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Holy Cow! Is This Right?

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by mojob, Jan 6, 2007.

  1. mojob

    mojob Member
    Messages: 83

    As you all know, we've had three big storms here in Colorado in three weeks. I do an apartment complex where I charge them by the hour and at different rates depending on what equipment is being used. It's a pretty big complex (2 acres of parking lot, 18 buildings with about 8 units each, half mile of sidewalks, 67 twelve foot walkways and nowhere to put snow). I'm just now getting a break to put together a bill and I couldn't believe my eyes when I got to the bottom line. $7,660. This is an average of $112.50/hr @ 64 man hours plus $500 for two day rental of a loader and ice melt apps to sidewalks and walkways. We've had about 45" of snow in three weeks! I'm new to this biz so I don't know if this price is fair. I've kept this place clear the whole time. There's some places around town that are still buried. So, what do you think? Are they going to freak or is my price fair? BTW, for equipment I have a Boss V, Walker w/plow, snow blower with me and my son doing the work.

    WALKERS PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,138

    Is that what your contract state then yes thats your price. They all saw the same storm and the amount of snow too. They might not understand the actual work that was put into it,but thats why they hired someone like yourself to do it. I say yes its fair. Give a detail bid if they freak out.Nice cash by the waypayup
  3. fernalddude

    fernalddude PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,106

    Sounds low if you ask me but if it covered your time,equipment,cost for plowing and you have a profit you win.
  4. bigjoe871

    bigjoe871 Senior Member
    Messages: 166

    I'm much further east, but that's LOW for what you described.
  5. mojob

    mojob Member
    Messages: 83

    Thanks for the replies. This is my first season plowing so I don't really know what the norm is. I also do the landscaping for this place so the property manager just asked me to submit a breakdown on my rates so he could give it to the HOA board so there's no contract. I'm glad to hear that I'm not out of line with my price. I was afraid I was too slow or that I was being too picky on how well I kept it cleared. Thanks again guys.
  6. forestfireguy

    forestfireguy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,276

    Good for you, but did you say no contract? You might want to get one of those signed ASAP. If you can't look for other work and dump this place the first sign of trouble. As far as your rates go don't forget to add in every cost for the loader rental, fuel, delivery and most imoprtant an operator, you gotta get at least 30 dollars an hour to run that machine even if you didn't have to bring in extra hands to do it.
  7. mojob

    mojob Member
    Messages: 83

    Hey Forestfireguy. Yeah, no contract. I'm not worried though. When my landscape contract ran out the property manager asked me to do the snow removal for them and just bill them. I'm on really good terms with the HOA board as well. In the past, there has never been a problem with getting money for anything above and beyond my landscape contract.
  8. ThisIsMe

    ThisIsMe Senior Member
    from Mass
    Messages: 745

    Break it down in simple form to understand

    18 buildings X 8 units = 144 units

    $7660 divided by 144 units = $53+ a unit

    $53 per unit sounds more then fair to me.
  9. firelwn82

    firelwn82 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,866

    53 $ per unit sounds extremely low but I don't live there. I know it very's from region to region. just my 2 cents.
  10. ThisIsMe

    ThisIsMe Senior Member
    from Mass
    Messages: 745

    True it could be low. I look at it this way. A house it would be low at $53, but here are combined apartments. Should be a lower / bulk price seeing that a lot of areas are combined.

    Not looking at it from the amount of work or area, just what the burden is to unit owners (or could bear) and how justifiable it is at a cost per unit.

