the drive and talk face to face I have a price, believe it or not the face to face talk can sometimes have a big impact on price.

  4. CT18fireman

    CT18fireman Banned
    Messages: 2,133

    That is the way I feel Geoff. Each one is different.
  5. Armor

    Armor Member
    Messages: 36

    I think that its one of the benefits of being your own boss... Not having a price list. I wouldn't charge the 80 year old widow on the corner as I would the 40year old yuppy living in a 1.5mil dollar home even if their driveways were exactly the same. Not to be discrimative or anything I just think we ought to have the right to charge what we want, where we want, to who we want. caveor emptor(buyer beware) thats the basis of capitalism in this country isn't it?;)
  6. 4 Saisons

    4 Saisons Senior Member
    Messages: 260

    Since this years I have a price list, but the first thing you can read on it is:

    This is the minimum charge for each category

    simple 12' width, 30' long
    Double 20' width 30' long
    Multi max 1000 sf
    horseshoe or half circle 16' width, max 1000sf

    EXTRA for;

    If he is on a high circulation street
    car in the driveway
    no room for snow

    and of course sidewalk and stair.

    That way it look fair for the customer.
  7. CT18fireman

    CT18fireman Banned
    Messages: 2,133

    I have a minumum and that is it. Although I have gone under the minumum for a couple. I still plow the old lady across from my Mom's for $10 the same amount I got when I shoveled it as a kid. Of course my Mom is free. I think a list is hard to stick too. Definately a lot of room for variety in pricing.
  8. Mick

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

    This is why I'm trying concentrate on commercial. Home owners/renters trying to shave off a dollar. Wasting more time than the dollar or two is worth. With commercial or organizations, you may need to wait on or deal with boards, committees etc but at least they either accept your bid or they don't.
  9. CT18fireman

    CT18fireman Banned
    Messages: 2,133

    I have a lot of commercial. But I disagree with you. I think residentials are a much better profit area for the smaller plower. Commercials provides steady guaranteed money. Residentials though can really be a bonus. I can make more per hour plowing residentials then plowing a lot. This is how the market is around here. Main reason that I have done more advertising this year to pick up residential accounts.
  10. thelawnguy

    thelawnguy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,011

    Got that right. Here in urban CT you can pretty much name your price when it comes to residentials and customers will not flinch, as they know that if you walk they may be stuck without a plow guy til next winter.
  11. Mick

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

    You're right about being the area. Around here, there are just too many guys out with plows. No insurance, old beat-up truck and plow willing to push 14" snow off a 400 ft drive for $30.
  12. CT18fireman

    CT18fireman Banned
    Messages: 2,133


    Are those guys professionals? I find a similiar thing here but I always point out that I am a company with multiple trucks, insurance and employees. I can offer better service then some old guy, with an old truck.
  13. John Allin

    John Allin PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,327

    Residential can be quite profitable. I have a close friend in Syracuse that does quite well with half his business in residential. If scheduled properly, a truck doing residentials can generate twice the hourly revenue that a commercial plowing truck can..... there are some headaches with it though.

    Residents are picky, just like commercial customers. A bit moreso than Walmart. You'll get called back as much as you are at Walmart - but for a lot less money. And the resident wants the touch up for free. Increase the number of residents, and the call backs will go up too - again, for a lot less unit cost dollars.

    In any event, if your mindset is right (and can be altered from the commercial mindset), you can generate some very nice margins with residential plowing.

    One big downside... usually no salting goes with the process, and salt is a high margin service.

    However, you have to be able to get salt to sell it......
  14. Mick

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

    Are those guys professionals? Therein is the problem. There are no real companies providing snow removal to residential (and most commercial) around here. We have one company which is in the construction business the rest of the year. They do mostly the roadways, some larger business and a some drives. The road commissioner usually gets the contract for the city streets and he is in the construction business, too. Just a bunch of guys running around doing a few drives each. Most are on the "good old boy" basis of "he's been doing mine for years". Where I'm having much luck at all is with people who move in from out of state with expectations greater than waiting until the snow is over and then wait till 10:00 or 11:00 to get out. And with businesses, schools etc, who are finding out that the old ways aren't going to get it anymore. Residentials are still wanting to pay based on the old way, though - "he'll do it for $30".
  15. CT18fireman

    CT18fireman Banned
    Messages: 2,133


    Living in the hills that I do I find that about 80% of my residentials have material (I use a mix) spread for traction. Most did not prior to me "selling" it to them.

    Lots of profit here for residentials.
  16. HandyHaver

    HandyHaver Senior Member
    Messages: 279

    All I do is residentals and it works out very well for me. I'm basicly a one man show (except for plower boy & stick plow boy)
    Most of my properties are homes starting in the 400k range and pay for good service. I had a 100% sign up rate from last years customers. I dropped a few (PIA) and some I should have never written and have filled them in from referals of my current customers. I've condensed my route and picked up some nice hits, less travel, more profit. Residentals can be a pain but I can make more than double doing my own res, than I could subbing for somebody so it's worth the extra hassle. Also always pick up a few flag downs while we are out & they pay dearly (dinner & fuel money). Anyway just sitting here in the background reading all the posts & though would jump on in.

  17. plowking35

    plowking35 2000 Club Member
    from SE CT
    Messages: 2,923

    I agree that residential can make you good money. In SE CT tho, most people dont want you to plow unless they have 3-4" or more. They only want to come once, and we only get snow falls above 3-4" a few times a season. So I cant see setting up routes and trucks or subs for a minimal amount of return.
    That is not to say we dont plow some drives, cause we do, they are just fit in where ever we can find time.
  18. Armor

    Armor Member
    Messages: 36

    Around here there is definitley a niche for residential. It seems like everyone goes after commercial.