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Hourly Rates to charge

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself to the Community' started by croche1260, Feb 12, 2015.

  1. croche1260

    croche1260 Junior Member
    from 02131
    Messages: 29

    Hey guys,
    So, I am going to be buying a plow (1500 sierra, 7/6 plow) and a nice snowblower. I am starting to put together a plan for marketing, some contract templates etc. I am just wondering what is an appropriate number to charge for an hourly rate for a plow and again for a snowblower? I don't want to be a lowballer but don't want to come in too high.

    I have been doing snow removal for years for someone else but I want to venture out on my own. Talking residentials and small commerical lots in the Greater Boston area. Thanks for any help!
  2. maxwellp

    maxwellp PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,123

    Don't charge by the hour. Charge by the Job.
  3. SnoFarmer

    SnoFarmer PlowSite Fanatic
    from N,E. MN
    Messages: 9,883

    Sharpen your pencil,
    cost of commercial INS for your plow.
    cost of operating a truck, fuel, oil ,repairs, wear etc........
    cost of plow. maintenance, repairs, wear, etc
    cost of a operator, etc

    ect ect.
    now, that you have your overhead figured out,
    how much do you want to make?

    What I charge for my truck, in my area will be different for you.
  4. Pit Crew

    Pit Crew Senior Member
    Messages: 162

    Shoot for 100.00 per hour.
  5. Herm Witte

    Herm Witte Senior Member
    Messages: 595

    But what if he needs 125.00 to break even and loses money at 100.00?
  6. ponyboy

    ponyboy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,104

    My subs get $100 an hour
    Everybody area different so their over head is different
  7. Herm Witte

    Herm Witte Senior Member
    Messages: 595

    Exactly. That is why it is not a good idea for folks on this forum to tell others what to charge.
  8. ponyboy

    ponyboy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,104

    Even if he was in my area I still couldn't tell him what to charge
    It's basic business the more I read here the more I see most have no clue what it takes or how to run a business
    I'm still learning after 22 years running my business
  9. Pit Crew

    Pit Crew Senior Member
    Messages: 162

    One truck, one plow, one guy, I`m thinking 100 will get him right in the ball park.
  10. Herm Witte

    Herm Witte Senior Member
    Messages: 595

    Ok Pitcrew, plug in a few numbers for me. Over the life of the vehicle add total Truck insurance, liability insurance, workers compensation, cost of vehicle, depreciation, maintenance & repairs, salvage (re sale) value), fuel, wages, payroll or self employment taxes, licensing, cell phone and what ever else I missed. Add these together, divide by the total hours you are going to plow and you are getting there. Oh and I forgot, how about profit?

    Since the OP asked how much to charge, I am assuming he wants to operate an above board business enterprise.

    I am not an accountant but wish for folk to think about what it takes to do this work.
  11. maxwellp

    maxwellp PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,123

    Also the problem with "By the Hour" is how many hours did you work? How fast did you work? How slow did you work? who pays for drive time?
    To give you and Idea -
    on a 2" storm if it comes at the right time of day. I can hit $168 an hour.
    on a 10" storm that piddles on for day and a half it can be $60 an hour.

    But I still make money on good money on both. One just takes a lot longer and uses more fuel and wear on the truck.
  12. jonniesmooth

    jonniesmooth Senior Member
    Messages: 296

    another thing to consider is all the time you put in, in the shop, in the office, that you aren't billing to anyone.
    Some talk about overhead, but your customers don't care that you have a big stack of bills to pay for your equipment, or if your using 20 year old paid for equipment. As long as it works
    You have to price competitively or you won't have any work
    In my area I have been charging $60/hour for 20 years. I started with a $20 minimum and for commercials the minimum has doubled in that time. For the residential s we have better equipment now then we did 20 years ago, so they take less time, so the ROI is still good, with the $20 minimum. Some of my accounts do get a PITA bump too.

    Sure, I'd like to charge $30 min (Res) and $80 (Comm). But one of the largest competitors I have started bidding all the big commercials at $50/hour 2 years ago. Their a bunch of dishonest crooks, but it takes a year or two for the customer to figure it out.

    Also too many laid off workers working for cash on the low end
  13. ponyboy

    ponyboy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,104

    How can you make profit at $20 a house after expenses and overhead
  14. xjoedirt55x

    xjoedirt55x Senior Member
    Messages: 104

    It would be hard, but if you are already in the area, and it is a quick one in and one out kinda deal then why not bill and extra $20. If you have to drive out of your way for a $20 push, then hell to the no.
  15. ponyboy

    ponyboy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,104

    Actually plowing is the quick part
    Pre inspection
    Post inspection of trucks plows blowers machines
    Office time
    Wrenching time
    Gassing up
    Time to go and estimate it
    I'm sure I forgot some other stuff as well
    Never mind your over head
    People say oh it's 5-10 minutes a drive way no it isn't
  16. Pit Crew

    Pit Crew Senior Member
    Messages: 162

    The boy is just starting out.He has stated he dosen`t want to low ball or come in to high. He also didnt ask for anyone to run his business or figure out overhead etc. He asked for an honest hourly rate to start a plowing career. If you can plow 6 or 7 days a week, all year long then your questions need to be answered. 100.00 an hour to start with will get him going. If he can make more he will. One truck will maybe plow 10 to 20 a week on average per month for

    what,three months of the year. Who can make a living doing that.Some of you guys are
    looking way too much into the question. Good luck Croche
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2015
  17. ponyboy

    ponyboy PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,104

    But once you charge your customers too little it's hard to get them to the right price
    Always shoot high you can lower easier then raise your price
  18. JustJeff

    JustJeff 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,481

    Easily. If you've got a tight route, you could do six, seven or eight drives per hour easy. 6 x 20 =120.00 per hour. 8 x 20=160.00 per hour. I don't do residential accounts, but know several guys that make very good money doing it.
  19. Herm Witte

    Herm Witte Senior Member
    Messages: 595

    OK fine, the following quote is from the OP's original post; "I am starting to put together a plan for marketing, some contract templates etc.". This "boy", as you call him, is planning on being someones competitor. If he was to become your competitor wouldn't you want him on the same playing field? All I want to do is educate and show that there is a lot more to the snow management business than just plowing and billing. I want this "boy" to succeed and not fail. Our firm dates back to 1957 and is poised for the third generation. You are entitled to your opinions and I mine. I offer sound advice and you are throwing darts at his dart board. Our industry would be held in much higher regard if we went about the snow management business as educated business men and women.
  20. jonniesmooth

    jonniesmooth Senior Member
    Messages: 296

    The $20 price is for customers who have a 1" trigger , people who call for large events or after routes are done pay more to cover the additional cost of running just for them.
    Get yourself a good 48" SNOWPLOW shovel ($85), for those 2" snows, double driveway done in 6 minutes, no snowblower wear,no fuel cost, good exercise, no big plow truck driving around getting 8 mpg. Use the little truck that get's 20 mpg