    I think $53 is close enough or at least in the ballpark. If it was like $10 per unit or $400 per unit then that would be another argument. :)
  11. LoneCowboy

    LoneCowboy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,760

    We've had 3 storms in 3 weeks with as the OP said 45 inches plus of snow
    So it's 53 dollars a unit for 3 storms. That's less than $20 bucks a unit.
    And let's face it, 2 feet of snow at once takes a long time to move.
    I think it's low
    If you are making money on it, I'd be ok with it, I wouldn't jack it up, esp. if you have a good relationship with them.
    They are going to freak though.:eek:
  12. ThisIsMe

    ThisIsMe Senior Member
    from Mass
    Messages: 745

    Well I read that wrong. I read one storm of 45 inches. $53 seems definitely low now matter what the area.
  13. LoneCowboy

    LoneCowboy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,760

    Yeah, sorry, depending on where you were in the Denver metro area
    it was 24 to 30 inches in the first storm (brutal)
    12 to 18 inches in the 2nd storm (wet heavy snow, all of 5 days later before the first one was finished)
    and then 5 to 8 inches a week later (last thursday)
  14. JLL25

    JLL25 Member
    from Chatham
    Messages: 31

    You guys need reliable sub work? Dang, 45 inches of snow is just crazy!
  15. Snow Picasso

    Snow Picasso Senior Member
    Messages: 250

    I just figured what my pricing would be on my largest apt complex ( which is smaller than yours ) I came up with $7,598.00 without salting & loader rental
  16. firelwn82

    firelwn82 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,866

    Your priced low. The good thing is your learning about the pricing scale. The hard way but your learning. I'm not saying its bad or wrong to learn this way, not at all. As long as your having fun and making money to pay for what your doing I guess its fine. Your in the right ball park with your pricing though. Don't worry ALL customers freak out when they get those nasty storm bills, just take it in stride.:drinkup:
  17. IndySnowPlow

    IndySnowPlow Senior Member
    from Indiana
    Messages: 214

    Remember 1 thing.....He might be low.....He might be high....The bottom line is he is doing what we ALL WISH we were doing........

    Plowing Snow & Making MONEY !!!!!!!!!!!! :cry:

    DAFFMOBILEWASH PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,602

    Make The Client Happy

    In order to justify the high price, just remind the client of the quality of work. I am sure some of your fellow plowing competors droped the ball and didn't get the work done. How many of the side streets (residential) are still a mess? Every one who has contracts verbal or written should have a back up plan(loaders, bobcats, backhoes) in case of a freek weather pattern like this one.

    If the appartment complex mover and shakers don't appriciate your efforts and give you a hard time about payment, then remind them if they are looking at the bottom line price you get what you pay for.

    Give youself a pat on the back, for in the upcomming years this will be a great selling point for future clients.

    Congrats, we may even to play in the snow soon and make some cash.

  19. mojob

    mojob Member
    Messages: 83

    Thanks for all the input. I never thought about breaking it down per unit. If you look at it that way, it's cheap. These people pay $80 a month in HOA dues so my $53/unit is nothing. It's funny how your thinking changes when you're sitting at your desk all warm and dry compared to the times you're out in the middle of the night in a blizzard. If I'd seen the bottom line when I was cold and wet I'd have probably thought it was cheap. I did make money on this and got a crash course in snow removal to boot. The tenants don't have far to go to see what it could have been like. There are five other complexes that surround this property and they're still buried. We just aren't equipt for big storms. The last several years we were lucky to get only a few plowable events per season and only average a few inches per event. Thanks again for all your help. God bless Plowsite! I hope a big storm or two comes your way. I'll keep my fingers crossed.
  20. Kramer

    Kramer Senior Member
    Messages: 386

    If they question you, just point out that you got 1/2 -3/4 years worth of snow in 3 weeks.....that means they had to budget for an entire year...if they didn't put aside the $15K for a year then it's their problem. I budget about $20K for one facility for a year---a very staright push all the way around a facility, 2 small parking areas.... salt included. Might be 2000 linear ft x 12 ft wide plus the parking areas--real small.

    If they got a problem with it tell them to take a hike...nobody else would give them the break you are....you said it yourself, you gave them excellent service and some other places are still snowed in.

    I'd be whacking them about $10K for what you did and I would expect them to be happy about it. But, thats me!