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First commercial job...

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Up North, Oct 15, 2004.

  1. Up North

    Up North Senior Member
    Messages: 921

    Getting back into snowplowing this year after being out of it for about 13 years. I have a restaurant that I do the mowing for and they asked me to do the plowing as well. My plan was to stick with residential and a couple small (very small) commercial jobs. But since they asked I didn't want to turn down the business. Question is...I'm not sure what I should charge them. The restaurant is a Ground Round, similar to a Chili's or Applebee's. They have a parking lot all the way around the building and an overflow parking area across the street. The overflow area is about 75 yards long, 30 yards wide, easy to plow. The parking lot around the building is fairly simple, no islands to deal with but they want the majority of the snow stacked to the west of the building, there are a few other spots around the lot I can stack some snow, but not many. I'm guessing it will take about an hour with my 7.5 blade. Nobody uses contracts up here, it's usually by the push. Is $75 in the ballpark? $100? Not sure what they paid last year, someone came in with a loader each time, I'd think that would price out fairly high but not sure. Any ideas?

    I know it's hard to price other people's work out due different areas, not seeing the job site, etc., but if anyone has an idea I'd appreciate it. Thanks!

  2. jax1013

    jax1013 Senior Member
    Messages: 114

    RE:ground round

    please consider liability of a slip and fall...then reconsider your price...is this cash deal...i would say definitely not..they will pay by check...consider taxes..unemployment ins.. gen'l liability ins...and commercial veh ins... how do you plow one hour for 75 dollars?..if you paid the paperboy to shovel you front sidewalk what would you give him??? at the very least 2 parking lots taking you one hour is 150-200 hour per truck...don't sell yourself short..and please don't low ball..
  3. Mick

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

    jax1013 is right. You're not even close. Also, will they want the sidewalks shoveled? How are you going to get the snow to that spot they want it stacked. Do you have wings on that 7.5'? If not, you going to be doing a lot of chasing snow trail off. Do you have an edge on the plow to avoid damage to the surface material? Are you going to be applying deicer material? If not, liability risks goes way up.

    Based on what I know of these places, they'll usually have a seasonal account (even around here) in the thousands of dollars. Even if they did go for a per-plow type, it would be hundreds per trip. Also, I can't imagine any national chain enterprise not having a contract on file with proof of liability insurance. They would be opening themselves up to too much liability for hiring an uninsured service provider (can't think of the right term - too early in the morning).
  4. Up North

    Up North Senior Member
    Messages: 921

    Where the heck did you guys get the idea I'm not insured????? I never said that nor is that the case. I'm fully insured, pay my taxes, totally a legit business, etc.. All I'm doing is the plowing, not doing any shoveling, and they are responsible for applying salt. I'm just pushing the snow like explained in the post I made.

    So, okay, my original thoughts are correct then, $75-100 is low. And don't worry...I'm not into "lowballing". If I was I never would have asked this question to begin with. Thanks for your replies so far.

  5. eng50

    eng50 Senior Member
    Messages: 125

    If its an account that you have a good relation with then ask what they paid last year, but have a price in mind prior so with that info, if truthful, you may be able to adjust on the fly, so to speak..

    I am in a different region than you, but I do Applebees Restaurants, typical 2-4" snow, I salt first, then plow IF it needs it towards the end, $275-300 depending on ice potential...not bad for maybe 1.5 hours..

    Just my experience..Nice thing about places like that, is generally you have until 10am if it was a night storm..

  6. bison1973

    bison1973 Member
    Messages: 69

    For your area $75-$100 per push is probably in the ballpark. You're in northern MN and I'm in central WI and it sounds like the pricing around here. I don't want to sound like a jerk but the poster from Staten Island, NY has no idea when talking about what to charge for the mostly rural north central US. Our pricing is just not where you on the east coast and urban areas are.
  7. Mick

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

    I didn't mean to imply that you're not insured nor a legit business. What I said was that national chains are usually required (by their headquarters) to have paperwork in order for any contractor they hire. This would include a contract of work to be performed and the appropriate permits, insurance etc.

    When giving a reply to a query on a board like this, the responder has no way of knowing the experience level of the person asking the question. So often, the response is geared to include the most inexperienced, which in this case leads to the admonition about having insurance. Also, almost everything from pricing to standard practices are unique to regions. But, I still stand by my statements that $75 to 100/hr for commercial plowing is too little considering that you are taking on additional risk, increased insurance for commercial, and that you should have wings on that plow (not saying you don't, again aimed at the less experienced).

    I certainly did not intend to offend you, as I'm sure jax1013 did not, and apologize if you took it that way.
  8. 2wheelrider

    2wheelrider Junior Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 6

    Registered User Join Date: Sep 2002
    Location: Chili, WI (central WI)
    Posts: 34

    For your area $75-$100 per push is probably in the ballpark. You're in northern MN and I'm in central WI and it sounds like the pricing around here. I don't want to sound like a jerk but the poster from Staten Island, NY has no idea when talking about what to charge for the mostly rural north central US. Our pricing is just not where you on the east coast and urban areas are.

    Hello Interesting discussion. I was wondering if this statement about what you can charge in your rural area has to be so much lower then here on the East coast follows through with all costs. I wonder if the Ground Round restaurant charges your customers less for dinner then ours does? I know property taxes, housing, etc. are lower there but are the restaurants, Walmarts, and gas stations all charging about the same? Just wondering....
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2004
  9. Up North

    Up North Senior Member
    Messages: 921

    We do get less for service based work here then other places. In fact, they get more in the Minneapolis area for most services such as plowing, mowing, etc.. When I plowed in the twin cities 12-13 years ago we were getting $35 an hour, that's about what we're getting NOW in northern MN. I never should have brought up this subject as I know different areas charge different rates. Don't know what I was thinking...but it's too late now.

    Anyway, I'll probably end up asking the customer what they paid last year, I hate doing that but in this case I don't want to end up on the short end of the stick and want to be fair to them as well.

    As far as what we charge, a normal driveway around here is probably 200-300ft long with parking areas around the garage and/or a turn around area. Typically it runs $35 per push, give or take a few bucks. If it's a longer driveway such as mine, 660ft long with turn around loop and short drive up to the shop I'd charge $50-60 depending on how much snow we have. IMO a longer driveway is easier to plow then a real short one (like a 50ft driveway), you have more room to work with and it doesn't take much longer to complete the push.

    Hey Mick,
    No hard feelings man. I understand what you're saying. People that are not legit, don't pay taxes, no insurance, etc. is a huge pet peeve of mine. I guess that's why I jumped on what was posted, actually Jax was the one that got me going. But I'm sure he meant no harm as well. Good luck this season! We've had a couple flurries yesterday & today... :bluebounc

  10. cet

    cet PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,257

    I think if someone was willing to pay around $100 per push that would be good. If I am not responsible for any salting or sidewalks then I would get a contract that removes me from any liability at all as almost all slip and falls are from ice or a slippery condition not from snow.
  11. Greenest Thumbs

    Greenest Thumbs Junior Member
    Messages: 1

    jax1013 got it right.....

    New to forum: jax1013 has it right, my flat rate in R.I. for doing commercial properties is between $125.00/$150.00 per hour . Sanding is extra. Thanks to everyone for sharing info on this web site. This helps all of us in the end game.